And the Children Shall Lead

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"And the Children Shall Lead"
Star Trek: The Original Series episode
Episode no.Season 3
Episode 4
Directed byMarvin J. Chomsky
Written byEdward J. Lakso
Featured musicGeorge Duning
Cinematography byJerry Finnerman
Production code060
Original air dateOctober 11, 1968 (1968-10-11)
Guest appearance(s)
  • Melvin Belli - Gorgan
  • Caesar Belli - Steve
  • Craig Huxley - Tommy Starnes
  • James Wellman
  • Pamelyn Ferdin - Mary
  • Mark Robert Brown - Don
  • Brian Tochi - Ray
  • Lou Elias - 1st Technician
  • Jay D. Jones - 2nd Technician
  • Paul Baxley - Security Guard
  • Dick Dial - Security Guard
  • Eddie Paskey - Lt. Leslie
  • Frank da Vinci - Transporter Operator
  • William Blackburn - Lt. Hadley
  • Roger Holloway - Lt. Lemli
Episode chronology
← Previous
"The Paradise Syndrome"
Next →
"Is There in Truth No Beauty?"
Star Trek: The Original Series (season 3)
List of Star Trek: The Original Series episodes

"And the Children Shall Lead" is the fourth episode of the third season of the American science fiction television series Star Trek. Written by Edward J. Lakso and directed by Marvin Chomsky, it was first broadcast on October 11, 1968.

In the episode, the crew of the Enterprise find children with great powers at their disposal.


The federation starship Enterprise arrives at the planet Triacus. Captain Kirk, Dr. McCoy, and First Officer Spock beam down in time to witness the death of Professor Starnes, the leader of a scientific expedition team. The other members of the expedition, apart from their five seemingly unconcerned children, seem to have died at their own hands.

The crew bring the children back to the Enterprise, where McCoy evaluates them and determines that they are suffering from lacunar amnesia, unaware of what happened to their parents and unable to grieve. However, when left unattended in one of the ship's rooms, the children chant an evocation and summon a glowing humanoid named Gorgan. He advises them to take control of the crew in order to get to Marcus XII, his preferred destination. The eldest child, Tommy, uses mental powers Gorgan has bestowed on the children to trick the crew into steering the ship while presenting illusions that make them think they are still in orbit above Triacus.

Upon reviewing a troublesome expedition film recorded by Starnes, Spock, McCoy, and Kirk return to the bridge to find the children and Gorgan fully in control of the crew. Unable to break their hold on the crew, Spock observes that the children are merely possessed by Gorgan, who must be the evil embodiment of an ancient group of space-warring marauders released by Starnes's archaeological survey.

Believing they can break the hold Gorgan has on the children, Spock plays back footage showing the children happy with their parents, who are then shown to be dead. As the children realize what has happened, they break down emotionally and Gorgan's appearance begins to deteriorate. With the children's powers gone, the crew regains control and Kirk orders a course for Starbase 4 while they take care to comfort the children.


Child actor Craig Hundley, who played Tommy, would go on to become a composer and inventor under the name Craig Huxley. His Blaster Beam, an 18-foot (5.5 m) long aluminum bar strung with piano wire and played using artillery shells, would appear on Jerry Goldsmith's soundtrack for the first Star Trek film, as well as James Horner's Star Trek II and Star Trek III soundtracks. Huxley also composed the piece "Genesis Project" for the "Project Genesis" briefing video in Star Trek II.[1]

Ferdin (who played Mary) and Tochi (who played Ray) would later reunite on Space Academy, a short-lived series that aired from 1977-1979 on CBS.

During a climactic scene on the bridge, the oldest child, Tommy Starnes (played by Craig Hundley), casts a spell to make Captain Kirk's voice unintelligible, so as to render him unable to give orders to his crew. To accomplish this effect in the production of the show, some of William Shatner's dialogue was recorded and then played back in reverse. When the audio is reversed in this segment of the finished soundtrack, Shatner can be heard clearly for the majority of the segment to state:

"Remove Lt. Uhura and Mr. Spock from the bridge. Confine them to quarters. Did you hear me? Take Mr. Sulu to his quarters. He is relieved of duty. Remove Lt. Uhura and Mr. Spock from the bridge. Confine [unintelligible] Take Mr. Sulu to his quarters [unintelligible] Mr. Spock from the bridge. Confine them to quarters Mr. Leslie, take Mr. Sulu to his quarters"

Dave Tilotta performs a script analysis on this episode, comparing the original script to what was filmed and aired. He notes a deleted scene with Sulu and words to the children's incantations among other things.[2]


This episode was reportedly considered the worst episode in the Star Trek canon by Spock actor Leonard Nimoy, as of 1986.[3]

A 1995 newspaper fan vote for worst episode of the series nominated this episode and "A Piece of the Action".[4]

While the general fan consensus was that this was one of the poorer third-season episodes, and that Captain Kirk's "brusque, exaggeratedly authoritarian and at times unmistakably hostile attitude" towards the titular children undermined both the moral and the plot, Richard Keller of TV Squad listed Gorgan as the tenth scariest television character.[5]

"Dr. Winston O'Boogie" (from a pseudonym of John Lennon[6]) of The Agony Booth gives a humorous synopsis of the episode, reinforcing his claim that this is the worst episode of the original series.[7]

WhatCulture ranked this episode the 8th worst episode of the Star Trek franchise.[8]

In 2017, Den of Geek ranked this episode as the 3rd worst Star Trek episode of the original series.[9]

References in other media[edit]

In the 2007 film, Zodiac, during the scene in which the killer is invited to call in to a television program and speak with Melvin Belli (Brian Cox), the newsman asks about Belli's role in "And The Children Shall Lead".


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ The Pittsburgh Press. The Pittsburgh Press.
  4. ^ Record-Journal. Record-Journal.
  5. ^ Keller, Richard (October 24, 2008). "All-time scariest TV characters". TV Squad. Retrieved March 13, 2012.
  6. ^ "John Lennon – Secret Guests in Rock Songs". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved October 7, 2019.
  7. ^
  8. ^ Kmet, Michael (January 26, 2014). "Star Trek: 20 Worst Episodes Ever". Retrieved July 18, 2019.
  9. ^ [1]

External links[edit]