(written from a Production point of view)
The Enterprise transports Elaan, Dohlman of Elas, to an arranged marriage on Troyius.
- "Captain's log, stardate 4372.5. On a top secret diplomatic mission, the Enterprise has entered the Tellun star system. Maintaining communications blackout, we have taken aboard Petri, Ambassador from Troyius, the outer planet, and are now approaching the inner planet, Elas."
Disgruntled by the cloak-and-dagger orders cut by a desk-bound Starfleet bureaucrat, Kirk, Spock, Dr. McCoy, and Scott prepare to welcome the Elasian members of the mission. Kirk still doesn't know the details of the task he is about to perform. The secrecy is apparently called for because the Tellun system is in the vicinity of the Federation-Klingon border. Scientists who first reported on Elas called the men "vicious and arrogant," the women "very special, with a subtle, mystical power that drives men wild."
Petri, the somewhat fussy Troyian ambassador, says the next step is to pick up the "Dohlman", the person most feared and hated by Troyians. The Dohlman is a small woman, Elaan, the ruler of Elas, who commands absolute obedience. She is accompanied by a group of huge, powerful men, who wear body armor and carry nuclear hand weapons.
Petri now explains to Kirk that the Dohlman is to be given away in an arranged marriage to the ruler of Troyius. The two worlds now possess the capability of mutual destruction and it is hoped that the marriage will symbolically unite the worlds and bring peace. His own job is to teach her more refined, "civilized" manners – so the Enterprise must proceed back to Troyius at the slowest speed possible.
Almost immediately, Kirk is summoned to Elaan's quarters (actually Uhura's) by the news that she is dissatisfied with them. Kirk arrives to find Elaan throwing a fit. Petri is there, trying to placate her with wedding gifts: a pair of embroidered slippers, a shimmering blue gown and an antique folk-art necklace he calls "the most prized of royal jewels – for your lovely neck!" His reluctance is very obvious despite his veneer. She wants nothing of Troyius or what she considers its soft, servile customs, but Kirk tells her she'll have to put up with them if she is to fulfill her obligations. Asking Kirk if he is responding to her many complaints about Uhura's quarters, the captain suggests that she will have to get comfortable here. When told this, Elaan prepares to throw a pillow around and Kirk responds, "There are no more available, but if that's the only way you can get gratification, I'll arrange to have the whole room filled from floor to ceiling with breakable objects."
In a corridor outside Elaan's quarters, Petri insists to Kirk that he hates the Elasians and cannot complete his task, for Elaan is impossibly arrogant and violent. Troyian males had been described in these terms earlier, and we also hear Elaan denounce "female trappings" as offensive, saying she is not a "soft fawn to need pillows to sit on." Petri still insists that there cannot be peace between Elasians and Troyians, since when he is around them, he wants to kill them. In response to Petri insisting that Elaan will not listen to him, Kirk suggests that he stop being so diplomatic and instead deal with her in a strong, straightforward manner.
Spock reports what looks like a sensor "ghost," but can't be, since all his equipment at his station is working perfectly, so it must instead be a spaceship. Kirk suggests that it may be a hydrogen cloud reflection, but Spock notes that the Enterprise is not near any in the area. Again, Kirk is summoned away from the bridge, this time to engineering where Elaan and her personal guard are looking around and fiddling with the controls. She expresses disdain for the crew trying to give her a tour and explanation of engineering, wanting only to know how the ship is used in combat. Scott is quick to point out that the engines are considered crucial in combat. Kirk tells her she should be more courteous but she says courtesy is not for inferiors.
No sooner have Kirk, Spock, and Sulu determined that the "ghost" is in fact a Klingon warship, than Kirk is summoned again to Elaan's room. He finds Petri lying in a pool of blood with a dagger embedded in his back.
Petri will recover, but he renounces his mission and wants absolutely nothing further to do with Kirk. On top of everything else, the Federation High Commissioner is on his way to Troyius for the wedding. Asked by Nurse Chapel why any man would want an Elasian bride if they act like this, Petri explains that it is biochemical: any man whose skin is touched by the tears of an Elasian woman immediately falls in love with her – forever.
