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Whom Gods Destroy
by Laura Goodwin


Here is an episode which features several recurring TOS plot elements and themes - Super-being plays with Kirk (Who Mourns for Adonais?, Gamesters of Triskelion, Squire of Gothos, others), Kirk can't resist the urge to try to piss off his superior opponent although he knows he's hopelessly outmatched (Adonais, Gamesters, Squire, others), Kirk deliberately invites torture and doesn't really mind too much when it comes (too many to list), Kirk has a spicy experience while in captivity (Wink of an Eye, Gamesters of Triskelion, others), Kirk risks his own life/freedom in exchange for his crew's freedom (Savage Curtain, Gamesters, Squire, others)....

In this episode Kirk is 100% fully himself and at the top of his eccentric little game. This episode is rich with a good assortment of Klassic Kirkisms of every kind. Observe as I spotlight Kirk's "creative" (some might say peculiar) problem-solving methods which add weight to my assertions that Kirk acts like he is a masochist, and like he possibly has a kinky little {Gay?} thing going on with Spock, as well.


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It all begins with the Enterprise establishing orbit around the symbolically named Elba Two, which happens to be an insane asylum for violent incorrigibles. Kirk is there to deliver a miraculous medicine for the inmates to Governor Dr. Donald Cory. Elba Two has a poisonous atmosphere, and the asylum is a sealed biosphere with a major security force field around it which seals in the inmates, and closes it off from outsiders.

After beaming down with the medicine, Kirk and Spock chat with the governor, and Cory takes our guys for a little tour. Kirk asks to meet Fleet Captain Garth, AKA Garth of Izar, a notable Fleet hero who sadly went mad and ended up here. On their way, a green lady inmate in a cell, named Marta, warns that Cory is not whom he appears to be.

Moments later we see Governor Cory is imprisoned in Garth's cell. Are we seeing double? No, now the first Cory shows his true shape: it's Garth. He laughs and releases the inmates (except Cory), and they all immediately side with him. The green chick who was trying to betray him seconds before now fawns all over him.

Oh my gosh! Trapped like rats and outnumbered by the nastiest, most violent loonies in the galaxy! Most people would be scared, but Kirk and Spock remain calm. They have faced worse than this without breaking a sweat, many times. They immediately implement emergency response 'A', and yawn with utter boredom.

Well, they can't just play it by the book this time, because these loonies are truly nuts.

[NOTE: They'd better be: they have a badass reputation to uphold, and Kirk is a tough guy to impress.]

Next thing we know, Spock is unconscious from a phaser blast and is being dragged away, and Kirk is incarcerated with Dr. Cory. This is all par for the course, so Kirk remains calm.

Garth arrogantly brags that he intends to take command of the Enterprise, and says to Kirk, "You'll help me, of course!"

"Of course!", Kirk lies.

[NOTE: this exchange sets the tone for the whole Garth/Kirk relationship. Kirk lies to the guy through the whole episode. That was lie number one. OF COURSE Kirk isn't really going to help Garth. Of course he'll help Garth...WHEN HELL FREEZES OVER!]

Garth uses his weird magical power to become a double of James Kirk, and, laughing maniacally, strolls off with green gal Marta, leaving Kirk locked up with Dr. Cory.

Garth (as Kirk) tried to beam up to the ship, but when Mr. Scott says, "Queen to Queen's level three", he doesn't know what the proper response should be. Scotty and Bones become suspicious.

After breaking off contact with the ship, Garth freaks out, throws a big tantrum, and then swears to his men that he'll take the Enterprise even if it means shattering every bone in Kirk's body. We are left to assume that this means he intends to torture Jim, which is par for the course, so we remain calm.

Garth returns to Kirk's cell and asks if he has been comfortable.

Kirk responds, "Thank you for your concern. All in all, it's been rather restful." [Lie #2. Kirk hasn't been resting, he's been busily conspiring with Cory.]

Garth reminds Kirk that he invited Spock and him to dinner.

"I'd forgotten" [Lie #3. Kirk never forgets anything. He remembers stuff that other people forget.]

When Garth insists that Kirk come along, leaving Cory behind, Kirk says, "You're very persuasive." [Lie #4. Garth is not persuasive, he's coercive...with a gun pointed at Kirk's head]

At dinner, Marta paws Kirk while Kirk cringes with disgust. A jealous Garth tells her to cut it out, complaining that she's annoying the Captain.

