Star Trek: The Original Series
"The Savage Curtain"
Air date: 3/7/1969
Teleplay by Gene Roddenberry and Arthur Heinemann
Story by Gene Roddenberry
Directed by Herschel Daugherty
Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan
The Enterprise crew finds itself face to face with an entity that appears and claims to be Abraham Lincoln (Lee Berger). Lincoln invites Kirk and Spock down to the surface of a planet, where they all find themselves the pawns in a game of "good versus evil," courtesy of a rock-like creature that wants to learn the difference between the two powerful forces. Surak (Barry Atwater), the master who forged the peaceful Vulcan ideology milleniums ago, joins Kirk, Spock, and Lincoln to engage in a battle to the end against four nefarious figures from history.
This poorly conceived episode might've been better titled "Arena VII: The Abe Lincoln Factor." Seriously, was it really in remotely good taste for this episode to use Abraham Lincoln as a character in such a silly adventure? I'm inclined to say no. Who really wants to see President Lincoln reduced to a hollow supporting character—especially considering that in the end he takes a spear in the back?
"The Savage Curtain" is a routine, bland hour of TOS, with the same themes we've seen over and over again. It's another in a long line of Trekkian outings where the humanity of Kirk's crew is tested—but less enlightening than most.