Star Trek

Season 3 Episode 13

Elaan of Troyius

Aired Unknown Dec 20, 1968 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
144 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

The Enterprise must escort an alien princess to her marriage to seal an interplanetary alliance...but she becomes attracted to Kirk.

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  • The Enterprise escorts a spoiled alien princess to her wedding to seal an interplanetary alliance, but she becomes attracted to Kirk.

    With its title derived from Helen of Troy and a story borrowed from The Taming of the Shrew, this ship-based episode, the only in Star Trek history to be written and directed by the same person, drifts somewhat aimlessly from one subplot to another without ever finding a rhythm or a meaning.

    Lucas comes into the episode as no novice, both as a writer ("The Changeling", "Patterns of Force") and a director ("The Ultimate Computer") and his ideas here aren't bad. Elaan the "Dohlman", Petri the ambassador, and Kryton the guard (despite being dressed in what looks like a kid's homemade Halloween costume) are all interesting characters, with France Nuyen, Jay Robinson, and Tony Young each bringing something to the table. The Klingons, with their new bird of prey and their stern captain . Smith), are well represented. Even the "love potion" idea is something interesting, with McCoy getting some screen time analyzing its chemical properties. And yet instead of the elements working together, like the diverse story threads in "Journey to Babel", they get in each other's way, with none able to build momentum before being cut off by another. Will the ambassador forgive Kirk or the Dohlman? Will Elaan have trouble adjusting from being a warrior to being a bride? Will Kirk ever get to administer that spanking? We're teased with the questions but get no answers. (Although to be fair, Pocket Books published an unofficial sequel to the episode in 1994 entitled Firestorm).

    Nuyen plays the part of the "spoiled princess" well and creates a nice arc for the character, but as a Kirk story, with the captain treating her like she's six, this one falls short of expectations. (It's unfortunate that it wastes Star Trek's last original score, if you go by airdate order).

    TNG redoes this episode in its fifth season, ejecting the "Taming of the Shrew" angle and using a more focused approach to Picard's dilemma. Sadly, however, no one asks Picard for a spanking.

    Remastered Version:

    Most of the first half is just your basic "new ship and planets" upgrade (with the original reusing the "Operation: Annihilate!" planet for Elas and "Wolf in the Fold" planet for Troyius). The second half includes a lot of Enterprise versus Klingon warbird shots (with the original eschewing stock shots and actually shooting new footage for this, although with two other episodes produced at the same time needing the same footage, it was a smart move). The CGI upgrades for the battles are better than the original shots but aren't anything special, coming across like a 90s video game.

  • Intrigue, space combat plus wardrobe galore for a petulent princess.

    One of Star Trek's better outings, it is certain that I will remember Elaan of Troyius for the costume design. There's the scene where we first meet Elaan, the camera pans up so we can fully enjoy the remarkable uniform Elaan wears. Then there's the purple casual ensemble which she wears in quarters, which evokes thoughts of spanking for Kirk. Then Elaan goes topless (well, with pasties) on the engineering deck. Last, and least, is the shapeless magenta gown. Overall, Elaan is more stimulating than Shawna in her platinum bikini (Gamesters of Triskelion).

    Incidentally we have intrigue, sabotage and space combat. Good incidental music in the latter scenes. One of the top ten episodes, I'd say.

  • The Enterprise escorts a spoiled princess to her unwanted marriage, which will bring peace to a warring star system. But the demanding woman becomes attracted to Captain Kirk. One of the Original Series' weakest episodes...moreless

    Just as I am surprised that a couple of episodes that I really enjoyed are rated so low, I am surprised that "Elaan of Troyius" isn't generally held in lower regard. In my opinion, it is one of the weakest and dullest episodes of the entire Original Series.

    The plot reminds me of the type that we would often see from 'The Next Generation' onwards - entirely ship-bound, and not all that much of interest happens. The fact that it comes from the Original Series, which was usually more adventurous with its settings, makes it seem even weaker.

    I couldn't care less about spoiled princess Elaan, and found that the episode really dragged. And ... would you believe it ... she falls for Captain Kirk. Well there's a plot twist that we've never seen before(!)

    The Klingon b-plot does nothing to even things up, and I found the solution, involving Elaan's necklace of all things, to be over-convenient and unconvincing.

    Not much more to say on this one. It defiantly ranks in my Top (or should that be Bottom?) Five least favourite episodes of the series. This is another one that I'd say, for the completists, sit through it once to say you've seen it, and then move on.moreless
  • Similar in concept to 2nd. season classic 'Journey to Babel'

    Similarities between this episode and 'Journey to Babel'. 1) Kirk must transport delegates/representatives of civiliations at odds with each other. a) In Journey to Babel (JTB), the delegates are passionately divided over whether or not to admit Coridan to the Federation. b) In Elaan of Troyius (EOT), the Elasians and Troyians are at war. 2) Acts of violence on board the ship mar the journey to the ship's destination. a) In JTB, the Tellarite ambassador angrily lunges out at Sarek during an argument. The ambassador is later found murdered. Attempted murder occurs when the Orion disguised as an Andorian attempts to murder Kirk. b) In EOT, Elaan stabs the Troyian ambassador in a heat of rage. Elaan's bodyguard Kryton strangles Engineer Watson in the Engineering room while performing his sabotage. 3) The Enterprise is stalked by a mysterious vessel. a) In JTB, it is the mysterious high speed vessel cloaked against sensor probes shadowing the Enterprise. b) In EOT, it is the 'sensor ghost' later revealed to be a Klingon ship when the 'ghost' materializes( quite possibly the Klingon ship may have been equipped with the Romulan supplied cloaking device when it appeared as a sensor ghost to the Enterprise's sensors -reference episode 'The Enterprise Incident' in which it is apparent the Klingons and Romulans have exchanged military technology). 4) Acts of covert communication occur from inside the Enterprise to the mysterious vessel. a) In JTB, the Orion spy is in communication with the Orion vessel. b) IN EOT, Kryton uses a Klingon communicator to inform the Klingon vessel that he has sabotaged the Enterprise's warp engines. 5) During battle with the mysterious vessel, the Enterprise suffers a disadvantage in speed. a) In JTB, the Orion vessel is too fast and maneuverable for the Enterprise to score a phaser hit on, moving at speeds of up to Warp 10. b) In EOT, the Enterprise's warp engines are sabotaged with the rigged explosive device, making it impossible for the Enterprise to evade the Klingon ship's fire. 6) During the battle, Kirk has to cope with his own physical condition. a) In JTB, he is coping with the injury from the Orion spy's attack.

