Here is an episode which features several recurring TOS plot elements and themes - 1) Kirk gets kidnapped (Gideon, Adonais, Wink, Squire, others), 2) super-being plays with Kirk (Adonais, Charlie X, Squire, others), 3) Kirk can't resist the urge to try to piss off his superior opponent although he knows he's hopelessly outmatched (Adonais, Squire, Charlie X, others), 4) Kirk has too much fun in captivity (too many to list) 5) Kirk gets tortured and doesn't really mind too much (too many to list) , 6) Kirk gambles with his own life/freedom (Savage Curtain, Squire, others), 7) Kirk attempts to seduce enemy chick (Wink, By Any Other Name, Catspaw), 8) Kirk behaves as if a woman matters to him even though she doesn't (too many to list)....
This episode adds no fuel to the K/S fire, but offers some highly titillating M/F action to challenge it. This episode also throws a spotlight on Kirk's "creative" (some might say peculiar) problem-solving methods, adding weight to my assertion that Kirk is a full-blown, four-tier-wedding-cake of a smart-ass masochist, as I shall explain.
It all begins with the Enterprise in orbit around Gamma 2, an uninhabited planetoid with an automated station. Kirk, Uhura, and Chekov prepare to beam down for a routine check of the station, but before Scotty can beam them down, they simply vanish.
The landing party reappears on a completely different planet, in some kind of arena. They've been magically kidnapped! They try their communicators, which are dead. They suddenly find themselves accosted by four people wearing leather harnesses and collars - who are armed with primitive bladed weapons of various kinds - two men, and two women. Kirk and his party try their phasers, and those too are not working, so they fight hand-to-hand, but are quickly overcome. Kirk in particular puts up a good fight against his assailant, but the sexy babe in the tinfoil bikini helps the guy out, and she succeeds in getting Kirk under control.
What a motley bunch. There is a fairly normal looking humanoid guy, A tall, ugly looking caveman with fangs (who's got Chekov), a weird hominid female with orange hair from who-knows-where (who holds Uhura at bay), and the previously acknowledged sexy babe. She's got a big fluffy mass of gray hair, but otherwise she looks pretty spry, as Kirk can't help but notice.
Into their midst pops a creepy, Gothy looking bald guy in a long black cape who's first words are praise for Captain Kirk. It seems that his combative spirit and vigor are just what they are looking for around here. Chekov and Uhura also get praised. Then the guy introduces himself as Galt, Master Thrall of Triskelion.
"Master Thrall?" Kirk doesn't say. "Isn't that an oxymoron?"
"I have been sent to welcome you." Galt pleasantly explains.
The next thing you know, Kirk is shackled to the wall. I don't know who Galt has been talking too, but he got Kirk right, that's for sure. That's just the way to make a guy like him feel right at home.
"Now you are prepared for our training." Galt informs Kirk.
"How do you know our names?" Kirk asks. "And how did you know what I wanted for my birthday?" Kirk neglects to ask.
Long story short, "the Providers" are the incredibly powerful beings who snatched Kirk and company, and they apparently know everything about Kirk, Uhura, and Chekov. They just don't care.
Kirk tries to explain that they are Starfleet officers, but Galt cuts him off.
"Your old titles mean nothing here." Galt informs them. "You are thralls now."
The three have been fitted with "collars of obedience". Next, they are released from their shackles, which frustrates Kirk horribly, and that puts him in a foul temper. As our people are about to be escorted to their separate cells, Kirk kicks up a fuss. As is 100% typical of him, he looks around, sees that he's vastly outnumbered, realizes that any show of resistance will probably provoke his captors to violence, and knows that that will be both pointless and painful, and what does he do? Well, what would any sensible person do? OK, now what is the exact opposite of the most sensible thing to do? THAT is what Kirk does next.
"We're not going anywhere until we get some information!" Kirk insanely declares, as if HE's the guy doing the interrogating. "Who ARE you people!? (etc.)"
Galt's no dummy. He knows damn well that Kirk is just a silly masochist who's achin' for a breakin', and he doesn't play that way. He simply patiently explains to Kirk the same things that he just told him. Which is that he's Galt, this is Triskelion, and that they are all now thralls. Kirk at that point apparently realizes that if he wants to get kicked around, that he's going to have to do something special to earn it.
Meanwhile, back on the ship, Mr. Scott is absolutely frantic. He swears it wasn't a malfunction of the ship's systems, and Spock (remaining amazingly calm) believes him. Sensor sweeps reveal no sign of Kirk's party, but Spock hasn't given up hope.
