The title paraphrases a quote from William Shakespeare: “The devil shall have his bargain; for he was never yet a breaker of proverbs – he will give the devil his due.” (Prince Hal in “Henry IV, Part 1” – Act 1, Scene 2) –Star Trek Phase II: The Lost Era
Before there was “The Next Generation” (TNG) there was a lost series called “Star Trek Phase II” where Kirk and his crew would venture out on their second 5-year mission. This concept would eventually become what we know has Star Trek: The Motion Picture. TNG’s Devil’s Due was based on a story pitch for Star Trek Phase II, the premise of “Captain goes up against a supernatural being” is the gist of both plots and there is even a trail to prove the legitimacy of a contract between the being and a planet. However, a lot was changed from Phase2 until it became a TNG episode.
“Here’s a classic story straight from The Twilight Zone, dressed up in science-fiction garb to give Captain Kirk a chance to go head to head with the Devil–Or in Star Trek terms, a malevolent energy being. Like “The Child,” this script was rewritten to become an episode of The Next Generation, keeping the same title, with Picard taking a self-proclaimed devil to trail over the fate of a planet, and Data assuming the role played here by the Enterprise’s computer.” –Star Trek Phase II: The Lost Era
In the TNG Picard finds himself going up a con-artist who is trying to pull one over a planet. Kirk finds himself going against an energy based life form, Komether, which has a solid legal claim to the planet. The interesting update between stories is Data being named the Judge over the case instead of the Ship’s Computer, it allowed for more dynamics. In Kirk’s story, he basically outwits then kills Komether for daring hold up this deal, it is even well documented what the being did for the planet. I liked how TNG played It out, it wouldn’t be Picard’s style to interfere if it was truly a legit contract and they did a decent job of keeping Picard motivated to discover the deception. One thing I don’t understand in the TNG episode was Ardra trying to keep the Enterprise and all the personal if she had just let them take their people and leave she may have pulled off whatever heist she was planning. Her story could have used some fleshing out and maybe see her get drunk off power as people worship her when she oversteps her means by demanding Enterprise.
I think the TNG story was better thought out than the Phase 2 version, and I’m glad they made the changes they did when retooling it for TNG.
If you ever have the chance, give it a try!