Mar 11 2010 4:07pm

Star Trek Re-Watch: “Friday’s Child”

“Friday’s Child”
Written by D.C. Fontana
Directed by Joseph Pevney

Season 2, Episode 11
Production episode: 2x03
Original air date: December 1, 1967
Star date: 3497.2

Mission summary

The Enterprise arrives at Capella IV to negotiate for mining rights to a rare mineral called topaline, which is essential to colonial life-support systems. Doctor McCoy has spent some time on the planet, so he briefs the senior crew on the Capellan culture: they are a large, warlike people who believe “only the strong should survive” and have a lot of taboos. Sound like anyone we know? Worried about showing force by bringing an armed security team, Kirk, Spock, and McCoy beam down with a lone red shirt, and a “young and inexperienced” one at that. Grant is also excitable; when they discover a Klingon hanging out on the planet, he draws his phaser and is instantly killed by a kligat, a knife the Capellans can throw up to a hundred yards. Too bad Kirk failed to warn him that Klingons were in the area...

The Capellan Maab, egged on by his Klingon friend Kras, requests that Kirk’s team surrender their weapons and communicators. They agree, and are unable to contact the ship to update them on the situation. As they wait in a tent, Kirk demands an explanation from McCoy for their shoddy treatment—the Capellans are supposed to be “unusually honest” and “dangerous if lied to,” but Kirk and his crew haven’t done anything wrong. Except for trigger-happy Grant, that is. Kirk’s also worried about Kras, since there’s probably a Klingon ship around too.

Indeed there is: Chekov detects a ship just outside of sensor range. Sulu and Scotty naturally assume it’s Klingon, but decide not to bother the Captain yet. He has his hands full anyway, when a woman brings a bowl of fruit to their tent and offers some to him. But McCoy warns the captain that if he, uh, touches her fruit, “her nearest male relative will have to try to kill you.” They find combat more pleasurable than love.

They’re finally brought to see Akaar, Teer of the Ten Tribes of Capella, and his very pregnant wife Eleen. Kirk complains about them killing Grant, and Maab points out that the humans have strange customs. When Kras suggests that the Klingons have more in common with the Capellans, McCoy calls him a liar in the Capellan fashion:

What Maab has said is true. Our customs are different. What the Klingon has said is unimportant and we do not hear his words.

Kirk also points out that the Klingons are more likely to conquer Capella, but the Federation will respect their right to rule themselves. Maab implies that some Capellans won’t bargain with Earth, and Akkar asks if he wants to fight.

Meanwhile, the Enterprise picks up a distress signal from the freighter S.S. Dierdre, which apparently is under attack by the Klingon ship. They can’t contact the landing party because their communicators were confiscated, so he decides to leave orbit to assist the ship in distress.

On Capella, Maab launches a coup against Akaar. During the fray, Kirk discovers Kras ransacking the Teer’s tent, with the same idea he had of locating their weapons and communicators. He overcomes the Klingon, but Maab arrives to break it up, proclaiming himself the new Teer. When Eleen enters, Maab trips her and she burns her arm in a brazier. Kirk pulls her to safety before Maab can kill her and her unborn child, which threatens his claim as leader. “No man may touch the wife of a Teer,” Maab says, and Eleen agrees:

I was proud to obey the laws. Kill him first. He laid hands upon me. It is my right to see him die.

It was only a matter of time before Kirk’s grabby hands got him in trouble! He and the others are imprisoned with Eleen. McCoy is determined to treat her injured arm, but she refuses to let him touch her. The guards are distracted by the argument, allowing Kirk and Spock to overpower them. The captain invites Eleen to escape with them: “You said you’re prepared to die. Does that mean you’d prefer to die?” She decides to leave with them and also reveals that she hates her unborn baby.

Somehow they manage to recover their communicators and flee into the mountains, where they make their stand in a narrow canyon as the Capellans pursue them. McCoy finally convinces Eleen to let him heal her arm, but she protests when he puts his hand on her belly to check on her child.

ELEEN: You will not touch me in that manner.
MCCOY: You listen to me, young woman. I’ll touch you in any way or manner that my professional judgment indicates.

She slaps him a couple of times and he slaps her back, which wins her respect. She consents to his hands on her and he tells her that the baby is due imminently. Spock seems unsurprised when he sees her cozying up to the doctor.

