Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Star Trek: Errand of Mercy

Episode: "Errand of Mercy"
Series: Star Trek: The Original Series
Season 1, Episode 26
Original Air Date: March 23, 1967
via Memory Beta
"Errand of Mercy" introduced the Klingons, the primary adversaries in Star Trek's original series. The race was originally intended to be Asian in appearance and quite Spartan in their approach to life and warfare.  They did not yet have the bulging prosthetic foreheads nor the well-developed language they would gain in later series and films.  Apparently, the Klingons became the enemy of choice for the show simply because the make up was cheaper and less time consuming than it was for the Romulans.

In our story, the United Federation of Planets and the Klingon Empire are on the brink of war.  The Enterprise has been sent to the planet Organia to stop the Klingons from claiming it for strategic advantage.  Alas, the Klingons, led by the ruthless Commander Kor, march in, claim the locals as subjects and eventually capture both Kirk and Spock.  Fortunately for all involved, the Organians turn out to be far more than peacenik pushovers and take matters into their own hands.

I enjoyed this episode, one of my favorite so far.  The verbal sparring between Kirk and Kor is great fun and I like the fact that both Federation and Kligons get their comeuppance from beings they had grossly underestimated.

via Wikipedia
John Colicos (Kor) was born December 10, 1928 in Montreal.  Colicos built his career on the stage, appearing in numerous New York productions: Mary Stuart, King Lear, The Devils, Serjeant Musgrave's Dance and Soldiers.  His sci-fi credentials were extensive.  In addition to his appearances as Kor in both Star Trek's original series and Deep Space Nine, he portrayed Count Baltar in the original Battlestar Galactica series and a mad scientist in the soap opera General Hospital.  There were film credits, too, including 1981's The Postman Always Rings Twice.  Colicos died after multiple heart attacks in 2000.


  1. I always felt that the Klingons were just a Cold War Archetype in the original series. It wasn't till TNG that I realy enjoyed their culture.
    I loved John Colicos on Battlestar Galactica.

    1. From what I've read, Roddenberry didn't care for real-world parallels in his villains but there is definitely a US/Soviet vibe to Fed/Klingon tensions.

      It's been so long since I've watched the original BSG. We recently slogged through the 21st century update and I was kinda sick of it by the end. Maybe I'll go back to explore the originals someday but I'm not in any hurry.

  2. I'll heartily second John Colicos as the original Baltar. Masterful scene chewer! He reminded me a bit of Edward G. Robinson, with a bit of Lost in Space's Dr. Smith thrown in for good measure.

    1. As actors, he and Shatner are a very good match. Excellent chemistry.

  3. I wondered about the the Klingon/ Federation = US/Russia parallel. Who knew it wasn't.
    it seems to me John Colicos showed up in so many shows. I remember him in Battlestar.

    cheers, parsnip

    1. Even though the boss didn't want the parallels, it's hard to believe that Cold War culture had no impact on the writing. That sense of "their way of life is different from ours" goes back millennia and certainly continues today.

  4. Sounds interesting. Thanks for sharing.

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