Star Trek

Season 3 Episode 14

Whom Gods Destroy

Aired Unknown Jan 03, 1969 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
141 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Kirk and Spock deliver medicine to an insane asylum where a former Starfleet captain is being held, only to discover that he has freed the inmates and is running the place.

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  • NA NA NA NAAAA Batgirl

    It's a typical story... Kirk gets stranded on a planet that is also an asylum an try to get him to turn over the Enterprise. The best thing about this episode is Yvonne Craig (Batgirl) whom plays Marta.
  • A lot to do about nothing

    The main problem is that this episode really isn't about anything significant. At worst, Garth is going to kill three people (where is the rest of the asylum staff?) and then get stunned when he tries to leave. Most of the episode takes place in bland interior sets.

    It's a credit to Steve Inhat (one of those 60s "Hey, I know that face!" guys) that he invests the role of Garth with dignity, despite the stereotypical insanity the character is saddled with. Even then, Inhat at least puts some enthusiasm and menace into otherwise inane dialogue.

    Yvonne Craig does a convincing job as a sexy insane woman.

    The idea of a sign/countersign is a good example of common sense, despite the fact that they forget it in "Turnabout Intruder." Whoops.

    Garth's shapeshifting ability seems conveniently stapled on for a show already burdened with twins and lookalikes. So he was taught cellular regeneration techniques and was smart enough to become a full-fledged shapeshifter as a result? Ummm, okay.

    The shapeshifting, like several other elements in the script, comes across as contrivance. A planetary-wide forcefield, for instance. Ummm, okay, first of all, why? Just force field the asylum. And what the heck powers it?

    Spock deciding to let the Kirks fight it out is another contrivance. Although his line about shapeshifting taking up energy neatly dovetails into Odo needing his rest periods in DS9.

    Otherwise the episode comes across as low-budget third season material. Everything here is recycled, from Andorian costumes to neutralizer chairs to Garth's costume.

    Overall there's some clever dialogue and Ihnat's performance (and Keye Luke manages not to embarrass himself). But definitely not a must-see.moreless
  • Kirk and Spock discover - too late - that inmates have taken over an asylum, including a former Starfleet captain.

    This is sort of a mishmash of some previous Star Trek episodes. Kirk once again winds up a prisoner in an insane asylum, and he once again must deal with someone with incredible power. (The episode also recycles props, costume, and even film footage from previous episodes.) Guest stars Yvonne Craig, Steve Ihnat are fantastic as the inmates running the asylum, and Keye Luke is pretty good as the governor of the complex. Unfortunately, a sloppy script and poor direction work against them; the result is an episode that's somewhat interesting, but certainly not one of Star Trek's better offerings.moreless
  • Kirk and Spock visit an asylum for the criminally insane and where a former Starfleet hero is being held, but soon find that the man has taken over the place and is planning to take control of the universe. A watchable but decidedly average episode…moreless

    This review contains minor spoilers.

    This episode has 'average' written all over it. I would not say it is as bad as some others consider it, but even so, it is far from a standout example of the Original Series.

    The plot of the story in many ways feels like a first season episode, revolving around Kirk and Spock; McCoy takes a back seat for this one.

    At first, I thought it was going to be a simple retread of the first season's "Dagger of the Mind". Although there are some similarities (both set in insane asylums, and both featuring torture chairs – which was in fact the same prop used for both instances), thankfully there are enough differences between the two episodes to prevent it from feeling like a complete rehash.

    Steve Ihnat gives a reasonable performance as the insane Garth, but I felt that the writing of the character let him down somewhat. We are given vague ramblings of how he plans to become "master of the universe" (though to be fair, he is insane!), but I felt the writing for the character and his plans deserved to be sharper.

    Orion slave girl Marta is played by Yvonne Craig, who is probably best known for playing 'Batgirl' in the third season of 1960s 'Batman'. Craig plays the part very well, and makes Marta very sexy, even if she IS green!

    It is very unexpected that the character is killed off later in the story, especially in such a callous manner.

    As with some other reviewers, I questioned that Spock did not find a more 'logical' way to tell Captain Kirk and Garth, posing as Kirk, apart at the climax of the story.

    The editing, though, during the final fight between Kirk and fake-Kirk Garth, was quite good, making William Shatner's double not appear TOO obvious throughout.

    Here in the U.K., this episode was skipped in the BBC's run of the series (one of several episodes not to be shown by them for various reasons), until it was finally included in the 1990s. Apparently the reason was due to the torture chair sequences. I was quite surprised at this, as I personally didn't find them as graphic as some scenes in other episodes; and at the very least, they would have been easy to edit around the offending moments.

