Star Trek: The Mark of Gideon Re-Cut

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Faneditor Name:
Original Movie Title:
Franchise:
Fanedit Type:
Original Release Date:
1969
Original Running Time:
50
Fanedit Release Date:
Fanedit Running Time:
39
Time Cut:
10
Time Added:
1
Brief Synopsis:
We focus on Kirk's storyline entirely until he finally meets Hodin and realises he is on a replica. Thus, we – the viewer – follow Kirk's story, and don't discover the truth until he does. This is one of the few episodes where I think doing something like this actually works, since the twist pays off nicely in an otherwise pedestrian episode. To me, it's probably the best way of attempting to gain something decent out of the episode – by having the reveal of the replica being a fake as much a surprise for the viewer as Kirk. Really, very little is lost by removing the bickering between Spock and Hodin, and we don't need to necessarily know how Spock eventually managed to beam down.
Intention:
I was reading a post on another forum about The Mark of Gideon, and it got me thinking – how to improve an essentially pretty weak episode? Most of the plot simply does not make sense as far as the treatment of the overpopulated planet is concerned. Why resort to bringing in a virus, when other advanced methods would surely be better at curbing the rising population? If sanctity of life is a major concern for the Gideonites, then subjecting Odona (and thereafter others) to such pain is hardly in alignment with said beliefs. I get that every organ renews itself, but surely introducing some advanced medical procedures from the Federation that don't involve creating and then aborting life, would have been a better avenue to explore. The original storyline, which I've read, would probably have had a better outcome.
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Perhaps the biggest plot hole is the fake Enterprise. Where did the Gideonites - non-Federation members - get the info to build the replica, and therein to the exact detail that Kirk would know if something was wrong? (Which he doesn't.) Beyond his blackout, there is no suggestion Kirk had been drugged, hallucinating, or even any suggestion that they are on a holodeck. Moreover, with an overpopulated planet, where on earth would such a project be built? What would they do with the replica once the experiment had finished, and Kirk had been won over? And lastly, why even create it? Other methods would probably have been as equally effective in the Gideonites' plans. It simply does not make sense.

Because of the ridiculous plot of the fake Enterprise, initially I thought about reducing the Kirk plotline as much as possible, and focusing on the Enterprise and Spock. However, I soon came to realise that it is Kirk's story that is the driving force of the episode.
Release Information:
  • Digital
  • Digital
Cuts and Additions:
Cuts:

- All of the shipboard scenes once Kirk has been beamed down, apart from the brief exchange between Spock and Scotty, (when the latter is in command of the ship) , and the final scene.

- The first reveal of the Gideonites watching Kirk and Odona has been cut. I want us to be as surprised as Kirk, so we only see this when Kirk opens the observation window.

- Spock's references to 'Starfleet' and 'upper echelons' have been cut from the penultimate scene, since we don't see any of Spock's pre-beam down investigation.

Additions:

- Four acts, as per the original, just under 10 minutes each, with some newly edited opening/closing of acts to accommodate the structural change.

- Sound effects have been added in when Kirk attempts to contact Spock at the transporter console in the teaser. This is for continuity, as they are there later when Spock repeats this at the same location.

- A small sequence showing Spock and Uhura's empty stations has been included and reversed from 'This Side of Paradise'.

- Two shots of empty corridors from 'The Omega Glory' have been inserted to enable Kirk's first two scenes aboard the replica post-teaser, to follow one another.

- Some of the later scenes once Spock has beamed down to the replica, have been re-ordered for the purposes of this edit.

- The episode falls in at the 38 min mark, so I include the trailer for the next broadcast episode 'That Which Survives' prior to the end credits.

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I've been consistently enjoying The Warlord's TOS edits a lot, but so far I liked them for what they were: fanmixes, alternatives, experiments, alternate universe items. But this is the first one that I feel may be superior to the original episode, and the original episode is one I've always liked. Though, it's true that the "B" side of the plot felt a lot like filler in order to have some screen time for the rest of the characters. When the episode cut to them, I was eager to go back to Kirk almost alone in the "other" Enterprise. In fact, the way the edit presents the story makes it very close to a "Twilight Zone" episode (it reminds me quite a bit of "Where Is Everybody"), to the point that it would have fit in The Warlord's series of "Twilight Trek" edits.

Editing is top-notch. There's a moment that is necessarily hard to solve, which is the cut from Kirk and Odona's kiss to them walking down the corridor. It's not ideal, but what was done here is probably the only thing that could be done. In any other story, we'd have the commodity of an Enterprise bumper complete with fanfare, but putting one here would have been a lie, and putting anything else as an establishing shot would have been a spoiler. The one thing that did feel strange, and could have been easily solved, is the fact that Kirk inmediately recognizes Hodin when they first meet. It is plausible in the sense that he could know who that was from the Federation files, but doesn't really flow right. Otherwise, everything was perfect, as was video and audio quality.

Is it better than the original episode? Probably so. Would it be a replacement for it? Maybe and maybe not, depending on how important the typical Trek structure is for you. In any case, a really great TOS edit that should deserve a lot more attention.
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