Star Trek TOS: Rojan, the Killer — Rojan, the Forgiven
Star Trek: The Original Series
Season 2, Episode 22
By Any Other Name
The crew responded to a distress call on a colorful planet. The sender of the signal thanked Kirk for his swift attention to the call — and insisted Kirk surrender his ship.
Kirk was unimpressed.
The man, Rojan, informed Kirk that humans were ending their existence — news to all of the Enterprise crew. Rojan possessed fancy technology that froze the mental faculties of humans. This technology worked on Enterprise, too. Rojan’s people beamed up Kirk’s vessel and froze crewmembers.
Rojan proclaimed to Kirk his people preferred conquer and rule to colonization, so he made no bones about his imperialist aspirations. Locked in a caged cave, Kirk and his pals spitballed strategies to circumvent the threat from Rojan.
Kirk got the upper hand of the woman securing the cage cave, snatching her freezing device from her belt. As a punishment, one of Rojan’s men killed two redshirts (turned them into cubes) to inflict torment on Kirk. The stakes were elevated as Rojan proved his capability of murder during the takeover.
Rojan wanted the Enterprise for intergalactic travel, and now Kirk had to seriously consider allowing it because his enemy was so powerful. The best plan with limited resources was to fake an illness for Spock, conveniently letting him return to sickbay on Enterprise. There, he determined the technological setup by the Kelvins (Rojan’s people) was too sophisticated to manipulate.
With Enterprise under Rojan’s control, the ship approached the energy barrier. To prevent it, Kirk, Spock, and McCoy devised a suicide plan — quite the plan from the show’s Big Three characters.
Enterprise coasted through the energy battier with some turbulence, But after that, Rojan announced Kirk’s crew would be a burden thereafter, requiring too much food and accommodation.
Rojan was of the utmost formidability as a villain in Star Trek through this point of the series.
The gradual undoing of the Kelvin was humanization. Kirk’s friends lured them into alcohol, believing in the legitimacy of McCoy’s vaccine-like shots, and jealousy. One of the Kelvin women started to romantically fall for Kirk, enraging Rojan. All of these elements distracted the Kelvins, so Kirk’s crew steadily grabbed the upper hand.
Kirk and Rojan engaged in a physical fight, ending in extreme compromise. Convincing Rojan that his people would act like savage humans when they reach their destination, Kirk influenced him into embracing human shortcomings while returning home to the Kelvin planet from the beginning of the episode (this was awkwardly decided in the middle of a wrestling match).
True to Trek form, Kirk won the day with diplomacy — even though it felt like Rojan had his foe dead to rights for 80% of the episode.
Ultimately, jealousy conquered Rojan’s plot.
It should also be noted that Rojan’s early-episode murder of the redshirt went completely unpunished.
Themes: Diplomacy, Human Jealousy
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. His odyssey with Star Trek starts from beginning to finish, watching ‘The Original Series,’ all the way to the present day. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).