Kirk explains the mission to Elaan in terms of military discipline, while she sits there eating like a barbarian and drinking right from the bottle of Saurian brandy, with no table manners whatsoever. She reiterates that she despises Troyians and will not go through with the wedding. Kirk states that he'll teach her basic etiquette himself. Meanwhile, Kryton sneaks into engineering and performs acts of sabotage on the dilithium crystals. Watson, an engineer, catches him in the act and Kryton kills him by snapping his neck.
When Kirk tries to visit Elaan again, he is kept out by her guards, but has had the forethought to bring Spock, who phaser-stuns the guards long enough to let Kirk in.
Again, Elaan throws a fit, but Kirk yells right back at her and demands that she accept the orders she's been given as laid out by the Elasian and Troyian councils, letting some of his own irritation with "councils, rulers, and bureaucrats" creep into his lecture. Elaan decides there's one thing she can trust Kirk with; she worries that nobody likes her. As she talks about this, she cries, and Kirk wipes her tears away, not having heard Petri's earlier warning in sickbay. It is not clear whether Elaan has done this on purpose or whether she's genuinely unhappy; perhaps both. In any case, the two soon embrace and make love.
Sometime later, Kirk is paged by Uhura, who's found a tight-beam radio transmission to the Klingon vessel coming from within engineering. Kirk orders intruder alert and that security report to engineering on the double. It is discovered to have come from Kryton, the chief of Elaan's guard, using a Klingon communicator, just before he is caught by the engineering officer he promptly murdered. Kirk questions him about his sabotage and his involvement with the Klingons but Kryton will not talk and he states he is conditioned against responding to any physical torture to make him talk. Kirk calls Spock to engineering to perform a Vulcan mind probe on him. Kryton kills himself by self-vaporization.
Scott checks various relays for sabotage. Kirk returns to Elaan, who tells him that Kryton loved her and had acted out of jealousy. Kirk wonders why the Klingons would care about disrupting the wedding, but Elaan is unconcerned and welcomes the interference. She suggests that he use the ship's power to completely obliterate Troyius, and be rewarded by the Elasians but his will and ethics are still too strong for that. This is something she can admire and understand. Judging by Elaan's much gentler behavior, it seems that the bond affects the woman as well as the man; she seems to now genuinely care for and respect Kirk as an equal. After being reluctantly called out of Elaan's quarters by McCoy and Spock, Kirk finds out about Elasian tears and demands that McCoy find an antidote.
The Klingon ship prepares to attack. Scott discovers a bomb has been rigged to the engines and set to go off if the ship goes to warp.
Kirk manages to bluff their way out of the attack, observed by Elaan who has followed him to the bridge, standing near the turbolift. He asks her to go to sickbay as it is the safest part of the ship, reminding her that he must still take her to Troyius. While in sickbay, she encounters Petri, who again offers the wedding necklace and speaks, sincerely and without frills, of the hope for peace between their worlds.
Scott manages to dismantle the bomb, but finds the dilithium crystal converter assembly has been fused, meaning the ship couldn't go to warp anyhow – or power up the phaser banks. They must have replacement crystals. If they contact Starfleet, they would alert the Klingons of their vulnerability. The Klingon captain calls for their unconditional surrender. Kirk manages some slow but impressive tactical maneuvers as the Klingon ship approaches and fires. Again, Elaan appears on the bridge in her wedding outfit, thinking they are about to die. Spock picks up unusual energy readings and finds they're coming from her necklace, which is strung with uncut dilithium crystals. She explains that the white beads are common stones called radans, and that the necklace is of little value other than its traditional meaning of good fortune. Klingon and Federation interest in this system is now clear, and Elaan gladly donates the necklace for Scott to reactivate the engines. Her words, "If I can be of any help, of course", proof that she was aware of common courtesy all along.
