Star Trek N00b, Episode 18: Squire of Gothos (Basically, Napolean)

Star Trek N00b_(2)_Rory Midhani_640

History buffs, get your Napoleon hats on, because this episode is for you and you can watch along right here!

Every time I hit “play” I feel like I’m hopping onto the Magic School Bus. I know that Captain Kirk aka Ms. Frizzle is about to school me on some aspect of tech, history, literature or philosophy.


Hey, That’s a Neat Magic Trick

While they’re out driving through space, a large planet goes *poof* and appears out of nowhere. Uhura notices that it’s jamming up their communicators by emitting radio waves. Dun dun duuun.

Sulu suddenly stands up, looking confused. I was gonna say that Sulu looks like he forgot to turn off the stove or something. But then I remembered that there are no stoves on the Enterprise and that Sulu also works as a botanist.

Come to think of it, we haven't seen his botany department in a while!

Come to think of it, we haven’t seen his botany department in a while!

Then *poof,* Sulu has disappeared from the bridge! Oh myyyyy!

Kirk looks alarmed, but then *poof,* he’s gone too!

It's an illusion, not a trick! Source: Gifrific

It’s an illusion, not a trick! Source: Gifrific

One of the cool things about Spock is that pesky emotions don’t cause him to hesitate. Or maybe his love for the Captain just makes him all the more effective.

The split second after Kirk disappears, Spock cries out, “Emergency!” The Enterprise goes into Red Alert. Omg, what’s happening?!


Texts from Last Night

Bones is ready to lead the cavalry down to the planet, but Spock’s like, “Hold up, cowboy, we gotta do this shit rationally.” They run some tests and discover that the planet’s surface is super deadly. The landing crew will need life support systems before they go down.

Suddenly Uhura intercepts a whole bunch of drunk Texts from Last Night that look like this:

Blackletter script? Spock will find a way to out-vintage you!

Blackletter script? Spock will find a way to out-vintage you!

This gibberish worries Spock, so he texts Bones: PLS HURRY UP AND SAVE MY BF.


Fifty Shades of Nightmare Decor

Bones and his landing party beam to the planet’s surface. Strangely enough, it’s just like Earth’s atmosphere, so they remove their life support systems.

If this atmosphere is an illusion, you're all screwed.

If this atmosphere is an illusion, you’re all screwed.

Also their communicators don’t work. Can I just say — it seems like these cheese graters NEVER work. Time to change your mobile carrier, people!

They find a totally unexpected old manor just sitting in the middle of the wilderness, and it’s full of antique statues and artistic displays. I’m pretty sure they’ve actually just wandered across time/channels and onto HGTV.

What do they find inside? Well. Do you remember the gender-shifting creature from The Man Trap?

Yep, a house full of taxidermy / life-like sculptures is spooky.

Yep, a house full of taxidermy / life-like sculptures is spooky.

This building is like some kinda wax museum. And guess who they find?

Kirk and Sulu were amazing buskers in a past life.

Kirk and Sulu were amazing buskers in a past life.

How odd.


Meet Peeping Tom

Suddenly, the room is filled with harpsichord music! There’s a strange fellow sitting there, pulling a Liberace.

Y'all should read Liberace's other quotes. They're pretty fantastic.

Y’all should read Liberace’s other quotes. They’re pretty fantastic.

The musician introduces himself as General Trelane, (retired). The Squire of Gothos. He unfreezes Kirk and Sulu with a fabulous snap of his fingers. Magical!

Trelane has been spying on Earth using an ultra telescope, Marvin the Martian style. He’s trying to mimic everything he sees with his fashion and environment.

Kirk points out that Earth is 900 light years away, so uhhh, Trelane’s been watching events from 900 years ago. Like a live stream of 18th-century reality TV. Whoaaa.

When his mistake is pointed out, Trelane bursts out with one of my favorite lines in this episode, “Oh, how fallible of me!”

He’s got such unusual speech habits — I gotta find a way to get this phrase into daily conversation.

Like if I stumble while walking: “Whoops, how fallible of me!”


Trelane decides to hold the landing party captive, so that he can demonstrate his god-like abilities to rearrange matter at will.


Jail Break!

DeSalle, one of the crew members in the landing party, tries to sneak behind Trelane to stun the guy with a phaser. This might have been a great strategy, but silly DeSalle tries to shoot him in front of a mirror!

Aha! Not very stealthy!

Aha! Not very stealthy!

Trelane uses his powers to get ahold of the phaser and set it to “kill.” He gets all scary, like a kid with a dangerous weapon. He shoots the creatures being displayed in his manor.

Right when Kirk, Sulu and the landing party start to get really worried, Spock beams them up to the Enterprise. He basically hacked the transporter so that it would beam up ALL living creatures within a certain area. Hmmm.

Bones couldn’t find any traditional life signs when he used the medical scanner on Trelane, so they assume that he’s been left behind. No such luck.

Ughhh, Trelane. No one wants you here!

Ughhh, Trelane. No one wants you here!


Throwing Some Shade

Trelane uses his annoying powers to toss the crew back onto his planet. Looks like he’s asking them to dinner.

He brags about how tasteful the decor is, and Sulu responds with “No.”


Spock jumps into the Diss Battle with, “I object to power without constructive purpose.”


No one there actually eats or drinks anything. Except for Bones, who seems to drink every episode.

Oh Bones, you so silly. Don't drink booze from psychopathic gods

Oh Bones, you so silly. Don’t drink booze from psychopathic gods


The Duel

Bones, Spock, and Kirk try to strategize their way out, while the women are being manipulated by Trelane. Uhura doesn’t know how to play the harpsichord, so he does this creepy thing – he turns her into a musical puppet. He’s so amused because he’s never encountered women before! In fact, Trelane describes human motivation as the “fight for the possession of women!”

