Episode Reviews (5)
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Interesting concept, but too many glitches to suspend disbelief
Like many third season episodes, the writers try to go for an "alien" culture. While the people are humanoid, the fact that they are essentially immortal, and that their own love of life has driven them to become immortal, is... well, unique. It's not necessarily understandable from a human viewpoint.
On the other hand, it's not clear where you go for there. So they value life... but they use Kirk's blood as a virus. Again, this might be some alien-type rationale ("Hey, we're not killing her: we're just injecting Odona with a deadly virus from someone else.") but it strains credulity just a bit too much.
Then there's the fake Enterprise, which makes no sense in this or any other context. Besides the improbability of being able to make such an exact duplicate... why do they care if Kirk is happy? Knock him over the head, put him in a cell, take blood as needed. The Gideonites also seem awfully confident that the Enterprise will just fly away and figure the captain is lost in a transporter accident.
Like other third-season episodes, the director tries to get alternately spooky and artsy. Granted, there are a few creepy moments, but those don't make sense either. Why is the ship silent, and then they hear the heartbeats, and then they stop? Did a circuit blow out? And why are people standing around peering through the viewports.
The writers get in a few stabs at diplomacy and bureaucracy, but Spock disposes of two guards and rescues the captain. For a planet filled to overcrowding, it's amusing he only has to deal with two people.
I'll give it a B for effort, and a C- minus for coherency.moreless
Captain Kirk attempts to beam down to the overpopulated planet of Gideon but is shocked to find himself back on the Enterprise - with the crew gone.
This is a "mystery" story with some interesting ideas and a few chilling visuals, but the payoff is anticlimactic due to plot holes and gigantic believability issues. (Interestingly, this episode was co written by one of Star Trek's more memorable guest stars. Stanley Adams. He played Cyrano Jones in the episode "The Trouble with Tribbles".) I wish "The Mark of Gideon" would have turned out better, because I love a good mystery, and the problems of overpopulation and the issues of how to handle them make for excellent sources of drama for a science fiction show. As for vanishing crewman, Star Trek: The Next Generation would recycle the plot idea, and thankfully their version ("Remember Me") is a suspenseful mystery with a great payoff. As for "Gideon", it misses the mark.moreless
Tepid script, poor story, the viewer can almost see the concept at war with itself.
Kirk is used as a pawn to carry disease to a planet cursed with long life and over-population.
When I look at a program, I ask two questions. 1 - Is the story grand or unique and does it say something powerful about people and the human condition? Is some of the dialog unforgettable? 2 - Is the script competent and believable? If one fails and the other doesn't, it still has some merit to me. "The Mark of Gideon" fails both tests. Hard.
The planet dynamics make no sense, no world could be so populated that it teems on every surface with one species. If one accepts the premise, why would birth control be so repugnant? The writers struggle with this by putting in non-sequiters that essentially say that the people love life so much that they long to die. How in the world can Gideon be capable of making a fake Enterprise so precisely that it simulates every single function of the real ship but they can't figure out how to make the view screens any better than cheap one-way glass? Other episodes make a strong point that one man cannot pilot the Enterprise, Kirk seems unconcerned about it. Aside from some of Spock's dialog with the planet, the writing quality is not sterling here either. Kirk says goodbye to his love interest with, "you are needed everywhere." Good grief, THAT'S on-topic.
Aside from wanting to deal with a serious issue like over-population and 30 minutes of dramatic mystery (what the fake Enterprise is), this episode could contend for the worst of the worst. It may be in the bottom five.moreless
Beaming down to a planet that the Federation is trying to secure diplomatic relations with, Kirk finds himself on an Enterprise completely deserted, except for one mysterious young woman. An episode that should be far more intriguing that it is...
The first few minutes of this episode, with Kirk arriving on board a deserted Enterprise, looked to make for a very interesting and mysterious episode. Sadly, things soon really plummeted – the story was weak and awkward, with some real nitpicks and plot holes, and lacked the intrigue that should have gone with such a story.
This episode in many ways sums up why the third season is widely regarded as the weakest of the Original Series; In the first or second season, this would probably have made for an interesting if slightly filler episode, but here it is handled with little flair, and is not very engaging for the viewer as a result.
[Minor spoiler] The Enterprise, which turns out to be a duplicate, could be an interesting concept, but – as other reviewers have also picked up on – how could the people of Gideon create such an exact duplicate? It just wasn't believable. [End of minor spoiler]
Likewise, there is little real spark between Kirk and Odona, and by now the whole "Kirk and guest female of the week get romantically involved" device was getting very overused and worn out.
This episode holds little rewatchable value. While other episodes (such as the infamous "Spock's Brain", for example) may be even worse to watch, "The Mark of Gideon" certainly ranks amongst the Original Series' weakest episodes.moreless
Kirk talks about contraception
Who could forget that beautiful line that makes me cry... It is said by Odana who is answering her father's question about what pain is like "It is like when you see that people have no hope of happiness. You feel great despair. Your heart is heavy because you know you can do nothing. Pain is like that. How interesting that she describes mental pain when Hodin was asking about physical pain. I still get spooked out when Kirk turns on the viewing port and all those people are looking at them. Nice scene, director.moreless