The Conscience of the King
is diverted to Sigma Minor to see about a new synthetic food substance to end famine, but in reality it is a warning from Captain Kirk's acquaintance, Dr. Thomas Layton. A member of a traveling Shakespearean troupe named Anton Karidian is actually the Kodos the Executioner, a brutal man who oversaw an Earth colony named Tarsus 4 that both Kirk and Layton were apart of.
Villainous men can try to escape their horrific past, but karma will always catch up with them.
Plot holes/Plot Issues
Why does McCoy yell loudly
in the vicinity of Riley who is just in the next room when he – McCoy – is talking about Anton Karidian aka Kodos? McCoy is obviously aware that Riley was part of the same colony Kirk and Layton, so shouldn't he have shown some restraint and common sense?
Also, when Riley is alone in Engineering, how is it he doesn't notice the hand that sprays poison in his milk? Or, is it that Lenore was that smooth despite being in clear peripheral vision? Also, in the 23rd century, they still use spray bottles?
Anton Karidian, as Kodos the governor of the Earth colony Tarsus 4, slaughtered over 50 percent of the Earth colony in order to have food supplies last a bit longer. It is an interesting twist that while Kodos really tries to leave his past behind, there are people who want closure - like Layton or Riley - and it is not Anton who kills to quiet those who might 'out' him...it is his daughter.
The fictional character Xena, the 'warrior princess' was actually a character who was initially a despicable villain, but turned out to be a lead character who helped people. Occasionally, her past would haunt her, and she would have to answer for her previous actions. Of course, she was a fictional/fantasy character.
What if someone like Adolf Hitler had a change of heart and decided to live his life and help people of various races or beliefs? Would he be able to escape his past? (How about someone like George Zimmerman, or O.J. Simpson?) Reality is a bit harsher than fiction. Usually for these nonfictional characters like Hitler, Zimmerman, or Simpson....'reality' doesn't hit until they get caught.
I personally found it kinda obvious that Anton Karidian can be Kodos, but to be fair to the episode there are
people who do resemble one another such as the two actresses Michelle Williams and Adalaide Clemens. Also, the three people who could possibly identify Anton Karidian haven't really seen Anton as Kodos for some time which throws off people who are questioning if Anton is the same person....hence, the initial investigation by Kirk until he immediately falls under Lenore's seductive spell, throwing off said investigation.
I noticed that Anton speaks in very over-dramatic tones throughout the episode. While it creates a bit of hammyness(a word?) this is probably due to the fact that the episode is one big Shakespearean play anyhow. The episode's title even shares a line from 'Hamlet' and hints where the resolution of the episode would take place (i.e the culprit Lenore is found out during a production of Hamlet, and the former 'king' Anton aka Kodos has a conscience and feels that he must atone for his sins) . In true Shakespeare fashion, while trying to kill the one man who may give her away (Kirk) she kills the man she loves (her father, Anton).
Speaking of Lenore Karidian, I think Barbara Anderson mixes just enough innocence and subtle sexiness to sell the character. Barbara Anderson is one of the main reasons I watch the seventh season of Mission: Impossible
- even though I'm still hovering around the third season - the original Ironside
, and her one episode in Night Gallery
The quick looks between Yeoman Janice Rand and Lenore are on the Enterprise bridge is pretty funny, and I can't help thinking the 'inner monologue' going on between both women, something that the online critic sfdebris lampooned in his own review of this episode. There is almost a sense of competitiveness between the two women even though they haven't officially met one another, at least onscreen.
Spock also notices the relationship between Kirk and Lenore, and we almost get a sense of Spock being jealous himself. Spock is continually asking questions of Kirk , questions that could come off as someone who is not worried about duty..but someone who has a crush. Indeed, something for Kirk/Spock slash fans.
On that same note, aside from Spock's and his questions about Kirk's relationship with Lenore, both he and McCoy really work to put Kirk in his place since Kirk doesn't really seem to be thinking with his 'big' head in this episode. It's very interesting and far-fetched how quickly Kirk falls for Lenore. This has many similarities with the later “Requiem for Methuselah” where Kirk also falls in love with a teenager – Lenore is 19, and the girl in “Requiem” is 17 - and he is blinded by his 'love' or infatuation that he doesn't really pay attention to his duty. Interestingly, Miri was also '17' (or at least she looked it) but in reality she was around 300 years old. However, Lenore (and the girl in the later episode, “Requiem”) are both blondes, and both mysterious in a way, both exotic. Although, due to my bias, I would say the gorgeous Barbara Anderson is a bit more exotic that the girl from “Requiem.”
When Kirk spends too much time focusing on a woman, you know something bad is going to happen (e.g. not only this episode, but the aforementioned “Requiem” as well as the later episode “The Paradise Syndrome”).
Spock/Uhura fans get some relationship (or 'shipping') hints in this episode too. For example, Uhura is seen playing Spock's lute. (Literally, not figuratively). When Riley hears the lute playing over the speaker from Engineering, he somehow assumes it's Uhura. Granted he - Riley - may know Spock is on duty on the bridge, and Uhura is usually the one who plays the lute if it isn't Spock.
However, we still have more questions. Did Spock let Uhura borrow the lute from a previous meeting? Or, does Uhura have permission to enter Spock's quarters whenever she chooses to get the lute on her own? Did she demonstrate 'exceptional oral sensitivity' to get that permission?
With all that said, I'd noticed some random things. For instance, during one of the scenes when Kirk beams back down to get more information on Kodos and meets Lenore for the first time, there is the Star Trek
muzak theme playing on the soundtrack. Mr. Leslie makes an appearance and even has a quick line. And, Dr. Thomas Layton, in certain angles, looks like Shatner from the TOS
era. In a weird way, Kirk is sitting next to his future self...
Another passable episode, and one – at least for me – who has an interesting villain in Lenore Karidian who is smart and uses her beauty to trap Kirk (extremely quickly!) But, she does fail and turns a bit crazy in the end. Because this episode primarily holds my interest because I'm a fan of Barbara Anderson, I don't see myself frequently returning to this episode for any other reason. Therefore, I give 'The Conscience of the King' a 3.5
out of 5
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(aka Spock and the Shuttlecrew from Hell!)