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 deskbound Starfleet bureaucrat, Kirk and company prepare to welcome the Elasian members of the mission. He still doesn't know the details of the mission. The secrecy is apparently called for because the Tellun system is in the Federation-Klingon border area. 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, effeminate Troyian ambassador, says the next step is to pick up the "Dohlman", the thing 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 but carry nuclear hand-weapons.
Petri now explains that the Dohlman is to be given in an arranged marriage to the ruler of Troyius. The two worlds 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 room (actually Uhura's) by the news that she is dissatisfied with it. Kirk arrives to find Elaan throwing a fit. Petri is there, trying to show her the wedding gifts; a pair of embroidered slippers, a golden-orange gown and an antique folk-art necklace he calls "the most prized of royal jewels – for your lovely neck!" His hatred 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 it.
Petri insists he hates the Elasians and cannot complete his task; she is impossibly arrogant and violent. Troyian males had been described in these terms earlier, and we also hear her denounce "female trappings" as offensive, saying she is not a "soft fawn to need pillows to sit on". (Perhaps she is behaving more like a male because she had a military upbringing; Kirk later talks about her duties in terms of giving and taking orders). Kirk suggests Petri 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 is working, so it must be a spaceship. Again, Kirk is summoned away from the bridge, this time to Engineering where Elaan and her personal guard are looking around. She expresses disdain for the engines, wanting only to know how the ship is used in combat. Scott is quick to point out that the engines are crucial in combat. Kirk tells her she should be more courteous, but she says courtesy is not for inferiors.
Petri will recover, but renounces the mission. On top of everything else, the Federation High Commissioner is on his way to 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 falls in love with her. However, it is not made clear whether the Troyian leader was so affected.
Kirk explains the mission to Elaan in terms of military discipline, while she sits there eating like a barbarian with no table manners whatsoever. She reiterates that she despises Troyians and won't go through with it. Kirk states that he'll teach her basic etiquette himself. Meanwhile, Kryton sneaks into engineering and kills an engineer.
When Kirk tries to visit Elaan again, he's 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 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. It is from Kryton, the chief of Elaan's guard, who kills himself when he hears he is to undergo a Vulcan mind-probe. Scott checks for sabotage; Kirk returns to Elaan, who tells him that Kryton loved her and acted out of jealousy. Kirk wonders why the Klingons would be interested, but Elaan is unconcerned and welcomes the interference in the wedding. 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 set to go off if they enter warp.
Kirk manages to bluff their way out of the attack, observed by Elaan who has followed him to the bridge. 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, so that they can't go to warp anyhow. They must have replacement crystals. They can't call Starfleet and give away their helplessness, and they can't power up the phaser banks. The Klingons call for 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 Scotty's use. Her words, "If I can be of any help, of course", prove that she was aware of common courtesy all along.
Despite the crude shape of the crystals, which cause power fluctuations, the Enterprise manages to power up and shoot a couple of photon torpedoes at the Klingon. Badly damaged, it limps away, and Kirk orders resume course to Troyius. 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 dais and disappears. McCoy finds a possible antidote, but Kirk is already apparently back to normal, and Spock says the Enterprise captured his heart long before the Dohlman did.
- "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."
"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
"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
- 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 would again ask 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.
- The story is very similar to TNG: "The Perfect Mate".
- A scene with Spock playing his Vulcan harp in the recreation room 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 recreation room 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.
- 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." Guest star France Nuyen's costumes are far more revealing, however: the purple halter top, the silver flowered thing on black mesh, the orange dress, and the blue wedding gown with no sides.
- The armor of Elaan's guards were constructed out of red and orange plastic place mats. The body armor worn by Tony Young (Kryton) was sold in Christie's 40 Years of Star Trek: The Collection auction for $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.
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 in "Wink of an Eye" and "Wolf in the Fold".
- 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 Star Trek 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 Kalinda's quarters to find Kirk "apologizing" to her.
- The steps leading up to the transporter chamber were painted black for the third season.
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 by John Meredyth Lucas, 8 March 1968
- Story outline, 20 March 1968
- Story outline, 22 March 1968, titled: "Helen of Troyius"
- Teleplay, 12 April 1968
- First draft script, 16 May 1968
- Revised final draft script, 27 May 1968
- Filmed in late May 1968 and early June 1968
- Scene 25A (deleted rec room scene) filmed 10 June 1968
- Score recording, 12 July 1968
Video and DVD releases
- Original US Betamax release: 1988
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 30, catalogue 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 Elasian Guard #1
- Charles Beck as Elasian 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
algobarium; class A security; bureaucrat; colladium trioxide; dilithium; dilithium crystal converter assembly; Dohlman; Elas; Elasian; Elasian Council of Nobels; Elasian tears; Federation-Klingon Cold War; general quarters; High Commissioner; hydrogen; Klingons; Klingon battle cruiser; Klingon Empire; mechanic; Saurian brandy; spanking; Starfleet Command; suicide; swine; Tellun system; Troyian; Troyius; Troyius Tribunal; Vulcan mind meld
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