Ughhhh. What a creep!

Isn't this fun! You have no volition!

Isn’t this fun! You have no volition!

Kirk doesn’t buy the whole “god” thing. The food doesn’t have any flavor, and the fireplace gives off no heat. It’s like Trelane’s just copied everything from what he’s seen on Earth. They’re convinced that he’s using some kind of technology to do this. Trelane keeps standing in front of his mirror and posing dramatically — so everyone figures the control panel is behind the mirror!

Haven't we seen a mirror operating system before?

Haven’t we seen a mirror operating system before?

Kirk challenges Trelane to an old fashioned duel with guns. Cuz this totally makes sense.


He shoots the crap out of the mirror. Seven years of bad luck! The interference with their transporter clears up, and they beam away.


We DON’T Wanna Hang Out, Trelane!

This dude has a hissy fit when the crew escapes. Turns out his ENTIRE PLANET is his ship, and he follows them at high speed. Kirk gets so irritated that he beams back to the planet to confront Trelane and give him a smack.

Too bad he didn’t anticipate this freaky / kinky roleplay.



Trelane is very upset and demands that Kirk suffer capital punishment.

Eddie Izzard.

Eddie Izzard.

Wow, things are escalating quickly!
Wow, things are escalating quickly!

Kirk knows that he’s gotta get outside and away from this power-hungry maniac! He tells Trelane that simple murder is too easy — he needs to enjoy the sport of hunting Kirk!

I dunno where you’re going with this Kirk, but it seems like a bad strategy.


Hunger Games

Kirk agrees to give Trelane an exciting chase, if the omnipotent being lets go of the Enterprise. Basically, Kirk is sacrificing himself for the crew, since Trelane’s clearly got too much power. What a captain!

Kirk runs outside and gets a head start. He desperately tries to contact the Enterprise with his communicator, demanding them to flee. But he can’t get through to them.

Trelane comes after him like a deranged serial killer.


But his killing spree is interrupted by… his parents?! That’s right — little Trelane’s ma and pa are omnipotent beings as well, and this kid has CROSSED THE LINE!

He’s going to time out — hopefully with that other brat, Charlie X.

You need to supervise your kid better.

You need to supervise your kid better.

There’s an awkward moment when Trelane’s parents apologize to Kirk for their psychopathic son. Yeah, well maybe you should take away his driving and god privileges. They release him, and Kirk beams back onto the Enterprise.

Spock greets him and asks how they should describe Trelane in their upcoming report.

Kirk starts comparing Trelane’s behavior to that of a small boy, except with much greater power.

He reminisces on his own childhood. “Dipping little girls’ curls in inkwells. Stealing apples from the neighbors’ trees…”

Spock just gives him this look:

Pure sass.

Pure sass.

Growing up, I had never watched a Star Trek episode all the way through. My family members weren’t huge sci-fi fans, and they’d flip the channel whenever Star Trek came on. Now I am embarking on an epic nerd rite of passage, chronicling my reactions to every episode of Star Trek: The Original Series (TOS).

Header by Rory Midhani

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Queer hapa writer inspired by gadgets. Attending the Ada Developers Academy in the third cohort. Uninterested in quitting her coffee habit. Reads and writes sci-fi and horror. Find her at or on Twitter.

Loraine has written 33 articles for us.


  1. Aw, thank you for saying so! Trelane made it easy to let loose with the jokes. He’s hilarious and a much better brat than Charlie X.

  2. This column brightens my Mondays :)

    I kind of like this episode and I think the idea of Q in TNG builds on this episode of TOS. If you compare Trelane and Q, they’re both kind of fallible and childish god-like creatures, and the way that Trelane tried to put Kirk to death for the crimes of humans is carried on by Q in TNG (compare the court scenes in this episode and the pilot of TNG for example).

    Ugh, this comment was a lot less coherent than I hoped it would be but anyway hope you enjoyed this one.

    • Absolutely! I’ve been dabbling in TNG, and since Q is right there in the first ep, I got to see John de Lancie in all his mischievous glory. I was definitely reminded of him throughout the episode!

  3. What loony fun this episode is! Great recap, Loraine, as usual. Nice Eddie Izard reference! That’s my favorite show he’s filmed, so far anyway.

    Kayl, you’re right, of course, though this guy is much goofier even than Q, which is saying something!

    xxoo Annie

    • Super random: Eddie Izzard is in NBC’s Hannibal and he is effing TERRIFYING.( Just in case you wanted to look into a horror series anytime soon. IMO, it’s the best horror series right now. )

      I wanna see an episode with both Trelane and Q occupying the same planet. Hilarity would ensue.

  4. wow this is a blast from the past! we used to have this episode on VIDEO back in the day and it’s probably the only star trek episode i’ve actually ever watched!!
    I think it’s time I revisited this memory and watch this again!

    • Do it!

      Your comment just made me realize….that I haven’t had access to a VHS player in years. Weird!

  5. Of course, if the Squire is watching 900 years ago in a time that’s about 300 years from when the show was broadcast, so it’s about 600 years before 1966, which is 1460, right? Yet he knows all about Napoleon and mid-20th century German fascism! A bit of a time error, indeed, but it wasn’t made by the Squire! How fallible of the writers!

  6. And the costumes are totally wrong, even assuming he’s only looking at Europe. His dress and the harpsichord are from about 1765 in France or Germany. Very, very silly!

  7. I forgot to mention that this episode marks the first on-screen inter-racial kiss in the history of television (even though they didn’t actually lock lips). It’s renowned for that fact alone.

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