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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek TV Series > Star Trek - Original Series

Star Trek - Original Series The one that started it all...

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Old June 5 2011, 06:24 AM   #1
Bad Atom
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"And the Children Shall Lead" wasn't all that bad...

Okay, hear me out.

I still think it's a bottom of the barrel episode, but on a recent rewatch, I actually derived some enjoyment out of watching it. Some "good" points:
  • The premise is pretty creepy and interesting, it's just some of the writing and execution that falls flat. It's a Star Trek take on a classic horror story.
  • Some of the (sadly unreleased) music is kind of cool.
  • Redshirts beamed into space, knives in space, ugly old Uhura, Gorgan's face melting - there are some cool little moments and visuals throughout the episode.
  • The whole cast gets something to do, which I always prefer over "Kirk, Spock and McCoy have an adventure".
  • There's a lot of unintended hilarity, and I always enjoy that. It's not as fun as "Spock's Brain" but it's still good for a few laughs.
Anyone else here able to find some entertainment value in this episode?
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Old June 5 2011, 06:37 AM   #2
MHT1138
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Re: "And the Children Shall Lead" wasn't all that bad...

You make some good points, and I agree unintended hilarity is fun. It's been awhile, I should rewatch it.
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Old June 5 2011, 06:53 AM   #3
Kelso
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Re: "And the Children Shall Lead" wasn't all that bad...

I think it is all that bad.
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Old June 5 2011, 08:27 AM   #4
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Re: "And the Children Shall Lead" wasn't all that bad...

There are definitely some redeeming values to the episode. We get to see a different part of the ship (or a different decor of a previous one). We see the miraculous "out of tricorder" recording experience. The UFP flag. A view of the encampment dome that appears later on in "The Empath". And probably the most bizarre behavior ever of Captain Kirk, going paranoid and hugging Spock for comfort.

Other than that, I think it's just terribly done. An embarrassment, really. The best way to get through it is to take it as a tongue-in-cheek episode, like Plato's Stepchildren. But even that is a stretch. Worst episode ever made in the Star Trek franchise, IMHO.
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Old June 5 2011, 11:26 AM   #5
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Re: "And the Children Shall Lead" wasn't all that bad...

I don't find it to be as terrible as most do.
Surely not good, but not the unwatchable worst of the worst.

It fails in the execution and style, I guess.
But I can appreciate the idea and story.

An alien who seeks to control by exploiting deepest fears and manipulating the most vulnerable members of a species? That's not bad.

Children controlled by alien influence, dancing about on the graves of their dead parents--victims of mass suicides. That is very disturbing and dark indeed. Very creepy, very un-Trek like.

There is a scary creepy dark story here.
An intriguing idea that got botched in the execution.
Better than most other bad eps, where even the *idea* sucks from the get-go.
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Old June 5 2011, 12:48 PM   #6
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Re: "And the Children Shall Lead" wasn't all that bad...

SchwEnt wrote: View Post

It fails in the execution and style, I guess.
But I can appreciate the idea and story.
I think you have hit the nail square on the head. Execution and style (probably due largely to budgetary constraints) I think are largely the cause of the so-called "bad episodes" being bad.

Also, I think the Gorgon's moo-moo gown was just wrong and took away from much of the gravitas of the episode's plot-line.
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Old June 5 2011, 01:11 PM   #7
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Re: "And the Children Shall Lead" wasn't all that bad...

Gary7 wrote: View Post
There are definitely some redeeming values to the episode. We get to see a different part of the ship (or a different decor of a previous one). We see the miraculous "out of tricorder" recording experience.
Apparently Starfleet’s standard-issue tricorders have automatic dolly, pan-and-tilt, zoom, and editing features!

And probably the most bizarre behavior ever of Captain Kirk, going paranoid and hugging Spock for comfort.
“I'm losing command. I'm losing the Enterprise. The ship is sailing on and on. I'm alone. Alone. Alone. I'm losing command!” That scene is truly the most over-the-top Shatner moment in the entire series.

Bdry73 wrote: View Post
Also, I think the Gorgon's moo-moo gown was just wrong and took away from much of the gravitas of the episode's plot-line.
And the fact that he was played by high-profile attorney Melvin Belli, a man not known for his acting talent — at least, not outside of a courtroom.
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Old June 5 2011, 02:27 PM   #8
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Re: "And the Children Shall Lead" wasn't all that bad...