    b) In EOT, he is coping with the effects of the Elasian's love tears clouding his concentration. 7) Kirk prevails over the enemy ship with his 'playing possum' strategy. a) In JTB, he shuts down power on the Enterprise to lure the Orion ship into phaser range.

    b) In EOT, he decides not to increase power to the weakened shields so that the Klingon ship will move in closer for the Enterprise to fire on it and disable it.moreless
  • Kirk makes a girl cry, and steals her necklace

    There really isn’t too much to say about this one. Nothing terrible or brilliant. I would say whoever played the part of Elaan did a great job. We loathed her in the first half and she really didn’t do a bad job of trying to make us see her sensitive side in the second half, even if it was all a plan to get Kirk to touch her tears. Also, this is another fine example of Gene Roddenberry’s wonderful efforts in making aliens look so interesting and different. And I’m not only talking about Elaan, but Petri as well.moreless
Leonard Nimoy

Leonard Nimoy

Mr. Spock

William Shatner

William Shatner

Captain James Tiberius Kirk

DeForest Kelley

DeForest Kelley

Dr. Leonard Horatio "Bones" McCoy

France Nuyen

France Nuyen


Guest Star

Jay Robinson

Jay Robinson

Lord Petri

Guest Star

Tony Young

Tony Young


Guest Star

Nichelle Nichols

Nichelle Nichols

Lt. Nyota Uhura

Recurring Role

George Takei

George Takei

Lt. Hikaru Sulu

Recurring Role

Walter Koenig

Walter Koenig

Ensign Pavel Chekov

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (8)

    • When Elaan returns to the bridge from Sickbay, she is wearing different clothes and jewelry than when she left. They were in the middle of a battle, and she wasn't in her quarters. There would be no time or reason to have changed.

    • Trivia: Captain Kirk says that Sickbay is the best protected part of the starship.

    • During the battle with the Klingon ship, the camera cuts to a wide shot and Chekov disappears from his position (they used footage from an episode Walter Koenig wasn't in).

    • Uhura's quarters has a blue door plaque outside - in all episodes before and since blue plaques are used to indicate Ship's Services rooms.

    • The close-up of the transporter station when the Elasians arrive has Scotty's hands, but he's standing across the room - someone else is doing the beaming.

    • Spock says the Klingon ship is approaching at Warp Six, but Sulu counts off the distance at about 50,000 kilometers per second - that isn't even the speed of light.

    • When Security calls Kirk over the intercom, he responds and in the closeup turns on the intercom. Two problems - the activation light is already on, and the close-up is of a desktop intercom, even though Kirk is standing by his command chair.

    • Kirk identifies a Klingon ship as Klingon on sight, without hesitiation. But...the Romulans are also using Klingon ships (see "The Enterprise Incident"). So how is Kirk so sure?

  • QUOTES (12)

    • Elaan: You rule this ship?
      Spock: I am the First Officer. This is Captain James Kirk.

    • Kirk: Ambassador, I'd like to speak to you.
      Elaan: You have not been dismissed.
      Kirk: May I have your permission to go?
      Elaan: You are now dismissed.
      Kirk: Why, thank you.

    • Kirk: 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.
      Elaan: I will not be humiliated!
      Kirk: Then act in a civilized fashion.
      Elaan: I did not give you permission to leave!
      Kirk: I didn't ask for any.

    • Kirk: Ambassador! This is supposed to be a peaceful mission.
      Petri: There cannot be peace between us. We have deluded ourselves. Captain, when I am near them, I do not want peace. I want to kill them!

    • McCoy: Spock, I've finally found the antidote to the Elasian tears!
      Spock: You're too late, Doctor.
      McCoy: Are you out of your Vulcan mind? Do you know how long I've been working on this?
      Spock: The cure to the tears of an Elasian is a starship. The Enterprise infected the Captain long before the Dohlman did.
      McCoy: Well, I seriously doubt that there's any cure to a starship.
      Spock: On this particular occasion, Doctor, I agree with you.

    • Elaan: We are more interested in how the ship is used in combat, not in what drives it. Engines are for mechanics and menials.
      Scotty: Mechanics and menials? Why without engines, there'd be no fighting odds!

    • Elaan: I will not be given to a Troyian pig as a bribe to stop a war!

    • Elaan: Captain, that ancient Earth custom called "spanking"... what is it?
      Kirk: It's, um... it's, uh... we'll talk about it later.

    • Sulu: We still can maneuver, Captain.
      Scotty: Maneuver? Aye. We can wallow like a garbage scow against a warp driven starship.

    • Kirk: Be pleasant no matter how much it hurts.

    • Kirk: The prejudices people feel about each other disappear when they get to know each other.

    • Spock: Captain, your analysis of the situation was flawless, anticipating that she would deny you admittance. However, the logic by which you arrived at your conclusion escapes me.
      Kirk: Spock, the women on your planet are logical. That's the only planet in this galaxy that can make that claim!

  • NOTES (0)