Director: John Meredyth Lucas
Writer: John Meredyth Lucas
Cast: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, France Nuyen, Jay Robinson, Tony Young, James Doohan, Nichelle Nichols, George Takei, Walter Koenig, Majel Barrett, Lee Duncan, Victor Brandt, Dick Durock, Charles Beck, and K.L. Smith
Composer: Fred Steiner
Air Date: 12/20/1968
Production #: 60043-57
Operating under orders from Starfleet Command, Captain Kirk provides passage for Elaan (France Nuyen)—an arrogant, ill-behaved Dohlman from the planet Elas—so that she may formalize her arranged marriage with the ruler of Troyius. After refusing the advice of Troyian ambassador Petri (Jay Robinson), Elaan is forced to learn the customs and social graces of civilized culture from Kirk himself.
A decent but underwhelming episode, “Elaan of Troyius” offers a mildly poignant love angle to compensate for any contrived material. In spite of this, a subplot centered on yet another Klingon encounter fails to generate an appropriately captivating atmosphere.
In the initial scenes, Elaan presents herself as a spoiled, infantile woman without the gravitas or emotional maturity that one would expect of a dignified warrior (to give just two examples, Elaan throws a tantrum in response to the “unsatisfactory” condition of Uhura’s quarters and later thrusts a knife into the back of Lord Petri without severe provocation). Despite her incorrigible and downright odious behavior as outlined above, Elaan transitions into a more sympathetic character upon confessing her insecurities to Captain Kirk, who, through no will of his own, develops an intimate bond with the Dohlman of Elas after exposing himself to the biochemical compound contained in her tears.
(Spoilers beyond this point)
When the Elasian guard Kryton (Tony Young) is revealed to be a Klingon spy, “Elaan of Troyius” adopts a mostly action-oriented approach to storytelling. By placing strong emphasis upon starship battles and sabotage attempts in the climactic sequences, John Meredyth Lucas’ narrative leaves almost no time to resolve the predicament involving Kirk and Elaan, thus resulting in a somewhat hackneyed conclusion (specifically, McCoy offers to cure Kirk’s perpetual infatuation, but decides against doing so when Spock explains that the captain’s love for the Enterprise supersedes any force that previously attracted him to Elaan).
Though lacking a logical foundation, the aforementioned conclusion may appeal to Star Trek fans who wish to further understand the desires and motivations that prompt Captain Kirk to pursue cosmic adventures instead of settling down with a woman he loves and starting a family.
“Elaan of Troyius” benefits from the romantic chemistry exemplified by William Shatner and France Nuyen. That being said, the interactions between Kirk and Elaan are hampered by a mediocre narrative coupled with an excess of superfluous plot devices.
Overall Quality: 6/10
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