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

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Old August 23 2014, 01:57 AM   #1
Terran_Empire
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Elaan of Troyius - Mess of an episode

I have to say that this was one of the more disorienting episodes I have seen so far watching TOS in the remastered episode order. This episode could have been so good, it could have even been great thanks to some outstanding guest performances from France Nuyen and Jay Robinson, a solid premise and the Enterprise as the set and setting.

The problems lies in the sudden and jerky change of focus and plot. As soon as Kirk touched Elaan's tears around midway in, the entire episode was essentially restarted. The arranged marriage is now a background element rather than the primary focus, the Dohlman is now docile and agreeable with her "monstrous savagery" seemingly forgotten and then there is the contrived sabotage angle and shoe-horning of Klingons.

I, personally, wanted to see Kirk and company make a civilized woman out of that royal ingrate. Perhaps taking a turn for comedy or maybe even a memorable Kirk speech about the significance of tolerance for others' customs, etiquette and universal respect.

...But we got a rushed ship duel scene and a bad love story instead.

Now normally I would love to see a damaged Enterprise take on a warbird and swiftly turn a sure defeat into a close victory but I was irritably thrown off by how the original crisis, a fresh and interesting one, was discarded in favor of the Klingons breaking the treaty of the billionth time. Even at the end of the episode it doesn't really seem like the Dohlman has learned anything or grown at all, complaining about her responsibilities and only begrudgingly going along due only to Kirk's insistence (whom she seems to have fallen into a spell for and not the other way around ). And if she has developed it was not truly demonstrated as to how and in what way.

Just a frustrating one overall...
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Old August 23 2014, 02:38 AM   #2
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Re: Elaan of Troyius - Mess of an episode

Last time I ranked all TOS episodes, I ranked "Elaan of Troyius" at 23rd best out of 79.
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Old August 23 2014, 02:43 AM   #3
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Re: Elaan of Troyius - Mess of an episode

In the non-remastered version with the original effects, this was the first and only time on the series that we saw the Enterprise go toe-to-toe with a (non-Romulan) Klingon D7.
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Old August 23 2014, 04:57 AM   #4
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Re: Elaan of Troyius - Mess of an episode

I disagree I actually enjoyed Elaan of Troyius.

The Klingon space battle was very cool, but I also enjoyed Shatner and Elaan hitting it off.

The cast was good in this one.
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Old August 23 2014, 02:20 PM   #5
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Re: Elaan of Troyius - Mess of an episode

I had no real problem with this episode except maybe that the Federation was a party to taking a woman to be married against her will. I hope the Federation was above this sort of thing. Also there was a fine line in that Elaan talked about hating the marriage blah blah blah but wasn't like sneaking off in a shuttlecraft or something.

I don't see why Elaan needed to be civilised to Earth standards anyway.

The reason I thought she had become docile was because she thought she had Kirk in her power and he would save her. In the end when he didn't and with no other options she resigned to her fate.

Amazing TOS co-incidence no 34, Spock was walking around with a dilithium detector when there was 'amazingly' some dilithium the bridge (in Elaan's necklace). Was the scene as dodgy as I remember it or did Spock detect some fluxations in something or other technobabble and decided to get his trusty dilithium detector out?
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Old August 23 2014, 02:49 PM   #6
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Re: Elaan of Troyius - Mess of an episode

CommishSleer wrote: View Post
I had no real problem with this episode except maybe that the Federation was a party to taking a woman to be married against her will. I hope the Federation was above this sort of thing.
The alternative was to sit back and watch two peoples destroy each other. The Federation was only facilitating a peace agreement that the Troyians and Elasians had themselves formulated.

Also there was a fine line in that Elaan talked about hating the marriage blah blah blah but wasn't like sneaking off in a shuttlecraft or something.

I don't see why Elaan needed to be civilised to Earth standards anyway.
She nearly murdered the Troyian ambassador...her behavior was that of a spoiled brat in an adult's body complete with homicidal tendencies.

She clearly needed to be civilized to ANY standards, let alone to those of Earth and Troyius.

The reason I thought she had become docile was because she thought she had Kirk in her power and he would save her. In the end when he didn't and with no other options she resigned to her fate.
Which conflicts with her display of personality earlier on in the episode when she outright refuses on her life that such a marriage will never happen. There is some definite inconsistency here, love potion or not.