Meanwhile, back on Triskelion, Kirk's gang are shown to their cells. As one, they refuse to enter and try to escape. Galt's eyes light up, and the collars are activated, which seems to cause tremendous incapacitating pain, especially around the neck area. Even Kirk is impressed, which is saying a lot. After this little demonstration, the three become very cooperative and obediently go to their cells.
Meanwhile, Spock scans the entire solar system, but is unable to find any trace of the lost landing party. McCoy and Spock have one of their typical exchanges, and as usual, nothing much comes of it.
Meanwhile back on Triskelion, the human guy who fought with Kirk earlier brings Uhura a tray. He tells her that he's her drill thrall, Larrs. he lets himself in, and starts molesting Uhura, while telling her that he has been "selected" for her. Well, Uhura isn't having it. She fights Larrs so hard that the guy gets absolutely nowhere (he probably lost a tooth), and he gets the message, all right. Larrs is not pleased when he lets himself out again. Hey, hey, Uhura! You GO, girl!
Kirk's drill thrall turns out to be GUESS WHO!? That's right, the babe in the tinfoil bikini! Kirk very happily lets her in without the slightest sign of dismay. He is all ready to hear her say, "I have been selected to have crazy, wild, passionate sex with ~you~, big boy!" and he's all geared up to reply, "Twist my arm! Oh! Ow! All right, all right... if you *insist!", but it doesn't work out that way. No, she's just here to bring him some lunch. Now it's Kirk's turn to be pissed off.
Meanwhile, back on the ship, a tall blond gal with a lot on the ball, Ensign Haines, notices an ionization trail from a hydrogen cloud, and this is the one useful bit of information anyone has produced all day. Way to go, Haines! With nothing else to go on, Spock decides to follow the trail across the galaxy, in hopes that it leads to the Captain and the others.
Meanwhile (sigh), back on Triskelion [starting to feel like you are watching a tennis match?] it's Chekov's turn. His drill thrall is the weird looking female, Tamoon. Hey it could be worse. He coulda been the big fanged guy's little buddy.
[NOTE: Galaxy-Klass Kinky Kirkisms, dead ahead. This time he ain't just chewin' and spittin', either. He ain't rollerskatin', he ain't rollerbladin', he is ROLLERBALLIN'!]
Foil-clad Shanah told Kirk to eat, so he eats, by golly! Something about this big-breasted Amazon watching him eat really gets his salivary glands going, and those aren't the only glands that are in a riot, either, as we soon see.
"I've never seen a Top Sergeant who looks like you!" Kirk babbles, saying any fool thing that pops into his head.
[NOTE: of course he hasn't. He's usually blindfolded in situations like this.]
He tells Shanah she's a very beautiful woman. She has no idea what that means. So Kirk shows her her reflection in the shiny metal tray she brought.
"That's beautiful!" he tells her.
She still has no idea what he means, so she doesn't have the wits to feel flattered. Kirk tries like hell to coax some useful information out of her, or to at least coax a smile out of her, but no luck. Then an alarm sounds, which signals the beginning of "the exercise interval".
"Here is your training harness. Put it on." Shanah tells Kirk in a no-nonsense tone of voice.
Knowing Kirk, doncha just know he'll kick up a fuss? Doncha just expect him to go, "Hell no! I'm not putting on that dang harness! I'm not a slave! I'm a starship Captain! I want answers! I want my freedom! LET MY PEOPLE GO!" Huh? Doncha?
Well, surprise, surprise. Kirk meekly and obediently dons the harness like a good boy, apparently just because pretty lil' ol' Shanah asked him to. He likes the way hers looks on her, and I guess he's hoping she'll like the way his looks on him.
They are in the pit, horsing around, play-fighting, and Jimmy Boy is trying real hard to please his sexy drill-thrall. Kirk and Shanah look so ~cute~ play-fighting together. Those two are like peas and carrots. The exercise is interrupted by Galt, who brings in a beefy black guy in bondage. This unnamed thrall is slated to be punished. His sentence is to be practice target during the exercise. Uhura is told to go first. She flat out refuses to cooperate. Kirk thinks she has a great idea, and immediately follows suit.
Galt asks Larrs to release the black dude, and substitute Uhura in his place. It appears that Uhura will now be whipped for being disobedient. Kirk's eyes light up. Is it really that easy to get a whippin' around here? He decides to test his theory.
