STTOS – The Squire of Gothos

Oh look! Another episode about an all-powerful teenager!

The Squire of Gothos is basically Charlie X told a bit more competently. Rather than plotholes about how Charlie got on board without anyone noticing that he’s a demigod, in this one the Enterprise stumbles across Trelane’s planet on its own. Instead of an idiot plot in which the mystery is that the obviously all-powerful Charlie is all-powerful, Trelane is known to be a demigod from the get-go, and it’s the fact that he’s a teenager that we have to discover. Also, where Robert Walker gives a really good performance as the titular Charlie, William Campbell’s as the titular squire is downright inspired.

There is one thing going for Charlie that Squire hasn’t got, though: human interest. Trelane lacks any kind of depth at all. He’s just a stereotypical pre-teen playing with toys. Charlie, by contrast, was going through some self-discovery, especially about his sexuality. Charlie at least has a thing or two to say about the human condition. In Squire, all we get is the tired Star Trek cliche that says that aliens which observe Earth closely can only ever see the violence.

Maybe I’ll have to grudgingly concede something to Next Generation: at least by the 1980s Star Trek had enough self-awareness to know that it needed one of these characters as a semi-regular – hence Q. Here in the 1960s, they apparently still thought this was an innovative concept. The fact that they’ve already – two thirds of the way through the regular series – told (depending on how you count them) as many as three stories of all-powerful teens (Charlie X, The Corbomite Maneuver, The Squire of Gothos), you’d think they’d get wise to their unhealthy obsession with this plot.

Well, I’m not really a fan of either Charlie X or The Squire of Gothos. Gun to my head and forced to watch one of them, I’d pick Charlie every time, but that doesn’t mean I’m blind to the many ways Squire improves on it. I think the fair thing to do is to give them the same rating, since they’re more or less the same episode.

Overall Rating: C+

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