ATTENTION: The Boards will be closed permanently on May 28th, 2014. Posting will be disabled on April 28th, 2014. More Info

Errand of Mercy: The Criminally Underrated TOS Episode

Roddenberry's Disciple

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 70

Report this Mar. 14 2012, 7:04 pm

Errand of Mercy was an episode I stumbled upon a near year after already starting my Trek fandom.  I had already seen most of the other Season 1 episodes, but I just skipped ahead to "City on the Edge of Forever" and then to the "hits" of the other episodes.  


Then, I got Season 1 on Blu-Ray and I eventually stumbled upon it.  


How shocked was I to find that THIS was the first episode with the Original Klingons (I once thought "The Trouble with Tribbles" was the first one to feature Klingons, hence why they were missing the signature facial hair style or the golden sashes or darker skin).  Not only did I realize how "historically" signficant the episode is in Star Trek history I also saw that its...


 


...One of THE BEST  TOS EPISODES EVER.  


 


The acting is AMAZING.  John Colicos as Kor (The "first" Klingon) and John Abbott (as the main Organian, Ayelborne) were both AMAZING guest stars.  John Colicos really developed the basis for what a Klingon was, with his particular facial hair styling being largely kept intact even after Klingons were physically altered dramatically after TOS.  He was, supposedly, repeatedly asked to reappear in the show, but had conflicting film roles (He was supposed to be in "Day of the Dove", in particular, but couldn't fulfill the obligation, and this explains why Kirk seems to know "Kang" (originally written as Kor)in the opening of the episode). 


These two actors and their characters really make the show, but the acting of Shatner and Nimoy is none to shabby either, and, in my opinion, some of Shatner's best acting in Star Trek is in this episode.  


And, of course, its powerful allegorical message illuminating the similarities between the USA and the USSR with the Federation and Kirk and the Klingon Empire with Kor is very much present, and Ayelborne even (rightly!) predicts the eventual friendliness between the two entities and the end of their conflicts (i.e. the end of the Cold War...).  


So...basically "Errand of Mercy"....


1.) IS THE FIRST APPEARANCE OF KLINGONS 


2.) Features AMAZING ACTING


3.) Has a GREAT plot.


4.) A powerful allegorical message. 


and...


5.) Has one of the greatest instances of "replay levels" of ANY STAR TREK episode.


 


So, why is "Errand of Mercy" NEVER in any "Top" list of TOS episodes.  I have never ONCE seen this amazing episode be a part of a "greatest episode" ranking list, and I absolutely think that it should be in the Top 5.  


So why do you guys think "Errand of Mercy" is not in any "Best of List" and why its so underappreciated compared to other great episodes?!?


"Star Trek" was, is, and will always be "Star Trek" (as in the original series). "The Next Generation" is a spectacular show that I more or less consider equal to the original, and DS9 is pretty good (albeit far overrated by many). The first 8 movies are fine by me too!

Anton Karidian

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 65

Report this Mar. 15 2012, 6:55 am

Mr Disciple,


Thanks for your posting and believe me you're preaching to the choir.  "Errand" is one of my Top 5 episodes of the original series since I started watching Star Trek 37 yrs ago at age 4.  All of your comments are spot on re this episode.  In fact I put out a question on a different disc board on this site that asked which Klingon was better, Kor or General Chang?  For me, it's pretty much a dead heat but if the proverbial gun was to my head I have to go with Mr Colicos and Kor.  This episode first introduced Klingons to the franchise and they couldn't have had a better introduction.  Thank you, Gene Coon, for creating this race!  Also, James Blish wrote a novel "Spock Must Die!" that has a great interpretation of the Kor character.  It is an entertaining and quick read.  Can someone tell me if Kor (and Kang and Koloth) appreared later on as Imperial Race Klingons and not the human-fusion Klingons from TOS?  I would love to hear how the change in appearance was explained.  I also believe that Bill Campbell, Michael Ansara & John Colicos reprised their roles?


In any case, "Errand of Mercy" is one of the best of the best episodes in the entire Star Trek franchise.  Thanks again for your posting!

Anton Karidian

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 65

Report this Mar. 15 2012, 7:21 am

D-777 -- Thanks for the DS9 and Enterprise info.  I would love to check that out.  As for Kor making an appearance on TNG, that's a shock.  I thought I had seen every episode that was made but I definitely missed that one.  I hope to catch it sometime soon.  Thx again.....

Roddenberry's Disciple

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 70

Report this Mar. 15 2012, 10:06 am

I want to see these later appearances too, and I've seen their pictures as how they appear as the "New" Klingons.  


They made Kor super scary looking, and they made Koloth (the most human of the Human TOS Klingons!) look the most frightening which I think is hilarious, and then they gave Kang lighter skin and a less frightening visage from "Day of the Dove".


Seriously, though, this episode is amazing, and I am DYING to read "Spock Must Die!".  


I wish John Colicos had reappeared in TOS.....


"Star Trek" was, is, and will always be "Star Trek" (as in the original series). "The Next Generation" is a spectacular show that I more or less consider equal to the original, and DS9 is pretty good (albeit far overrated by many). The first 8 movies are fine by me too!

Beershark

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 2590

Report this Mar. 15 2012, 10:37 am

Errand of mercy is also on of my favorites and ranks right up there with The Enterprise Incident with Mark Leonard as the Romulan commander.


CORPORATIONS AREN'T PEOPLE! Soylent Green is people.

Roddenberry's Disciple

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 70

Report this Mar. 15 2012, 8:56 pm

Both (Balance of Terror and The Enterprise Incident) are great episodes. 


