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Star Trek TOS - Season 3 - Episode 22

Star Trek TOS - 3x22 - The Savage Curtain

Originally Aired: 1969-3-7

Kirk and Spock are forced into a battle of good and evil. [Blu-ray] [DVD]

My Rating - 3

Fan Rating Average - 4.56

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Remarkable Scenes
- Abraham Lincoln floating in space. WTF?
- Uhura not taking offense to Lincoln's accidental racist remark.
- Spock correcting Scotty when he pointed to the direction Earth was in. Hilarious!
- Surak's appearance.
- Surak: "Perhaps it is our belief in peace that is actually being tested."
- Lincoln: "There's no honorable way to kill, no gentle way to destroy. There is nothing good in war except its ending."

My Review
One wonders how much respect an ancient revered European leader like Sir Winston Churchill or an Asian leader like Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi would get on this most blatant episode of Americans in space. Thankfully, McCoy's and Scotty's objections offset Kirk's odd behavior. Unfortunately, yet another alien who forces our cast to fight for its own amusement. One remarkable detail is that Kahless is considered evil in this episode. In TNG he is considered quite the honorable figure. This isn't necessarily a technical problem; surely the Klingons are considered evil by Kirk, and the alien in this episode just extracted that impression in his recreation of Kahless. Ultimately, this episode consists largely of pointless fighting which makes it totally inconsequential. I wish there was less of this in Star Trek.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From TashaYar on 2008-09-15 at 4:38am:
    I just saw this ep again the other day... interestingly they address your objection. In the transporter room, Scotty in his dress uniform says something about rendering honors to "Lincoln" and asks who will be next, will it be Robert the Bruce. Kirk enters at this point, having overheard the remark, and replies "in that case we will render appropriate honors to him as well." For further details see ""
  • From technobabble on 2010-11-22 at 9:48pm:
    Seemed odd that the aliens did not understand the good vs evil moral dynamic of the human condition but chose to interpret it only through small bout of combat. If they could use the ship's library etc. to replicate important historical figures could they not also sift through historical analysis?

    Aliens seemed only interested in the brute strength of the two moral philosophies & dismissed the rest, making the story only about the contention that good & evil have to function similarly in times of war, offering the peace laurel at the wrong time can just leave you dead.

    Points for showing a unique alien this time, made of scalding volcanic living rock.

  • From Orion Pimpdaddy on 2012-05-27 at 11:11pm:
    It's the Hunger Games! LOL The fight ends very prematurely, probably because they stuffed too much into a one hour show. They probably could have scrapped the whole "Lincoln walking around the Enterprise" bit in order to show a more complete battle on the surface. Still, it's not a bad episode. I thought the pacing was perfect, and the lava being's costume is the best costume of TOS. On the Blu-ray version, the planet's new appearance enhances the episode quite a bit. There's a part where a section of the lava planet changes to earthlike conditions, and it is now clearly seen. I'm not sure why the creature created such a large arena for everyone to fight in though (thousands of miles).
  • From Warp factor 10.1 on 2012-07-19 at 11:11pm:
    I love it when superior beings abduct different species from around the galaxy to pit them against one another, as in 'Gamesters'. It's just what superior beings ought to do and why the other series aren't as good (they seem to have given it up).
    Like you, I'm puzzled by the choices for the two sides. What about Hitler, Margaret Thatcher or Dick Dastardly for the baddies?
  • From Jake on 2019-01-11 at 2:11am:
    This episode further confuses the Klingon forehead issue by showing Kahles as a TOS style klingon.

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