Kirk comes up with a crazy plan to use their communicators to generate a sonic disruption and create a landslide when the Capellans enter the canyon. They successfully produce a sympathetic vibration that makes the rockface explode down onto the Capellans. Kras uses the opportunity to steal a phaser from a fallen Capellan (who happens to be wearing a red uniform!) and kill him with his own sword.

The Enterprise can’t find the Deirdre and there’s no sign of any debris. Scotty plays back the distress call and realizes they’ve been tricked away from Capella IV. After continuing their search for a while to be sure, he decides to head back to help the captain, ignoring another phony distress call. They discover the Klingon ship directly ahead, between them and the planet, and Scotty plays chicken with them.

Momentarily safe from the Capellans, Eleen goes into labor in a cave and Spock and Kirk fashion rudimentary bows and arrows from sticks and remarkably “tensile” bark—since sulfur, charcoal, potassium nitrate, and diamonds are in short supply. After McCoy delivers the child, Eleen knocks him out and runs away, leaving three men and a baby. Kirk and Spock pursue her, planning to ambush the Capellan warriors among the rocks with their primitive weapons. Eleen convinces Maab that her baby is dead and she killed the humans in their sleep, but Kras won’t take her word for it. Kirk shoots an arrow into his leg and then everything goes Reservoir Dogs; a Capellan throws a kligat at them, Spock shoots him, and Kras fires his phaser at Spock but misses, then disintegrates a Capellan.

Eleen offers to draw Kras’s fire so Maab can attack him, shaming the leader into sparing her life in exchange for his own. He challenges the Klingon and is immediately disintegrated for his trouble. Moments after Kirk complains that “the cavalry doesn’t come over the hill in the nick of time anymore,” a cavalry of red shirts shows up; apparently, the Klingon ship flinched before the Enterprise. McCoy appears with Eleen’s baby and subjects everyone to his embarrassing baby talk, which is too much for the universal translator, and Spock.

SPOCK: Oochy-woochy coochy-coo, Captain?
KIRK: An obscure Earth dialect, Mister Spock. Oochy-woochy coochy-coo. If you’re curious, consult linguistics.
SPOCK: Well, at any rate, this should prove interesting.
KIRK: Interesting?
SPOCK: When the woman starts explaining how the new high teer is actually Doctor McCoy’s child.

The explanation is never given, but Eleen grants them the mining treaty as Regent for the new Teer, Leonard James Akaar.

MCCOY: Has a kind of a ring to it, don’t you think, James?
KIRK: Yes. I think it’s a name destined to go down in galactic history, Leonard. What do you think, Spock?
SPOCK: I think you’re both going to be insufferably pleased with yourselves for at least a month. Sir.


I had absolutely no recollection of this episode until Eleen starts calling the doctor “MacCoy” and he says “I’m a doctor, not an escalator!” For a while I was wondering if I’d ever seen it at all, which is one of the problems—it just isn’t memorable, even with Julie Newmar guest starring.

The Capellan culture was one of the more interesting aspects of this episode. Though they don’t go explore it in great detail, it’s always fascinating to see civilizations different from our own, and how the crew generally tries to respect their laws. The Capellans are patriarchal warriors, but at no point does anyone from the Enterprise mock them or, in this case, try to change their ways—something with which Kirk often has trouble. They simply accept their customs and try to work within their guidelines. As a story about negotiating with an indigenous people, “Friday’s Child” mostly succeeds. It’s also an unexpected pleasure to have McCoy featured so prominently in this adventure, as the only person able to interpret their actions and respond accordingly. I’d really like to know more about how the Capellans can track them by scent...

This appearance of the Klingons is reminiscent of their previous interactions with the Organians, but adds a decent element of tension and conflict to an already difficult situation. The scenes on board the Enterprise mainly serve to leave Kirk, McCoy, and Spock to fend for themselves, and yet there’s at least one interesting moment. When the Klingon ship slips out of sensor range and they can’t find the Deirdre, Scott comments, “A vessel doesn’t just disappear.” But as we find out in later episodes, some Klingon ships are equipped with cloaking devices. Perhaps this foreshadows that later development? There’s also another throwaway line in the teaser, when Kirk says, “While we’re negotiating down there, we don’t want the Enterprise to become an incident up here.” D.C. Fontana, the writer for this episode, would later contribute a third season script titled “The Enterprise Incident,” which concerns... a cloaking device.

