Star Trek 3.13: Elaan of Troyius

Elaan of TroyiusI watched “Elaan of Troyius” several weeks ago, but haven’t had time to write this up until now. It’s a very awkward episode to watch, both for the cringe-worthy 1960s gender relations and the psychedelic orange plastic space clothes.

The Enterprise has been ordered to carry out a diplomatic taxi mission, taking the feisty Elaan, Dohlmen (i.e. Queen) of the planet Elas, to the planet Troyius in the same system, where she is to marry the ruler in an arranged marriage. Elaan is not happy about any of this, is arrogant and bossy, and followed by absolutely loyal guards who boss around the Enterprise crew on her every whim. What’s more, they are armed with what Kirk describes as “armour and nuclear weapons” (while Elaan is clad in a stripperific royal outfit). Kirk bristles at Elaan’s arrogance, but holds his tongue. The Troyian ambassador Petri is also restrained, but cannot hide his inner dislike of Elaan and her barbaric ways. This ends with Elaan’s dagger in Petri’s back. Despite this, Kirk doesn’t call off the mission or arrest Elaan.

Petri recovers in sickbay. Nurse Chapel wonders why Elasian men put up with Elasian women, and Petri reveals in a blatant piece of foreshadowing that the women secrete a substance in their tears that acts like a love potion. Meanwhile, the bridge notices a weird “sensor ghost” that turns out to be a cloaked Klingon vessel trailing the ship. Elasian guard Kryton sneaks into engineering and tries to destroy the warp drive. Redshirt engineer Watson finds him and suffers a broken neck for his trouble. It turns out Kryton is conspiring with the Klingons somehow, but he kills himself when captured rather than reveal what he’s up to. Kirk orders Scotty to “check every relay” in the engine room for sabotage. I guess warp engine circuits don’t use transistors or integrated circuit chips. Relays are probably safer with all those weird particle fluxes around.

Kirk confronts Elaan with the aim of forcing her to behave herself. She confesses that she thinks other people don’t like her and starts crying… yes, you’ve spotted it already. Kirk gets affected by the love potion tears. Elaan decides she likes Kirk and would rather marry him than the ruler of Troyius. She changes from hard-edged savage queen clothes to much softer damsel-in-distress clothes – symbolic, saccharine, and tacky at the same time! They kiss… and Spock and McCoy burst in to say that Scotty has found a bomb is wired to the warp engine, and the Klingon ship is attacking! Kirk manfully pulls himself away from his desire and back to his duty.

While Kirk foils the Klingons with sub-light manoeuvres, Scotty defuses the bomb, but finds the dilithium crystals destroyed. Elaan shows up on the bridge in a wedding dress, complete with jewels… which look suspiciously like dilithium crystals. Kirk suddenly figures out the Klingons are after Elas’s vast dilithium deposits. Elaan donates her necklace to Scotty who repairs the engines in record time, allowing them to fire torpedoes and drive the Klingons away. Elaan is reformed and agrees to her arranged marriage. McCoy mixes up an antidote for Kirk’s besottedness, but it isn’t needed because, as Spock explains, “The Enterprise captured his heart first.”

Overall, with the interwoven plotlines and the Klingon intrigue, it’s not a bad story. It’s just painful to watch because of the truly annoying Elaan and her sudden about turn into a meek submissive when she meets the True Man, Kirk. If they’d toned that whole thing down a lot and concentrated on the Klingon mystery it probably would have been a better episode.

Tropes: Space Clothes, Nubile Savage, Call A Rabbit A Smeerp, Royal Brat, Stripperific, Love Potion, Red Shirt, Better To Die Than Be Killed, Technology Marches On, Pygmalion Plot, Moment Killer, Worthless Yellow Rocks, No Blood For Phlebotinum.
Body count: Watson (neck snapped by the Elasian Kryton), Kryton (suicidal self-disintegration).

2 Responses to “Star Trek 3.13: Elaan of Troyius”

  1. Paul says:

    Interesting. I didn’t see it the same way. To me it didn’t seem that Elaan had actually changed. I just saw her shift from one method of manipulation to another. Both the bluff and bluster, and the meek, seduction were an act she put on to get her own way. She didn’t actually change until she accepted that she wasn’t going to get her own way (which she really knew all along, but wouldn’t accept).

  2. Mark Simpson says:

    Is this the face that launched a thousand ships and burnt the topless towers of Ilium? Even for the third series, the Helen of Troy pun is pretty feeble.

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