The Klingon captain offers one last chance to surrender as he points out the Enterprise is draining its reserves and shields are buckling. Stalling for time, Kirk requests protection of Elaan as a condition for surrender. The Klingon captain refuses, and reiterates its unconditional surrender demand. Spock and Scott finish the installation of the crystals, while Kirk orders that Ensign Chekov have the photon torpedoes armed and ready. Explaining his strategy to the bridge crew, he prepares a full spread of torpedoes at the Klingons. The crude shape of the crystals cause power fluctuations but the Enterprise manages to power up and restore its shields. Kirk orders warp maneuvers and pivots at warp two. The Klingons fire on the Enterprise, but exposes their aft to her. Seizing the attack of opportunity, Kirk orders photon torpedoes fired, scoring a direct hit to the Klingon's midship. Spock reports significant damage to the Klingon's shields while Chekov says the ship is badly damaged, and is withdrawing at reduced speed. Kirk orders that Sulu resume course to Troyius while Elaan doesn't understand why he won't pursue and finish off the crippled Klingons. Later in the transporter room, as Elaan prepares to beam down for the wedding, she invites Kirk, but he won't come. She presents him with her dagger, saying that on Troyius they don't carry personal weapons. Openly weeping, she mounts the transporter platform and dematerializes. On the bridge, McCoy tells Spock that he has finally found a possible antidote, but Kirk is already apparently back to normal, and Spock says the Enterprise had captured his heart long before the Dohlman did.
"We cannot make peace with people we detest."
"Stop trying to kill each other. Then worry about being friendly."
- - Petri and Kirk, on the mission
"Stop being so diplomatic. She respects strength. Go in strong."
- - Kirk's advice to Petri on handling Elaan
"Engines are for mechanics and menials."
- - Elaan, ridiculing Scott
"Courtesy is not for inferiors."
- - Elaan, to Kirk
"Well, I've heard of reluctant brides, but this is ridiculous."
- - McCoy, on Petri's stabbing
"Mister Spock, the women on your planet are logical. That's the only planet in this galaxy that can make that claim."
- - Kirk, before returning to Elaan's quarters
"If I touch you again, Your Glory, it'll be to administer an ancient Earth custom called a spanking, a form of punishment administered to spoiled brats."
- - Kirk, to Elaan
"Your presence here is interfering with my efficiency. My ability to protect you."
- - Kirk, when Elaan arrives on the bridge of the Enterprise
"That's all you men of other worlds can speak of. Duty and responsibility."
- - Elaan, after accepting a necklace from Petri
"The Enterprise infected the captain long before the Dohlman did."
- - Spock, to McCoy
"The Dohlman has promised that I will be whipped to death if I let Captain Kirk pass through that door."
- - Elasian guard outside Elaan's quarters, to Kirk
Story and production
- This is the only episode in the franchise to have been both fully written and directed by the same person.
- The episode's title is a take on Helen of Troy (in fact, Lucas' story outline was entitled "Helen of Troyius"), another woman whose marriage can lead to war. The story is a science-fiction version of Shakespeare's plays The Taming of the Shrew and Antony and Cleopatra. (The Star Trek Compendium) The first draft script was delivered 16 May 1968, the final revised draft script submitted 27 May, and the episode was filmed late May, early June.
- McCoy again asked Spock "Are you out of your Vulcan mind?" before his act of self-sacrifice in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. This line even transcends timelines, as McCoy (Karl Urban) also says it to Spock (Zachary Quinto) in the 2009 film Star Trek.
- A scene with Spock playing his Vulcan harp in the arboretum set was filmed but then edited out. In that scene he indicated that he had lost an all-Vulcan musical competition to his father. The music was supposed to be fed into the Dohlman's quarters to calm her down. Removal of this scene meant that the new arboretum would only be seen on-screen twice: in "And the Children Shall Lead", and, in re-dressed form, in "Is There in Truth No Beauty?". The script portion of the edited scene, as well as stills from it, can be viewed here. This scene is in the James Blish novelization.
- The Pocket Books novel Firestorm was written as a sequel to the episode and deals with what became of Elaan after her marriage on Troyius.
- Scotty later referred to the events of this episode, specifically mentioning the Dohlman of Elas, in TNG: "Relics".
- Presidential candidate Robert Kennedy was assassinated during the filming of this episode. France Nuyen, a big supporter of Kennedy, had been deeply shocked by the news while shooting her parts as Elaan. 
- The armor of Elaan's guards were constructed out of red and orange plastic place mats. The incomplete body armor worn by Tony Young (Kryton) was sold in Christie's 40 Years of Star Trek: The Collection auction for US$800 ($960 with premium). 
- The security officers on the ship have new belts in the third season – they are wide, black, and worn around the uniform top at the midriff rather than under the tunic at the hip. In "The Savage Curtain", the belts seen are white for Lincoln's honor guard.
