Recap: Star Trek S 3 E 16 The Mark Of Gideon

The planet of Gideon has refused anything to do with the United Federation of Planets until recently. The council has agreed to allow a delegation of Captain James T. Kirk. Kirk has himself beamed down to the planet only to find himself beamed aboard his own starship, sans crew. Where is everybody? Kirk searches everywhere, hails everyone he can think of. His voice over the intercom reverberates off the walls of empty rooms. Kirk searches until he finds a rather dippy blonde in sparkly blue and purple PJ's dancing by herself in the corridors. Oh, Donna! No, actually her name is Odona. She's not sure where she's from, just that it was so crowded it made a Who concert look tranquil. It isn't long before Kirk is Boldly Coming. (You can bet they didn't go into that room to play Parcheesi!) Spock, meanwhile, is playing bureaucratic ping-pong for permission to search for the missing captain.

Tropes for this episode include:

  • Abusive Parent: Subversion. Hodin is quite willing to make his daughter suffer and die from meningitis. However, she volunteered to do this for the good of the many.
  • Adult Fear: Kirk wakes up on an empty Enterprise, all the crew members with whose safety he has been entrusted gone without a trace or any clue to what happened to them.
  • Ass in Ambassador: Hodin is quite good at prolonging a crisis and insulting Scotty while he's at it.
  • Berserk Button: Do not even hint to Scotty that his equipment is faulty. (Mind out of the gutter! They're talking about the transporter!)
  • Broken Aesop: Genocide is ok when the world is overpopulated and people are unhappy about being so dang healthy all the time.
  • Cannot Keep a Secret: Someone in Starfleet, since the Gideon government has access to a lot of useful information about the Enterprise and her Captain.
  • Curse Cut Short: Scotty bites his tongue before insulting the Gideon council before begrudgingly referring to them as "gentlemen".
  • Dying Declaration of Love: Odona makes one to Kirk. Her passions cool when she realize she's not going to die after all, but has the potential to make many others sick so people can get to dying so everyone can be happy.
  • Depopulation Bomb: Kirk is kidnapped by a vastly overpopulated planet who wants to use germs in his blood to drop a Depopulation Bomb on themselves. This scheme involves a large amount of Fridge Logic, when one wonders where they found the space to construct a full-scale replica of the interior of the Enterprise. And how they got the specs for the Enterprise. And why they bothered to build it at all when they could have just knocked Kirk out and taken some of his blood right after he beamed down without bothering to trick him. And...
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Kirk is going mad with worry until Odona comes along. One germ swapping kiss followed by an off scene lay, and he's back to worrying about them.
  • Dramatically Missing the Point: Instead of using the negociations with the Federation to prepare a colonization plan, the government of Gideon decide to use the negociator's deadly germs.
  • Ill Girl: Odona seeks to become one and succeeds.
  • Inner Monologue: Instead of the usual Captain's Log, we hear Kirk's reverberating thoughts about what may have happened to his crew. And why does his arm hurt?
  • Literary Allusion Title: A mix of two Biblical myths. Cain killed his brother, reducing the known world population to three and was forever marked for it. Gideon used arbitrary methods to reduce the size of his army.
  • Make an Example of Them: Partly inverted, since the message isnít about punishment, but about salvation.
    Hodin: No, her death at so young an age will let the people know for certain that our lifecycle can be changed. It's the symbol that'll bring forth the dedicated young volunteers. The serum in their new blood will change Gideon, and it will once more be the paradise it was.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Admiral Fitzerald, the rest of Starfleet Command and the Federationís Bureau of Planetary Treaties.
  • Metaphorically True: The Gideons never said their planet was a Paradise. They just said the atmosphere was pristine and no one was ever sick. That's what's making the place unbearable.
  • Ontological Mystery: Kirk beamed from his his ship...or is it his ship?
  • Out-of-Character Moment: Perhaps George F. Slavin and Stanley Adams didnít need to know The Kirk himself survived a similar massacre, but they should have known he doesnít so easily accept no-win scenarios.
  • Planet of Hats: Kirk is kidnapped by a race whose universal pro-life tendencies had lead to horrible overpopulation, to the point that they tried to start a pandemic with germs from Kirk (who had been exposed to meningitis in the past). Kirk flaunts Humanity's "freedom" hat by stating categorically that he does not want to stay on this planet as their own hemlock dispenser and instead suggests using one of many forms of birth control the Federation had to offer. ( remembered to use one on Odona, right, Kirk?)
  • Plot Hole: Did the computer have a throat infection this week? Trying to consult its databanks and the record tapes as usual would have been more useful than looking at windows.
  • Population Control: the planet's failure to deal with this led to ridiculously extreme overcrowding (though no problems with health or resources, apparently).
  • Principles Zealot: People of Gideons are against contraception because love and life is sacred, so bringin death and sickness is the only acceptable solution.
  • Ridiculously Long Phone Number: Are the proper co-ordinates 875020709 or 875020079?
  • Send in the Search Team: Spock wants to do this to find Kirk, but neither Gideon or the Federation will give permission to do so. He decides Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right and beams down to go In Search Of Captain Kirk himself.
  • Tempting Fate: When Spock decides he will look for Kirk by himself (asking another crew member to accompany him would just get him in further trouble with Starfleet) he announces "I will not be long." Scotty points out that Kirk said the same thing. Wonder if he's seen ''Scream (1996)?
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist : Gideons are ready to use lethal and painful methods to restore their paradise.
  • We Will Have Euthanasia in the Future: An extremely overpopulated world is trying to set up a voluntary suicide system, starting by infecting the leader's daughter with a disease.
    • You'd think they find a better way to euthanize people than some painful, (relatively) drawn out disease. Maybe they're all masochists? Odona certainly seems to have a fascination for pain...
  • What Is This Thing You Call Pain?: Odona is morbidly curious about pain and sickness, having never felt it before. Apparently they not only have perfect health, despite the overcrowding they never run into each other, or trip and stub a toe, etc...
  • Would Be Rude to Say "Genocide": Self inflicted genocide, no less. Because of the horrible overpopulation and that horrible healthyness, you see. But no birth control, because we love life so much, you know. So instead of ordering us some starships, we would much prefer your painful disease now.
  • The X of Y: The Mark Of Gideon