TOS: S1 – E17: The Squire of Gothos

STARDATE: 2124.5

The Enterprise is on a mission to shuttle supplies across a vast void in space. As they entered the “space desert” where nothing should exist, sensors indicated that there was a massive displacement reading. It turned out to be an iron-silica form, the size of a planet. Spock said that it should have been noted on some records.

Kirk ordered Uhura to “notify the discovery on sub-space radio.” She said that there was a lot of interference from the body and that it may be emitting a radio signal. Kirk ordered the Enterprise turn 40-degrees away from the form.

Just as Mr. Sulu was about to execute the order, he disappeared. Kirk shouted for him, then ran to his post, and he disappeared as well. Uhura gasped, and Spock ordered “full reverse power.”

Jaeger said that if someone were to use a powerful “viewing scope” from far enough away, they might be able to see Earth’s past. Kirk told Trelane that he’s been looking at Earth, 900 years ago. Trelane told Kirk to call him “Squire Trelane.”

Scotty reported that the ship had been searched from “stem to stern” and Kirk and Sulu not on board. Uhura said that the received no distress signals, and scanners reported no human life on the planetoid.

Mr. DeSalle and Dr. McCoy asked Spock, who was now the acting captain, but he denied their request. He instead requested Mr. Jaeger, who was sitting at the helm in place of Sulu, to share what they learned about the planet. Jaeger’s specialty was in geophysics and related phenomena.

Yeager reported that the planet was very hostile, with volcanic activity and extreme temperatures. Humans would not be able to survive without full life support systems.

Just then, Uhura called Spock’s attention to one of her monitors. It showed a message written in an Old English font — “Greetings and Felicitations.”

“Hmmm!” said Spock. As the rest of the bridge crew looked on, he asked her to respond to the message, asking them to identify themselves. The response was, “Hip-hip-hoorah! Tallyho!”

DeSalle said that it must be part of a joke. McCoy said that this confirmed there was life on the planet. Spock ordered DeSalle to lead a landing party with Jaeger and McCoy.

Uhura found the source of the signals and the team beamed to that position. Jaeger found that they did not need special gear to breathe, but they also learned that their communications equipment no longer worked. DeSalle tried the unique “laser beacon,” which also did not work.

DeSalle moved to find higher ground to use the beacon and discovered a castle gate, complete with burning torches. They walked inside to see a medieval hall filled with an Earthly collection of suits of armor, shields, swords, golden busts, and a fire roaring in the hearth.

As they entered, they noticed a stuffed creature like a salt vampire, which they encountered on planet M-113. They found Kirk and Sulu in a frozen state, and McCoy could get no reading from their bodies. The large door slammed shut behind, and the three turned to hear music from a harpsichord.

A man sat at the harpsichord and as he played, he told them that Kirk and Sulu made a beautiful part of his collection, but he knew they wanted them back. He flicked his wrist and Kirk and Sulu “unfroze.”

Sulu asked where they were, and Kirk stepped into the gallery. The man at the harpsichord invited them to his “oasis on the stormy planet of Gothos.” Kirk had McCoy explain how they got to this place. The man stood and apologized for the way he snatched them from the Enterprise. He said that he “simply could not resist.”

Kirk introduced himself, and the man said that he was “General Trelane, retired.” DeSalle told Kirk that they were cut off from the Enterprise when Trelane said that he was happy to have guests from the planet who he’s made his hobby.

“But according to my observations, I did not think you were capable of such voyages,” Trelane told the crew.

Jaeger said that if someone were to use a powerful “viewing scope” from far enough away, they might be able to see Earth’s past. Kirk told Trelane that he’s been looking at Earth, 900 years ago. Trelane told Kirk to call him “Squire Trelane.”

Kirk asked why they had been imprisoned. Trelane said they were his guests, and he wanted to know all about the battles and missions of conquest. Kirk said humans were on peaceful missions now, and when they battled, it was because they had no other choice.

Trelane said that he would not “hear of” letting them go, as they were to join him as they learned about Earth’s past. McCoy scanned Trelane as he spoke. DeSalle grabbed his phaser, and Kirk ordered him to put it on stun only.

William Campbell as Trelane

William Campbell as Trelane | Courtesy of CBS / Paramount

“DeSalle did you say?” Trelane said with a flourish. He began speaking French to DeSalle, who agreed that his ancestry was French. Trelane said that he admired Napoleon very much. Kirk introduced the rest of the crew, and when the captain got to Jaeger, Trelane started marching around and counting in German. Jaeger said that he was a scientist, not a military man.

Trelane said: “we’re all military men under the skin!” DeSalle aimed at Trelane, who waved his hand and froze DeSalle for a moment. Trelane grabbed the phaser from DeSalle’s hand, switched it to kill, and aimed it at a statue. He fired, and the figure disintegrated.