"Are you annoyed, dearest?" Marta is kittenish.

"Uh, no, not really." Kirk is lying. [#5]

Marta is ordered to dance for their entertainment, and she squirmingly dances all around and comes on real strong to Kirk, which he most emphatically does not encourage.

[NOTE: What do you expect? Spock is sitting right there next to him, watching everything! Kirk never encourages women ~when Spock is watching~. Just watch and see what happens later when Spock *isn't* watching. This is just one of the many reasons many people suspect that Kirk and Spock are, um, more than just good friends, as he himself admits in a couple of minutes.]

After the dance, Garth asks Kirk if he thinks Marta is a marvelous dancer.

[#6] "Yes, uh...incredible."

Garth then, for reasons only a madman might understand says, "She's yours if you wish, Captain."

[#7] "Oh" Kirk says, obviously underwhelmed. "Uh...thank you. That's very... magnanimous of you."

Next follows a rather stirring little exchange in which Kirk attempts to make an emotional appeal to Garth's slumbering sense of decency. He tries to remind Garth of the humanitarians and statesmen who formed the UFP, and of their dream that became a reality, and [#8] "...made me and Mr. Spock *brothers*!"

[NOTE: "Brothers" are more than just "friends". They are "family"]

Even the gullible madman Lord Garth can't swallow this one whole. He challenges the claim, but Spock backs Kirk up, in essence confirming that, all appearances to the contrary, that he and Kirk *are*...OK, maybe not technically, literally brothers, but _damn near_.

[NOTE: Look, even Spock is admitting that him and Kirk are not friends, and they are not brothers, but that they definitely are *something* special to each other. If they are just friends, then why the heck don't they just say so?]

Spock, who can't stand another second of this crapola, starts to tell Garth what he really thinks of him, and gets summarily dismissed from the festivities rather roughly for his trouble. Garth then wants Kirk to stay and play with him and Marta, but Kirk says he prefers to join Mr. Spock.

[NOTE: AND THAT'S THE TRUTH! There you have it. What more do you need, flash cards?]

Garth doesn't really care what Kirk wants. He wants something from Kirk. He wants Kirk to tell him which move is the proper one in response to "Queen to Queen's level 3"!

[Lie #9] "I can't for the life of me imagine which one!"

OK. That does it. No more Mr. Nice Guy. Garth decides it's time to play hardball. He promised that torture was on the menu, and guess who is dessert! His henchmen roll in the comfy torture chair that Kirk loved so well in Dagger Of The Mind, and Kirk not only recognizes it, he seems glad to see it. Then they drag in Governor Cory.

Hey! What's Cory doing here!? We were told he wasn't on the guest list! Well, it seems that Kirk isn't the only S.O.B. around here who can lie a blue streak. Now Garth is doing it too.

Garth apparently has heard that Kirk enjoys being tortured. He apparently knows that torturing Kirk will get him nowhere. So he has something extra-special planned. He's going to torture Cory, and make Kirk sit and watch!

It only takes a few seconds, and Kirk's will is broken. "Stop it!" He cries, shaken to his very core.

His purpose served, Cory is then dismissed, and Kirk takes his rightful place in the torture chair, as, by gum, we fully expected he ultimately would. Damn it, that's why we watch this show every week. A week with out Kirk getting stripped to the waist and tortured is like a week without sunshine. Kirk, I'm sure, would agree. He fights to escape the grasp of his guards because they can't get him into the chair fast enough. Suddenly, we realize to our horror that Garth intends to torture Kirk while he is still :::gasp!::: FULLY CLOTHED.

Noooooooooooo!

[NOTE: Now we know how fiendishly clever Garth really is! Now he's torturing US!]

Of course the physical torture has no effect on Kirk whatsoever. OK, maybe a little effect. Marta suddenly gets excited and begs to be allowed to try her own special form of persuasion on Jim. Garth, strangely, seems to think it's an amusing idea. Garth and Marta have a rather weird relationship that includes Garth being amused when Marta climbs all over guys and gives them hard-ons. They discuss it a while, as Kirk starts to snore. Kirk is so inured to torture that he can even nap during torture. It's just another day at the office for him.