There are some other interesting events on the Bridge. It’s unusual, but we see Scott actually recording his Captain’s Log entry, and he’s even interrupted in the middle of it to sign some paperwork. When they go to red alert, there’s a deliberate shot of some scanner rising from Sulu’s console. What the heck is that? And in one scene, I heard the turbolift doors open and noticed some random crew member slipping onto the Bridge in the background and moving offscreen, for no apparent purpose—an extra bit of detail, like Engineering reporting on the status of weapons before the battle, that make the ship seem busy and realistic.

Far less realistic is the idea that Spock and Kirk could make bows and arrows that actually work as well as they do. On top of that, instead of building a normal fire with wood, McCoy produces a “magnesite-nitron tablet” that bursts into flame on sharp impact, which I don’t believe we ever see again because it’s ridiculous. It’s generally easier to heat up rocks with phasers, if you have them. Why did Kirk bring such a green red shirt down to the planet, and not warn him about Klingons?

It’s also extremely odd that they gloss over so much in the episode, so it seems like we’re missing some scenes that are filled in with exposition. Kirk says, “Before leaving the Capellan encampment, we managed to retrieve our communicators.” How? Later Scott tells them, “Well sir, we had a wee bit of a run-in with a Klingon vessel, but he had no stomach for fighting.” That doesn’t sound very Klingon, and it also would have been more interesting than most of the scenes we did have on the Enterprise. Most frustrating of all, McCoy promises to explain why he’s the father of Eleen’s child, but he never does.

Speaking of McCoy and Eleen, I found their relationship both awesome and bizarre. McCoy knows how to be tough with her, and she seems to like it. I was stunned when she was telling him where she felt pain, and then Kirk left the cave and we can hear her giggling inside. But I found his attempts to psych her into having the baby a little groan-worthy, though it’s worth it when he realizes they aren’t strictly doctor and patient anymore.

MCCOY: Now, you must want the child!
ELEEN: No. Here, child belongs to husband.
MCCOY: So they take all the credit here. Poppycock! Answer me. Do you want my help? Answer me. Do you want my help? All right. Say to yourself, the child is mine. The child is mine. It is mine!
ELEEN: Yes, it’s yours.
MCCOY: No, no. You’ve got it all wrong.
ELEEN: Yes, McCoy. It’s yours.
MCCOY: No. Say to yourself, The child is mine. It is mine. It is— Uh oh.

Finally, I was a bit disturbed by one brief exchange, as Kirk and Spock face off against the Capellans and Kas.

KIRK: There’s just one thing I want.
SPOCK: The Klingon?
KIRK: One of us must get him.
SPOCK: Revenge, Captain?
KIRK: Why not?

Huh? Revenge for what?

Eugene’s Rating: Warp 3 (on a scale of 1-6)


Torie Atkinson: What the hell was this?

Disjointed, boring, and baffling, “Friday’s Child” left me going “What? No wait... WHAT?” over and over again.

First, we’ve got a semi-Spartan culture that the Federation has nothing to offer in exchange for a ridiculously beneficial mining treaty. Kras wants to know what the Federation has to give, and all Kirk can think of is “we won’t invade”? That’s supposed to persuade them why, exactly? Then we have a girl who’s barely verbal (no one else in the community seems limited to a five-word vocabulary!) and whose motives throughout are a total mystery (why does she flee in the first place, only to return to die?), but who seems to enjoy a little sadomasochistic hanky-panky with the doctor. What?? We’ve also got Kirk and Spock fashioning bows and arrows and killing the natives, and then being warmly accepted as allies. Is that what they teach at the Academy? I was most confused by the way that Mr. Scott, who’s ordinarily sharp as a tack, took absolutely forever to figure out that the distress signal was a trap. And once he learns that it is, he promptly proceeds to continue investigating the signal. What??

In case the haphazard plotting wasn’t enough, it has no fewer than three egregiously bad edits (in which the scene abruptly shifts to a wildly different angle or position) and the absolute worst choreographed man fight I’ve seen. Even the actors seemed to be checking their watches, and Chekov’s half-hearted Russia joke was the lamest yet. There were no real characters—we get a one-note Klingon villain and a terrible waste of Julie Newmar—and absolutely nothing memorable happens that will make me recall having seen this a few weeks from now.

