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

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Old August 24 2014, 07:21 PM   #31
mos6507
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Re: Elaan of Troyius - Mess of an episode

Regarding the outfits--their whole culture seems to be kind of crass and tasteless, and really, much of the episode has a comic quality to it, despite the battle at the end, so it works for me.

There's a lot of talk lately on whether in-charge women are unfairly labeled, but there's a difference between being firm and being a spoiled brat. This character had no true leadership qualities. People like that are the reasons monarchies were overthrown.
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Old August 24 2014, 07:34 PM   #32
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Re: Elaan of Troyius - Mess of an episode

I liked the costumes. They were weird and therefore "alien."

mos6507 wrote: View Post
This character had no true leadership qualities. People like that are the reasons monarchies were overthrown.
This raises an issue that I think is one of the interesting subtexts of the episode. Is this why Elaan was chosen by her government: because the waves made by her acting out weren't good for the stability of the ruling class? There had to be a reason why she, as it were, drew the short straw for the assignment.
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Old August 24 2014, 08:21 PM   #33
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Re: Elaan of Troyius - Mess of an episode

We don't know the dynamics of the situation, but merely marrying two leaders shouldn't be particularly relevant in averting mutual destruction. There must be something more substantial going on that can then be crowned with the PR stunt. Is it a more or less equitable peace accord in which both sides make concessions? Or is it that the superior Troyius is agreeing not to crush Elas if they (among other gestures of capitulation) humiliatingly whore away their leadress - or that the superior Elas is agreeing not to crush Troyius if they (among other gestures of capitulation) humiliatingly accept this insufferable brat as their royal spouse?

"Warbird" was only applied to Klingon ships in an Episode of Enterprise written by a moron who failed miserably at Trek history, in a miserable series that failed miserably at Trek history. You can take that as canon if you wish. I take it as as an error.
Whatever. On this board, "warbird" is correct parlance for Klingon ships, although we don't quite know which sort.

The sad thing is, it's sort of the definition of moronic to decide that "warbird" as a starship designation is unacceptable for a species (the only species!) that uses "bird of prey" as a starship designation...

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Old August 24 2014, 08:26 PM   #34
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Re: Elaan of Troyius - Mess of an episode

mos6507 wrote: View Post
This character had no true leadership qualities. People like that are the reasons monarchies were overthrown.
And democratically elected governments too.

CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
There had to be a reason why she, as it were, drew the short straw for the assignment.
Perhaps "The Dohlman" is the Elas term for daughter number eight.


Last edited by Merry Christmas; August 24 2014 at 08:37 PM.
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Old August 24 2014, 08:28 PM   #35
Armored Saint
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Re: Elaan of Troyius - Mess of an episode

Timo wrote: View Post

What the hell the Federation are doing with them?
Trying to bring them to peace? If that requires making them part of the Federation, why not? The Federation is always meddling with the affairs of its member worlds but never has absolute control over them, and tolerates all kinds of alien or barbaric behavior from them (say, Vulcan or Ardana).

It's fun to remember that the real-world namesakes of Elas and Troyius are both NATO members yet essentially in a state of war against each other even today...
NATO isn even not a confederation. Its need for cohesion isn't really high.

The Federation needs more cohesion than simply "being together to avoid Klingon invasions". It doesn't make sense to have Starfleet with his mission of peace and his values of justice and freedom to represent a weird amalgam of political regimes, including some autocracies and other absolute monarchies. Of course, that doesen't mean it's the pure harmony in the UFP, see Journey to Babel, but that's normal.

Of course, the UFP tries to bring them to peace, but what's bugging me is the fact the stellar system is under "Federation control". Does it mean the Federation is there to preserve inhabited planets ruled by fully sovereign governments from Klingon expansionnism or does it means these planets are semi/future/potential/fully members of the Federation?

Without the "Federation control", it would have been a typical case where the Federation is an external third party called as arbiter.

Elaan and her guards are so attached to Elasian's sovereignty they don't realize they can't act like they were on a ship from Elasian fleet.
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EnriqueH wrote: View Post
I thought Kirk's behavior in Elaan was consistent with the way he was portrayed in the past.

In fact, we've seen Kirk try to teach a man how to behave: in Charlie X.

