(written from a Production point of view)
A group of children on the Federation outpost Triacus, under the influence of an evil spirit, commandeer the Enterprise.
The USS Enterprise responds to a distress call from the Starnes Exploration Party at the Federation outpost on the planet Triacus. But a landing party consisting of Captain Kirk, Spock and McCoy find a scattering of dead bodies. They encounter Professor Starnes, the leader, who seems to be suffering from extreme anxiety. However, Starnes collapses and dies before he can reveal what happened to himself and the other exploration party members.
Just then, a group of five children — four boys and a girl — emerge from a cave and begin playing. The girl, Mary, asks Kirk to play with them, whereupon she and the boys join hands, forming a circle around him. The children circle their new 'playmate' and sing "Ring Around the Rosie", laughing happily as they "all fall down" — all while their parents' lifeless bodies lie nearby.
The scientists' children, however, are unharmed – and oblivious to the deaths, unmoved even as the landing party buries their parents. They continue to play as though nothing happened. McCoy theorizes that this could be a psychological defense against trauma and warns Kirk against questioning them further. Captain Kirk and Spock believe the colony has been attacked, with the children deliberately excluded from the attack for an unknown reason. A strange tricorder reading leads Kirk and Spock into a nearby cave, where Kirk is struck by sudden anxiety, which subsides when he leaves the cave.
Kirk has the children beamed aboard the Enterprise, where Nurse Chapel serves them ice cream from the food synthesizer in the ship's arboretum. But McCoy can find no physical anomaly in the children, and Kirk cannot get them to discuss what happened to their parents. When the children are left alone, they chant to summon a "friendly angel" (later referred to as Gorgan) and he appears, congratulating them for getting rid of the adults on Triacus and telling them that they must take control of the Enterprise and travel to Marcos XII.
The children, with Gorgan's help, can exercise psychological control over adults. Scott sees in the auxiliary control room that his engineers have taken the Enterprise out of orbit, but they subdue him. By pumping their fists, the children exert mind control over Sulu, Chekov, Uhura and other crewmen to do their bidding. For example, at first Sulu, Chekov, and Uhura believe that they can see Triacus on the viewscreen even though the Enterprise is no longer orbiting the planet. Kirk and Spock do not realize the starship is en route to Marcos XII until Kirk orders two additional security guards down to Triacus, who are instead beamed out into space to their deaths.
Kirk and Spock enter the bridge as the children summon Gorgan, revealing him to Kirk for the first time.
Gorgan does not address Kirk, but merely warns the children that their "operation" has been discovered.
Kirk makes the crew realize that they have left Triacus and the children plant new fears in them: Sulu sees rings of swords on the viewscreen that will destroy the Enterprise if he even slightly changes course and Uhura sees not her console but herself as a disfigured, diseased, dying old woman. The children briefly take over Spock's mind and unleash Kirk's greatest fear, losing command of his ship, as every command he issues to Leslie is either disobeyed or heard as gibberish. Spock frees himself of the children's mind control and gets Kirk off the bridge to help him overcome his fear in a turbolift. They try to take control of the ship through the auxiliary control center but Scott and the control center crew are now under the children's influence, as one of the children, Don, is secretly present in the room (behind a lattice wall); Scott and his engineers force Kirk and Spock out.
Outside auxiliary control in a corridor, Spock tells Kirk that so long as the children are present on the Enterprise, there is danger. Kirk doubts this, given that they are only children, but Spock also says that they are followers and without followers, evil cannot exist. He also says that if the evil inside the children is growing and if they cannot find a way to stop it, they will have to kill them, Kirk finishes for him.
