Series: The Original Series
Air Date: January 12, 1968
Written by: David P. Harmon and Gene L. Coon
Directed by: James Komack
The Enterprise checks up on an imitative race that based their entire society on a book left behind by the USS Horizon, "Chicago Gangsters of the Twenties."
A long time ago, before the creation of the Prime Directive, the USS Horizon stopped by Sigma Iotia II and left behind a book entitled "Chicago Gangsters of the Twenties". They sent notification back to Earth, but because they were using old style communications, it took a hundred years to reach back. As soon as they got the transmission, however, Enterprise rushed on their way to fix the contamination. And when Kirk, Spock and Bones beam down they find a great reconstruction of 1920s Chicago. And they are greeted by gangsters with Tommy guns.
After a crazy drive-by, a hit supposedly sent by a guy named Krako, the gangsters take the landing party to the biggest boss on the planet, Bela Okmyx. Now, Bela is really a peaceful guy at heart. He just wants to bring the whole world under his control. With it divided up against all the bosses like it is now, they keep on warring and nothing ever gets done. So Bela tries to convince Kirk to hand over a bunch of phasers, which he calls "heaters" so he can take over. Obviously, Kirk refuses, but then Bela says either he does it in 8 hours or he dies. And to make matters worse, he takes over the communicators and says as much to Scotty back on the Enterprise.
|What... This guy...|
Meanwhile Spock and Bones beam down to Bela's office and are promptly met with armed guards. It would seem they've been trapped again, but then Kirk comes in and turns the tables. Adopting a Chicago accent, he instructs a couple guards to take their clothes off and hand them over. He and Spock are now in proper disguise. So they go over to Krako's joint and employ the help of an enterprising young man to distract the guards so they can capture Krako. And then Krako puts the drop on Kirk.
|This magic moment!|
Back on the Enterprise, Spock has concerns about Kirk's solution of having the Federation take a 40% cut of the planet's annual "action". Kirk explains that the money will go back into the planetary treasury to help the Federation guide the Iotians into a more ethical society. And then Bones goes and spoils it all by remembering that he left his communicator somewhere in Bela's office. Kirk and Spock speculate that with that kind of technology in the hands of the Iotians and with their gift for imitation, the Iotians may one day want a piece of the Federation's action.
|Who's got two thumbs and thinks he's clever?|
This episode is kind of ridiculous. You pretty much have to accept the fact that the Iotians are stupidly imitative and have no idea how to form a regular government. But if you can suspend your disbelief that much, then it's quit entertaining to think of a people who formed their entire society based on a book of mobs from the twenties. Like many other Star Trek episodes, it's just good fun!