Star Trek: The Original Series
"The Gamesters of Triskelion"
Air date: 1/5/1968
Written by Margaret Armen
Directed by Gene Nelson
Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan
Kirk, Uhura, and Chekov are kidnapped from the ship and taken to the planet Triskelion, where they are forced to become slaves and engage in arena fights with other captives, much to the amusement of the mysterious "gamesters" who place wagers on the outcomes.
"The Gamesters of Triskelion" is the type of Star Trek episode that does nothing for me. Full of the recognizable TOS clichés (prolonged, stylized fight scenes; Kirk getting the girl; a superior lifeform that ultimately forms the basis of the story's moral message; a subplot where Spock pits logic against Bones' emotional outbursts; and so on), the episode exploits for cheap entertainment (and plenty of fight "action") the issue of "slavery" in an overly broad manner as a way to hold up Kirk as the savior of the collective captives.
This is the sort of arrogant episode that seems to herald itself as important and profound, but too much is made of too little on the screen. The "superior lifeforms" are implausibly hokey in design and especially in ideology. The use of Spock versus Bones doesn't work either: McCoy is far too quick to challenge Spock for no good reason—and the friction feels entirely illogical and forced as a result. A dull, heavy-handed hour with an ending that clunks with a thud to the floor.