Star Trek – The Conscience of the King

by Alan Rapp on January 25, 2018

in Television Reviews 

  • Title: Star Trek – The Conscience of the King
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Star Trek - The Conscience of the King TV review

This week’s Throwback Thursday post takes us boldly back to where no man had gone before. Shakespearean themes run through “The Conscience of the King,” and not only through the stage performances of Macbeth. When an old friend reaches out to Kirk (William Shatner), the captain finds himself pulled into the past and a 20 year-old massacre whose architect may be now living the life of a member (Arnold Moss) of a Shakespearean acting troupe and slowing killing off the remaining witness who can identify him. Arranging for the Enterprise to escort the troupe to his destination, the captain struggles with his suspicions and what to do if they are proved true. The truth, however, is even more tragic than the captain initially suspects.

The episode plays out pretty much as you would expect, although its framed in such a way that the identity of the actor is never much in doubt for the audience. The late twist involving the daughter (Barbara Anderson) who our captain took an immediate shine to, and uses in a somewhat cold and calculating way, is a nice touch and gives the episode a more tragic end than most episodes of the original series. Kirk’s refusal to share his suspicions with the rest of his senior staff is one of the weaker points of the story and doesn’t make much sense (other than to add more tension and pressure on Kirk), especially as Spock (Leonard Nimoy) deduces what is going on with minimal effort. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine would play on similar themes in the First Season episode “Duet” decades later.

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