I love the lazy story-telling when the just suddenly added a little vanity mirror next to Uhura's station so she could see her old self.

I'm not sure what this unreleased music is, but I would love to know more about that.

I just remembered something else... Shatner mentions it as one of their finest episodes in his Star Trek Memories book(!) I guess the researcher was out that day when Bill was typing.
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Old June 5 2011, 03:09 PM   #9
SchwEnt
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Re: "And the Children Shall Lead" wasn't all that bad...

I would attribute Uhura's console vanity mirror to Gorgon's powers.

There wasn't somehow a mirror there that we never noticed or was suddenly put there (for that, check Sickbay in "The Deadly Years). And I don't think The Friendly Angel materialized one, either.

But in the same way he caused Sulu to see space-swords (there weren't really giant knives out there), he caused Uhura to see herself as she faced her console. There wasn't really a mirror there, but he caused her to see herself as she looked there.
Right?
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Old June 5 2011, 03:19 PM   #10
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Re: "And the Children Shall Lead" wasn't all that bad...

Tenuous but logical.
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Old June 5 2011, 03:19 PM   #11
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Re: "And the Children Shall Lead" wasn't all that bad...

I agree with the "creepy concept, bad execution" sentiment as well. Conceptually, the story has a "Children of the Corn" quality to it, something just got lost in the translation to film.
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Old June 5 2011, 04:48 PM   #12
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Re: "And the Children Shall Lead" wasn't all that bad...

SchwEnt wrote: View Post
There is a scary creepy dark story here.
An intriguing idea that got botched in the execution.
That I can agree with. There is a potentially good story buried under this pile of over-the-top film refuse.
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Old June 6 2011, 02:10 AM   #13
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Re: "And the Children Shall Lead" wasn't all that bad...

It probably hasn't aged well, but I would be lying if I didn't admit that this episode always scared me as a child. And it still has its creepy moments . . ..

(Hell, I even brought Gorgan back in one of my novels, so clearly he made some impression on me.)

I'd rather watch something weird that didn't quite work than a merely mediocre episode like, say, "Friday's Child."
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Old June 6 2011, 02:15 AM   #14
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Re: "And the Children Shall Lead" wasn't all that bad...

Actually I just revisited this episode this afternoon:
Warped9 wrote: View Post
“And The Children Shall Lead” *

A scientific expedition is found to have all suicided...except the children.

This episode starts off pretty damned dark with the scene of a group of adults laying about, all dead by self-inflicted poison. And it's made all the darker and creepier by the sight and sound of children playing amongst their dead parents. Another really disturbing moment is the realization they've just beamed two innocent security personnel unknowingly out into the vacuum of space while under way at warp. Ouch, that's cold.

Candidly this episode isn't bad...for about the first twenty minutes and then it starts to go off the rails. It comes down to questionable and truly over-the-top execution best exemplified by Shatner's exaggerated performance when he's affected by the children. And then to cap it off you have a villain that looks absolutely ridiculous and performed by some schmuck who can't act worth a damn. Some of the written dialogue is pretty bad too.

It's a huge letdown after an initial run of good episodes for the season. It's even more of a disappointment because underneath the poor execution is a genuinely dark and unnerving story waiting to be told. Some editing and smarter writing and more nuance could have gone a long way. The Gorgan needed to be rethought and someone actually talented needed to portray him. The gestures the children make to wield their influence looks rather screwy too.

This isn't just a disappointment---it's a show falling on its face.


The thing about "And The Children Shall Lead" is also the missed opportunity. You're already starting with something potentially dark and creepy so why not go for it and unnerve the crap out of the audience? I could easily see that being done today only perhaps more graphically. But actually I'm thinking in terms of what's been done like in some of the best X-Files episodes where you could really creep folks out just by playing with their imagination yet without really showing anything.

A little rewriting and a better director perhaps to keep things focused and you may really have something...
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Old June 6 2011, 02:36 AM   #15
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Re: "And the Children Shall Lead" wasn't all that bad...

While I can derive some pleasure out of most of the third season episodes, this is not one of them. To me it's unwatchable, along with "The Lights of Zetar" and "Plato's Step children".
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