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Elaan of Troyius

Review

Series : The Original Series Rating : 3
Disc No : 3.3 Episode : 58
First Aired : 20 Dec 1968 Stardate : 4372.5
Director : John Meredyth Lucas Year : 2268
Writers : John Meredyth Lucas Season : 3
Guest Cast :
Charles Beck as Elasian guard #2
Dick Durock as Elasian guard #1
Eddie Paskey as Lieutenant Leslie
France Nuyen as Elaan
Jay Robinson as Petri
K. L. Smith as Klingon
Lee Duncan as Evans
Majel Barrett as Christine Chapel
Tony Young as Kryton
Victor Brandt as Watson
Moral :
Duty : Duty and loyalty will win out over any simple infatuation
YATI : When the Klingon ship makes an attack, it is reported to be travelling at warp speed. Shortly afterwards, Sulu calls off the range to the ship in kilometres, but the rate at which the range numbers change is way too slow for a ship doing faster than light speeds. It's possible that the Klingon ship slowed to impulse, but it's odd that nobody commented on this if it happened.

Speaking of the Klingon attack, several shots of the bridge show somebody else sitting in Chekov's chair.

When Kirk and Elaan are arguing, she says "If I have to stay here for ten light years, I will not be soiled by any contact with you!" This is the only time I know of that TOS fell into the old error of thinking that a light year is a measure of time rather than distance! Bad form! However... consider that it is Elaan that says it, and the point of her character is that she is this spoiled brat who is unwise in the ways of the real world. Could it possibly be that this is actually a subtle bit of writing in which Elaan is supposed to have been in error, and Kirk too much the gentleman to correct her? I report, you decide!

Great Moment : I love the ambassador's frustration with Elaan, especially after she stabs him and he declares that he wouldn't have her marry his leader if the entire galaxy depended on it.
Body Count : The Troyian ambassador is injured, but recovers. Two Elasians get stunned by Spock. One engineer is killed by an Elasian, who then commits suicide. Possible casualties on the Klingon ship when the Enterprise torpedoes it during the attack, but no report on the matter is made.
Factoid : This episode establishes that the USS in USS Enterprise stands for "United Space Ship".

This is the first time we see the Klingon cruiser design.


Plotline

The Enterprise is assigned to transport Elaan, the Dohlman of Elas, to the neighbouring planet of Troyius, where she is to marry the ruler as part of a deal to bring peace between the two worlds. The mission is considered vital to the Federation as the Tellun system is located on the border between Federation and Klingon space.

Unfortunately Elaan proves to be a self-centred, hateful shrew who can barely stand to be in the same room as the Troyian ambassador who is tasked with preparing her for her wedding. Accompanied by a group of bodyguards with nuclear powered sidearms and body armour, Elaan demands unquestioning obedience from everybody around her - including Kirk. She is utterly contemptuous of ambassador Petri, rejecting his attempts at flatter with expensive gifts from Troyius.

When Kirk suggests that Petri adopt a more aggressive stance with his charge, Elaan responds by trying to murder him with a knife. With Petri immobilised in sickbay and angrily declaring that he will no longer support the wedding, Kirk finds himself responsible for completing her preparations. He adopts a "tough" approach - literally having her bodyguards stunned so that he can get into her quarters. Eventually he begins to make a little progress with Elaan. Meanwhile his task is complicated by a Klingon cruiser which is dogging the ship's journey to Troyius, apparently hoping to disrupt proceedings. Uhura intercepts a tightbeam transmission from the Klingon ship to somebody on board the Enterprise - Kryton, the commander of Elaan's bodyguard. Kryton commits suicide rather than be interrogated, but his work is already done; he has planted a bomb aboard which will detonate if the ship goes to warp. Although the bomb is defused, Scotty finds that the dilithium crystal converter assembly has also been fused, disabling the warp drive. Without power the Enterprise is helpless, unable to manoeuvre or fire phasers. The Klingons attack, and although Kirk does his best it is clear that he has no chance against such odds.

As the battle continues Spock detects strange energy readings coming from Elaan - her necklace is made of uncut dilithium crystals, a common stone in the system. She donates the necklace, and using the crystals Scotty is able to restore power just in time for Kirk to cut loose with photon torpedoes and cripple the Klingon ship. The Enterprise proceeds on course to Troyius, with Elaan now accepting her role as wife to its ruler.

Analysis

Although the story is an obvious rip-off of "the taming of the shrew", this one is a pretty good episode. France Nuyen does a good job as Elaan, making her more than enough of a nightmare to keep Kirk busy. The Klingon cruiser is nicely menacing, especially once the Enterprise is disabled. The use of "magic tears" to make Kirk fall hopelessley in love with Elaan is a bit silly - wouldn't it have been better to show a genuine attraction to the two, a la "The Perfect Mate"? Still, whilst it would be well in character for Kirk to fall fast and hard for a woman, it would be out of character for him to allow it to threaten his command priorities so perhaps adding a chemical reason makes sense in that respect.
Copyright Graham Kennedy Page views : 12,283 Last updated : 21 Aug 2015