Boy, was he a little shit or what? Talk about a sense of entitlement.
Yes Kirk is consistent with his treatment of women as portrayed in the past

Kirk took on a boy not a man in Charlie X.
What are you talking about? Kirk didn't even seduce that one, she "drugged" him. It's also the first time we see him talking about spanking a woman.

She tried to convince him to commit horrible things. Kirk was the manipulated, not the manipulator (example: Kelinda in By Any Other Man). If you want to criticize Kirk-the-macho, you didn't chose the most appropriate episode.

Charlie was 17 years old, so half-boy/half-man and Kirk had to help him with this transition. Elan was an immature woman who had serious responsabilities.
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Old August 24 2014, 08:36 PM   #36
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Re: Elaan of Troyius - Mess of an episode

Timo wrote: View Post
We don't know the dynamics of the situation, but merely marrying two leaders shouldn't be particularly relevant in averting mutual destruction.
There's a whole Wikipedia article on the subject of royal intermarriage that might be of help. The wiki article on marriage of state even mentions Helen of Troy in its opening paragraph. (Granted these aren't the best articles, but the topics are well-known ones, generally speaking.)
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Old August 24 2014, 09:55 PM   #37
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Re: Elaan of Troyius - Mess of an episode

As always with these things it's the overall message being sent. Here it's that this woman's value is simply as property used for political reasons. We don't see the Troyian "Ruler" being sent to Elas to marry her, we see her being carted to him. Then the story portrays her an an emotional creature who can't control herself (as women are routinely described in western culture), and whose only real power is her sex. When she can't best the man using her feminine wiles, she caves in and accepts her lot. You don't need feminist theory to see how this portrayal is sexist and stereotyped.
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Old August 25 2014, 01:52 AM   #38
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Re: Elaan of Troyius - Mess of an episode

The only Federation involvement I recall from the episode was to transport the Dohlman and Ambassador Petri to the planet. Any other direct involvement came from circumstances after the fact. What am I forgetting?
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Old August 25 2014, 02:37 AM   #39
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Re: Elaan of Troyius - Mess of an episode

It is easy to interpret the spectacle of Elaan as being sexist, but in the context of this episode, it is clearly the Elasians and Troyans of both sexes that are quarrelsome and prone to aggression and resentment. Consider this passage:

[Corridor]

PETRI: Captain, I wish to contact my government. I cannot fulfil my mission. It would be an insult to our ruler to bring this incorrigible monster as a bride!
KIRK: Ambassador! This is supposed to be a peaceful mission.
PETRI: There cannot be peace between us. We have deluded ourselves. Captain, when I am near them, I do not want peace. I want to kill them.
KIRK: You're as bad as she is. It's not required that you like each other. Just do your job.
PETRI: Job? The job is impossible. We cannot make peace with people we detest.
KIRK: Stop trying to kill each other. Then worry about being friendly.
PETRI: But if she won't listen to me
KIRK: Then make her listen, Ambassador. Use a different approach. Stop being so diplomatic. She respects strength. Go in strong.
That corridor scene underscored that both the Elasians and the Troyans are barbaric rivals. Hardly reasonable to single-out Elaan for that.

I have to say that France Nguyen's performance was outstanding in this episode. The kind of characters the Elasians and Troyans portray aren't really that far removed from our experience today. She took an interesting role and a way-out-there costume and ran with it.

About the business of Spock finding dilithium in Elaan's necklace: What was so unusual or contrived about that? The ship was on alert, sustaining hits from an attacking Klingon vessel after the Enterprise's engineering section had been infiltrated and sabotaged from within, so Spock had the ship's sensors fully active. It was natural for the ship's sensors to pick up the stray dilithium within; Kirk's crew learned after the security breech that nearly cost him his life in "Journey to Babel". So the discovery scene went down like this:

SPOCK: He's passed us again. Damage to number four shield.
KIRK: How bad?
SPOCK: It will not withstand another full charge, Captain. I'm getting some very peculiar energy readings.
SULU: He's paralleling us again. He seems to have broken off the attack.
KIRK: What sort of readings, Mister Spock?
SPOCK: (Spock brings out a scanner similar to Doctor McCoy's handheld unit, begins scanning with it.) She is the source.
KIRK: Elaan?
SPOCK: The necklace.
KIRK: What kind of jewels are in this?
ELAAN: They call them radans. The necklace is supposed to bring you luck. It is of little value. They are common stones.
SPOCK: These are common stones? (scans them) See, Captain? Here and here.
KIRK: Common stones? Now I see why the Klingons are interested in this system. May I have this?
ELAAN: If I can be of any help, of course.
So, Spock's hand-scanner is sensing peculiar energy readings; I imagine that some background radiation from the Enterprise's Bridge equipment ricochets around inside the hull, and resonated in the crystals, thus allowing Spock's equipment to detect it as anomalous energy readings. Nothing odd or contrived there.