On the other hand, I can now point to a concrete example of “rocks fall, everyone dies.”

Torie’s Rating: Warp Factor 1

Best Line: KIRK: “Well, if you don’t think we can, maybe we shouldn’t try.” (Used to convince Spock that his plan with the communicators will work, especially funny because he uses the same tactic to prompt McCoy to action later.)

Syndication Edits: Sulu calling the briefing room in the teaser while they’re watching McCoy’s home movies, Scott’s decision not to bother the Captain about the Klingon ship, Kras pacing around Maab after Kirk and the others escape, some of the Enterprise’s search for the Deirdre, Kras approaching the fallen Capellan, Scott considering the disappearing ship, Eleen groaning and McCoy comforting her, Uhura hailing the Klingon ship, and various reaction shots, transitions, and scenes of walking Capellans throughout.

Trivia: In the original draft of this script, the planet is “Ceres VII” and Akaar and Maab are brothers. Maab plots with the Klingon “Keel” to kill Akaar, and Eleen gives up her baby in exchange for her life, while Kirk and the others try to rescue him. Maab kills her anyway for adultery, then is killed himself for working with the Klingons, and the baby becomes the new Teer with Eleen’s father as his Regent. Roddenberry reportedly changed Fontana’s ending with Eleen’s death.

This is the first production episode in which Chekov claims an Earth saying was invented in Russia (“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”), though other episodes with the recurring gag aired first. In this instance, he smiles afterward, indicating he knows he’s making a joke, though at other times he seems perfectly serious. Because this was filmed early but didn’t air until Christmas, he’s still seen in his shaggy wig.

This is the only episode where Uhura and Sulu call Mr. Scott “Scotty.”

The mineral topaline is also referenced in an episode of Enterprise titled “The Shipment.”

Other notes: The beautiful Julie Newmar (who plays Eleen here) was, of course, most famous for playing Catwoman in the original Batman series.

I had to consult the internet to figure out what this episode title is referencing. It relates to a fortune-telling nursery rhyme, which says that “Friday’s child is loving and giving,” though an earlier version claims that “Friday’s child is full of woe.” In the 1960s, this would likely have been known to many people, as many novels riffed on the nursery rhyme for their titles, including Georgette Heyer’s Friday’s Child, from 1944. Eartha Kitt, an actress who also played Catwoman on Batman, titled her 1954 autobiography Thursday’s Child.

Next episode: Season 2, Episode 12 - “The Deadly Years.” US residents can watch it for free at the CBS website.

Check the Star Trek Re-Watch Index for a complete list of posts in this series.

Capellan fashion makes Eugene Myers want to see a science fiction version of Project Runway. Obviously, Elim Garak would win.

Torie Atkinson was a Friday’s child. She now regrets this.

Eugene Myers
1. ecmyers
Speaking of Scotty acting out of character, I thought he was surprisingly snotty to Sulu when he said, "I know the maximum speed of a freighter." Didn't he know that Sulu's comment was for the benefit of viewers at home?
Torie Atkinson
2. Torie
@ 1 ecmyers

It made no sense! Nothing made sense! Why was Julie Newmar playing an idiot? Why would these people have ever made a treaty with anyone? Why does Elenn get to live after lying in the teer's FACE, when this is a culture that kills people for dishonesty?

It wasn't even entertainingly bad. It was BORING. Now if we had gotten a Kirk/Kras cagematch instead, maybe I would've responded more positively.
Marcus W
3. toryx
I must have seen this episode at some point but I have absolutely no recollection of it whatsoever.

Why doesn't that ever happen with really good episodes? Even though I have no memory of this one, I also have no desire to hurt my brain by watching it.
Torie Atkinson
4. Torie
@ 3 toryx

But we can't suffer alone! That's the whole point of the re-watch!

I now desperately want to imagine the folks in To Wong Foo showing up to meet Julie Newmar and spicing up the town with their charm.
Marcus W
5. toryx
Torie @ 4:

We need to suffer in company, huh? Well, maybe I'll watch it tonight, just because your response made me laugh.

I also couldn't help but think of "To Wong Foo..." the entire time I was reading this rewatch. Patrick Swayze is totally responsible for changing my thought process on Julie Newmar FOREVER.

