Episode 45 – TOS 2×16: “The Gamesters of Triskelion”

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In this week’s episode, our brave (stupid?) crew is once again kidnapped by a race of jerkface omnipotent ascended aliens.

There’s a whole painfully-artificial B-plot that we won’t go into much, but the A-plot is basically that Kirk, Chekov and Uhura are innocently beaming down to a planet for Totally Legitimate Mission Reasons and find themselves, instead, lots of light-years away, being pressed into gladiatorial slavery, for the amusement of giant brains.

Kirk and some giant brains
Not pictured: the giant birds and rats that ate the other giant brains, because that’s how evolution actually works.










Yes, it’s Yet Another Giant Brain/Energy Squid Villain, where the all-powerful alien race in question has subjugated humanoids for reasons that only make sense if you’ve decided to forcibly evolve yourself out of inconvenient glandular concerns like a conscience.

Honestly, I mostly liked this episode. It’s got some great worldbuilding, a couple of it’s-not-their-fault-it’s-the-writing solid lady guest characters, one of whom is multi-tasker extraordinaire Ensign Jana Haines, who is the responsible officer actually responsible for locating the missing away team while Spock, Scotty and Bones are arguing for no reason.

Ensign Jana Haines
If you guys can stop manufacturing an awkward B-plot for a second, I’ve totally found the denouement.














The other two lady guest stars are alien gladiators, and one of them, Shahna, repeatedly kicks Kirk’s ass, which let’s face it, can only be good for him. If only it weren’t for the super-awkward and pretty-inappropriate romantic subplot, I’d give it an extra fifty points.

Shahna, judging Kirk and his weakness after a two-mile run.
Shahna gets another fifty points for kicking everyone’s ass while wearing that silver onesie, all with no obvious sign of wedgie.












Shahna also carries most of the episode’s worldbuilding, having been born and raised on Triskelion. We like to imagine that one day, she’s re-introduced to the greater galaxy as Prime Minister Shahna, because god knows she’s earned it.


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