I agree the plot could have used more time in the oven, and the Elasian guards' costumes could have used a bigger budget. (Hilarious to hear they were made of placemats!) But TOS was always plagued by limited budgets and stories that were obviously rushed.

The notion that this was somehow a manifestly inferior TOS outing is ridiculous. It was played with a light touch, but that was to make it easier for the TV audience to judge the follies of the "primitive" Elasians and Troyans as barbarous and silly; in reality if they had been portrayed more seriously as rival Earth powers it probably would have hit too close to home for the TV audience (1960s and now). So making their high jinx light and amusing was probably a good call. The TNG outings "Lonely Among Us", "Haven" and "The Dauphin" all recycled elements of "Elaan of Troyus" and with little success. I actually preferred Kirk's misadventure in the Tellun system.

The only flaws in the ep, as far as I'm concerned are (1: that the story could have used a little more work, (2: Kryton needed more than just jealousy to drive him to do what he did, and (3: we could have used more than just a Klingon talking head as a threat. If we had the Klingon bridge set anyway, why not show a few Klingons and have them plotting like what we saw in "Balance of Terror"? (Of course, it would probably become a two-part episode if that happened.)
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Last edited by Wingsley; August 25 2014 at 02:39 AM. Reason: typo
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Old August 25 2014, 03:16 AM   #40
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Re: Elaan of Troyius - Mess of an episode

Armored Saint wrote: View Post
Timo wrote: View Post

What the hell the Federation are doing with them?
Trying to bring them to peace? If that requires making them part of the Federation, why not? The Federation is always meddling with the affairs of its member worlds but never has absolute control over them, and tolerates all kinds of alien or barbaric behavior from them (say, Vulcan or Ardana).

It's fun to remember that the real-world namesakes of Elas and Troyius are both NATO members yet essentially in a state of war against each other even today...
NATO isn even not a confederation. Its need for cohesion isn't really high.

The Federation needs more cohesion than simply "being together to avoid Klingon invasions". It doesn't make sense to have Starfleet with his mission of peace and his values of justice and freedom to represent a weird amalgam of political regimes, including some autocracies and other absolute monarchies. Of course, that doesen't mean it's the pure harmony in the UFP, see Journey to Babel, but that's normal.

Of course, the UFP tries to bring them to peace, but what's bugging me is the fact the stellar system is under "Federation control". Does it mean the Federation is there to preserve inhabited planets ruled by fully sovereign governments from Klingon expansionnism or does it means these planets are semi/future/potential/fully members of the Federation?

Without the "Federation control", it would have been a typical case where the Federation is an external third party called as arbiter.

Elaan and her guards are so attached to Elasian's sovereignty they don't realize they can't act like they were on a ship from Elasian fleet.
CommishSleer wrote: View Post
EnriqueH wrote: View Post
I thought Kirk's behavior in Elaan was consistent with the way he was portrayed in the past.

In fact, we've seen Kirk try to teach a man how to behave: in Charlie X.

Boy, was he a little shit or what? Talk about a sense of entitlement.
Yes Kirk is consistent with his treatment of women as portrayed in the past

Kirk took on a boy not a man in Charlie X.
What are you talking about? Kirk didn't even seduce that one, she "drugged" him. It's also the first time we see him talking about spanking a woman.

She tried to convince him to commit horrible things. Kirk was the manipulated, not the manipulator (example: Kelinda in By Any Other Man). If you want to criticize Kirk-the-macho, you didn't chose the most appropriate episode.

Charlie was 17 years old, so half-boy/half-man and Kirk had to help him with this transition. Elan was an immature woman who had serious responsabilities.
I would probably also add that Kirk's reference to spanking was not so much a belief in spanking women in general, but rather a spanking to a child.

In other words, I think Kirk was inferring that Elaan was acting like a child.

