Episode 54 – TOS 2×25: “Bread and Circuses”

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Apparently no one at 1960s Desilu was listening to me, because this week’s episode involves yet another goddamn parallel Earth.

And not just Earth: an Earth where the Roman Empire survived until the 20th century, and yet somehow still ended up speaking colloquial North American English.

Save me.

Spock in Space Rome prison
I know it’s not technically your fault, Spock, but I blame you anyway.











We open to another missing Federation ship, though this time it’s the Merchant Service S.S. Beagle, captained by another old friend of Kirk’s, an R.M. Merik. Yeah, we said the same thing: it’s never a good sign when they meet up with an old friend of Kirk’s. They’re always dead or evil or evil and then dead. Guess what? You’re all psychic.

Merik and Kirk
Oh, I decided the Merchant Service wasn’t for me. First Citizen sounds so much better and the outfits are cooler.












Turns out that Captain Merik, who once flunked out of the Academy for failing some psych test – we assume he answered “yes” to the question “have you ever really really wanted to be a Roman Emperor?” – is now sitting pretty as First Citizen of the somehow-English-speaking Space Roman Empire, and also, basically his entire crew has been murdered in the arena. Merik’s leash – and his privileged position – is firmly in the hands and at the whim of the Space Rome Pro-Consul, who is convinced that because he got his hands on Merik and Merik’s crew, he can easily do the same with Kirk by way of threats and/or bribery.


Kirk, holding a communicator and smirking.
“You can’t make me” is actually a really good look on Kirk.











In the end, to literally no one’s surprise, Merik ends up stabbed by the Space Pro-Consul in the midst of helping Kirk & Co escape. And the English thing? Is all in service of a pun. And guys, I can appreciate a good pun, honestly I can. But in this case I’m going full John-Oliver-on-the-Bugle STOP IT NOW because it turns out that the Children of the Sun are actually the Children of the Son. As in: the son of God.

Yes. Space Rome, PLUS Space Christianity, PLUS  fundamental misunderstanding of the history of Christianity in the Roman Empire.

This episode is fired. See you next week.

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