"No! No! I'm responsible for the actions of my people!" Kirk exclaims, rushing to Uhura's side and untying her. To be double-extra sure of a beatin' Kirk also begins making demands, since that kind of thing has worked pretty good in the past. "I demand to see the Providers!" he barks.
Galt calmly informs Kirk that since he takes responsibility for his people, that he'll get Uhura's punishment.
[NOTE: Well, that's exactly what Kirk wanted. This suits Kirk just fine. All of a sudden, he has NO COMPLAINTS!]
"Captain's Log, supplemental: our strange captivity continues..."
[NOTE: He doesn't say "God, I hate this place!"]
Chekov and Uhura are required to sit and watch as Kirk is horsewhipped all around the arena by Kloog (the big, fanged dude). His hands are bound, but he can run around, so run he does. He runs, he rolls, he dodges... he's having all kinds of fun out there, workin' up a sweat and puttin' on a show. To tell the truth, he seems to be having a wee bit too much fun. To quote Kirk from the episode Bread and Circuses - "I've seen things that would make this look like a folk dance!" DON'T DOUBT IT, folks. Shit like this is a walk in the park for a kinko like Kirk.
Meanwhile, Kloog's getting winded and a little dismayed. Usually when you whip people they don't like it. He's starting to worry that maybe he's lost his touch.
Meanwhile, Kirk is just getting warmed up. Heck, he's fresh as a daisy. He's got that glow, and could go on all night! To inflame his whip-master, he kicks the guy in the gut and knocks him to his knees, as if to say, "WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR!? BRING IT ON!"
Galt calls a halt so Kloog can powder his nose and pull himself together, and Kirk staggers over to sit by Shanah. She pities him a little and gives him a sip of her Coke. She doesn't bother to wipe the lip of the bottle, and she also tips him off about Kloog's weak left eye. Kirk realizes this means she's starting to like him, and it gives him fresh inspiration.
While getting whipped some more, Jim gets bored and decides to show off a little. He pulls his bound hands down from behind, under his feet and out to front, then pounces on Kloog and starts strangling him with the thong. He succeeds in choking the big guy into a faint (no doubt thinking all the while that this is really going to get him in trouble for sure)!
Something extraordinary does happen now. A big, unfamiliar voice calls a halt, and three different voices begin to bid "quatloos" on "the newcomers". Kirk, Uhura, and Chekov are "vended" to the pink team, and the triangles on their collars now glow pink. This just happens to be Shanah's herd. What a convenient coinkydink! Now they can be together all the time!
While on a training run, Kirk (half-naked, harnessed, and covered with whip marks) decides it's time to talk to Shanah about love. He begs for mercy, gets Shanah into a conversation, and starts talking to her about love. As if he's on a regular date with a regular girl under normal circumstances, he starts chatting with her about the stars and stuff, just like he did with Helen Noel and Edith Keeler. I don't know why, don't ask me why, ask HIM. Something about being enslaved and forced to wear a harness and collar and run around half-naked with a bossy Amazon drill-trall in metal underwear makes him think of love. Go figure!
He begins by asking Shanah if she knows why the Providers like watching people get hurt. He is ~very interested~ in the sadistic Providers, and has all kinds of nosy questions about them, but Shanah refuses to discuss them. So he tries another tack. He starts talking about his home planet, and stars, and comes in close behind Shanah and gets his hands right on her, and she lets him. SCORE! Close Encounter Of The Hot Kind! Kirk is very encouraged by her tolerant attitude and he goes for broke.
"On Earth, men and women live together - help each other - make each other happy..." he starts to explain. "Which is why I'd rather be here..." he doesn't get a chance to say.
"I do not think your words are allowed!" she sharply replies.
[NOTE: so gag him, already. Take off your panties, stuff 'em in his mouth and GAG HIM, damn it, or I'll do it myself.]
Well, sensing that the Providers is a touchy subject for Shanah, Kirk starts worrying that little sore spot some more, innocently thinking only that it might make her mad enough to slap him or something, but instead she decides to humor him a little and tells him what little she knows. Suddenly her collar begins to zap her brain, and she convulses with pain.
OK, now Kirk is really pissed! He's the one who was trying to be naughty so he thinks that he's the one who should be getting punished, damn it! He's starts screaming, berating the Providers for their lousy choice of victims, and we cut to commercial.
[NOTE: Good LORD I don't know how much more suspense I can TAKE! Isn't ~anybody~ going to HUMBLE THAT BRAT!? I'm drymouthed with frustration here, I'm choking on my popcorn, for pity's sake.]
