Star Trek: The Animated Series

Season 2 Episode 5

How Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth

Aired Saturday 10:30 AM Oct 05, 1974 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
49 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

How Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth

The Enterprise crew encounters an alien who visited Earth in ancient times and became known as the Mayan god Kukulkan.

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  • A Native American "god" captures members of the Enterprise crew in this homage to "Who Mourns for Adonais?"

    This is a solid, if unremarkable, episode (although it is noteworthy for marking the 100th appearance of Mr. Spock as well as winning the animated series an Emmy Award.) The story is reminiscent of "Who Mourns for Adonais?"; but Russell Bates, a Native American who helped write the script, gives "How Sharper than a Serpent's Tooth" some fresh ideas, thanks to his knowledge of the Native American culture. Unfortunately, like the rest of the series, the dialogue wasn't recorded in ensemble fashion. As a result, the pronunciation of Kukulkan varies. Kirk pronounces it wrong, and everyone else pronounces it correctly!moreless
  • While in space, the Enteprise comes in contact with the Mayan god Kukulkan.

    This is another personal favorite episode that I really enjoyed, but others may not really like. So this is written on the personal enjoyment level alone. Much like the Goa'uld that are on Staragate, the Enterprise encouters an alien that in Earth's past was worshipped as a god. He is also the inspiration behind other relics of the past such as the Chinese dragon, which is understandable since he looks like a Chinese dragon on the episode. I have always enjoyed episodes of Trek that are based on human culture and past so I really did like this episode. If you are like me and enjoy history and figures of the past, then you will like this episode as well.moreless
James Doohan

James Doohan

Ensign Dawson Walking Bear/Kulkulkan/Male Yeoman

Guest Star

Majel Barrett

Majel Barrett

Female Yeoman

Guest Star

James Doohan

James Doohan

Lt. Cmdr. Montgomery "Scotty" Scott / Lt. Arex

Recurring Role

Nichelle Nichols

Nichelle Nichols

Lt. Uhura

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (4)

    • in the first appearance of Kulkakan's ship, when it starts to attack the Enterprise, the stars behind it all disappear, leaving total blackness.

    • In the last appearance of Kulkakan on screen, his teeth/fangs turn green for a couple seconds and then turns back to white.

    • Kirk consistently mispronounces Ku-KUL-can as "KOOK-lu-can." According to the DVD commentary, this was because William Shatner recorded his voice material separately and author David Wise wasn't present to correct him.

    • Uhura is drawn as a Caucasian in one bridge shot.

  • QUOTES (2)

  • NOTES (5)

    • Geroge Takei and Majel Barrett are credited but do not appear as Sulu and Chapel/M'Ress.

    • The animated series won an Emmy for the program as a whole. While this episode didn't specifically win an Emmy, it was the one presented to the Emmy committee as representative of the series.

    • This is the 100th appearance of Leonard Nimoy (Spock) on Star Trek.

    • In many ways this episode seems to be a rehash/homage of the original Trek episode "Who Mourns for Adonis?". Substitute politically correct Ensign Walking Bear for Chekov and even the landing party looks the same as in that episode. According to Russell Bates this was a homage to Gene L. Coon, who wrote that original Trek episode.

    • Bates & Wise were nominated for and won a Peabody award for best writing on an animated series.


    • Kirk: "How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless child..."
      The title of this episode comes from a line in Shakespeare's "King Lear" -- 'How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless child'. Presumably, this refers to the same theme explored in "Who Mourns For Adonais?"; that humanity has outgrown the "gods", and no longer needs them, despite what they gave it in the past.