Kirk again tries to reason with Chekov but under the influence of Tommy, Chekov tells his captain Starfleet Command supersedes his orders. Kirk and Spock defeat the delusional security team by fighting and with Vulcan nerve pinches. Kirk has Spock escort Chekov, Freeman, and the security guard to the detention area and goes to the bridge. Upon arriving, Kirk finds Tommy sitting in his chair and forces him out of it to stand next to Mary. Kirk, together with Spock, summon Gorgan to the bridge by replaying a recording of the children's chant on a microtape and then challenge him. They show the children video footage of themselves on Triacus, playing with their parents, followed by images of the parents lying dead, then by the headstones marking their graves. The children suddenly realize what they have done under the so-called Friendly Angel's influence and begin to cry. Dr. McCoy is pleased that the children are finally showing authentic grief. Without the children's support, Gorgan morphs into a grotesque being with a face of drooping flesh as he disappears, shouting "Death to you all!"
As the ship nears Marcos XII, McCoy leaves the bridge and takes the children with him; while Kirk orders Sulu make a course change to Starbase 4.
"Humans do have an amazing capacity for believing what they choose and excluding that which is painful."
- - Spock to Kirk, on the children's lack of grief
"Parents like stupid things."
- - Don, believing his parents liked living on Triacus
"It'll spoil your dinner."
"See what I told you? They all say it."
- - Kirk and Tommy, as Tommy asks for more ice cream
- - Tommy, Mary, Don, Steve and Ray, summoning Gorgan – file info
"Captain, so long as the children are present, there is danger."
- - Spock, to Kirk
"You have done very well, my friends. You have done what must be done. You have come aboard the Enterprise. Now, our destination is a Federation settlement. Captain Kirk will undoubtedly choose a closer station. Do not let that deter you. Marcos XII has millions of people on it. Nearly a million will join us as our friends. The rest will be our enemies. Together, with our other friends who will join us, we will defeat our enemies as we defeated them on Triacus. A million friends on Marcos will make us invincible. No one will tell us where to go, when to sleep, where to eat. The universe will be mine to command, yours to play in. To accomplish this great mission, we must first control the Enterprise. To control the ship, we first must control the crew. You know how to do that. That is your next task. And as you believe, so shall you do, so shall you do. As you believe, so shall you do, so shall you do. As you believe, so shall you do, so shall you do."
- - Gorgan, to the children – file info
"Friends, we have reached a moment of crisis. The enemy have discovered our operation, but they are too late. They no longer control the ship. We do. We shall prevail. They will take us any place we desire. So…back to your stations. Maintain your controls. If resistance mounts, call upon their beast. Their beast will serve us well. The fear in each one of them is the beast which will consume him. Remember how it was on Triacus? If they resist, so shall it be on the Enterprise. If you need me, call and I will appear. Our new goal is Marcos XII. It is our new beginning. We must not falter."
- - Gorgan, to the children – file info
"Evil does seek to maintain power by suppressing the truth."
"Or by misleading the innocent."
- - Spock and McCoy, on what killed the Starnes Exploration Party
"But most legends have their basis in fact, Spock."
- - Kirk, on the legend of Triacus
"Without followers, evil cannot spread."
- - Spock to Kirk, on the dangers that the children pose
"Death to you all!"
- - Gorgan's last words
- Story outline by Edward J. Lakso, early-March 1968
- Revised story outline, 11 March 1968
- Second revised story outline, 18 March 1968
- Third revised story outline, 22 March 1968
- First draft teleplay, 8 April 1968
- Revised first draft teleplay, 18 April 1968
- Second revised first draft teleplay, 30 April 1968
- Second draft teleplay, 18 June 1968
- Final draft teleplay by Arthur Singer, 21 June 1968
- Additional page revisions by Fred Freiberger, 24 June 1968, 25 June 1968, 26 June 1968, 1 July 1968, 2 July 1968
- Filmed: 27 June 1968 – 5 July 1968
- Day 1 – 27 June 1968, Thursday – Desilu Stage 9: Int. Auxiliary control center, Recreation room
- Day 2 – 28 June 1968, Friday – Desilu Stage 10: Ext. Planet surface
- Day 3 – 1 July 1968, Monday – Desilu Stage 10: Ext. Cave, Int. Cave; Desilu Stage 9: Int. Corridors, Recreation room, Children's quarters
- Day 4 – 2 July 1968, Tuesday – Desilu Stage 9: Int. Bridge
- Day 5 – 3 July 1968, Wednesday – Desilu Stage 9: Int. Bridge
- Day 6 – 5 July 1968, Friday – Desilu Stage 9: Int. Bridge, Kirk's quarters, Corridors, Turbolift
- Score recording, 9 August 1968
- Original airdate, 11 October 1968
- First UK airdate 6 October 1971
Story and production
- This episode borrows elements and concepts from several sources, including Greek mythology (Gorgon), the old testament (the Book of Isaiah), and puritanical/colonial witchery (the incantations).  It also has a similar plot to the first-season episode "Charlie X".