Back from commercial, and Kirk is screaming "If you want to punish someone, PUNISH ME!"
[NOTE: People, come on. Let's all pull together on this one. Everybody, grab a stick. It's said that it takes a whole village to raise a child. I wanna know how many people it takes to bring a big brat down.]
[Special NOTE: Get what happens next! This is the cherry on the sundae of the whole episode.]
Because of Kirk's desperate pleas, Shanah is spared. He rushes to her and embraces her. She embraces him back.
"You risked bringing their anger on yourself!" She gasps, astounded. "Why did you do it!?"
"It's the custom of my people." Kirk smiles.
[NOTE: Hey, there is some truth to that. Heck, there are whole social clubs devoted to it. That makes it sort of a custom, right?]
They kiss. A big, juicy, deep, wet one. She doesn't know what a kiss is, so she asks if this is what's called "helping".
"You could call it that!" Jim grins.
"Please...help me once again!"
So Jim helps himself to another long, deep, sexy kiss. Hoo ha!
The Providers find this amusing and via Galt tell Kirk he will not be punished for it. Damn it! Kirk is confused again. He can't make heads or tales of the crazy point system they use around here!
Meanwhile, back on the ship, Spock explains the premise of this week's episode again for the sake of people who tuned in late and thought they were watching some kinky HBO series instead. When Both Scotty and Bones gang up on him, complaining that they think he should do things differently, Spock stands up to them manfully, reminding them both that he's in charge, unless they'd like to mutiny. Don't be ridiculous. Nobody is going to mutiny.
Way to go, Spock!
Meanwhile, back on Triskelion, Kirk has reached the end of his patience.
Once back in his cell, he decides to up the ante. Shanah's not the one with any real power around here, so Kirk is 100% comfortable with knocking Shanah out with a very efficient and totally unromantic punch to the jaw - but not before he steals another kiss. Whoa, dude! That is _cold_. The iceman cometh.
He takes her key, and releases Uhura and Chekov. Boy, this ought to REALLY make those Providers good and mad. If not, well, Shanah at least ought to get good and mad, by golly!
OK, OF COURSE they don't get far. OF COURSE they get caught and punished. Don't be ridiculous. Nobody is going anywhere.
Spock and McCoy decide to beam down to Triskelion, but are prevented from leaving the bridge by the super-powerful Providers. Suddenly Kirk can hear Spock talking and he can hear Jim. Jim's first words to Spock?
"Welcome to Triskelion!"
Kirk suddenly decides to make a big noise about demanding to meet the Providers in person, and his wish is instantly granted. Big Whoop, the Providers think, where's the harm?
They are disembodied brains. Kirk is a bit taken aback, but gets over the shock right away. He cannily figures that if he challenges these guys to a big fat bet, that they'll be irresistibly tempted. So he bets them his own life and freedom *and* that of all aboard the Enterprise, against the freedom of the thralls, that he can whup the ass off of any thrall they can put him up against.
That Kirk is unclear on a couple of key concepts becomes obvious when the details of the contest are being ironed out. When the Providers protest that they can't simply free the thralls if Kirk wins because they wouldn't know how to care for themselves, Kirk blithely suggests that the Providers should train the thralls to care for themselves. WHAT? Wouldn't that put us right back where we started, with Providers in charge of everything, training thralls, etc.? Deep down, I think Kirk really likes things just the way they are around here.
Logically, it's a good gamble from Kirk's point of view. He has already lost his freedom and has nothing left to lose. If he wins he wins, but if he loses he wins too, because face it: he likes it here!
Anyway, the Providers decide that it's no fun if it's a fair fight, and besides, like the rest of us, they are tired of waiting to see Kirk get thoroughly well thrashed. So they agree to Kirk's wacky bet on condition that he fight three thralls BY HIMSELF.
Kirk now is the one who finds himself irresistibly tempted. He's as impatient for a good thrashing as the rest of us are, so he agrees, and the game's afoot!
Long story short: Kirk very improbably kicks 3 thrall asses, plus one bonus thrall, when Shanah steps in at the end to settle her personal score with Kirk. Well, Shanah has to lose so she can gain her freedom, a thing which she never asked for and hasn't the wits to appreciate.
The collars come off, and Kirk and crew are free to go. Kirk bids Shanah a totally unsentimental farewell and beams back up to the ship.
[NOTE: Still wearing his slave harness, which he fondly keeps as a souvenir.]
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