Amazing TOS co-incidence no 34, Spock was walking around with a dilithium detector when there was 'amazingly' some dilithium the bridge (in Elaan's necklace). Was the scene as dodgy as I remember it or did Spock detect some fluxations in something or other technobabble and decided to get his trusty dilithium detector out?
Here you are right, that was absolutely absurd...but in my dizziness I must not have paid too much mind to it.
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Old August 23 2014, 02:56 PM   #7
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Re: Elaan of Troyius - Mess of an episode

This was one of the three or four best episodes of the third season. It actually has the feel of a second season episode. I find it well written, produced and acted. It also has a superb score.

Not a mess at all, as far as I'm concerned, especially when compared to most other third season episodes. Definitely in my top 20.
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Old August 23 2014, 03:05 PM   #8
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Re: Elaan of Troyius - Mess of an episode

Terran_Empire wrote: View Post

Now normally I would love to see a damaged Enterprise take on a warbird and swiftly turn a sure defeat into a close victory ...
That would be difficult, since "warbird" is the name applied to the massive Romulan vessel seen in episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and no vessel with that nomenclature existed during the original series.
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Old August 23 2014, 03:30 PM   #9
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Re: Elaan of Troyius - Mess of an episode

CommishSleer wrote: View Post
Amazing TOS co-incidence no 34, Spock was walking around with a dilithium detector when there was 'amazingly' some dilithium the bridge (in Elaan's necklace). Was the scene as dodgy as I remember it or did Spock detect some fluxations in something or other technobabble and decided to get his trusty dilithium detector out?

Spock is taking sensor readings all the time. When he picked up some odd energy readings and localized it to the bridge, he then used a general-purpose hand-held sensor to zero in on it. There was nothing about that scene that broke credibility, as I see it.

"Elaan" is a great episode, especially for the third season. You get a dazzling female guest star, a Klingon battle scene, and one of Fred Steiner's most exciting music scores.
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Old August 23 2014, 03:50 PM   #10
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Re: Elaan of Troyius - Mess of an episode

ZapBrannigan wrote: View Post
CommishSleer wrote: View Post
Amazing TOS co-incidence no 34, Spock was walking around with a dilithium detector when there was 'amazingly' some dilithium the bridge (in Elaan's necklace). Was the scene as dodgy as I remember it or did Spock detect some fluxations in something or other technobabble and decided to get his trusty dilithium detector out?

Spock is taking sensor readings all the time. When he picked up some odd energy readings and localized it to the bridge, he then used a general-purpose hand-held sensor to zero in on it. There was nothing about that scene that broke credibility, as I see it.
Did they explain it as well as you just did? I want to believe...

I'd just have been as happy for Spock or Sulu or anyone to just recognise the necklace as being dilithium.
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Old August 23 2014, 05:25 PM   #11
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Re: Elaan of Troyius - Mess of an episode

CommishSleer wrote: View Post
I had no real problem with this episode except maybe that the Federation was a party to taking a woman to be married against her will.
Speaking of her will, Elas side doesn't make more sense. She's visibly from a royal family who has the effective powers and can arbitrarily chose if someone will die or live. It's not a consitutionnal monarchy with a royal family well aware of its symbolic role. What the hell the Federation are doing with them? I mean, the Tellun star system is " under Federation control", so l conclude Elas (oh, I finally notice the reference) and and Troyius are federated planets...but these two planet are at war together and their political systems don't fit with what we can conclude about the Federation. So what, the Federation is there simply to protect them against the Klingons?

I think it's a good episode, but one of it flaws is it show how much the Federation is underconceptualized.
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Old August 23 2014, 06:00 PM   #12
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Re: Elaan of Troyius - Mess of an episode

CommishSleer wrote: View Post
I had no real problem with this episode except maybe that the Federation was a party to taking a woman to be married against her will. I hope the Federation was above this sort of thing. Also there was a fine line in that Elaan talked about hating the marriage blah blah blah but wasn't like sneaking off in a shuttlecraft or something.
This was addressed in the episode [link].
ELAAN: I will not go to Troyius, I will not be mated to a Troyian, and I will not be humiliated, and I will not be given to a green pig as a bribe to stop a war!
KIRK: You enjoy the privileges and prerogatives of being a Dohlman. Then be worthy of them. If you don't want the obligations that go along with the title, then give it up.
All she had to do was resign as Dohlman or renounce the title.

I don't see why Elaan needed to be civilised to Earth standards anyway.
She needed to be civilized by Troyian standards. Kirk took over the job of civilizing her after she'd tried to kill Ambassador Petri.

