Star Trek: The Mark of Gideon

“The purpose of diplomacy is to prolong a crisis.”

Star Trek

Yep. We’re here again, I’m afraid.

The Mark of Gideon (another Original Series offering) is actually a bit of a mixed bag. Captain Kirk, beaming down alone (why does his crew let him do these things?) to Gideon, an unknown inhabited planet, inexplicably finds himself on board the Enterprise again – but it is completely empty, apart from a random woman who, handily, claims to have forgotten how she got there.

The detective-y part of this episode – consisting of Kirk trying to find his crew and his crew trying to find Kirk – is really quite interesting, involving as it does the investigation of a wholly alien (although suspiciously and inexplicably humanoid, not to mention English-speaking) civilisation, involving a vision of severe overcrowding that is haunting in the way that Golden Age sci-fi often is (although I was not impressed by Spock’s “logic” which I personally would be more inclined to call “wild surmise”). But the relationship between Random Woman and Kirk is so syrupily overdone that the episode frequently threatens to become sleep-inducing, and the solution to the mystery doesn’t really make a lot of sense. The Mark of Gideon swings rapidly and somewhat dizzily between very good (for Star Trek, that is) and very bad (by any standards). So, on the whole…I guess it was another average Star Trek episode. Better, at least, than the hour-long propaganda extravaganza that was The Omega Glory.

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