Star Trek. I haven’t watched it since the late 80s. It’s been Remastered. Now it’s being Re-viewed.
“The Gamesters of Triskelion”
As an 8 year old boy I loved this episode, and why not, with all its fight scenes it could be titled “Captain Kirk Kicks Ass.” Plus it has a hot chick in an aluminum foil bikini.
But as an adult…Yikes!
The new CGI stuff involves giving us a fresh crater-pocked planet with rings for Gamma II the unmanned automatic communications station seen at the beginning and a new Triskelion, complete with trinary star system.
This episode was apparently made using the Star Trek Writing Template ™ - a) Enterprise crew is abducted by b) powerful aliens to whom c) human emotions or values, in this case freedom, are unknown. The original angle is that the Providers, three alien brains in an aquarium, love to gamble, so they abduct other species to fight in gladiator games on which they wager on the outcome. It’s the big Las Vegas fight...in space! They just need to book Wayne Newton or Neil Diamond to provide the entertainment, though I wonder if they’d accept quatloos as payment?
The alien gladiators are certainly a motley bunch: an Elvis Presley look-alike, a giant fanged-caveman with a perpetual “O face,” a pudgy yellow female with a masculine-sounding voice, and then there’s Shahna, the chick in the foil bikini. Naturally she’s Kirk love interest here. She is terrible, as a warrior and as a sex symbol. She was played by Angelique Pettyjohn, perhaps THE worst actress in Star Trek history. She has a hot body, but when you look into her eyes you literally see the back of her skull. There is NOBODY home. Maybe that’s why the actress went into porn.
The fight scenes aren’t really that thrilling – I’ve seen episodes of The Wild, Wild West that had more intriguing fights. But William Shatner does get a workout in this one, with all the kicking and rolling around, the lunging and footwork. It looked more like “professional wrestling.” Hey, maybe Shatner should have tried out for the Mickey Rourke role in The Wrestler.
This episode also has a strange amount of ill-placed humor. I’m all for character-driven humor, but that’s not the case here. When Scotty signals Spock on the bridge that Kirk and the others just disappeared, Spock responds with “I presume you mean they vanished in a manner not consistent with the usual workings of the transporter, Mr. Scott” to which Scotty replies “Of course I mean that. You think I'd call if they just beamed down?” Later, McCoy states they’re going on a wild goose chase, and Spock answers with “I am chasing the Captain, Lieutenant Uhura, and Ensign Chekov, not some wild aquatic fowl.” Rim shot!
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention this episode’s one unintentional laugh out loud bit: when the Elvis look-alike make the moves on Uhura, Kirk, in a cell just down from her yells out, “What’s happening to Lieutenant Uheara!” Not Uhura, he calls her Uheara. Now we know the source of Nichelle Nichols decades long hatred of William Shatner.
This episode also has my favorite Star Trek sound effect of all time. When Kirk and the landing party are whisked off the tranporter platform by the Providers, the sound effect goes “BooOOOooOOOooNNNG!” The same sound is used when they appear on Triskelion.