The Rewatch 23: Errand of Mercy

Series: Star Trek (The Original Series)
Episode: 1.26 Errand of Mercy (3-23-67)
Rating: 4/5
Redshirt Status: 0/23

Notable Guest Stars:
John Colicos – Commander Kor.  Kor returns in DS9 for several episodes.
John Abbott-
Ayelborne. 

Review:                                                                       

 This episode is the first episode in which we meet the Klingons, which would end up being TOS’s main opposition. Negotiations between the Klingon Empire and the Federation have fallen apart, and conflict has ensued.  Enterprise is sent to Organia, a planet on the border, to prevent the Klingons from setting up a settlement there. The Organians, who appear to be far inferior in regard to technology surprise Kirk & Spock when they refuse help to avoid the Klingons.

The Klingons take over the planet, as Enterprise is sent away to gather backup with the rest of the fleet.  Commander Kor leds the expedition to take control.  The Organians confuse him as well in their continued passiveness and smiles.

Eventually things come to a head between Kor’s forces and Kirk & Spock only to be stopped by the Organians.  Turns out they are a non-coporeal life form that takes the humanoid shape only for contact with corporeal species such as humans and Klingons.  They make it so the two forces can’t fight and eventually convince Kor and Kirk to cease hostilities.

Overall, I believe this to be a good episode.  Its important for several later storylines including ones in other series in the franchise and at least one movie. I’m not so sure about the Organians.  I suppose its important to show that not everyone is on the same technological evolution as the Federation, and not just undeveloped planets.  I’m not entirely sure I appreciate some of the behind the scenes elements I read about while looking up the wiki/MemoryAlpha pages on this episode.

Interesting Notes:

  • Directed by John Newland
  • Written by Gene L. Coon
  • Introduction (on screen) of the Klingons.
  • The Treaty of Organia will be important in later storylines.
  • Connected to the ENT episode Observer Effect
  •  I find the fact that Spock and Kirk are forced into leg warmers amusing.

Pros:

  •  Kirk relates that he views himself as a soldier.  It’s an interesting comparison to the other captains in Trek who all have different titles they see themselves after Captain.  Janeway for example always saw herself as a scientist.  Picard a diplomat, and Archer an explorer.
  • There is a strong connection in this episode to TNG/DS9.  The Organians predict that the Klingons and Federation will one day be allies.

Cons:

  •  Kirk mentions that the Klingons have slave camps.  Perhaps I missed something over the years, but I don’t recall ever seeing this again.
  • Shatner’s dramatic pauses are a little heavy in this episode.

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