7/8/12

Star Trek: Asterisk "Elaan of Troyius"

Vital Information
Series: The Original Series
Episode: S03E13
Air Date: December 20, 1968
Written by: John Meredyth Lucas
Directed by: John Meredyth Lucas

Premise
The Enterprise drags Elaan to Troyius kicking and screaming to an arranged marriage. Suddenly, Klingons!

Review
So the Enterprise picked up a Troyian ambassador named Petri and and then went on their way to Elas to pick up Elaan. Apparently there has been a war between these two planets and Elaan is to be married to a Troyian in order to make peace. So Elaan beams aboard and she's a beautiful exotic woman who is also an impossibly spoiled brat. As they make their way back to Troyius, Petri makes it his goal to teach Elaan basic manners. He completely fails at this goal.

Uhura gave up her quarters for Elaan, but Elaan insists that the quarters are not good enough. Too many pillows, or something. Petri even offers her a special necklace to adorn her "beautiful neck", but she refuses it. Kirk arrives and she argues about how terrible the room is, but Kirk isn't gonna take it. Kirk knows all she needs is some tough love.
Dis bitch.
Meanwhile, up on the bridge, Spock discovers a "sensor ghost". Something is out there, but they can't see it. All the equipment is working properly, but it just can't get a lock on what's out there.  But Kirk can't worry about it right now because he's being called to engineering. Apparently Elaan and her guards decided to take an unscheduled tour. Kirk sends her back to her room and then goes back to the bridge to find that the ghost ship is actually a Klingon war ship! But it's not doing anything... just... floating there. So Kirk is free to answer ANOTHER call from Elaan's quarters... this time... Petri is laying in a pool of blood.

After Petri is taken to sick bay, Elaan easily admits to stabbing him. So, basically, Elaan is determined not to go through with this marriage even though she allowed herself to be beamed aboard. Back in her quarters, Kirk comes along with Spock who, when the guards refuse their entry, stuns them. Kirk enters and Elaan throws a fit. So Kirk smacks her around a bit until, finally, she starts crying. And a bit of her tears falls onto Kirk's hand. A biochemical reaction takes place, and Kirk instantly falls in love.
A match manufactured in China.
So now it's Bones' responsibility to come up with an antidote for the love potion that is her tears. Meanwhile, the Klingon ship that's just out of range starts attacking! Kirk goes up to the bridge, but he is obviously completely distracted by thoughts of Elaan. Which doesn't help when she shows up on the bridge herself. Well, it turns out one of her guards was actually a Klingon spy and placed a bomb in engineering that would go off if they went to warp. So, while the Klingon ship speeds toward them, they were supposed to run off, but they didn't because Scotty found the bomb in time. And the Klingon ship just keeps on going.

Kirk uses his infamous bluffing skills to get out of the Klingon attack, but he's still very distracted by Elaan. Meanwhile, Scotty goes through all the damage the spy did and finds that their dilithium crystals are all shot. They couldn't go to warp even if they wanted to. Besides that, they can't even power up the phasers. They can't call Starfleet and risk the Klingons knowing their helplessness, so, as the Klingons turn back around to attack again, they sit helpless, managing only some slow tactical maneuvers. It would seem the Enterprise is just as distracted as Kirk.
Spock isn't in the least bit jealous.
Well, there's one thing Kirk can do, and that's remove the distraction from the bridge. She runs into Petri again who makes one last request: just take the frakkin necklace. Apparently softening in her approach since meeting Kirk, she begrudgingly accepts the wedding gift. And then, for whatever reason, she goes back up to the bridge to distract Kirk some more. And that's when Spock finds strange energy readings coming from her necklace. She says the rocks on the necklace are common - found all over her planet. Spock scans them and recognizes them as dilithium! If they're all over the place on her planet, that's perfect motive for the Klingons to take the planet.

Swiftly, the dilithium necklace is taken to engineering and Scotty rigs up a fix for the engines and phasers. With power finally back, they easily kick Klingon butt and continue on their way to Troyius. Kirk explains to Elaan that it doesn't matter what he feels, he needs to complete his duty as a Starfleet officer and escort her to her marriage. After she beams down, Bones finally brings a cure to the bridge. But Spock says it's too late. Turns out, for Kirk, the cure to Love Potion #10 is the Enterprise.

Overall Thoughts
This is a pretty great story. Arranged marriages are never fun, especially when the wife is basically a barbarian. But this is more than just a story about a spoiled brat learning to coexist. It's also a story of loyalty despite impossible odds and a biological inhibition. Bravo to John Lucas for both his writing and directing in this episode.