The reason I thought she had become docile was because she thought she had Kirk in her power and he would save her. In the end when he didn't and with no other options she resigned to her fate.
ELAAN: Nor have I. I have only responsibilities and obligations. Goodbye.
Since before she beams out she's talking about responsibilities and obligations, the word that Kirk had used before, I think we're supposed to believe that Kirk had gotten through to her.

Amazing TOS co-incidence no 34, Spock was walking around with a dilithium detector when there was 'amazingly' some dilithium the bridge (in Elaan's necklace). Was the scene as dodgy as I remember it or did Spock detect some fluxations in something or other technobabble and decided to get his trusty dilithium detector out?
It was the latter, and it was probably just a general scanner. The actual prop was McCoy's medical scanner.

CommishSleer wrote: View Post
ZapBrannigan wrote: View Post
CommishSleer wrote: View Post
Amazing TOS co-incidence no 34, Spock was walking around with a dilithium detector when there was 'amazingly' some dilithium the bridge (in Elaan's necklace). Was the scene as dodgy as I remember it or did Spock detect some fluxations in something or other technobabble and decided to get his trusty dilithium detector out?

Spock is taking sensor readings all the time. When he picked up some odd energy readings and localized it to the bridge, he then used a general-purpose hand-held sensor to zero in on it. There was nothing about that scene that broke credibility, as I see it.
Did they explain it as well as you just did? I want to believe...

I'd just have been as happy for Spock or Sulu or anyone to just recognise the necklace as being dilithium.
You'd think they would have noticed them. Maybe all gemstones of the same color look alike to them.
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Old August 23 2014, 08:05 PM   #13
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Re: Elaan of Troyius - Mess of an episode

Spock looking at Elaan's breasts or Spock looking at his sensor screens? The second option is what he does usually.
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You'd think they would have noticed them. Maybe all gemstones of the same color look alike to them.
Especially since they wasn't refined crystals shaped for energetic functions, but crude crystals shaped for jewelry.
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Old August 23 2014, 08:42 PM   #14
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Re: Elaan of Troyius - Mess of an episode

The occasional insightful (and usually heavy handed) Trekkie Feminist wrote this review of the episode. Her reviews are often unintentionally funny.

http://trekkiefeminist.tumblr.com/po...aan-of-troyius

CommishSleer wrote: View Post
I had no real problem with this episode except maybe that the Federation was a party to taking a woman to be married against her will.
There was something similar in TNG.

Armored Saint wrote: View Post
Speaking of her will, Elas side doesn't make more sense. She's visibly from a royal family who has the effective powers ...
Troyius too, their leader is referred to as a "ruler."

so l conclude Elas (oh, I finally notice the reference) and and Troyius are federated planets...
I don't think they are Federation Members, the episode spoke of nuclear weapons being recently achieved, so that would be their tech level. Maybe protectorates?

The Klingons were nearby and claimed the system, which arguably they wouldn't if both planets (separately or combined) were already Member worlds.

... and their political systems don't fit with what we can conclude about the Federation.
Nothing precludes any (or many) of the Federation Member worlds from possessing a Royal system of government.

(and who exactly is "we?")


Last edited by Elvira; August 23 2014 at 09:17 PM.
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Old August 24 2014, 03:57 AM   #15
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Re: Elaan of Troyius - Mess of an episode

T'Girl wrote: View Post
The occasional insightful (and usually heavy handed) Trekkie Feminist wrote this review of the episode. Her reviews are often unintentionally funny.

http://trekkiefeminist.tumblr.com/po...aan-of-troyius

This episode failed the Beschdel test. What a surprise?
I would be surprised if any TOS episode passed.

This is hardly a feminist episode and if we ignore the obvious comparisons to 'Taming of the Shrew' you can just take it as Elaan being a particular difficult person not just a particularly difficult woman.

If Kirk were truly a compassionate man he would have presented Elaan her options at the end of the episode. He could have said if you don't really want to marry the 'Troyan pig' then leg it. But he didn't do it because he wanted to fulfill his duty and stop the war (McGuffin) and frankly he had made a whole heap of sacrifices in his life for duty as well.
I wonder what Janeway or Sisko would have done in Kirk's place? We know Picard sent that girl on her way and Archer follows orders unless it endangers his dog.

As another aside I find it difficult to believe that Uhura had to give up her 'palatial' cabin for Elaan. in 'Journey to Babel' they had 100 ambassadors on board. Where did they put them?
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