Kirk wakes up in Marta's bed. She pets and paws him, and this time, since Spock isn't watching, Kirk allows that it's maybe not really so bad. Marta kisses and caresses Kirk and gets all gooey all over him, and he allows it...until she tells him that Spock is on his way. Kirk guiltily starts to try to wiggle away, and she's so incensed by this that she pulls a knife out from under the pillow and tries to stab Jim.

Spock appears, right on time, and takes Marta out with a trademarked Vulcan neck pinch.

"I'm very glad to see you!" Jim gushes.

[NOTE: I believe this time he's being sincere. And why not? He's *always* glad to see Spock. Oddly, he's practically the only person alive who ever is glad to see Spock. Let's face it, Spock is no Life-of-the-party, no Bon Vivant. What exactly Kirk sees in him isn't exactly obvious, although he certainly comes in handy sometimes.]

Kirk and Spock make their way through the halls to the control room. Spock takes out the Tellarite guard with a precise phaser-shot, then gives Kirk the guard's phaser. They contact the ship, and Spock insists most urgently that Kirk should beam up at once, for safety's sake.

Scotty gives Kirk the code. Kirk hesitates to respond. Playing a hunch, he asks Spock to give the counter-sign.

Spock backs off suddenly, Kirk and Spock point their guns at each other. You guessed it, it's really Garth - foiled again!

[NOTE: Ask yourself...what tipped Kirk off? How did he know it wasn't really Spock? Garth knows how to give a Vulcan neck pinch? Or was Marta just faking a faint for Kirk's benefit?]

"What have you done with Spock!?" Kirk demands to know.

[NOTE: Spock, Spock... it's all about SPOCK!]

Kirk tries the blarney approach on Garth again. He flatters the guy like mad, sucking up like a Hoover, praising him for being the greatest Captain ever, and blah, blah, blah, suck, suck, suck! It starts to work. Garth starts to get a hard-on. He orders Kirk to his knees and Kirk says "no, no" with his mouth [#11] but "yes, yes" with his knees.

But it's not really going to be that easy for Garth. No, no! Kirk is the kind of guy who likes to really get kicked around a lot before he submits, and he gently lets Garth know this by trying something really stupid, while the guy is watching with a gun in his hand.

Smooth move, Jim. Oh, Christ, that is so typical of you.

Kirk now is dragged to Garth's weird coronation ceremony, where Garth pronounces himself to be lord of the universe, declares Marta to be his consort, and adopts Kirk as his son. I guess he figured he'd have a better chance with Jim if he too became a member of Kirk's "family".

Naturally the next thing that happens is Garth has his two henchmen slam Jim's butt into a chair, and he tries to intimidate him by juggling a bottle of nitroglycerine in front of him. Jim snickers.

No good? OK then, let's torture and kill somebody else while making Jim watch. That worked pretty good before. Marta is tossed out into the cold and blown up for Jim's delectation.

[NOTE: there goes the one and only woman on the whole planet. Something about seeing Jim in that position must have helped Garth to finally make up his mind about at least one thing.]

By now, Mr. Scott, who is in command of the Enterprise, decides he can't wait one minute more and he tries to blast a hole through the force field with the ship's phasers. I guess he hasn't heard that Kirk is long past saving.

Spock takes out his two loony guards with neck pinches, one for each of them, and grabbing a gun, comes strolling casually to the rescue. See, Scotty? Spock's in no hurry. He KNOWS Kirk is long past saving.

When Spock enters, he is confronted by two identical Kirks. He can't believe his luck. Feeling faint, he falters toward a chair where he plans to just sit and take it all in and consider the possibilities for a while.

That does it! Spock's ploy works perfectly. Since Garth is a famously very patient man, it's immediately obvious who the real Kirk is. It's the guy who can't sit still. Kirk decides that since Spock is in the mood to be entertained, that he's going to put on a show. Besides, he hasn't been thoroughly well kicked around yet, and the suspense has just been unbearable.

So Kirk picks a fight, and Garth and Kirk kick each other around for a while, and Spock lets them. When Kirk's arousal has reached a fever-pitch, he begs for Spock to shoot him, but since he doesn't want Spock to shoot the wrong guy, he tells Spock to shoot both Kirks, and Spock, who hasn't had this much fun in weeks, readily complies.

Wheew!

Minutes later, after the crisis is over and order has been restored, Kirk asks Spock how come he didn't know right away who the real Kirk was? Don't kid yourself, he knew. He let Kirk and Garth beat each other up because he's a very efficient man, and he figured it would save him the trouble of doing it himself.

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