- It is never explained how Kirk knew to refer to the Friendly Angel as "Gorgan." Based on early drafts of the script, and in a bit of sloppy editing, episode writer Edward J. Lakso alternated between the various names, explaining why it appeared and stuck so late in the episode. A deleted scene had revealed that Tommy did tell Kirk the name, however, this scene took place in the script after Kirk had used the name. 
- The idea to cast noted attorney Melvin Belli as Gorgan came when his son, Caesar Belli was cast as Steve. Producer Fred Freiberger hoped that the presence of Belli would boost ratings. This plan failed and Freiberger realized it would have been more appropriate to cast an actor in the role. 
- Watching a first rough cut of the episode (without visual effects and music), Gene Roddenberry was appalled by Belli's stilted performance and lack of acting talent, and ordered the producers to distort Gorgan's voice and appearance (by covering him in green glow) as much as possible. (These Are the Voyages: TOS Season Three)
- Brian Tochi is one of a very few actors, along with Phil and Iona Morris in "Miri" and Clint Howard in "The Corbomite Maneuver", who appeared in TOS as a child and was later cast in one of the new series or movies. He appeared as Ensign Lin in TNG: "Night Terrors".
- Tochi and Pamelyn Ferdin were later reunited on Space Academy, a live-action Saturday morning television series produced by Filmation which aired on CBS from 1977 to 1979.
- All eight major regular performers of the second and third seasons – Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scotty, Sulu, Uhura, Chapel, and Chekov – appear in this episode.
Sets and props
- This episode is the first appearance of the set piece depicting the entrance to the Gorgan's cave. It would be seen again in many third season episodes, including "Spock's Brain", "The Cloud Minders", "All Our Yesterdays", and "That Which Survives".
- The arboretum set was originally built for "Elaan of Troyius", but became a deleted scene due to time constraints. It was later modified for the arboretum that appeared in "Is There in Truth No Beauty?". 
- The mirror in which Uhura sees her aged reflection at the communications station is never used in any other episode. Of course, like Uhura's reflection, the mirror itself may have been an illusion created by the children.
- During one scene on the bridge, Kirk tries to give orders to Leslie, but his words are garbled. If the audio for this scene is played in reverse, Kirk can be heard to say, "Remove Lieutenant Uhura and Mr. Spock from the bridge. Confine them to quarters. Did you hear me? Take Mr. Sulu to his quarters. He's relieved of duty. Remove Lieutenant Uhura and Mr. Spock from the bridge. Confine them to quarters. Take Mr. Sulu to his quarters, I said. (garbled) Mr. Spock from the bridge. Confine him to quarters. Mr. Leslie, take Mr. Sulu to his quarters. He's relieved of duty." file info
- The attire worn by the children in this episode was designed by William Ware Theiss. Original sketches of the "playsuits" worn by Tommy, Don, and Steve appeared in the Star Trek: The Original Series Sketchbook (p. 155)
- The dress worn by the one of the female members of the Starnes Exploration Party was also created by Theiss, and was previously worn by Janet Wallace in "The Deadly Years". (Star Trek: The Original Series Sketchbook, p. 135) In fact, both costumes worn by Wallace can be seen in this episode, one worn by Don Linden's mother and the other worn by an unnamed woman (who commits suicide in the teaser).
