***** (5 stars out of 5)
Organia is backward but pleasant- the locals are peaceful, medieval humanoids. Perfectly ordinary folks cursed to be on the front line. Relations have broken down between the Federation and its hostile and mighty neighbour, the Klingon Empire. (Seen here for the first time ever looking greasy, swarthy, and a little dapper in gold shirts and spangly pants.)
The Organians welcome all people. "We don't have anybody in authority... perhaps I would do." says Ayelborne, Temporary Chairman of the Council of Elders. "We have no defences, nor are any needed." Pfft. Liberals.
Kirk, on an errand of mercy, explains that the Klingons are a military dictatorship, making with the slave planets, but none of these greybeards seem perturbed. They welcome the occupation army, but give Kirk and Spock elvish disguises.
Now we meet Klingon Kommander Kor (sounds like the beer, but Koor's not light). The late, lamented John Colicos oozes villainy. I love to hate that Canuck ham, and so will you.
"Where is your smile?" he asks Farmer Kirk. "The stupid, idiotic smile everyone else seems to be wearing."
Kor declares himself military governor and posts the New Rules- but, unlike Bill Maher, infractions carry the death penalty. The Organians just nod and smile.
The Klingons use a mind-sifter, but Spock's trader character withstands a Force Four scan. So he and Kirk draw their Plus 2 phasers and blow up a Klingon munitions dump.
Kirk responds to Kor's accusations. "Something was destroyed? Nothing inconsequential, I hope." The Starfleeters try to get the locals to fight for their loved ones and personal freedoms, but the Organians deplore violence. Never use the stuff. Pfft. Hippies.
Kirk and Kor are in complete agreement about these disgusting, spineless pacifists. Kirk sees the Federation as democratic, while Kor sees them both as killers with a universe to be taken. "Can I offer you a drink? We can toast the victory of the Klingon fleet."
Kor offers an explanation for Klingon strength: they are always being watched on camera by their superiors. Even him.
This is the only episode I can point to for this intriguing tidbit. It suggests that much of Klingon bluster, theatricality, and cruelty may be increased by living in a surveillance culture.
Much more effective is the watchful eye of advanced beings that might as well be gods. The fed-up Organians instantly end the blossoming war.
All Klingon and Federation weapons, even bare hands, are too hot to handle when aggression is initiated.
Kirk is pissed off by all this wish-fulfillment."We have the right..."
Ayelborne mildly interrupts. "To wage war, Captain? Is that what you're defending?"
"A shame, Captain." says Kor, taking his toys and heading home. "It would have been glorious."
I think this turns the tables WONDERFULLY.
Our guys (and they are good guys) swoop in and set things to 'rights' fairly often. Now, for once, they are on the receiving end: a more evolved people force them to play nice.
If gods there be, I hope they are like the Organians: they evolved beyond the material realm millions of years ago, and yet they still play renaissance fair.
Roll d20 for compassion!