People (like me) talk about the changes with the Klingons post-TOS, but few talk about the changes with Romulans post-TOS.  The Romulans were so amazing in TOS, and then they kind of put them in the space left vacant by the Old Klingons. 


"Star Trek" was, is, and will always be "Star Trek" (as in the original series). "The Next Generation" is a spectacular show that I more or less consider equal to the original, and DS9 is pretty good (albeit far overrated by many). The first 8 movies are fine by me too!

CloudMinder2

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 482

Report this Mar. 16 2012, 8:34 am

I don't disagree with your arguments, but to be honest it's not an episode that sticks in my mind other than because of its significance to ST 'canon' (if i dare use that word...)


i suspect that in terms of its overall excitement levels, spectacle etc, it maybe doesn't quite crack it - but i admit you make me want to watch it again


"There are always alternatives" Spock

Vger23

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 6799

Report this Mar. 16 2012, 2:02 pm

I'm not sure "underrated" is appropriate.


Errand of Mercy has always been one of my favorites. I'm not sure I've ever talked to a fan who doesn't rate it fairly highly.

Beershark

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 2590

Report this Mar. 16 2012, 3:59 pm

Quote: /view_profile/ @

>

>Mark Lenard's Romulan Commander was in "Balance Of Terror", Beershark. Joan Linville was the female Commander in "The Enterprise Incident".

>


Thanks, i always get those titles mixed.


CORPORATIONS AREN'T PEOPLE! Soylent Green is people.

J.T.Kirk

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 107

Report this Mar. 16 2012, 5:00 pm

Shatner definitely raises his game a bit in this episode & in order to theatrically compete with his two guest stars & fellow Shakespearean actors, Colicos & Abbott. As a result, the verbal exchanges are as dramatic & intense as it gets in this series. Nothing to exciting on the sets used though & McCoy & Scott are scripted out of this one. I am currently making a top 20 list & this one makes it easily. Whether it is deserving of a top ten or top five billing .... the jury is still out this time.


Factoid: Colicos(kor) & Shatner(Kirk) both trained as classical Shakespearean actors, & both born in Montreal & in the month of March ,,, only  a few years apart.

Roddenberry's Disciple

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 70

Report this Mar. 16 2012, 6:53 pm

I will admit that there are five negative aspects with this episode:


1.) The surroundings are a little sparse, and the "castle" is a tad cheesy.  However, they mostly work and all.


2.) There should have been some more fighting shown.  It would have been amazing if Federation troops had beamed down to the planet and had started fighting the Klingons.  It would have made the Organian's intervention all the more dramatic and surprising.


3.) Although I do love Old School Klingons, the extras (who are the first Klingons ever seen) in this episode (who are marching throughout the streets of Organia) are completely generic '60s era "tough guy" extras.  I even believe that the one guy tells Kirk "Hey! Watch it!" in a really cheesy voice with an even cheesier shove!  Colicos as Kor got the Klingons right and made it so that they went beyond this one appearance (and into Trek mainstays), and his Lieutenant was okay too.  However, the extras suck as Klingons.


4.) There isn't much background information given about the Klingons in this episode at all. Even a statement like "They have been the major enemies of the Federation for decades. etc" would have been appreciated.  However, much of their ways are "shown" rather than stated all thanks to Kor. 


5.) Bones isn't in the episode at all, I don't think.  Although I don't know what he could have done in it.


P.S. Wouldn't it have been sweet if, at the end, it had shown Kor returning to his D-7 and giving his "Commander's Log", which would have furthered the message detailing how truly alike the Federation (The US) and the Klingons (The USSR) were?


"Star Trek" was, is, and will always be "Star Trek" (as in the original series). "The Next Generation" is a spectacular show that I more or less consider equal to the original, and DS9 is pretty good (albeit far overrated by many). The first 8 movies are fine by me too!

stovokor2000-A

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 2001

Report this Mar. 16 2012, 9:29 pm

Quote: Roddenberry's Disciple @ Mar. 16 2012, 6:53 pm

>5.) Bones isn't in the episode at all,


Neither was Scotty.


Photobucket

RoTrekkie

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 477

Report this Mar. 17 2012, 12:19 am

It is very good and one that I'v taken good pleasure in re-watching.

Roddenberry's Disciple

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 70

Report this Mar. 20 2012, 7:11 pm

Did they keep Kor similar to how he was in "Errand of Mercy" in the DS9 episodes, or did they work overtime adapting Colicos to the "new" Klingon mannerisms, besides the physical appearance?


I just know about the Albino and the search for the Sword of Kahless.


"Star Trek" was, is, and will always be "Star Trek" (as in the original series). "The Next Generation" is a spectacular show that I more or less consider equal to the original, and DS9 is pretty good (albeit far overrated by many). The first 8 movies are fine by me too!

stovokor2000-A

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 2001

Report this Mar. 21 2012, 10:20 am

Quote: Roddenberry's Disciple @ Mar. 20 2012, 7:11 pm

>

>Did they keep Kor similar to how he was in "Errand of Mercy" in the DS9 episodes, or did they work overtime adapting Colicos to the "new" Klingon mannerisms, besides the physical appearance?

>I just know about the Albino and the search for the Sword of Kahless.

>
I thought they did a great job with Kor in the DS9 era.He was still imperialistic in nature.


Photobucket

Forum Permissions

You cannot post new topics in this forum

You cannot reply to topics in this forum

You cannot delete posts in this forum