Edit: Because my brain seems to think it's already 5pm and time to go home.
Eugene Myers
6. ecmyers
@ 2 Torie

I was convinced I'd somehow missed this episode, and I was relieved when it started to come back to me. It's just so bland, it makes no impression at all. Or a bad impression, it seems.
Jeff Soules
7. DeepThought
Umm... I can't say I had a higher opinion of this episode than the reviewers here did, but at least there's an interesting bit of early Federation colonialism here. What ever happened to the Prime Directive? I suppose it doesn't apply when the pre-warp civilization in question has some unobtanium (and screw you James Cameron for spoiling that particular gem of a phrase for all of fandom). Or, more likely, they hadn't thought of it yet. Anyway, the Good Guys are surprisingly willing to go down and start introducing themselves to the locals, bartering away advanced technology & all of that. Sure, the Klingon is worse, but still, this is not how one imagines Picard would have handled things.

As for the baby, I think El Een's claim that the child was his was just a simple misunderstanding of Mac-coy's well-intentioned coaching. (Either that or the good doctor got to learn a lot more of the local customs than he let on...) But her culture won't let the child be hers, and it has to belong to someone if it's worth saving, so bam! it's McCoy's. Personally, I'd kind of prefer it to actually have been his child biologically, just so that there could have been the implication that something interesting happened somewhere in the history of this episode.
8. revgeorge
As for Klingons having no stomach for fighting, well, these are Original Series Klingons not the hyped up warriors of NextGen. Personally I prefer the OS ones.

While not as negative on this episode as the reviewers, they are right that this isn't the most memorable one.
David Levinson
9. DemetriosX
Like Eugene and toryx, I have virtually no recollection of this episode. Partly, I think, that is because it got very little syndication airing in the 70s and early 80s. About the only things I really remember are the costumes and the exchange between Kirk, McCoy, and Spock at the end.

I tend to agree more with Eugene's rating than Torie's, but that's because, unlike her, I have Spock's Brain to use as a measure for what truly constitutes a 1. I also think Eugene is reading a little too much into some of the "foreshadowing" he sees. The Pueblo Incident which inspired the episode The Enterprise Incident wouldn't take place until roughly a month after this episode aired.

Oh, and I think that pop-up scanner only ever appeared again in TAS. It looks silly and probably cost too much to replicate.
10. peachy
@9 : Yeah, if you're already giving out Warp 1 ratings to forgettable season 2 eps, then you're going to be sailing through season 3 on impulse. And lemme tell ya, you don't want to do season 3 on impulse...
john mullen
11. johntheirishmongol
I do remember this episode, and it was always nice to see Julie Newmar, but why in an episode where she was pregnant and hid all her best attributes???? Anyway, I loved the slapping scene, which usually cracks me up.
12. ***Dave
Aside from having the Least Credible Klingon Evah (as well as a race that wore improbably constricting clothing), I kind of liked this episode.

Perhaps it was because the landing party had to deal with the local customs on their own terms, instead of talking them out of it with some Federation hand-waving. Perhaps because we got to see Scotty actually in command of the Enterprise. Perhaps it was because the locals had flying knife-frisbees that weren't simply overwhelmed by Federation technology.

There's a lot of silly-stupid going on, but it still feels like a more detailed exam of and interaction with a local culture than 99% of the TOS episodes. I'd give it at least a 4 out of Warp 6.
Eugene Myers
13. ecmyers
@ 12 Dave

I was waffling between 3 and 4, for that exact reason, and some decent humor. Ultimately I decided to go with 3 because it just wasn't memorable, and I couldn't get past those bows and arrows...
j p
15. sps49
Yeah, Torie, you need more room at the bottom (And the Children Shall Lead).

Agree with Dave @ 12; I liked this one okay. The Capellans weren't intimidated by anybody,although I'm sure they were offered something equitable offscreen.

Prime Directive- obviously doesn't apply if Klingons are there. And the Capellans weren't trying to destroy the Enterprise, just individuals who are on their planet playing their game, so they didn't fall into the Must Be Overcome slot.

I never noticed the gaps; I guess I skipped over them or filled them in subconsciously. But I actually liked the archery bit (except for the lack of fletching), especially since they needed some equalizer vs. the Frisbee!shuriken.

