Series: The Original Series
Air Date: January 12, 1967
Written by: Paul Schneider
Directed by: Don McDougall
On a rogue planet in the middle of nowhere, the Enterprise encounters Trelane, the equivalent in Q terms of a toddler playing with toys.
Let me start by saying that nowhere in actual canon does it really say that Trelane is a Q. In the book Q-Squared (Star Trek: The Next Generation) it states that the Q we all know and love was assigned as Trelane's godfather and that in Picard's era he was relatively adolescent. Which means in this episode, in Kirk's era, he would be not much more than a toddler, as far as Q aging goes. I like to accept the idea that Trelane is a Q because he is basically everything that we eventually see Q to be except even more frightfully immature. Powerful enough to make a planet and see 500 lightyears away, yet, for some reason, interested in humans.
When our particular band of humans stumble upon the planet he had created, Sulu and Kirk randomly disappear, so it's up to Spock to send a team down to the planet to find them. The planet is supposed to be all kinds of hostile, but there is a single, tiny bubble of hospitality on the surface. They beam down to it and discover there to be a huge 18th-century castle in the middle of nowhere. Inside they find a menagerie of alien specimens held together in a Victorian setting. Among the specimens there stands Kirk and Sulu completely still as though made of wax. I assume Trelane was going for male/female specimens as representative of the human race. I can understand how he got confused.
|I'll kill you in your sleep!|
Bones and Spock, however, confront Kirk about the quality of the food they were meant to eat. There was no taste to it at all, and the fire in the fireplace is burning, but with no heat. They deduce that Trelane knows how to make the forms, but no substance. He, therefore, is not omniscient, and must have some sort of device helping him out. Kirk takes a wild bet that the device is behind a grand mirror that Trelane keeps looking into and forms a plan. He fakes being jealous about Yeoman Ross and challenges Trelane to a duel.
|Fakes? But... I thought... Oh. :(|
The method of punishment was supposed to be a hanging, but Kirk convinces Trelane that it would be a lot more fun if Trelane would hunt him. Trelane agrees, and suddenly they're back outside of Trelane's castle where Trelane is all set to hunt the most dangerous game... [jai alai?] They play around for a bit with primitive weaponry, but eventually Trelane gets bored and locks Kirk up in a cage. And just when he's about to thrust a sword into Kirk... his parents show up.
Ma and pa Q apologize to Kirk for Trelane's actions and call him a naughty boy before banishing him to his room. They keep Trelane's safe bubble up for just long enough for Kirk to get back onto the Enterprise and then leave. It just goes to show that even the most advanced races start out as children. And that in itself is a scary thought.
It's a classic story of power without responsibility. I've said before that Roddenberry gets into this issue a lot, but this time he takes it to extremes. Extreme power with extreme immaturity. Trelane is a fascinating character, though, and I wish they would have made Q-Squared in movie or series arc form. That would have been fantastic.