I really wish we weren't so awesome, it ruins day-to-day living for everything else.

Merlin: The Wicked Day
Oh, it's wicked, all right.
Merlin: The Darkest Hour, Part 2
Arthur sacrifices himself for Camelot... almost.
Merlin: The Darkest Hour, Part 1
Morgana unleashes a ghost army on Camelot.

Star Trek: The Original Series Episode 13 - The Conscience of the King

Original Airdate: December 8, 1966


We open with Kirk and his friend, Dr. Thomas Leighton, watching a live production of Macbeth. (Fashion Police APB: Lady Macbeth is wearing a particularly god-awful dress with big arrows springing up off the shoulder area.) As the scene immediately after the murder of Duncan plays out onstage, Leighton hisses to Kirk that he knows that voice, and he is convinced it’s the voice of Kodos.

The Enterprise is visiting this planet at the request of Leighton, who told Jim he had an agricultural breakthrough he wanted to show him; in reality, he just wanted Jim to confirm his suspicions. He believes that a famous actor also visiting the planet is not what he seems and suspects the actor, Anton Karidian, is actually a former despot in disguise: Kodos, “The Executioner.” Kirk, having seen Kodos up close and personal in his youth, is one of few still living who can provide a positive ID. Kodos governed a colony that Jim spent time on growing up, and cold-bloodedly killed 4000 people during his reign. The official story says that Kodos died, his remains burned beyond recognition. Jim believes that version of events, and thinks his friend’s overreaction and lie will get them both in trouble.

Bones makes a medical log entry about Riley being confined to Sickbay for his protection from Karidian/Kodos, etc., “who murdered his family” which Riley, up, dressed, and well, hears clearly from the next room. Riley sneaks out, breaks in to the Armory, and runs down to the theatre to murder Karidian.

Tom and his wife have invited Kodos and his acting company to a party that evening, and he begs Jim to stay and see what he thinks. In the meantime, Jim goes back to the ship and does some research. There’s no official ID for Karidian, or any records of his existence in the time before Kodos’ death. Karidian’s file mentions a 19 year old daughter, Lenore.

He beams back down to attend the party, and soon meets Lenore; he hits on her shamelessly, and while I’m totally sure he’s doing so to pump her … for information, it’s still a tad icky. He just a minute ago found out that she’s 19. He’s supposed to be in his mid-thirties. God, Jim. Let’s let this inaugurate a new feature, entitled, “What Is It With You?”

He takes Lenore from the party to go out walking, just the two of them, and while out, he finds the crumpled body of Tom Leighton near some rocks. Leighton’s been murdered.

Jim secretly calls the captain of the ship that’s coming to take the troupe to their next gig and tells him to do him a favor and strand them. Sure enough, shortly after, Lenore asks Jim for a ride for the group, offering a performance for the crew in return, which he accepts. After she leaves, he does some research on how many people saw Kodos personally and finds that there were only nine, three of them left alive. Among them, himself; Tom Leighton, so recently deceased the computer hasn’t heard the news; and Lt. Kevin Riley of the Enterprise. Ugh.

Spock already thinks Jim’s acting strangely when he seems to have a psychic knowledge that Lenore will come to him for a lift and won’t explain why; when he tells Spock to bump Riley back down to exile in Engineering (from whence he was recently promoted) and snappishly refuses to explain, that tears it. Spock thinks he’s acting irrationally and does his own digging. He quickly figures out what’s up, and somewhat too emotionally tries to get Bones to understand how truly evil Kodos was. Bones seems unmoved.


Riley’s bored and lonely all by himself in Engineering, so he buzzes the Rec Room and badgers Uhura to sing him a love song. She sings “Beyond Antares” and plays Spock’s lyre, while Riley spins around in his chair and pays no attention to the gloved hand behind him poisoning his glass of milk. At least it was done with a little flair; the poison delivery system is a spray bottle of household cleaner. Perhaps 23rd century 409.

Riley ends up in Sickbay, with entirely too much of a chance to live. Spock insists to Jim that an attempt on his life is next, and he’s correct (of course) when in short order, someone hides a phaser on overload in Jim’s quarters, which he finds just in time.

Kirk goes charging into Karidian’s quarters and asks him directly if he is Kodos. Nothing like the subtle approach! He demands that Karidian read a speech of Kodos’ so he can compare it through computer analysis to Kodos’ own. Karidian does so with barely a glance at the paper. They have a lengthy discussion which Lenore walks in on and angrily throws Kirk out.


Bones tips Jim off and he heads Riley off backstage and sends him back. He overhears the Karidians having a convo in which it’s made clear that
* Karidian is Kodos
* didn’t know his daughter knew
* she knew, and
* she’s the one killing the witnesses to keep her father safe. Kirk tries to arrest them, but Lenore goes all crazy-eyes, grabs a phaser, and accidentally kills her father. Then she really loses it, crying and quoting Shakespeare maniacally.

(I wish the crowd here had applauded uncertainly when she was done)

Bones shows up at the end to tell Jim that she’ll be well-cared for in her nutjobbery, and life goes on aboard the Enterprise as they move out at warp factor one.


Notable Moments

  • Lenore asks of the drink Jim's holding at the party;

    Lenore: Is that for me?

    Jim: *shrug* Why not?

    Me: Because you’ve been drinking out of it?

  • Leighton’s face is shown always in profile until he suddenly turns dramatically to show what Kodos has done to him, and disturbingly, the entire left side of his face is covered by an unusual black mask. Very futuristic Phantom of the Opera.

  • Best Line of the Episode

    Lenore: "And this ship - all this power, surging and throbbing, yet under control. Are you like that, Captain?"

    (No. You had it nailed, so to speak, up till “yet under control.”)

    Mid-Century Design Moment

    Fish sculpture – I love me some ‘60s metal sculptures.


    What Is It With You?

    (Title taken, of course, from Bones' exasperated outburst at Jim in ST:TUC, when a shapeshifter pounces on him and kisses him.)

    Hitting shamelessly on 19-year-old Lenore. She maybe sophisticated and self-possessed beyond her years, but she’s 19. And he knows it.

    And minutes after he’s been wooing Lenore, he’s comforting the widow Leighton, who launches herself into his arms.

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