Elaan of Troyius

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"Elaan of Troyius"
Star Trek: The Original Series episode
Episode no. Season 3
Episode 13
Directed by John Meredyth Lucas
Written by John Meredyth Lucas
Featured music Fred Steiner
Cinematography by Jerry Finnerman
Production code 057
Original air date December 20, 1968 (1968-12-20)
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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List of Star Trek: The Original Series episodes

"Elaan of Troyius" is a third season episode of the American science fiction television series Star Trek, broadcast on December 20, 1968. It is episode #68, production #57, and was written and directed by John Meredyth Lucas, the only person in Star Trek production history ever to both write and direct a filmed Star Trek television episode, whether animated or live-action.

In the episode, the USS Enterprise ferries a spoiled Elasian princess whose betrothal to a Troyian royal is hoped will bring peace to a star system at war. The episode's title character pays tribute to Helen of Troy from Homer's Iliad,[1] and its plot borrows from William Shakespeare's comedy, The Taming of the Shrew.[2]

Plot[edit]

On stardate 4372.5, the Federation starship USS Enterprise arrives at the planet Elas, the innermost world in the Tellun system, to pick up Elaan, the Dohlman of Elas. Accompanying them is Ambassador Petri of Troyious, the outer planet. As Petri explains, The Elasian Council of Nobles and the Troyius Tribunal [3] have agreed to marry Elaan to the Troyian ruler[4], to secure peace lest the two planets destroy each other. Elaan is a most reluctant bride, cursing an arrangement that she considers a humiliation. Ambassador Petri's mission is to instruct Elaan in the manners and customs of the Troyians.

Not long after the Enterprise begins her return journey to Troyius at low impulse speed, a Klingon warship is detected, which paces the Enterprise and ignores all hails. To complicate matters further, Elaan stabs Petri, who refuses to have any further dealings with the Dohlman and vows that his ruler will never marry her. The job of teaching her now falls to the Captain.

In sickbay, Nurse Chapel asks the ambassador why Elasian women are so prized in spite of their savagery. Petri explains that when the tears of an Elasian female touch a man's skin, his heart is "enslaved forever".

Elaan does not take kindly to Kirk's efforts to civilize her and attempts to stab him. He overpowers her, disarms her, and chews her out, insisting that she will learn what she has been ordered to learn. She, after locking herself in a bathroom, begins to cry, saying she is tired of being hated by everyone. Kirk tries to comfort her, and after wiping a tear from her cheek finds himself falling passionately in love.

Meanwhile, one of the ship's engineers is killed by Kryton, Elaan's chief bodyguard, who then tampers with the Enterprise's warp engines and tries to contact the Klingon battle cruiser. He is captured, but commits suicide before he can be interrogated, and Kirk orders Chief Engineer Scott to check every part of the ship's propulsion systems. Elaan reveals that Kryton had loved her and was infuriated by the news of the arranged marriage.

The Klingon ship then begins what appears to be an attack run. Just as Kirk orders the Enterprise to go to warp, Scott reports that, as a result of Kryton's sabotage, any attempt to do so will destroy the ship. As the Klingon passes by without firing, it becomes clear that they were hoping to destroy the Enterprise without an overt act of war. This plan having failed, the Klingons attack in earnest. Scott then reports that Kryton has damaged the dilithium crystals in the antimatter reactor control system, making it impossible to go to warp or fire their weapons.

In sickbay, Ambassador Petri again approaches Elaan and begs her to accept the necklace of Troyian royal jewels that was to be worn at her wedding, as a symbol of the hope for peace between their two worlds. Elaan accepts the necklace and subsequently appears on the bridge wearing it with her wedding dress. Spock detects strange energy readings from some of the jewels, which Elaan describes as common stones, valued only as good-luck charms. The stones are in fact dilithium crystals, which explains the Klingons' keen interest in this star system.

The crystals are quickly delivered to Scott in Engineering, where he and Spock work feverishly to replace the damaged dilithium crystals as the battle cruiser moves in for the kill. Power is restored to the Enterprise just before the Klingons’ final attack and the enemy ship is successfully driven off, severely damaged.

