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.
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.