“Oh, how marvelous!” he exclaimed, and he began to fire upon other objects in the collection. Trelane wondered if the phaser could kill him as well. Kirk grabbed the phaser from him and asked if the crew was next.

Trelane said that question was typical for the species — when Earthmen did not understand something, they feared it. He then asked if they wanted to know how the palace had been constructed. Kirk agreed.

He explained that “we,” he and the others like him, had perfected a system to which matter could be transferred to energy and then back to matter. Kirk said the transporter could do that as well, but Trelane said that was a crude example. He said they could transport matter and alter its shape at will.

Kirk asked if that was how he created the drawing room. Trelane said that it was but that he was tired of Kirk’s questions. He said that he wanted the crew to be happy. Kirk prepared for them to go, but Trelane told that they were being rude and they could not go.

Trelane said that Kirk needed another demonstration of his authority. Kirk disappeared and found himself on the surface of the planet without oxygen. Trelane said they would behave themselves, or he would “be very, very angry.”

On board the Enterprise with Spock in command, the sensors had been able to detect the area on the planet’s surface, which might be where the crew was. Spock said that they would try to beam up any living beings that they could detect.

Back in the drawing room, Trelane showed off his battle flag collection, Sulu asked Kirk where he could have come from. McCoy said that when he scanned Trelane, he would not be classified as “life.”

“It didn’t show that he exists at all,” McCoy said of Trelane. Jaeger pointed out that no heat was coming from the fire, yet it continued to burn. Kirk said that by noting these errors, they were dealing with someone who was not “all powerful.”

Trelane stopped playing the harpsichord to ask Kirk what they were scheming. He said that he could not wait to see what plan the crew was hatching. Kirk pleaded with Trelane, meaning that there were tasks they needed to perform. Trelane shrugged and said they he could not let them leave now. He was getting bored before the Enterprise came.

Kirk said there were 400 men and women on the ship who were on the ship. Trelane’s eyes twinkled. He asked if the vessel had members of the “fairer sex” aboard. “They all must be very beautiful,” he said. He said that he would fetch them at once, and Kirk grabbed his arm and said “no” sternly.

trelane on the bridge

The pest with god-like powers, Trelane, stands on the bridge of the Enterprise. Courtesy of CBS / Paramount

McCoy’s communicator signaled by Kirk and Trelane argued. The doctor told Kirk that the transporter was ready. Trelane yelled at them and said that they had not been dismissed yet.

On the ship, Kirk asked Spock how the scanners pierced the radiation field on the planet. Spock said that they actually hadn’t, they beamed all life forms from that area. McCoy noted that means Trelane is not life “as we know it” or he would have been transported as well. Kirk ordered that the ship leave at maximum warp.

But before they could leave, Trelane appeared on the bridge. He asked where all the weapons were. Kirk approached him, but Trelane said he was not upset with the captain, but rather Mr. Spock. “Where is he?” Trelane asked.

Spock stood. Trelane said that he did not look human. Spock noted that he was from the planet Vulcan. Trelane asked Kirk if Spock would be punished — Kirk said that he would not be punished. Instead, he would be commended. Trelane said that he did not like Spock.

Kirk stepped up to Trelane and said: “get off my ship.” Trelane said they were all coming back with him. He said that the décor of his drawing room was much more tasteful than the bridge.

And as he spoke, the bridge crew found themselves in the drawing room, in front of a long table for dinner. DeSalle stood up in anger, and Trelane froze him, who regaled in his “savagery.” Kirk told Trelane to release him, and he did. Sulu held him back after he was freed, noting that they did not have their phasers with them.

They all sat down at Trelane’s request, except for Uhura and Yeoman Teresa Ross. He attempted to flatter both of the women, comparing Uhura to the Queen of Sheeba and Ross to Helen of Troy. Kirk redirected Trelane and introduced him to Mr. Spock.

Trelane said that he did not like Spock’s tone. He thought the science officer was challenging him. Spock said that he objected to Trelane since he objected to intellect without discipline, and power without constructive purpose.

He then grabbed Ross’s hand and asked her to dance. Trelane told Uhura to play the harpsichord. She said that she did not know how, but with a wave of his hand, she was playing. Kirk scowled while Ross danced with Trelane.

Sulu walked to the captain and asked how long they should play along. Kirk said they ought to until they can think their way out. McCoy noted that straw tasted better than the food, and water better than the brandy. Spock said this was not surprising that Trelane knows Earth’s forms, but not its substance. Kirk thought that because he is not all knowing, there must be a machine or device that is helping him achieve these tricks.

