Star Trek: The Conscience of the King
To Trek or not to Trek, that is the question. The Conscience of the King begins with a scene from Macbeth, in which that rascal Macbeth (played by famed Shakespearean actor of the future, Karidian) murders King Duncan, delivering the line “Will all Neptune’s great ocean wash this blood clean from my hands?” (a line which, incidentally, seems to sum up the storyline of this episode). In the audience is the familiar face of Captain Kirk, eating popcorn and drinking from a 20oz bladder-bustin’ beverage. Kirk doesn’t seem the type to watch Shakespeare. Not enough monster trucks. Perhaps they’ve tweaked the ending to include some stunts?
Leighton, the person sitting beside Kirk whispers that Karidian is none other than Kodos the Executioner! We learn that Kodos was the leader of a colony on the planet Tarsus IV (This time it’s personal) who murdered half of its population. Of the survivors, only a handful ever saw the face of the man nicknamed ‘the Executioner’. However, Kirk (as a child) was one of those select few, and so was Leighton, the fellow who invited Kirk on their Macbeth date.
Leighton still bears the scars of his time on Tarius IV (The Voyage Home). In fact, he doesn’t just have an eye-patch, he has an entire side-of-head-patch. Now that’s serious.
Karidian, the actor, has a daughter Lenore, 19, who sends Kirk’s head into a spin. He likes what he sees and immediately goes into ‘smooth-mode’. It sends her into soft-focus. Kirk has that effect on a lot of girls. However, as they go out on a date (Monster Trucks this time) they discover a dead body! It’s only ol’ patch-head Leighton!
Kirk now starts to suspect that the Karidian may be Kodos. He arranges an accident that forces the acting troupe to accept a lift on board the Enterprise, in return for them putting on a performance for the crew.
Remember crew member Lt Kevin Reilly from The Naked Time? No? Well, he’s back! It turns out that of the nine survivors of Tarius IV (Citizens on Patrol), Reilly was one of them. Reilly? Really? Really. Reilly. Kirk transfers Reilly to another post so that he doesn’t accidentally cross paths with Karidian.
Meanwhile Spock does some digging into Karidian’s past and figures out the Kodos link. Everyone who ever saw Kodos alive has since died, except for Kirk and Reilly.
To cheer up Reilly, Uhura sings him a song using the Space-Lute™ last seen in Charlie X. Unfortunately, her sweet ballad distracts him long enough for somebody to tamper with his meal. An unseen figure squirts something into his milk. Yes, the milk he was about to drink along with his delicious meal of… multicoloured cubes. Multicoloured cubes – Just like Mom used to make. Reilly drinks the milk and collapses.
Kirk confronts Karidian and asks him if he is Kodos. Kodos evades the questions like a politician. Kirk asks him to record his voice for a voice print analysis. The recording is a close match to that of Kodos. However, close isn’t good enough for Kirk. He needs to be sure.
Meanwhile, Bones is treating Reilly in the sick bay. He stops to give Kirk the results of the voice print analysis and Reilly overhears. Oh Bones! Surely as a doctor you must have learned something about keeping information confidential. What did they teach you at medical school? Dammit Jim, I’m a Doctor, not a keeper of secrets liable to result in a mass-murderer, posing as an actor, being killed by one of his former victims’ family members!
An attempt on Kirk’s life is made in which a phaser, set on overload, is left in his quarters. Kirk puts it in the trash! Problem solved.
Meanwhile, the Karidian troupe put on their play. Reilly, with a stolen phaser, drops by to exact his revenge on the man he believes to be Kodos. Kirk manages to talk him out of it.
Then comes the twist. It wasn’t Karidian who killed the survivors, it was his daughter, the space girl Lenore. She knew that her father Karidian was Kodos and wanted to remove the threat that his identity may be discovered. So she killed anyone who ever saw Kodos. Karidian is horrified. As she points the gun at Kirk, her father steps in and absorbs the blast. killing him dead. If you thought Lenore was insane before she killed her father, she becomes absolutely bananas afterwards! Yeesh!
The episode is an interesting one and raises a lot of questions. Kodos had to kill half of the colony to save the other half. In some ways it could be viewed that he made a tough decision that saved 4000 lives. It’s a difficult moral dilemma. However, I can’t help but think that if he didn’t want to get caught, he went about it the wrong way. If you were to go into hiding, there are certain jobs you could still do, low profile things like Mail-Sorter or Online Gambler. The one career choice that really doesn’t suit a person in hiding is acting! People tend to see your face! Frankly he deserved everything he got!
William Shatner as James T. Kirk
Leonard Nimoy as Spock
DeForest Kelley as Leonard H. McCoy
Nichelle Nichols as Uhura
Arnold Moss as Anton Karidian
Barbara Anderson as Lenore Karidian
Grace Lee Whitney as Janice Rand
Bruce Hyde as Lt. Kevin Riley
William Sargent as Dr. Thomas Leighton
Natalie Norwick as Martha Leighton
Karl Bruck as King Duncan
Marc Adams as Hamlet
Eddie Paskey as Lt. Leslie
Majel Barrett as Computer Voice
Director: Gerd Oswald
Written By: Barry Trivers