Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot.
Star Trek: Season II, Episode XVII (46): A Piece of the Action (1968) Directed by James Komack, Written by David P. Harmon, Created by Gene Roddenberry
Capt. Kirk: [into communicator] Kirk to Enterprise.
Scott: Enterprise. Scott here, sir.
Capt. Kirk: [talking like a Chicago mobster] You got Krako on ice?
Scott: Aye, he's here. Mad enough to chew neutronium, but behavin' himself.
Capt. Kirk: OK, baby, cool him until I flag you.
Scott: Flag me?
Capt. Kirk: [normal voice] Keep him there until I send for him.
Capt. Kirk: [as mobster] We're gonna make some old-style phone calls from this locale. So you, ah, locate the man at de other end o' de blower and give 'im a ride to this flop.
Capt. Kirk: [normal voice] Find the man at the other end of the phone and transport him to these coordinates.
Capt. Kirk: [back as mobster] Can do, sweetheart?
Scott: [dubiously] Can do, Captain.
The Enterprise is following up on a lost ship, The Horizon; a century ago, they crashed on Sigma Iotia II, then blew up shortly after effecting repairs, and leaving the planet. The Enterprise’s mission is to investigate the possibility of cultural contamination of the Iotians.
It is safe to assume some has occurred; the Iotians, who are described as incredibly bright and imitative, have a culture based on the Chicago Mobs of the 1920’s. The government is run by various bosses who hold territories. The people pay their percentages, and receive services. If there is an argument between bosses, and there almost always are, they load up in a flivver, and drive by the other bosses headquarters, tommy guns blazing. This planet is the NRA’s wet dream; every citizen seems to be armed, men, women, even children, if only with knives.
Kirk, Spock and McCoy (William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, and DeForest Kelley) make contact with the boss of the largest territory, Bela Oxmyx (Anthony Caruso), and are promptly kidnapped; Bela’s proposition, then Enterprise provides him with phasers and technical support to take over the planet, and then Bela will be happy to deal with them.
The problem here is how do you negotiate in good faith with people who understand neither diplomacy, or the concept of keeping your word? Captain Kirk manages to win their freedom; Spock and McCoy hijack a radio station to contact the Enterprise, and Kirk is kidnapped by the second biggest boss; Jojo Krako (Vic Tayback). Somedays, it just doesn’t pay to get out of bed.
Spock: Logic and practical information do not seem to apply here.
Dr. McCoy: You admit that?
Spock: To deny the facts would be illogical, Doctor.
So Kirk takes a slightly different approach….
This is an episode that falls into several Star Trek sub genres; it’s a comedy, like The Trouble with Tribbles, or one of the Harry Mudd episodes. It is also one of the “Space Travel as a substitute for Time Travel” episodes, like City on the Edge of Forever, Patterns of Force, Specter of the Gun, Plato’s Stepchildren, and to a lesser extent, Return of the Archons, Space Seed, and Who Mourns for Adonis. It’s definitely a parallel development model like Miri, and Bread and Circuses, and better than those two, because it has a logical explanation.
It also has several unique features; it is the only time that anyone uses ground transportation in the entire series. It is the only time the ship fires it’s phasers set for stun. It is the only time that Spock actually enters into the spirit of the games, and employs an accent: Spock: [Gangster accent] “I would advise yas to keep dialin', Oxmyx.” He looks good in a fedora, too.
I think it’s the humor that elevates this from a middle of the road episode to one fans love, if not a fan favorite. Seeing Shatner dressed as a cheap hood, and yappin’ the lingo definitely is one of the better points. This gives this episode a solid B rating.
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Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Fit for Friday Evening
Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children up Ages 8