As Trelane danced with Ross, he complained about her uniform, as it was not a good match for his suit. A moment later, she was dressed in a gown and ostrich feather headdress.

Kirk noted that Trelane never strayed too far from the mirror. Spock said perhaps the mirror had something to do with the powers. Kirk asked what kind of machine could be helping Trelane. Spock said a very sophisticated computer with a vast memory capacity that communicated through brainwaves.

They agreed that a device that could do all of these tricks and maintain an Earth-like atmosphere could not possibly be in the same spot as the drawing room. Kirk said that he thought he could “turn his lights off at the source.”

Kirk said, loudly enough for Trelane to hear, that the crew should not take offense to his actions. They were from an “immature, unbalanced mind.” Trelane stopped dancing and said that he’d have to dispense with the captain now. Kirk said he was just getting started.

He told Ross not to dance with Trelane and not to accept his gifts. Trelane said that the captain was jealous. Kirk said he did not care what Trelane thought, as long as he kept his hands off his crew.

Trelane said that this was typical behavior from a human male. Kirk would fight for her affections. The captain slapped Trelane with Ross’ glove and said that he would give Trelane a fight.

“Are you challenging me to a duel?” he asked. Kirk said only if he had the courage. Trelane was delighted and grabbed a pair of dueling pistols. Those were the same type that slew Alexander Hamilton, said Trelane.

“And captain, I never miss,” he told Kirk.

As they lined up, Trelane said that he would get to shoot first. Kirk said they would shoot together. Trelane said this was his game and his rules. He told Kirk: “If you need to be persuaded…” then he pointed the pistol at Spock. Kirk agreed to the rules.

Trelane aimed at Kirk, and he shot his weapon at the ceiling. He said that his fate was now in Kirk’s hands. Instead of shooting Trelane, Kirk shot the mirror. Sparks and smoke rose from the broken mirror. Lights flickered, and the crew’s communicators started to work again. Kirk ordered the team to contact the ship.

Trelane seethed. He told Kirk and the rest to go back to their ship to prepare. They were all “dead men, you especially captain!”

He then disappeared. Kirk had all beamed aboard the ship.

On the bridge, Kirk ordered an escape at maximum warp. Uhura asked if she could make a report to “Spacefleet Command,” which Kirk denied, saying that Trelane may trace the beam. Kirk told Ross to change from the gown back into her uniform.

Sulu announced that they were jumping to warp when a large body was now ahead. Kirk ordered “hard to port” to avoid the Planet Gothos. Kirk asked if they were going in circles, Sulu said they were not. Gothos appeared in front of the ship once more. They avoided it again and again. And again.

Kirk realized that he had to beam down to deal with Trelane. He ordered Spock to leave the system if he was not heard from within an hour.

Trelane suddenly had Kirk in a courtroom, with himself as a judge. He warned Kirk and showed a noose to make it known that he was serious. Trelane picked up a paper and read Kirk’s crimes and asked him how he would plead.

Kirk said that he would not plead in the court, only to ask for his ship. Trelane said that was irrelevant. Kirk said the others were following him, and taking out his anger on him alone, not on the crew. Kirk said it was he who shot out the mirror. Trelane asked Kirk if he thought that was his only method or instrument. Kirk said he took that chance.

Kirk approached the bench to plead for his crew. Trelane said that the court found him guilty and that he would be sentenced to death by hanging.

Trelane took off the judges robes and said that he had actually experienced rage and that the experiment was a success. He then noticed that Kirk was still angry. The captain said that he would not willingly put his neck in the noose, but Trelane said that Kirk had no choice.

The noose floated over Kirk’s head, and Trelane grabbed an executioner’s hood. Kirk said that Trelane had a bad habit.

“You don’t think Trelane, that’s your problem,” Kirk said. The captain said that Trelane could not have achieved his anger without Kirk, because Trelane is a bumbling fool. Kirk noted that he was wasting another opportunity.

“Where is the sport in a simple hanging?” Kirk charged. Trelane said that he was intrigued and asked Kirk what he’d suggest. He told Trelane that they would have a real conflict, with his life in the balance. Trelane grabbed his sword and began to swing it and Kirk said that he could do better. There was not real sport in killing him with a sword. Trelane agreed.

Trelane said that they’d have a royal hunt. Kirk could hide anywhere in the woods that he wanted, and Trelane would hunt him. Kirk agreed but asked to raise the stakes. He asked that Trelane release the Enterprise so that Kirk would give Trelane the chase he would never forget.

Trelane agreed. Kirk appeared outside the castle walls again. He called to his ship to tell them to leave, but before he could finish, Trelane appeared and attacked him.

