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Star Trek: The Mark of Gideon

The Federation is attempting to establish relations with the planet, Gideon. Gideon refuses to allow any visitors or sensor scans, but claims to be a complete paradise. After much debate, Kirk and Kirk alone is allowed to beam down. When he materializes, he is still on the Enterprise's transporter pad and the crew is nowhere to be found.

Episode Info
Episode number: 3x16
Production Number: 60043-072
Airdate: Friday January 17th, 1969

Starring Roles
James DoohanJames Doohan
As Lt. Cmdr. Montgomery "Scotty" Scott
George TakeiGeorge Takei
As Lt. Hikaru Sulu
Nichelle NicholsNichelle Nichols
As Lt. Nyota Uhura
Walter KoenigWalter Koenig
As Ensign Pavel Chekov

Guest Stars
Sharon AckerSharon Acker
As Odona
David HurstDavid Hurst
As Hodin

Co-Guest Stars
Gene DynarskiGene Dynarski
As Krodak
Richard DerrRichard Derr
As Admiral Fitzgerald

Frank Da VinciFrank Da Vinci
As Brent/Vinci
Jay Jones (1)Jay Jones (1)
As Gideon Guard
Main Cast
William ShatnerWilliam Shatner
As Captain James Tiberius Kirk
Leonard NimoyLeonard Nimoy
As Commander Spock
DeForest KelleyDeForest Kelley
As Dr. Leonard Horatio "Bones" McCoy


The Enterprise travels to the planet Gideon to negotiate a treaty on behalf of the Federation. The Gideonites value their privacy and refuse to allow a delegation or even permit sensor scans, although legend has it their planet is a paradise. The Gideon Council has agreed to let Kirk beam down on his own to meet with them. They provide Uhura with the transporter coordinates for the council chamber, and she relays them to Spock who is handling the transport. Kirk apparently dematerializes… only to find himself on the transporter platform and Spock has disappeared. He tries to raise first Spock, then anyone, on the intercom system but seemingly no one is aboard the ship. Kirk goes to the bridge while noting he suffered a brief memory loss because he has a bruise on his arm that he doesn't remember. Arriving on the bridge, he finds it abandoned and the Enterprise in orbit above Gideon...

Read the full recap
Episode Notes
Writer Stanley Adams is the same Stanley Adams who starred as Cyrano Jones in the second season episode "The Trouble With Tribbles."

Episode Quotes
Spock: Your Excellency, even with intricate machinery as delicately balanced as ours, there is still a margin for error which must be dealt with. It is possible that Captain Kirk materialized on some other part of Gideon.
Hodin: Let us hope it was on dry land.

Spock: We must acknowledge once and for all that the purpose of diplomacy is to prolong a crisis.

McCoy: Well, where do we start, Mr. Spock?
Spock: Institute a sensor scan 360 degrees, one degree at a time.
McCoy: You mean you're gonna scan space for him?
Sulu: But, sir, that could take years.
Spock: Then the sooner you begin, the better.

Uhura: They insist that we must go through Starfleet channels.
Sulu: With the captain lost, that's the best they could come up with?
Spock: Diplomats and bureaucrats may function differently, but they achieve exactly the same results.

Hodin: Mr. Spock, you're an officer of a spaceship. In your profession, you use many instruments, tools and weapons to achieve your objectives.
Spock: True, Your Excellency.
Hodin: However, the only tool diplomacy has is language. It is of the utmost importance hat the meaning be crystal clear.
Spock: Your Excellency, I am basically a scientist. Clarity of formulation is essential in my profession also.
Hodin: I'm glad to hear it. Perhaps you could then make greater effort to choose your words more precisely.

McCoy: Just when I was beginning to think you might find a whole new career as a diplomat, Mr. Spock.
Spock: Do not give up hope, Doctor.

Kirk: We're no longer moving faster than the speed of light. I've trimmed down to sub-light speed until we find out where we are.
Odona: It feels the same.
Kirk: Of course it does.
Odona: Maybe it is the same. Well, has the ship slowed down?
Kirk: If you can believe that, we have.
Odona: Oh, please! Don't tell me the sky is out of order now.

