The Mark of Gideon
Gideon is a paradise seeking admission into the Federation. Well, it used to be a paradise. Today it has a problem: too many Gideons. But they have a plan! One that involves kidnapping Kirk, fooling Spock, and letting a young woman die. Pay no attention to the mass of creepy people watching as we put The Mark of Gideon in the Mission Log.
Tags: birth control, overpopulation, The Mark of Gideon, The Original Series, The Original Series Season 3
As seen in Starlog Magazine #171
Ken and John, you are kind of shooting fish in a barrel to focus on the logical discrepancies in this episode. It works in its time frame and on an emotional level. Back in the 60’s the “population bomb” was getting a lot of press and scary stuff was being discussed — and the fact was that nobody had any idea how to stop the exponential growth. I think Star Trek was projecting this into the future alongside medical science which was (and still is) aimed at eliminating all disease. Sure, it seems as if a logical solution would be to colonize other planets (presumably that’s what Earth did in the ST world; however, in the real world Earth, we have no ability to do this. The real Earth of the 60’s and today cannot solve he problem by finding a new planet, nor has that ever seemed to me to be a really good solution. We also can’t organize any widespread plan for birth control without totalitarianism, so the plight of Gideon really was reflecting the projected plight of humans on Earth.
For Kirk to have given them the “easy out” of flying them to other planets would have dulled the emotional impact of the message. And, sure, it is easy to laugh and say, “Why not build skyscrapers?” but that ultimately isn’t the point. It is one of those episodes (like the Empath) that is not supposed to be taken realistically, but to capture the audience’s emotions. It’s a TV genre that may be lost today, when producers want hyper-realism in their fantasies of law and justice and medicine…
Does it hold up today? Weirdly, though it is even more applicable, Americans and the news media seem to have decided that overpopulation is really not a problem. There is a blind faith today that I find quite disturbing — a faith that science will somehow manage to feed all these people. Our scientists (or the capitalists makign money off science) want to increase agribusiness, want to eliminate disease, and base our economy on the idea of infinitely growing “markets.” I lack faith in all that, and see it as essentially heading us right for Gideon. It is still a cautionary tale. The nations of the world are, after all, run by pencil-pushing bureaucrats and politicians, not by logic or infinitely rich centralized governments.
Spock telling the real Enterprise he was on the replica reminded me of “Labyrinth”/”The Bachelor & the Bobbysoxer”:
Spock: This reminds me of the bridge.
Them: What bridge?
Spock: The bridge of the Enterprise.
Them: Our Enterprise?
Spock: The Enterprise in orbit.
Them: What orbit?
Spock: This reminds me of the bridge…
It’s quite fitting , is it even deliberate?, that the Gideons outfits in the picture look just like the costume that Woody Allen wore in one of his films (Everything you wanted to know about sex but were afraid to ask) when he was dressed as a sperm.
Lol. “We’re gonna make babies…!” XD
Hate to nitpick, but the Queen Mary set an all time record when she carried 15,740 troops in a single crossing. Far short of the 60,000 John mentions.
I concur that the huge number of plot holes really detracts from this episode.
You are 100% right. I had written down the number wrong. Still the all-time record though, and a total of about 1 million passengers (plus troops) during her 31 year career.
Another pretty woman on an empty bridge.
While I do think this episode is swallowed by its gaping plot holes, its message does hold up. The message being: when does procreation become immoral? In this case, it has been brought to the extreme and baby-making is obviously cruel to both those already on Gideon, and any life that may be brought by it.
However, the morality of having kids today, in an overpopulated, under-resourced world is a very real debate. Frankly, I love babies and I love the idea of a little person running around with my grandfather’s wit and my mother’s eyes who shares my blood. How could that be wrong? It’s the most natural thing in the world and the hunger for it is practically hard-wired into my biology. But I don’t think that I can in good conscience bring one more soul into this planet that’s already taxed to the verge of devastation.
Not the best storyline but interesting material and creepy/haunting imagery. Being a claustrophobe, every time the overpopulation was explained or shown, I began to breath a little bit faster.