Torie @2- Sexist 60s may mean that only the males are expected to be truthful? I dunno. But I took Eleen as a smart woman in a tough place (what is past practice on Earth for mothers of unborn heirs after a coup) with a language handicap (although I expected everyone in the world and wider universe to use English as their second language).

And, finally- it was long ago, but I recall the James Blish novelization prefaced this episode with the poem:

Monday's child is fair of face,
Tuesday's child is full of grace,
Wednesday's child is full of woe,
Thursday's child has far to go,
Friday's child is loving and giving,
Saturday's child works hard for a living,
But the child who is born on the Sabbath Day
Is bonny and blithe and good and gay.
16. Lane Arnold
---yes, not what i would call one of my favorite episodes--but it does add texture to tos--it's interesting seeing guest stars in these episodes that have made their mark elsewhere in television--you mentioned julie newmar (who by the way holds u.s. patents for a type of bra)--but you failed to mention tige andrews who plays kras--his most famous role would probably be capt. adam greer from the original mod squad (1968-1973)--in addition he appeared some years later in "barbary coast", a short lived t.v. series that starred william shatner--and "raid on entebbe" playing the role of... (of all people) shimon peres--i'd call that last credit slightly harder to believe than a burning magnesite-nitron tablet--and you are right about the capellan's costumes--they look like they're straight out of monty python-----
Marcus W
17. toryx
DemetriosX @ 9:

I tend to agree more with Eugene's rating than Torie's, but that's because, unlike her, I have Spock's Brain to use as a measure for what truly constitutes a 1.

Man, that's so true. In this case, I'll take forgettable over grieviously unforgettable any day.
Marcus W
17. toryx
Oops. My first ever double-post. Tragic!

Since I've got another post out there, I'd like to add that I remember the poem "Friday's Child" is taken to quite well, even though I was personally very bummed as a child with my "Thursday's Child has far to go..."

I was like, "What're they trying to say?"
Torie Atkinson
18. Torie
Okay okay I cry uncle! I'll bump it to a 2 when we get to the season wrap-up. Maybe I was being unduly harsh here, but I can't tell you how tedious an experience this was. I checked the clock every five minutes or so, desperately waiting for it to be over.

I will tell you guys that there's a *lot* of room down there at the bottom. Don't worry, I'm saving certain ratings, and you'll know them when you see them.

@ 12 Dave

They didn't really have to figure out the local customs, though. They had McCoy there as a cribsheet on how to behave. I think a trial-and-error experience would've been more compelling.

@ 16 Lane Arnold

A bra patent? No kidding! She would know, I guess. :)

And an open question: if the Federation has exploding rocks, why the hell did they bother to make bows? Why not just throw the magic fire pellets?
David Levinson
19. DemetriosX
Probably the worst thing about this episode is that it had a lot of potential. (Was it Whitey Herzog who said that the worst thing a ballplayer can have is potential?) There are a lot of decent elements here and Eugene pointed out a lot of them. The real problem is the execution. Really, just a few tweaks and this could have been a killer episode.

toryx @17, you think you've got problems, I was born on a Wednesday.
Eugene Myers
20. ecmyers
Okay, I had to check on what day I was born, and I'm a Tuesday's child! Dunno where all that grace went.

Re: the questions on the Prime Directive, this bugged me quite a bit too, and I finally decided that at this stage in the series, it simply meant "non-interference," not necessarily avoiding all contact as it does later on. Premature contact with non-space-faring civilizations can certainly be interpreted as interfering in their natural development, but perhaps this wasn't an early distinction? It's still a bit inconsistent in TOS. In any case, the Klingons arrived after McCoy already had spent some time learning about their culture and rendering aid. I suspect the Federation is willing to make exceptions to their rules if the planet has something they really need.

By the way, what do you guys think of Kirk's blithe desire for revenge?
21. Lsana
@17 toryx,

Having "far to go" means that you're going to get to travel and see the world. Or at least that's how I always interpreted it. I always kind of envied Thursday's children.
Marcus W
22. toryx
DemetriosX @ 19:

Oh yeah? Sorry to hear that. How's that working out for you?

Lsana @21:

Huh. I'd never thought about it that way. That's a cool way of looking at it and actually pretty apt. Thanks!
Mike Conley
23. NomadUK
This is what happens when I'm too busy trying to ship product to pay attention to Star Trek Rewatch...