That's how I've always interpreted that comment.
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Old August 25 2014, 03:20 AM   #41
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Re: Elaan of Troyius - Mess of an episode

I completely agree that Kryton's motivations, such as they were, did not cut it. It felt thrown-in and out of place, somehow. He's been bowing, kneeling and answering Elaan's orders like a good boy and that's all we saw of this "relationship" with her. It almost seems like she's just making it up. Would it have killed "them" to show the two alone, having their little moments where he could at least say that he's been working on a plan to ruin this mission, but he won't tell her more to keep her protected.
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Old August 25 2014, 06:00 AM   #42
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Re: Elaan of Troyius - Mess of an episode

Could someone please explain the sabotage of the engines? How did we get from Kryton planting a bomb (which we never see, do we?) to needing dilithium crystals (and how would that even help)? Was there something in the script that was cut from the final episode? Thanks!
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Old August 25 2014, 09:47 AM   #43
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Re: Elaan of Troyius - Mess of an episode

It seems Kryton simply did a thorough job. First, there's the bomb that will lead to immediate Klingon victory if detonated - and it was probably meant to be found, so that Kirk would be paralyzed rather than killed, and the Klingons could have their way with him. Then there's further sabotage, including destruction of the dilithium converter and supposedly the crystals within; this slows down Kirk's attempts at regaining control of his ship, attempts the Klingons must realize would otherwise soon be successful.

"I've got bad news, Captain. The entire dilithium crystal converter assembly is fused. No chance of repair."
The "bad news" suggest Scotty going through everything with a fine comb and finding all the deadly traps one by one; for all we know, he found a dozen, and this is the only one he can do nothing about, so he needs to report rather than repair.

We did see Kryton working with this very piece of equipment that generally is associated with dilithium, so the story is surprisingly techno-consistent there.

There's a whole Wikipedia article on the subject of royal intermarriage that might be of help.
And it makes it rather clear that peace and agreement did not stem from the King being bought off or calmed down with a woman or five. An agreement came first, and the marriage was the symbolic seal to that.

In the long term, people of old may have been interested in dynastic lines and such. Yet that's a very long-term, that is, slow-acting concern. The problem these two factions have with their nuclear weapons is rather modern and acute, and won't be defused by goodwill gestures or sex bribes - obviously, the Troyian despot could purchase trophy wives of his liking by other means. Something significant must have happened between the two factions on the brink of annihilation, after which this symbolic marriage would come to play.

The other option is that it's simple hostage-taking. And since Elaan is the party having to relocate, she'd be the hostage and Troyius the faction with the upper hand. One has to wonder, though... Would the Elasians really care? If this was their iron-fisted ruler being taken away from them, would they rather launch a thousand ships or rejoice?

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Old August 25 2014, 12:54 PM   #44
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Re: Elaan of Troyius - Mess of an episode

EnriqueH wrote: View Post

I would probably also add that Kirk's reference to spanking was not so much a belief in spanking women in general, but rather a spanking to a child.

In other words, I think Kirk was inferring that Elaan was acting like a child.

That's how I've always interpreted that comment.
This is why I think Elaan of Troyius is a sexist episode:

(I'm qualifying this by saying that it was made in the 60s and I accept that there were different standards then)

1. They were forcing a woman to marry someone she didn't want to.

2. Kirk's remark "Mister Spock, the women on your planet are logical. That's the only planet in this galaxy that can make that claim."

3. McCoys remark about Elas women " Now the women, they're supposed to be something very special. They're supposed to have a kind of subtle, mystical power that drives men wild."

4. Kirk threatening to spank Elaan - infantilises her.

5. The overall message of the episode that Kirk managed to tame the unruly woman and teach her how to be good for her Troyian husband.

6. Although well intended putting Elaan in Uhura's girly room instead of some regular guest Ambassador's quarters is condescending.

I'm ignoring the slow pan of Elaan's outfit. I'm not against keeping the sexy in Star Trek.

Now the episode makes it seem OK to treat a planetary leader (the Dohlman) with condescension if they are unpleasant and are a woman.

I doubt Kirk would threaten to spank a male Dohlman.
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Old August 25 2014, 01:12 PM   #45
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Re: Elaan of Troyius - Mess of an episode

Timo wrote: View Post
On this board, "warbird" is correct parlance for Klingon ships, although we don't quite know which sort.
I must have missed that memo.
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