So I recently sat through "Bread and Circuses" again. The "Hodgkin's parallel Earth" theory had started to balloon so far out of control that it's no wonder someone scribbled up "Spock's Brain" as a dare because they felt the makers of the show took it too seriously... And yet, the "take it seriously" approach probably saves B&C, because an Earth with all the Romanisms with 20th centuryisms is incredibly hard to swallow - and yet the story just about manages to capture and keep the proceedings entertaining, but it's still a bit of a slog... Budgetary constraints led to this trope being used time and again, with season 2 having the lion's share of this trope. Not to mention and I may as well the prop shields are laughably bad, complete with ADR "clang" noises because hitting a rubber sword on a big piece of plastic can't begin to produce that effect. Thankfully, the incidental music has a reason to be there since it renders much easier the otherwise difficult problem of removing loud laughs from camera operators and other production staff behind them. For TOS in particular, it's particularly - and unexpectedly - violent. Spoiler alert, Cap'n Merrickus gets killed rather gruesomely via a stabbing. It, along with a for-the-time impressive use of machine gun slaughter, is wisely kept to the end while the episode builds up a "Oh jeez, how do we get out of this mess this week?" claustrophobic feel. Indeed, the last second escape is really tightly executed - one of a number of well-directed scenes. Merrick's ship was the "USS Beagle"? Who was barking to get that in the script? And Kirk using "ship by the sea" was a nice way to sidestep the prime directive, just as long as you don't remember they're wearing their ship uniforms and not in the locals' sartorial tastes. Not to mention, the revelation of "if you know him, we're not friends" has a bit more complex layering going on. How they played it out wasn't as cliched as I hoped. Merrickus certainly looks the part. As usual, the Spock/McCoy banter/bicker scenes do much in favor of the episode. There are two scenes in particular that were fantastic. One got a loud chuckle (McCoy reacting to Spock's apparent support of this allegedly "idealistic utopia" being described), the other I quipped "fascinating" over (involving Kirk). He should have said "46"... and as this wasn't TNG, not to mention the TV show it was paying homage to all those times hadn't even started yet, "47" wasn't repeated for any great reason. Unless Kirk was playing poker, but it's all moot since we don't see who survived and turned and who did not. Marcus cites they had no war for centuries and that Merrickus should stay because anyone knowing of the planet-- there's a problem with this, since Klingons or Romulans or anyone could just traipse there one day and there's no indication these alt-Romans could take over an imposing, mighty fleet of 1 spaceship. Perhaps Merrickus is shades of Caesar. Or perhaps not, since we see a paper thin veneer of life on this planet after Captain Merrick broke the prime directive and there's no sign of Cladius Marcus or anyone else muttering behind bated breath, bad breath, or any other form of breath... or Merrickus having second thoughts either that led to his calling the Enterprise with the communicator, now that friend Jim Kirk showed up and said something somewhere somehow (by Sally's seashore) that got him to think, which seems rather unlikely given previous scenes. That's all a missed opportunity, but at least we got that elongated scene of Kirk being courted by a slave so he could eat some Roddenberries and then later "be a man one last time" before being executed. I guess. What if the sex schlock was made minimal and more of the Merrickus/Marcus undercurrents be brought out instead? That said, the post-porker scene between Kirk and Marcus... it's different. It's toward the tail-end of the episode and is when Kirk is searched for a communicator that disappeared. I do suspect this story got a lot removed during rewrites, but seeing more between Marcus and Merrickus would have been more important than Kirk's latest fling - something he did surprising little of in TOS, but this is one story where the claim is flanderized out of proportion (not as frequently as "red shirts", however.) If they had the budget, would they have done this on an alien civilization and de-shackle all the overdone and sunny side up, over-easy, and scrambled Earthisms? There's a great script blunder: Kirk and Merrickus discuss the latter's crew... and cites the identical number of crewmen, despite one being turned into diced beefaroni on the viewscreen at the start of the episode. The episode surprises in that it differentiates "space ship", what Merrick commanded, with "starship" (what Kirk commands). It's a neat little way to make some continuity, even if Kirk has stated in the past he's commanding the space ship Enterprise... The "sun worship" is a play on words - a trope that's better suited for Laugh-In or Hee-Haw, but does a good job at leading the viewer astray. The "son of God" quote is a bit on the nose, especially since Kirk - early in the story - recognizes numerous religions - but the term isn't dwelled upon, but the underlying meaning of togetherness and wortking together is. Even if they use sixtiesisms such as "brotherhood", since humankind is more than just men. Uhura's reaction to Spock is fantastic. The scene would also make for a series coda/epilogue... Not to mention, they don't quite infer Jesus directly. Who needs "Doctor Who" to consciously predict "reality shows" when Star Trek TOS was already doing it unconsciously in 1968? Also, wouldn't it have been fun to have known Ian Wolfe in real life and ask all sorts of pestery interview questions? Lastly, one of the better Spock/McCoy scenes... Spocoy? McSpock? I'd give it a 6/10, if not 7/10. Not Trek's best, but there's enough to make it a bit above average, despite it all.