Odona: What makes it so impossible to be alone?
Because there are so many of us. So many. There is no place, no street, no house, no garden, no beach, no mountain that is not filled with people. Each one of us would kill in order to find a place alone to himself. Yet would willingly die for it, if they could.
Kirk: Who sent you here?
Odona: No one commands Odona!

Hodin: What is it like to feel pain?
Odona: It is like like when you see the people have no hope for happiness, Father. You feel great despair, and your heart is heavy, because you know you can do nothing. Pain is like that.
Hodin: Your courage gives me great pride.

Kirk: You're mad.
Hodin: No. We are desperate.

Spock: I cannot accept the responsibility for ordering a fellow officer to violate a Starfleet directive. I can make such a decision only for myself.
McCoy: I'm not asking you to make the decision for me.
Spock: The situation forces me to do so, Doctor.
McCoy: In that case, it's the worst possible decision you can make.
Spock: This will not take long.
Scotty: Isn't that just about what Captain Kirk said before he left?

Hodin: Eventually, even the life span increased. Death became almost unknown to us. It occurred only when the body could no longer regenerate itself. And that happens now only to the very old.
Kirk: Those are conditions most people would envy.
Hodin: But Gideon did not find it enviable. The birth rate continued to rise, and the population grew, until now Gideon is encased in a living mass who can find no rest, no peace, no joy.

Hodin: We're trying to readjust the life cycle of an entire civilization.
Kirk: You're killing your own daughter!
Hodin: My daughter hoped to make you feel the agony of Gideon. But it was impossible. No stranger could realize the horror that life can be here. I will not beg for your understanding of my personal grief, nor will I parade it for you to gain your cooperation. My love for my daughter is too deep for display. My pride in her runs even deeper.

Spock: I am on board an exact duplicate of the Enterprise.
McCoy: An exact duplicate of the Enterprise? Is it in orbit, Mr. Spock?
Spock: In orbit, Doctor? In a manner of speaking. Gideon is in orbit, and the ship is on Gideon.

Episode Goofs
It is extremely unlikely, if not unbelievable, that the Gideons could have obtained plans of the Enterprise so accurate that Captain Kirk could not notice even the slightest flaw.

If personal space on Gideon is so rare that people are willing to kill or die to obtain it, where did Hodin and the council find the space to build an exact replica of the Enterprise?

When Kirk materializes on the platform, he is standing on the left front pad (as one faces the transporter). However, when the camera goes to a reverse shot both forward pads are empty. (The shot is taken from "Let This Be Your Last Battlefield.")

When Kirk tries to raise the crew initially from the bridge, the red alert signal is flashing in Sickbay but not on the bridge.

What Changed in the Remastered Version
General improvements cited on the main series page. The orbital shots of Gideon get a surface upgrade. The color of the ghostly heads is touched up, moving stars are added to the view screen as Kirk looks out, and the upgraded digital counter is used for an insert when Kirk determines the length of his memory loss.

A Love of Life?
Hodin tells Kirk that the Gideons would reject contraception because of their love of life. Yet he expects them to embrace a fatal disease as an alternative? That seems like a plan doomed before it starts. More likely, the Council, pushed to the wall, proposes to introduce a fatal disease without actually telling people in advance, or giving them a choice.

Other Episode Crew

CreatorGene Roddenberry
Executive ProducerGene Roddenberry
ProducerFred Freiberger
Associate ProducerGregg Peters (1)  |  Edward K. Milkis
CastingJoseph D'Agosta  |  William J. Kenney
Unit Production ManagerGregg Peters (1)
Costume DesignerWilliam Ware Theiss
HairstylistPat Westmore
Make-upFred B. Phillips
GripGeorge Rader
Set DecoratorJohn M. Dwyer
Property MasterIrving A. Feinberg
Script SupervisorGeorge A. Rutter
Re-Recording MixerGordon L. Day
GafferGeorge H. Merhoff
OtherArthur H. Singer (Story Consultant)
Director of PhotographyGerald Perry Finnerman  |  Al Francis
Art DirectorWalter M. Jefferies
Sound MixerCarl Daniels  |  Doug Grindstaff
Special EffectsJames Rugg
Main Title ThemeAlexander Courage
Executive Vice President In Charge Of ProductionDouglas S. Cramer
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