    All-in-all, to paraphrase myself from the start of this review, this episode is watchable, but decidedly average. Not terrible, but not outstanding either.moreless
  • Kirk can't figure out where to move his queen in three dimensional chess

    So we all know the secret beam up sequence was made just so Garth couldn't beam up, but please! I would have done something different to the script than have that obvious, blaring irregular change in beaming up procedures just to make the script work. Garth was fantastic, wasn't he? And on a side note, that really doesn't warrant being of note in a proper review, Marta was the sexiest thing I have ever seen! At least in those days. I must agree with another note or review about this episode that Spock did a poor job in identifying the correct Captain Kirk in the end of the show. It was almost as bad as his vehicle in figuring out Janice Lester was Jim Kirk in "Turnabout Intruder".moreless
Leonard Nimoy

Leonard Nimoy

Mr. Spock

William Shatner

William Shatner

Captain James Tiberius Kirk

DeForest Kelley

DeForest Kelley

Dr. Leonard Horatio "Bones" McCoy

Steve Ihnat

Steve Ihnat

Garth of Izar

Guest Star

Yvonne Craig

Yvonne Craig


Guest Star

Richard Geary

Richard Geary


Guest Star

George Takei

George Takei

Lt. Hikaru Sulu

Recurring Role

Nichelle Nichols

Nichelle Nichols

Lt. Nyota Uhura

Recurring Role

James Doohan

James Doohan

Lt. Cmdr. Montgomery "Scotty" Scott

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (9)

    • It's not clear if a planetary force field capable of withstanding a starship's weaponry is a relatively new development but is treated as fairly standard here. Such a force field would have been useful for protecting outposts in "Balance of Terror" but no mention is ever made of it before or since.

    • It's never made clear why the Elba II colony is so heavily protected. A planetary force field capable of withstanding a starship's weaponry seems like overkill, considering there are only 15 patients and none of them seem particularly valuable or dangerous except for Garth (a new arrival). Given the force field and the poisonous atmosphere, the asylum has roughly the 20th century equivalent of a mine field and walls to rival Fort Knox: no 20th century asylum has that kind of protection so why does the Elba colony require it?

    • If the Enterprise can readily synthesize new medicine to replace what Garth destroyed, why do they need to deliver it to Cory in the first place? Just send him the formula by subspace radio and Cory and his staff can make as much as they want.

    • There are several moments during the Kirk-against-Kirk fight when Shatner's double's face is visible and it clearly isn't William Shatner.

    • Instead of all of the inmates of the asylum wearing those ridiculous costumes, wouldn't it make more sense for all of them to be wearing some sort of standardized hospital clothing?

    • Although Spock was never hit over the head by Garth (at Leonard Nimoy's insistence during filming), they forgot to change the script - at the end Kirk says, "Mr. Spock, letting yourself be hit on the head..." Spock was never hit over the head.

    • Spock seems rather dimwitted at the end of this episode. He could either stun both "Kirks" or ask them questions that only the real Kirk would know from their private experiences. Instead he lets Kirk get into a fistfight with his double.

    • Garth can apparently shapeshift clothes (or he doesn't wear clothes and the "clothing" we see is shapeshifted skin). But...when Garth changes from Cory to Garth, a working phaser appears at his holster - where'd it come from? Or how'd he create it?

    • In "The Tholian Web" it's stated there has never been a mutiny in Starfleet, but this episode establish that Garth's crew mutinied against him several years previous.

  • QUOTES (7)

    • Garth: I am master of the universe, and I must claim my domain.
      Kirk: I agree there was a time when war was necessary, and you were our greatest warrior. I studied your victory at Axanar when I was a cadet. in fact, it's still required reading.
      Garth: As well it should be.
      Kirk: Very well. But my first visit to Axanar was as a new-fledged cadet on a peace mission.
      Garth: Peace mission! Politicians and weaklings!
      Kirk: They were humanitarians and statesmen, and they had a dream--a dream that became a reality and spread throughout the stars, a dream that made Mr. Spock and me brothers.
      Garth: Mr. Spock, do you consider Captain Kirk and yourself brothers?
      Spock: Captain Kirk speaks somewhat figuratively and with undue emotion. However, what he says is logical and I do, in fact, agree with it.

    • Kirk: Garth, you have only a handful of men.
      Garth: You do refuse to enter into the spirit of the thing, don't you, Captain? Perhaps you'd like a larger role in the ceremony. You could serve as human sacrifice.
      Kirk: No, I wouldn't enjoy that at all.

    • Kirk: Mr. Spock, um, letting yourself be hit on the head, and I presume you let yourself be hit on the head, is not exactly a method King Solomon would have approved.

    • Marta: I'm the most beautiful woman on this planet.
      Garth: You're the only woman on this planet, you stupid cow!

    • Marta: Why can't I blow off just one of his ears?
      Garth: Stop it, Marta. Mr. Spock will think we are lacking in hospitality!

    • (reciting poetry)
      Marta: Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Thou art more lovely and temperate. Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, and summer's lease hath all too...
      Garth: You wrote that?!
      Marta: Yesterday, as a matter of fact.
      Garth:: It was written by an Earthman named Shakespeare a long time ago.
      Marta: Which doesn't alter the fact that I wrote it again yesterday! I think it's one of my best poems, don't you?
      Garth: I may kill you with my bare hands!

    • Marta: [to Spock about Kirk] He is my lover, and I must kill him!
      Spock: She seems to have worked out an infallible method for assuring permanent male fidelity. Interesting.

  • NOTES (2)

    • Some of the costumes and props seen in this episode were reused from previous episodes including Marta's dress (earlier used as Vina's dress when she appeared as an Orion slave girl in "The Cage" and subsequent "The Menagerie"), the space suits (earlier used in "The Tholian Web"), and the neural neutralizer chair (earlier used in "Dagger of the Mind").

    • Spock mentions a Romulan encounter at Tau Ceti. But this encounter does not fit any of the three Romulan episodes. Thus, this event must be something never covered in the series.


    • Title: The title is taken from the ancient Greek play Phrixus by Euripedes. The original quote is "Those whom God wishes to destroy, he first makes mad."