Star Trek TAS: Season 1, Episode Sixteen “The Jihad”

Stardate: 5683.1 (2269)
Original Air Date: January 12, 1974
Writer: Stephen Kandel
Director: Hal Sutherland       

“The Skorr were a warrior race, now what are we? Slaves to the illusion of peace, cowards in our soft comfort. This sick dream has stolen our souls!”

Rating: 2 out of 5.

The Enterprise makes rendezvous with the Vedala asteroid (the Vedala are the oldest known space-faring race). Kirk and Spock have been summoned by the Vedala in order to help retrieve a stolen alien religious artifact known as the “Soul of the Skorr” which threatens to ignite a holy war in the galaxy. Upon arrival, Kirk and Spock meet a Vedalan (voiced by Jane Webb), Tchar (hereditary prince of the bird-like Skorr, master of the Aerie/Eyrie, voiced by James Doohan), Sord (a lizard-like creature voiced by James Doohan), a cautious reptilian creature who is also an expert lock-pick known as M3 Green (voiced by David Gerrold), a humanoid hunter with a flawless directional sense named Lara (voiced by Jane Webb).

In a bit of exposition, we learn about a messianic Skorr religious leader named Alar was immortalized via his brain patterns inside a sculpture which has been recently been stolen. It is a real danger, as Spock notes, because in two standard years the Skorr could easily breed an army of 200 billion warriors. The only clue as to the sculpture’s whereabouts is that is located on a volatile “mad planet” where the group is then transported. This leads to an odd expedition amidst rain and volcanoes on the “mad planet” while Lara professes her attraction to Kirk (he politely declines). The group then heads into a giant stone fortress that leads high up into the air where they find the “Soul of the Skorr.”

However, in the end the culprit is revealed to be none other than Tchar. Why? Because he has nostalgia for a bygone age in which the Skorr were a brutal race of warriors and conquerors. However, before Tchar can kill them, Kirk hooks his foot on the sculpture and the group is transported back to the Vedala asteroid. While appreciation is extended for recovering the relic, there will be no recognition or thanks for the group’s efforts and, in time, they will all lose their memory of the quest. Kirk and Spock are then beamed back aboard the Enterprise where Sulu mentions they have been gone for merely two minutes.


My Thoughts on “The Jihad”

Well, this is another episode of TAS that dips heavily into Saturday Morning cartoon territory, however the Skorr remain a fascinating addition to the series. I’m not entirely sure why Tchar would join the group on a quest which reveals the secret location of the relic… why not simply kill everyone at an unsuspecting moment if that was his ultimate goal? And why keep his theft a secret if he wishes to ignite a holy war? At any rate, Kirk and Spock will soon apparently forget this adventure ever took place in the long run, but the Vedalans would be interesting race of creatures worth exploring in future Trek, since they are the oldest-known space-faring race. How did they initially develop space travel and how long ago?


Writer

Stephen Kandel (1927-Present) also wrote the TAS episode “Mudd’s Passion” and he worked on the two TOS Harry Mudd episodes. Kandel later dubbed “The Jihad” a “message story” that would have been difficult to sell on network television.


Star Trek Trivia:

  • In this episode, Star Trek writer David Gerrold makes an uncredited appearance as M3 Green. At the time, he needed his Screen Actors Guild Card (SAG card).
  • James Doohan does not voice Scotty but he does voice two aliens: Tchar and Sord.
  • The look of Tchar was a recycling of Aleek-Om from “Yesteryear.”
  • The “Mad Planet” is said to range from 20 to above 204 Kelvin in temperature which would actually make the planet’s surface significantly below zero Celsius and Fahrenheit.
  • Lara claims she lives on a planet where men are scarce, hence why she finds Kirk attractive.
  • Director Hal Sutherland (1929-2014) directed all episodes of the first season of TAS. He gained early career recognition working on large Disney animation movies before switching to Filmation where he worked on TAS, as well as Flash Gordon, Batman, and Superman animated shows. Notably, pink is a recurring color in TAS. This is because Sutherland was colorblind and thought he was actually selecting the color grey.

Click here to return to my survey of the Star Trek series.

1 thought on “Star Trek TAS: Season 1, Episode Sixteen “The Jihad”

  1. Sci-fi show episodes where our main characters must quite literally forget an entire adventure, yet leave us as the audience, especially the fans, to remember it for them, can be quite interesting. It’s one of the sci-fi devices that may be reusable in only so many ways. But for Star Trek specifically, I think it can work best in the Trek tradition of giving fans something to think about. Thank you for your review and trivia.

    Liked by 2 people

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