Star Trek 2.11: Friday’s Child

Friday's ChildFriday’s Child” is a story of culture clash, with the Federation, a Klingon representative, and the native Capellans engaged in negotiations over mineral resources of Capella IV. The clash is demonstrated vividly in the opening teaser, when Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and Ensign Ricky Lieutenant Grant beam down to being talks, only to find a Klingon already there. Grant pulls a phaser instinctively and a Capellan warrior kills him instantly with a thrown weapon. Kirk doesn’t retaliate, because the negotiations are too important.

It quickly becomes clear that the Capellans are a warrior race with some unusual and violent customs. The fact that they are depicted some sort of space Bedouins might be seen as politically incorrect nowadays. We are treated to a novel way for Kirk and company to be prevented from radioing the Enterprise for help – the Capellans simply demand their weapons and communicators, or else they’ll call the negotiations off. McCoy, who has spent some time on a previous assignment with the Capellans, saves Kirk from a terrible faux pas of touching a Capellan woman, which according to their customs would necessitate a fight between Kirk and the woman’s brother. (The brother is actually keen on the fight and is disappointed it doesn’t eventuate.)

The story progresses through a leadership rivalry between the incumbent Akaar, who is happy to talk to the Federation, and the ambitious Maab, who wants to grant mining rights to the Klingon (who is never named, but is listed as Kras in the credits). Akaar gets killed in a coup, leaving his widow Eleen heavily pregnant with his heir and wounded. She demands to be killed to maintain her honour, but Kirk, Spock, and McCoy rescue her and escape from Maab’s custody. Eleen is at first angry and refuses to let McCoy examine her, but he slaps her, which causes her to soften to his ministrations. Fortunately, because before long goes into labour.

In orbit, we see Scotty in command again, explicitly recording a log entry. In the B story, the Enterprise is distracted from rescuing Kirk by a distress call, which they figure out is faked by a nearby Klingon vessel. As they return to Capella IV, Uhura picks up another distress call and Scotty summarily ignores it, saying, “Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.” Chekov says that’s an old Russian saying, but this time it’s pretty clear he is deliberately joking, not serious.

Meanwhile, Maab and his cronies are tracking them across the countryside to a familiar rock outcrop, where Kirk and Spock construct some primitive bow and arrows to defend themselves. McCoy gets in the line, “I’m a doctor, not an escalator!” as he helps the pregnant Eleen up a rocky slope. She soon gives birth, but is not happy to see the child, wanting it dead because it links her to Akaar’s dishonour. McCoy and Kirk manage to convince her to love the child, before Maab and company appear.

Eleen appears alone to Maab and says she has killed Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and her baby. Kras demands proof, but Maab trusts Eleen’s honour. Fighting breaks out between Kras and the Capellans, then Kirk and Spock start firing arrows into the fray. Maab sacrifices himself to prevent Kras from killing her, then a Capellan kills Kras. The cavalry arrives in the form of Scotty and a security team. The Capellans declare the baby their new leader, and Eleen becomes his regent, signing the mining treaty with Kirk. An interesting point is just how cowardly Kras acts during all this, the very antithesis of later Klingons.

All up, a moderately okay episode, with a few memorable moments, but nothing particularly compelling. Not bad, but not particularly memorable, either. The clash of culture is an interesting idea, but it’s a bit limited in scope and suffers in modern eyes from being overly clich├ęd.

Tropes: Culture Clash, Red Shirt, Space Jews, Dr Jerk, In The Original Klingon, Kirk’s Rock, I’m a Doctor, Not a Placeholder, The Cavalry.
Body count: Redshirt Grant, Akaar, Maab, several other natives, the Klingon Kras.

One Response to “Star Trek 2.11: Friday’s Child”

  1. The Ridger says:

    He trusts Eleen’s honor and she’s lying through her teeth. It will probably stand the Capellans in good stead when they have to continue dealing with others, including the Federation, but it doesn’t look good on the surface?

    I’m frequently reminded of a line from DS9 when I watch the old shows: “You Federation people. You’re always talking about tolerance, but you only practice it with cultures you already approve of.”

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