A much changed Elaan is delivered safely to Troyius. Before she departs, Elaan gives Kirk her dagger as a memento, explaining she has learned that "on Troyius, they do not wear such things." She and Kirk say their farewells in the transporter room, Elaan's heart obviously breaking. Later, McCoy appears on the bridge to report he has found an antidote to the Elasian tears, but it seems not to be needed after all. As Mr. Spock points out, "The Enterprise infected the Captain long before the Dohlman did."

Production[edit]

Cut from the episode was a scene in the ship's recreation room, where Kirk, McCoy, Uhura and Spock meet and discuss how to calm Elaan. Uhura suggests using the sound of Spock's Vulcan harp to calm her; the music is later heard piped into Elaan's cabin.[2]

This episode features the first appearance of the classic D-7 class Klingon battle cruiser designed and built by Star Trek art director Walter M. Jefferies.[5] The footage of the Klingon battle cruiser was re-used in subsequent episodes of the third season.

France Nuyen is believed to be the first actress of Vietnamese extraction to appear on American television.[6] She had previously starred with William Shatner on Broadway for two years in the title role of The World of Suzie Wong. She would later guest-star along with Shatner, as husband and wife, in the Kung Fu season 3 episode "A Small Beheading".

This episode is also the final appearance in the original series of Eddie Paskey as Lt. Leslie.

This episode has the distinction of having all seven principal characters in the final shot, on the Enterprise bridge - Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scotty, Uhura, Sulu and Chekov - along with an unidentified female Ensign, handing Kirk a computer report.

Reception[edit]

  • Trek Navigator's Mark A. Altman gave the episode two stars stating "A thinly veiled version of The Taming of the Shrew, the episode is largely carried on the shoulders of William Shatner."[7]
  • The A.V. Club's Zack Handlen rates "Elaan of Troyius" as a B, making note of character development and the unexpected ending: "If you'd asked me to predict the rest of the episode after Elaan and Kirk hooked up, I would've guessed it would have something to do with Kirk interfering with the wedding ... [i]nstead, we get a nifty space battle against the Klingons, a traitor in the Elasians, an unexpected source of dilithium crystals, and a curiously muted performance from Shatner that does a good job at conveying his internal struggle between feeling and duty without overselling it."[8]
  • Samuel Walters of [dauntlessmedia.net] rates the episode as a C-, citing a "scattershot approach to the plot" which "leaves too many possibilities unexplored and underdeveloped," and calling the entire episode "flat."[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Reineking, Brian (2016). The Esoteric Codex: Demigods of Classical Mythology. Lulu.com. p. 108. ISBN 1329970225. 
  2. ^ a b Asherman, Allan (1993). The Star trek compendium (1st Pocket Books trade pbk. ed.). New York: Pocket Books. p. 106. ISBN 0671796127. 
  3. ^ Lucas, John Meredyth. Episode 3/13, "Elaan of Troyius," Star Trek. First aired 20 December 1968. Retrieved April 5, 2015
  4. ^ Lucas, "Elaan of Troyius."
  5. ^ IMDb entry "Star Trek," Elaan of Troyius (TV Episode, 1968). www.imdb.com/title/tt0708428/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1. First aired 20 December 1968. Retrieved April 5, 2015.
  6. ^ https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0708428/trivia?ref_=tt_ql_2. Retrieved June 28, 2015.
  7. ^ Altman, Mark A.; Gross, Edward (1998). "The Episodes". Trek Navigator: The Ultimate Guide to the Entire Trek Saga. Little, Brown and Company. p. 67. ISBN 0-316-03812-1. 
  8. ^ Handlen, Zack (January 29, 2010). "Elaan of Troyius"/"Whom Gods Destroy". The A.V. Club. Retrieved June 17, 2011. 
  9. ^ Walters, Samuel. "313-Elaan of Troyius". dauntlessmedia.net. Retrieved June 17, 2011. 

External links[edit]