“BREAD AND CIRCUSES”
Season 2, Episode 25 (Production 44), Story 54
Written by Gene Roddenberry and Gene L. Coon; Directed by Ralph Senensky
PLOT: Blah blah blah Romans with a broadcast network blah blah blah
SUB-PLOT: Blah blah blah
KIRKISM: “My world, Proconsul, is my vessel, my oath, my crew.”
HEADER QUOTE SPOKEN BY: McCoy
If you stumble upon this reaction to BREAD AND CIRCUSES at random, it’s just another webpage. If you’re a regular reader of the Anxiety, however, you’ll notice it’s been a couple week since I reviewed a TOS episode. And before that it was a couple weeks, too. I’ve written quite a few reviews in the meantime, and I finished watching Season 2 a month ago.
So why no reviews?
Because this last batch of episodes of Season 2 are mediocre nonsense.
BREAD AND CIRCUSES is yet another limp, boring bit of melodrama, and yet another one of these “Earth Era” themed episodes. This time, we get a Roman civilization mixed with 20th century Earth tech. Kirk goes looking for a friend named Captain Merrick and they find him as the right hand man of the Proconsul of a Roman society that holds gladiator games and puts them on TV. There’s some rebels called the Children of the Sun who the crew falls in with, but before you know it, everyone has to fight in gladiatorial combat.
On the TV.
McCoy, Spock, their Child of the Sun pal Flavius Maximus, and another gladiator have to fight. Spock can take care of himself but McCoy can’t because he’s a nerdy doctor. The fight between the four goes on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on until they have wrung every bit of possible melodrama out of this fight seven or eight times.
The Romans want the Enterprise crew to come down, which is why Kirk gets to sit this fight out; they want him to call the crew down or they’ll kill Spock and McCoy and yadda yadda yadda. There’s a semi-interesting bit with Kirk being sent a slave woman for the night and a decent twist with the “Children of the Sun” being revealed as worshipers of Jesus Christ and not the big, hot, glowing circle in the sky, but that’s not enough to save this clunker.
Very little in this episode is very good or convincing or interesting. This whole alternate “Earth Era” concept is getting tired. Heck, this show is getting tired. STAR TREK can still deliver an occasionally good episode but these run of the mill episodes are sinking the series like a bunch of big, fat, heavy rocks. I’m tired of watching and writing about this show.