- Vinci's uniform bears the stripes of a Lieutenant Commander in this episode.
- The Dohlman of Elas undergoes more costume changes than any other TOS character with the exception of Barbara Anderson (Lenore Karidian) in "The Conscience of the King" and Ricardo Montalban (Khan Noonien Singh) in "Space Seed". Guest star France Nuyen's costumes are far more revealing than Barbara Anderson's, however: the purple and silver halter top and attached shorts, the silver flowered breast and groin shields on black mesh, the orange dress, and the blue wedding gown with (typical of William Theiss' designs) no sides.
Props and effects
- The episode preview's visual effects differ from that of the finished episode. In the preview, the Klingon ship's photon torpedoes are white. In the episode, they are bright green.
- This was one of only two episodes (with "Errand of Mercy") that showed a Klingon flip top communicator similar to the ones used by Starfleet. This communicator was originally seen as an Eminian one in the episode "A Taste of Armageddon".
- The Saurian brandy container makes an appearance in this episode. The bottle is actually a George Dickel commemorative edition "powder horn" whiskey bottle.
- This episode marks the first appearance of the Matt Jefferies-designed Klingon ship, previously seen as a completely unfamiliar animated blob in "Friday's Child". The new emblem of the Klingon Empire is seen on the model and in the background of the Klingon bridge, but aligned differently to the norm.
- Similarly to "The Corbomite Maneuver", this episode was filmed early in the season, but aired much later because of the many, newly created special effect shots which took lot of time to be filmed and added in post-production. "Day of the Dove", which was filmed later but aired earlier, re-used shots of the Klingon battle cruiser from this episode.
- The blue planet used for Troyius is the same one used for Pyris VII in "Catspaw", Argelius II in "Wolf in the Fold", Sigma Iotia II in "A Piece of the Action", and Scalos in "Wink of an Eye". It is a color-modified version of the planet originally seen in "The City on the Edge of Forever".
- Scotty is shown applying Elaan's "radans" – in fact raw dilithium crystals, for power-conversion use in a different converter assembly – a pop-up articulation frame mounted within the top part of the warp-core casing itself – than the one depicted in "The Alternative Factor".
- In this episode, the camera is set way back from the center of the engineering set – the "wild" engine components are wheeled out and a vast amount of floor space is left open.
- This is one of two episodes ("The Tholian Web" was the other) in which we see Uhura's quarters. Some African motifs are displayed. The sign on Uhura's door simply reads "Lt. Uhura".
- In the scene where Kirk tries to teach Elaan 'courtesy,' Elaan retreats behind a door in Uhura's quarters that could be a bathroom – a room never seen on TOS. This room can be seen briefly in "Mirror, Mirror", when Marlena enters it to change her clothes, in "The Conscience of the King", when the room is redressed as Karidian's quarters, and in "By Any Other Name" when Rojan enters Kelinda's quarters to find Kirk "apologizing" to her.
- The steps leading up to the transporter chamber were painted black for the third season.
- John Meredyth Lucas was pleased with the episode, commenting, "I enjoyed the love story aspect of the show and thought it was an interesting change of pace. You didn't get to do too many of those." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 73)
- Producer Fred Freiberger noted that the episode was intended to appeal to women who were skeptical of science fiction. He remarked, "We tried to reach a segment of the audience we couldn't otherwise reach, and didn't succeed." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 73)
- In Star Trek: The Original Series 365, authors Paula M. Block and Terry J. Erdmann are scathing of this episode, commenting that it was "indicative of many, though not all, of the episodes produced for Star Trek's third season. Costumes, makeup, and script were all overblown, perhaps more suitable to sci-fi pulp than to the show's earlier attempts at straightforward storytelling in a unique setting." (p. 270)
- According to author Daniel Leonard Bernardi, "'Elaan of Troyius' brings into play stereotypes of the Asian female – the manipulative dragon lady and the submissive female slave. Elaan is both irrational and primitive. She throws temper tantrums, eats with her hands, and drinks from the bottle. Kirk tells her, 'Nobody's told you that you're an uncivilized savage, a vicious child in a woman's body, an arrogant monster.'" Bernardi argues, "Captain Kirk, the 'white knight' of Star Trek, articulates his and the Federation's moral superiority and authority over the Asian-alien and her people through sexual conquest […] Indeed, it is only after the captain physically and sexually dominates her that she respects and eventually falls in love with him […] After giving in to Kirk's power, Elaan, like the cunning and manipulative dragon lady of classical Hollywood cinema, returns the favor by capturing his heart. The Asian-alien's tears contain a bio-chemical agent that, when touched by a man (even aliens like Kirk), forces him to fall deeply in love with her. After she manipulates Kirk into desiring her, Elaan becomes submissive, gentle, loyal, even willing to die with him, by his side, as the Klingons ruthlessly attack the Enterprise. It is at this point in the narrative that the other stereotype of the Asian female comes into play – that of the submissive Asian slave. In the end, Elaan does anything Captain Kirk requests, politely and adoringly obeying his demands and orders. Her dragon lady tactics were only used so that she could assume a position she truly desired: the submissive mistress of a white knight." (Star Trek and History: Race-ing Toward a White Future, pp 64-65)
Aside from the standard CGI replacement footage of the Enterprise, this episode most notably featured new effects shots of the planets Troyius and Elas. In addition, revised footage depicting the scenes of the confrontation between Enterprise and the Klingon battle cruiser were created.