- Professor Starnes and the other male colonists wore jumpsuits left over from "The Devil in the Dark", which were reused many times during the series.
- Another female Exploration Party member wore Martha Leighton's costume from "The Conscience of the King".
- This is the only episode of the original series in which we see the fully fledged United Federation of Planets flag. Previous appearances, such as "The Menagerie, Part II", simply used the pre-existing United Nations flag.
- The Agony Booth website included this episode on their list of "The Worst of Trek". They even named "And the Children Shall Lead" as the worst episode of The Original Series. They write that the episode "has a script that offers virtually nothing: No suspense, no character development, no intriguing sci-fi premises, and not one memorable line of dialogue. The director of this episode, Marvin J. Chomsky, is generally regarded as a skilled TV director (he also helmed Billionaire Boys Club and several installments of Roots), but there's really nothing he could have done with this script. Considering the guy who wrote it, Edward J. Lakso, also went on to write some pretty lousy episodes of Charlie's Angels, The Fall Guy, and Airwolf, need I say any more?" 
- The reviewer is also harsh on William Shatner's acting, which he sarcastically describes as being "renowned and imitated the world over."  Describing Kirk's breakdown in the turbolift, he concludes, "There's no denying it: This is 100% grade-A pure Shatner here. We have now reached ShatNervana. The Shat goes through his entire range of grotesque, buffoonish facial expressions until Spock finally moves towards him, prompting Kirk to wildly grab him by the throat." 
"And the Children Shall Lead" was the twenty-sixth remastered episode of the The Original Series to air. It premiered in syndication the weekend of 14 April 2007 and aside from the standard CGI replacement footage of the Enterprise, this episode most notably featured new effects shots of the planet Triacus.
- The next remastered episode to air was "All Our Yesterdays".
- In James Blish's novelization of this episode, Sulu is terrified by the sight of missiles on the viewscreen, not swords as in the televised version. More interestingly, the children sing spells to cause havoc among the crew rather than making the fist-pumping gesture as shown on-screen.
- Gorgan also played a feature role in Greg Cox's Q Continuum trilogy of Next Generation novels published in 1998. He is part of a powerful gang of interstellar evil-doers which includes the God-imposter from Star Trek V: The Final Frontier and the entity from "Day of the Dove". Not much is really added to Gorgan's origin and motivations, as Cox is content to emphasize Gorgan's modus operandi of using children to cause chaos, though Gorgan's placement on Triacus is explained.
Video and DVD releases
- Original US Betamax release: 1988
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 31, catalog number VHR 2383, 3 September 1990
- US VHS release: 15 April 1994
- UK re-release (three-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 3.2, 29 September 1997
- Original US DVD release (single-disc): Volume 30, 14 August 2001
- As part of the TOS Season 3 DVD collection
- As part of the TOS-R Season 3 DVD collection
- View online at the CBS website (available in the US only)
Links and references
- Melvin Belli as Gorgan
- James Doohan as Scott
- Majel Barrett as Nurse Chapel
- Nichelle Nichols as Uhura
- George Takei as Sulu
- Walter Koenig as Chekov
- Pamelyn Ferdin as Mary
- Caesar Belli as Steve
- Mark Robert Brown as Don
- Brian Tochi as Ray
- Lou Elias as 1st Technician
- Paul Baxley as Freeman
- William Blackburn as Hadley
- Frank da Vinci as
- Dick Dial as Security Guard #2
- Roger Holloway as Roger Lemli
- Jay Jones as 2nd Technician
- Jeannie Malone as a Crewwoman
- Eddie Paskey as Leslie
- Vic Toyota as Mr. Tsing Tao
- Unknown actors as
- Unknown actressas
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- "And the Children Shall Lead" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "And the Children Shall Lead" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "And the Children Shall Lead" at Wikipedia
- "And the Children Shall Lead" at MissionLogPodcast.com, a Roddenberry Star Trek podcast
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