Elaan of Troyius - Mess of an episode

Discussion in 'Star Trek - Original Series' started by Terran_Empire, Aug 23, 2014.

  1. EnriqueH

    EnriqueH Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Hmm, there's obviously something deeper here. Could you explain?
     
  2. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    TOS had no vessel called Bird of Prey in it, either, but that doesn't preclude us from assigning said identity to the vessel seen in "Balance of Terror". We now know that "warbird" is valid terminology for Klingon as well as Romulan vessels (and that bird of prey is valid Klingon terminology even though there's no canon indication that Romulans would use it). So I don't see problems with above usage.

    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...

    Tech level doesn't appear to have much to do with whether somebody could be a Federation member or not. It's basically a fandom concept that a civilization would need to pass some sort of a test or threshold to get permission to apply; all we really know is that the Feds don't volunteer first contact unless certain (unknown) criteria are met, but that's seldom related to membership issues.

    In the quarters of Uhura, Sulu, Chekov, Scotty, Spock and, apparently, Kirk. After all, this is the only episode where Kirk is stated to be living on Deck 5, as opposed to the more usual mentions of Deck 12 and Deck 3.

    I doubt the various quarters really differ from each other much in terms of habitability. What this reshuffling would achieve instead would be packing the officers tight, perhaps with three or four sharing quarters temporarily, so that the envoys could enjoy basic military habitability standards. Kirk wouldn't need to share, but he would need to relocate so that entire decks could be dedicated to the diplomatic parties.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  3. Terran_Empire

    Terran_Empire Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    This isn't some innocent farm hand or baker's daughter that is being shipped off against her whims...this is a woman of the highest position and who holds the highest responsibilities.

    The fact that she doesn't have the vision or interest in protecting her people is far more alarming than any arrangement without her consent.

    Kirk even offered her to resign from her position and let another taker over if she was not up to fulfilling her duties. She of course refused because what is what a spoiled brat does, she wants all of the advantageous that comes with being the "Dohlman" and none of the responsibilities.

    It's not as if Petri and his people were elated to have her as a queen either, they wanted nothing to do with her but they understood what sacrifice means to maintain peace, she did not.




    Finally, the women of Elas are renown for using their love-inducing tears to subjugate men into servitude and this manipulation is quite transparent with the Dohlman towards Kirk...why no mention of this from the feminist contingent? Does not a man deserve to pick and choose his lovers and who he bends over backwards for out of free will?

    Petri mentioned that the men of Elas had desperately tried and failed to find an antidote for thousands of years...meaning that these powers were likely abused in the most extreme ways.
     
  4. LMFAOschwarz

    LMFAOschwarz Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I wonder if at some future point in time, if a Dohlman woman were to serve on a starship, she'd have to (similar to The Motion Picture's Ilia) take an oath of tear-lessness?

    Petri alone makes this episode worthwhile. What a great, entertaining character! :lol:
     
  5. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    The only thing I dislike about this episode is the Elasian costumes. Glittery plastic sheets, basically. I thought they looked ridiculous.

    Oh, and one of my favorite bad lines of dialog, when Elaan tells Kirk, "You cannot resist my love, my love." :lol:
     
  6. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    "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. In TOS, they were not called that. The term was first and officially used in TNG as applied to Romulan ships, which is where that moron writer heard it.
     
  7. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yes he did, about half way through the episode (admittedly not at the end).

    :)
     
  8. scotpens

    scotpens Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The outfits were actually made from cut-up plastic placemats. I thought they made the ceremonial guards look like lobsters.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. CrazyMatt

    CrazyMatt Captain Captain

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    Spot on.
     
  10. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    It's a pity they couldn't have taken some old Roman soldier outfits from some old sword-and-sandle epic and modified those in some way.
     
  11. mos6507

    mos6507 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    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.
     
  12. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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

    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.
     
  13. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    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?

    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...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  14. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    And democratically elected governments too.

    Perhaps "The Dohlman" is the Elas term for daughter number eight.

    :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2014
  15. Armored Saint

    Armored Saint Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    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.
    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. :p

    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.
     
  16. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    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.)
     
  17. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  18. LMFAOschwarz

    LMFAOschwarz Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    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?
     
  19. Wingsley

    Wingsley Commodore Commodore

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    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:

    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:

    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.)
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2014
  20. EnriqueH

    EnriqueH Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    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.