- The next remastered episode to air was "The Enterprise Incident".
- Story outline "Journey to Reolite" by Alfred Brenner, 18 April 1966
- Story idea "Helen of Troyius" by Gene Roddenberry, 5 December 1966
- Story outline by John Meredyth Lucas, 8 March 1968
- Revised story outline, 20 March 1968
- Second revised story outline, 22 March 1968
- First draft teleplay, 12 April 1968
- Revised story outline by Fred Freiberger, titled "Elaan of Troyius", 8 May 1968
- First draft teleplay by Lucas, 16 May 1968
- Second draft teleplay, 20 May 1968
- Final draft teleplay by Arthur Singer, 23 May 1968
- Additional page revisions by Singer, 24 May 1968
- Revised final draft teleplay, 27 May 1968
- Additional page revisions by Freiberger, 29 May 1968
- Filmed: 31 May 1968 – 10 June 1968
- Day 1 – 31 May 1968, Friday – Desilu Stage 9: Int. Bridge
- Day 2 – 3 June 1968, Monday – Desilu Stage 9: Int. Bridge
- Day 3 – 4 June 1968, Tuesday – Desilu Stage 9: Int. Bridge, Corridors, Transporter room
- Day 4 – 5 June 1968, Wednesday – Desilu Stage 9: Int. Transporter room, Corridors, Elaan's quarters
- Day 5 – 6 June 1968, Thursday – Desilu Stage 9: Int. Elaan's quarters, Sickbay, McCoy's office
- Day 6 – 7 June 1968, Friday – Desilu Stage 9: Int. Engineering, Turbolift
- Day 7 – 10 June 1968, Monday – Desilu Stage 9: Int. Corridors; Desilu Stage 10: Int. Arboretum (deleted scene)
- Score recording, 12 July 1968
- Original airdate, 20 December 1968
- First UK airdate 22 September 1971
Video and DVD releases
- Original US Betamax release: 1988
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 30, catalog number VHR 2382, 3 September 1990
- US VHS release: 15 April 1994
- UK re-release (three-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 3.1, 1 September 1997
- Original US DVD release (single-disc): Volume 29, 14 August 2001
- As part of the TOS Season 3 DVD collection
- As part of the TOS-R Season 3 DVD collection
Links and references
- Jay Robinson as Petri
- Tony Young as Kryton
- James Doohan as Scott
- Nichelle Nichols as Uhura
- George Takei as Sulu
- Walter Koenig as Chekov
- Majel Barrett as Nurse Chapel
- Lee Duncan as Evans
- Victor Brandt as Watson
- Dick Durock as Guard #1
- Charles Beck as Guard #2
- K.L. Smith as a Klingon
- William Blackburn as Hadley
- Frank da Vinci as Vinci
- Roger Holloway as Roger Lemli
- Jeannie Malone as a yeoman
- Eddie Paskey as Leslie
- Frieda Rentie as a Lieutenant
- Unknown actors as
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- "Elaan of Troyius" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "Elaan of Troyius" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "Elaan of Troyius" at Wikipedia
- "Elaan of Troyius" at MissionLogPodcast.com, a Roddenberry Star Trek podcast
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