I have to admit a certain fondness for this episode that seems to have eluded most everyone else. Maybe it just comes from having seen it a few dozen times over the years, but, overall, I forgave it most of its flaws along the way.

So, my points, in no particular order, for anyone who cares:

About Julie Newmar, nothing more can be said. Rowr. Even with that blond wig and the big tummy. Those eyes....

I think the thing I found most appealing about it was it had the landing party scurrying about out in the open countryside, trying to elude a force from a less advanced civlisation; not the usual situation. Also, real location shots are rather rare; usually even exterior shots were done on soundstages, so it's good to see them scrabbling up and down the hills. I have no idea why that appeals to me.

The lack of fletching in the arrows is not something that had ever occurred to me; shows how well I'd do. But Kirk is nothing if not resourceful in manufacturing primitive weaponry, so I don't find it nearly as surprising as everyone else that the bows and arrows 'worked'.

I hadn't heard about D C Fontana's original story treatment, but I like it a lot better. It just shows, once again, that, visionary though Gene Roddenberry might have been, he wasn't all that great of a writer. And don't even start about Harlan Ellison's script again....

Eleën's reactions seemed quite reasonable to me, given the society. I think sps49@15 has it right on that one.

I agree that the Prime Directive probably went out the window, largely because the Klingons had already contacted these people. Similar to what happened -- er, what will happen in A Private Little War (which is a much better episode, so get ready for that one). Clearly, once the society has been contaminated, there's not much to be done except to try to keep the Klingons from taking advantage of things. Of course, nowhere in the episode does it say the Klingons got there first. Maybe it was someone else; the Orions, or the Romulans, or who knows who?

ecmyers@20: As for Kirk's desire for revenge, it's clearly for the death of his redshirt, Grant, at the beginning, who wouldn't be dead if the Klingon hadn't been there. Yes, yes, that's not a valid excuse. But Kirk -- as has been and will be demonstrated -- has very little love for the Klingons, and needs very little excuse to go after them. It's pretty much a running theme, extending (yes, yes, I know) beyond TOS into the films.

The rocks exploding off the cliffside due to communicator disruption were a bit much, I agree. I didn't buy that even as a kid. You can also see that the actual volume of debris in the explosion is fairly small, and doesn't include any of the big boulders that eventually pummel the pursuers.

Scotty sticking around for a little while just to make sure is just him being overly cautious; he could be wrong about the freighter not knowing Enterprise was in the area. If he'd been wrong, Starfleet would have been pretty upset, I think.

And the biggest reason to like the episode was, as has been mentioned, the humour; lots of good jokes and reaction shots, and cutesy stuff from McCoy.

All in all, a Warp 4 episode, I think.

Oh, and, for what it's worth, I'm a Saturday's child, which explains why it took me so long to get around to posting anything here.
jon meltzer
24. jmeltzer
This episode is a mess, but at least they did try to have an alien culture that actually didn't behave like 1960s Americans. It's more good idea, bad execution than like some of the ghastly they-obviously-didn't-care failures that we're going to see in season 3.

And anything with Julie Newmar ...
David Levinson
25. DemetriosX
Thinking about Kirk's desire for revenge reminds me that this is actually an aspect of his character we have seen before and discussed. It was a major plot point in "Conscience of the King" and I think we talked about it there and about other places where we have seen it.

Scotty's delay is definitely him being cautious. He is, after all, an engineer. That means including safety tolerances in your plans. And in TNG we will learn that he apparently always told the captain he needed a lot longer to do something than he actually thought he would. That's how he got his reputation as a miracle worker.
Torie Atkinson
26. Torie
@23 NomadUK

I was referring to the exploding tablets, actually. The exploding rocks were just weird.

@ 25 DemetriosX

You know, his revenge didn't bother me here. It seemed to fit. I saw it as him wanting revenge against the klingon, and not necessarily against the local people, because it was the klingon's presence there that lead to the man's death. We've already established that his knee-jerk hatred of klingons clouds his judgment, and coupled with the very real threat of Kras using the resources of this world to fuel countless wars and conquests it didn't strike me as particularly excessive.
Mike Conley
27. NomadUK
Torie@26: Oh, I knew you meant the exploding tablets; I was just talking about the landslide rocks. Different rocks for different folks...

