Star Trek Retrospective: Episode 18 Arena
The difference between Seasons I and II verses III is pretty staggering and as I get closer to the beginning of the series the difference becomes even more apparent. It’s not just that they ran out of ideas but the basic was better early on. Arena is nigh flawless, with a complete arc, clearly understood motivations, a twist, and an underlying message regarding morality. In general a great episode.
By the way, I keep meeting Bobby Clark the man who wore the Gorn suit. He is super cool.
Anyway, one cool thing about this episode is when the crew debates whether the Federation was wrong to set a colony on Cestus III. It’s nice to see that it is run by fallible creatures. I think it added a nice humanizing touch to the society of Star Trek. It’s also fun to see Kirk not be the biggest, baddest guy around. The Gorn captain pretty much curb stomped him the whole time and only by inventing gunpowder (the great equalizer) was Kirk able to save himself.
The influence of this episode is felt even today in shows like Firefly where a ship Captain opted to prove his greater humanity by showing mercy to his defeated opponent in the episode Shindig. Star Trek is pretty much the precursor of everything. (Mal image courtesy of the Firefly tshirts)
the Infamous Dave Inman