*** (3 stars out of 5)
"The Savage Curtain" is pretty good. Not a ringing endorsement, I know, but they can't all be terrible even in Season 3. Don't know what the title refers to, though.
Despite the space legends, the lava planet Excalbia scans as lifeless. Captain Kirk is ready to call it a day when up floats Abraham Lincoln. Space Lincoln? I detect the patriotic drum beat of Gene Roddenberry!
"Do you still measure time in minutes?" Lincoln asks.
Kirk responds: "We can convert to it." Uh, yeah, you sure can. By looking at the chronometer on Sulu's console where it shows the time in these "hours" and "minutes" you've used all series long.
Alien-Broham Lincoln calls the communications officer "a charming Negress", then tries to apologize in case she'd found the term offensive?
She says she didn't, because: "In our century we've learned not to fear words."
It's my favourite line from Uhura. It's a two-stars line by itself.
On the tiny habitable land created amidst the molten rock: Kirk and Spock meet Surak, the Vulcan Jesus.
Surak, like Lincoln, was a heroic type to celebrate differences rather than fear them, and was father of Vulcan philosophy. His robes of gaudy old curtains were no doubt logical in their day. Maybe THAT'S the savage curtain!
A steaming pile of... rock called an Excalbian summons up some "bad guys" to pit the "good guys" against:
Genghis Khan, last seen helping Bill S. Preston & Ted 'Theodore' Logan with their history project.
21st Century genocidal soldier Colonel Green in the familiar garb of Khan Singh & Roykirk.
Zora, who performed grisly experiments on Tiburon in pursuit of the universes' unruliest eyebrows.
Kahless- the original tyrant of the Klingons.
Surak, who abhors violence, tries to negotiate and is killed. When Lincoln sneaks into the enemy camp, he is also killed. Outnumbered, Kirk and Spock still prevail.
Yarnek the Excalbian draws no conclusion until Kirk points out "evil" was motivated by the offer of power, while "good" fought to preserve life. Kirk asks what gives the test maker the right to test: and receives a surprisingly fair response: "the need to know new things".
That said, tell that to the Excalbians who transmuted themselves into historical figures and got speared.