Strangely, I never had a problem with the 'magnesite-nitron' tablets; I just sort of thought they were cool. I'm sure such things could be manufactured; as a kid, I used to play with some sort of 'pop-rocks' or something which consisted of little granules of some chemical wrapped in crêpe-paper that would make a 'bang' when I threw them on the ground hard. It didn't seem unreasonable that Starfleet might prefer the use of such items to phasers when landing parties were interacting with less advanced civilisations. McCoy is an old-fashioned boy, after all, and maybe he prefers the lower-tech approach.
Eugene Myers
28. ecmyers
@ 26 Torie

I know Kirk dislikes the Klingons and I have no issues with him wanting revenge, I just didn't know why he was so against Kras in particular. He was upset about Grant dying, but the connection to Kras was so tenuous, it didn't seem like enough of a motive. Plus, I'd forgotten all about the dead shirt of the week by that point.

Yes, Kras manipulated the Capellans, but that too didn't seem revenge-worthy. Mostly it was Kirk's casual approach to it all that seemed odd. If he'd just given a concrete reason for wanting Kras dead, it would have been fine. It seems that just stopping Kras because he had a phaser would have been enough of an excuse.
Church Tucker
29. Church
Argh. If you're going to have an index, keep it up to date...

OK, we're back on track here. Eugene is correct, this is a 3/4 (since I can, I'm going with 3.5.) I am disappointed he didn't remember this episode at first, but the touchstone for his recollection makes up for it. ("MA-coy!")

A lot of Torie's (and Eugene's!?) complaints were due to budgets for the props department (hell, they blew the budget by being on location half the time.) Yeah, the bows and arrows aren't quite up to snuff, but just accept that the guy who can build a cannon with less than stone knives and bearskins can manage a bow. The rockslide was overdone, but that's SFX going a tad overboard (that initial debris was mostly cork, I'm guessing.) The "magnesite" tablet firestarters seem pretty handy (not sure I'd want to carry them, but I have carried worse things.)

@NomadUK "Pop-its" I think was the name for those. And yeah, seems way more efficient than draining a phaser (especially since if you were in that situation, a charged phaser would probably be necessary.)

And I always thought it obvious that MA-coy was the young Teer's father in name only (and I first saw this when I was about five.)
Eugene Myers
30. ecmyers
@ 29 Church

I believe we update the index with a link to the previous review once the new one goes up, though sometimes we do fall behind even on that. I'm flattered that you found us anyway :)
Church Tucker
31. Church
@30 Eugene

Really? Huh. Don't get the logic there.
Eugene Myers
32. ecmyers
@ 31 Church

I never said it was logical, that's just how it's done!
j p
33. sps49
DemetriosX @25-

Gaaaah! Turning Scotty from a miracle worker into a liar is one of the worst things about the follow-on Treks; junking cool stuff from your origin for a cheap laugh because you wanted to take a shortcut instead of writing your own good stuff would always suspend my willing disbelief.

Pop-Its are still around.
David Levinson
34. DemetriosX
sps49 @33: They didn't make Scotty a liar, just an engineer. The difference between him and Geordie was that he was old school. He wasn't lying. He was assuming everything that possibly could go wrong would and adding 10 %. Geordie only assumed likely problems and offered a more probable time frame.
35. tpence
>Finally, I was a bit disturbed by one brief >exchange, as Kirk and Spock face off against the >Capellans and Kas.

> KIRK: There’s just one thing I want.
> SPOCK: The Klingon?
> KIRK: One of us must get him.
> SPOCK: Revenge, Captain?
> KIRK: Why not?

>Huh? Revenge for what?

I guess you were taking a Cheeto break or something and missed the episode's teaser.
Eugene Myers
36. ecmyers
@35 tpence

But the red shirt was killed by a Capellan. The Klingon may have been the indirect cause, but he was just standing there. The red shirt made the first move, even though Kirk a) warned them all that Klingons were around and b) ordered him not to draw his phaser.

Even if he had cause, I was more disturbed by Kirk's casual desire for revenge than the choice of target.
37. MikeD
Hi. Love this site.

"Do you doubt my word, Klingon?" - look on the face of Julie Newmar is priceless. And if they had been playing their more familiar roles, he would have every reason to disbelieve her. Tige Andrews(klingon) would be playing Captain Adam Greer on "The Mod Squad" a year later.

Subscribe to this thread

Receive notification by email when a new comment is added. You must be a registered user to subscribe to threads.
Post a comment