As Trelane chased, Kirk would stop to try to reach the ship. Each time he did Trelane caught up.

Finally, after some time, Kirk was able to disarm Trelane. He picked up the sword and slashed at Trelane, and as he did, Trelane disappeared.

“Touché, captain! Touché!” Trelane sang out. Kirk threw the sword into some bushes, and Trelane blinked it back into his hand. The chase restarted. Kirk found a branch and used it as a sword to attack. That did not last very long.

Kirk ran to the castle doors again, and Trelane made jail cell walls appear around him. Trelane cornered Kirk, who reminded him that he promised to let the Enterprise free. Trelane ordered Kirk onto his knees. The captain refused.

“I am beaten, but not defeated,” said Kirk. And with that, he grabbed the sword from Trelane’s hand and broke the handle from the shaft with his knee.

Trelane asked Kirk how he dared to defy him. Kirk smacked him across his face twice. Trelane said that he would fix Kirk and that he cheated.

Voices from the stars boomed down. A spotlight appeared around Trelane, and the voices told him that he had gone far enough. They said to him that he had been disobedient and cruel and that it was “time to come in.” Trelane noted that he did not want to come in. One voice said that if he could not care for his pets, then he could not have any.

Trelane said that he was “winning.” The voices said that the humans were “beings” and in spirit, they were superior. They scolded him and told him to “come along.” He slowly faded away.

The voices spoke directly to Kirk. They apologized. Kirk asked who they were. They said they would maintain environmental conditions until he left. Kirk called to Spock asked to be beamed up.

Later, as the Enterprise approached Colony Beta 6, it began a standard orbital approach. Spock asked Kirk how to describe Trelane — for the official records.

“Pure mentality… force of intellect… embodied energy… super being… he must be classified, sir,” Spock said.

Kirk said a “god of war.” Spock said that was not fitting. Kirk noted that he was a small boy. “A very naughty one at that,” Spock said that would make for an odd entry into the library.

Kirk said that Trelane was probably doing the same mischievous pranks that Spock did when he was a youngster. Spock cocked his eyebrow and shook his head.


An entertaining episode! It gave the Enterprise and its crew a taste of being virtually powerless in the face of a god. This one opened the door to so many tangents and plotlines in later series, namely Q and the “Wormhole Aliens” in DS9, as well as Star Trek V.

“Encounter at Farpoint,” the very first TNG episode, must have been directly inspired by the courtroom scene, which set Picard against Q to defend humanity, much like Kirk faced Trelane.

I often wondered what would have happened to Kirk and the crew if the parents had not stepped in. Would Trelane have allowed himself to lose, just so he could feel that as well? Probably not.

In a way, I would have liked to have known what race Trelane and his “star parents” were and the extent of their abilities. Note that they ignored Kirk when he asked who Trelane was. But this was better. This left speculation of what else might be out there.

RATING: 4 out of 5


Directed by: Don McDougall
Written by: Paul Schneider
Produced by: Gene L. Coon
Executive Producer: Gene Roddenberry
Associate Producers: Robert H. Justman
Script Consultant: Steven W. Carabatsos
Music composed and conducted by: Alexander Courage
Director of Photography: Jerry Finnerman
Art Directors: Roland M. Brooks and Walter M. Jeffries


William Shatner as Kirk
Leonard Nimoy as Spock

Guest Star

William Campbell as Trelane


DeForest Kelley … as Dr. McCoy
Richard Carlyle …as Jaeger


Nichelle Nichols … as Uhura
George Takei … as Sulu
James Doohan … as Scott
Michael Barrier … as DeSalle
Venita Wolf … as Teresa

Film Editor … Bruce Schoengarth
Assistant to the Producer … Edward K. Milkis
Assistant Director … Michael S. Glick
Set Decorator … Marvin March
Costumes created by … William Theiss

Post Production Executive … Bill Heath
Music Editor … Jim Henrikson
Sound Editor … Douglas H. Grindstaff
Sound Mixer … Jack F. Lilly
Photographic Effects … Film Effects of Hollywood
Script Supervisor … George A. Rutter
Music Consultant … Wilbur Hatch
Music Coordinator … Julian Davidson
Special Effects … Jim Rugg
Property Master … Irving A. Feinberg
Gaffer … George H. Merhoff
Head Grip … George Rader
Production Supervisor … Bernard A. Windin
Makeup Artist … Fred B. Phillips, S.M.A.
Hair Styles by … Virginia Darcy, C.H.S.
Wardrobe Mistress … Margaret Makau
Casting … Joseph D’Agosta
Sound … Glen Glenn Sound Co.

A DesiLu Production in association with the Norway Company

Executive in Charge of Production … Herbert F. Solow

Leave a Reply