Star Trek 070: Whom Gods Destroy

70. Whom Gods Destroy

FORMULA: Dagger of the Mind + What Are Little Girls Made Of? + The Omega Glory

WHY WE LIKE IT: Probably the best "doubles" sequence in TOS history. The fight between the two Kirks is quite impressive. Oh, and a cool double nerve pinch.

WHY WE DON'T: A dull exercise that's badly edited on top of everything else.

REVIEW: Wow. I wasn't really expecting it to be this boring and pointless. Whom Gods Destroy has some money on the screen, but not much of anything in the script. The toxic atmosphere of the planet, for example, is well realized, and the split screen effects are well executed too. In fact, one non-Trekkie watching it with me, laughing at the effects, dialogue (Garth's mostly), make-up, sets and costumes the whole way, still let out a "How'd they do that, though?" during Kirk's fight with himself. I have to admit, it looked pretty seamless, especially on a show known for its obvious stand-ins.

Otherwise, however, the episode is a complete mess. None of the inmates are especially interesting, except maybe Marta, and the plot device of Garth having "learned" to shape-shift is science fantasy hogwash. Does it make even the least bit of sense? The various tricks to make the captain answer his chess riddle/password are interesting, but I've got to wonder why this is the first time there's ever been a required password, especially with visual communications added. Looks like Kirk had read the script beforehand.

I question the wisdom of a story where Spock and McCoy (at the very least) are mostly offscreen. The guest-stars aren't really engaging enough to replace them. Over-the-top and not very good at all, though Kirk comes out as a fair psychologist once again.

And then there's the direction and editing. Sheesh. Madmen partaking in various shennanigans is dreadfully pointless and boring, and Marta's dance goes on forever. Worse still, we come back from the opening sequence with Spock unconscious. I get that he's been stunned, but having it happen offscreen is just jarring. And due to Leonard Nemoy's pressure (apparently), Spock isn't knocked out by a blow to the head in the final battle, yet the dialogue makes mention of it anyway. Dull AND annoying.

LESSON: People would rather watch terrible make-up and effects, but a good story (say, Journey to Babel) than the opposite (say, Whom Gods Destroy). This has been a message from the Tellarite Appreciation Society.

REWATCHABILITY - Low: How can it be so colorful and yet so dull? The plot is on auto-pilot, the guest-stars are boring, and the editing was botched. Avoid.

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