Posted by: Mark | January 2, 2014

The Square of Gothos

When I was young nerd, one of our supposedly hip set of phrases was “Get with it, Squire,” immediately followed by “Get without it, Square.”

I have no idea if there’s a connection between that piece of dorkery and my ranking of “The Squire of Gothos” as the greatest Star Trek episode ever. . . the greatest episode of any science fiction series. . . the greatest episode of any television series not involving crystal meth.

The Trelane the Squire was played by William Campbell who also played Klingons in the Original Series and Deep Space Nine. Trelane isn’t officially recognized as a member of the Q continuum but if the next J.J. Abrams film brings any of the old characters back, I hope it’s the Squire with John de Lancie playing his father.

I hadn’t seen the episode in years until Devilboy got the first season DVDs for Christmas. One of the things I had remembered about it was, that when Kirk shoots Trelane’s special-energy-magic-mirror-that-he-really-didn’t-need-for-some-reason, the sound effects were straight out of a Scooby Doo cartoon. Maybe the sound was remastered but it was much less obnoxious than I remembered it.

After sitting through repeat viewings of Next Generation’s “Encounter at Farpoint,” the first appearance of Q (Devilboy is fascinated by it), it’s striking how much better Trelane comes off than early Q. I like William Campbell but John de Lancie is a much stronger actor and Q in the episode “Tapestry” has a range that Trelane could never meet; however, the characterization of Q is one of the things that initially put me off Next Generation.

Trelane came across as the Supreme Being crossed with Liberace–amusing and horrifying all at once. Despite all the improvements Next Generation made from its first season, the writers never quite matched that.

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