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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"Whom Gods Destroy"
List of Star Trek: The Original Series episodes

"Elaan of Troyius" is a third season episode of the original science fiction television series, Star Trek, and was broadcast 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 this 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 Troyius, the outermost world in the Tellun system, to pick up Ambassador Petri, a green-skinned, white-haired Troyian. He is then taken to Elas, the innermost planet, to pick up the Dohlman, Elaan – an exotic, black-haired, beautiful but very demanding young woman who is a member of the Elasian royal family. Though she is politically powerful herself, it is unclear who the real power is on Elas. What is clear is that the rulers of Elas and Troyius (the Council of Nobles and the Troyius Tribunal respectively)[3] have mutually agreed to marry Elaan to a royal of Troyius (presumably the King, as Petri refers to him as "our ruler"[4]), to secure peace before the two planets destroy each other.

The Tellun system lies in a border area between the Federation and the Klingon Empire. The Federation hopes that this interplanetary royal marriage will bring peace and sway the Troyians and the Elasians toward the Federation rather than the Empire. Elaan is a most reluctant bride, cursing the arrangement that is, as she sees it, sending her off to be married to an enemy. Ambassador Petri's mission is to make the spoiled and arrogant Elaan acquainted with the manners and customs of the Troyians whose Queen she will be.

Not long after Elaan's arrival and the Enterprise beginning her passage to Troyius at 3% of lightspeed, a Klingon warship is detected in the Tellun system. It ignores all hails from the Enterprise. Captain Kirk is summoned to Elaan's quarters. There he finds Ambassador Petri stabbed by Elaan, who has not been pleased with his attempts to teach her what she needs to learn. The ambassador is rushed to sickbay, where he refuses to have any more dealings with the Dohlman and threatens to advise his ruler not to marry her. The job of teaching her what she needs to know 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 the attraction is biochemical. If the tears of an Elasian female touch a man's skin, he will be enraptured and enslaved to her forever. The men of Elas have searched for a counter to the Elasian tears for centuries, without success.

Elaan does not take kindly to being "civilized" and attempts to stab Kirk. He overpowers her, disarms her, and chews her out, telling her that she will learn what she has been ordered to learn. She begins to cry, saying she is worried by the fact that nobody likes her and she does not know how to get people to like her. Kirk tries to comfort her, but makes the mistake of wiping a tear from her cheek and is overcome by its biochemical love potion. Elaan and Kirk begin a passionate love affair.

Meanwhile, one of the ship's watchstanding engineers is killed by Kryton, chief of Elaan's bodyguards, who is secretly working for the Klingons. Kryton sabotages the dilithium crystals that control the Enterprise's warp engines and tries to contact the Klingon battle cruiser. He is captured, but commits suicide before he can be interrogated. Elaan explains that Kryton was from a noble family and had loved her. The arranged marriage had infuriated him and he sold out to the Klingons, probably hoping to disrupt the planetary alliance so that he could marry her.

Elaan tries to use her power over Kirk to get him do her bidding. She suggests that he destroy Troyius and then become the ruler of Elas, but his ethics and willpower are stronger than her biochemical influence. He orders Chief Medical Officer Dr. McCoy to work on an antidote to the power of her tears. Elaan is impressed by Kirk's resolve and makes it clear to him that she has deliberately chosen him as her mate. She treats him as a beloved equal, obeying him when he asks her to go to sickbay (the safest part of the ship) when the Klingon battle cruiser attacks the Enterprise.

Meanwhile, Chief Engineer Scott discovers Kryton's sabotage. He reports that Kryton damaged the dilithium crystals in the antimatter reactor control system, making it impossible to go to warp or fire the phasers. Without the antimatter reactor, the Enterprise is a sitting duck. Kirk, still under the influence of Elaan's tears, manages to pull himself together and bluff the Klingons into thinking the Enterprise is fully operational.

In sickbay, Ambassador Petri again approaches Elaan with the royal gifts — a wedding dress and a necklace of large, roughly cut raydan gemstones — saying that they symbolize the hope for peace between their two worlds. Elaan accepts the gifts and subsequently appears on the bridge wearing them, saying that if they are all going to die, she wants to die at Kirk's side. Spock detects strange energy readings from her necklace. Elaan is puzzled because to her the raydan jewels are common stones — the necklace has little monetary value on her world. Spock discovers the "common stones" are crude dilithium crystals, which explains the Klingons' keen interest in this star system.

The raydans are quickly delivered to Scott in Engineering; there, he uses them to restore the ship's antimatter reactor control circuits. Scott and Science Officer Spock work feverishly to replace the damaged dilithium crystals with the crude crystals from Elaan's necklace 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.

Elaan is puzzled by Kirk's decision to cripple the enemy ship rather than destroy it. She asks, "Aren't you going to finish them off?" To that, he replies, "No." He knows destroying the Klingon battle cruiser would cause a diplomatic crisis that could result in the Federation's losing the Tellun system.

A much changed Elaan is delivered safely to Troyius. Before she departs, Elaan gives Kirk her dagger as a memento, explaining that she has learned "... 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 that he has found an antidote to Elasian tears, but it seems not to be needed after all. As Mr. Spock informs him, "The antidote to a woman of Elas, Doctor, is a starship. 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.

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

Reception[edit]

  • 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."[7]
  • 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."[8]

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. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0708428/trivia?ref_=tt_ql_2. Retrieved June 28, 2015.
  7. ^ Handlen, Zack (January 29, 2010). "Elaan of Troyius"/"Whom Gods Destroy". The A.V. Club. Retrieved June 17, 2011. 
  8. ^ Walters, Samuel. "313-Elaan of Troyius". dauntlessmedia.net. Retrieved June 17, 2011. 

External links[edit]