The planets Elas and Troyius are both Federation members, but have been at war with each other for centuries. With those darn Klingons encroaching the territory, peace becomes imperative.
How to solve this problem? Why, with a Bureaucratically Arranged Marriage
, of course! The Enterprise
is assigned to transport Elaan, Dohlman (Basically, Princess) of Elas, to Troyius where she will marry the planet's leader. Petri, the Troyian ambassador, is there to help Elaan make a peaceful transition and learn the proper social graces. Easier said than done.
Elaan, to put it bluntly, is a bitch on wheels. Words are said, knives are thrown. Petri just manages to survive being stabbed in the back by his charge. While in sickbay, he reveals to Nurse Chapel that Elasian women have tears that make men fall in love with them when the men touch them. They really should've told Kirk. It seems that when she was griping about how no one liked her (Gee, wonder why!) she started to cry, he tried to wipe her tears and we get a Sexy Discretion Shot
Can Kirk give up the woman he loves for peace?
Tropes for this episode include:
- Better to Die than Be Killed: A saboteur phasers himself to death rather than let Kirk and company find out exactly what he's done to the ship. He sabotaged the warp drive so it would blow up as soon as it was engaged.
- But This Is Ridiculous!: Bones responds to Petri's stabbing with "Well, I've heard of reluctant brides, but this is ridiculous."
- Cargo Ship: How does Kirk get over Elaan? By going back to his one true love. Spock? No, sorry, shippers. It's the Enterprise.
- Chekhov's Gun: The necklace Elaan rejects (along with everything else) has the dilithium crystals that end up saving the day.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Elaan is a Jerk Ass who starts to realize her behavior isn't winning any friends. After a little Slap-Slap-Kiss, she starts to fall in love with Kirk. Too bad she's engaged to someone else....
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Elaan can't understand why Kirk chooses duty over her or why he will not pursue the Klingons with intent to kill.
- Feet-First Introduction: The first thing we see of Elaan is her glittery gladiator sandals. Then the camera pans up.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: It takes a while to get Kirk to respond to a call after he touches Elaan's tears. And when he speaks of "What happened", you're pretty sure more than just kissing went on between the two.
- Green Skinned Space Dude: Petri's skin color could be described as teal. Even ignoring that and his odd hair, he looks about average. We never do see the Troyian leader. Elaan calls him a "green pig", but that could be prejudice talking. For all we know, he could be a hunk of burning love who just happens to find that it's actually quite easy being green.
- Jabba Table Manners: Elaan considers herself above even simple dining etiquette.
- Kinky Spanking: Kirk threatens Elaan with spanking. She seems to find the idea intriguing.
- Klingon Scientists Get No Respect: One of Elaan's attendants contemptuously dismisses engineering as a "menial" occupation, much to Scotty's irritation.
- Love Potion: The tears of an Elaian woman.
- No Blood for Phlebotinum: Those darn Klingons want Elaan's necklace! Not because Everything's Sparkly with Jewelry! Everything's More Powerful With Dilithium Crystals!
- Not Rare Over There: the ship's dilithium crystals crack in the middle of a battle. Unfortunately, there are none left... until they realise that Elaan's necklace has a bunch of them. She surrenders it gladly, bemused that they would want what to her planet are Worthless Yellow Rocks.
- Purple Is Powerful: The first outfit we see Elaan in is glitzy purple. She may not be very graceful, but no one can deny that she has power and likes to wield it.
- Pygmalion Plot: Captain Kirk must teach the Dohlman of Elaas civilized manners before her wedding to the ruler of the planet Troyius. He ends up falling in love with her because he touches her tears — and the tears of Elaasian women are a potent love potion.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Kirk tells Elaan to can the whole Rebellious Princess act. He's had it with her acting like a rude, petulant child. She responds by slapping him.
- Royal Brat: Elaan, just, Elaan. Uhura gives her her quarters, but they're not good enough. She rudely refuses the gifts from the Troyian leader. She treats even a starship captain like a lowly servant. (Until she falls in love with him, anyway.) She threatens people with knives when they disagree with her. And her table manners are atrocious!
- Theiss Titillation Theory: Hoo boy! Elaan probably gets the most costume changes of any Girl of the Week on TOS with four. First, a purple outfit that makes her look like a gladiator themed superhero from the Silver Age. When she visits the engine room with the purpose of insulting Scotty, she wears what appears to be tinfoil panties and a couple of gravy boats. After she's had her off screen love scene with Kirk, she wears a glittery orange dress that has a top that looks more like a scarf. The dress she wears to die by Kirk's side is a shiny blue sleeveless, high-necked number that at first glance seems modest. Then she turns around and we see that her sides are bare from armpit to ankle. OK, Will, if your plan was to convince us that not all male fashion designers are gay, mission accomplished.
- Unfinished, Untested, Used Anyway: Scotty uses the crude dilithium crystals from Elaan's necklace to replace the damaged ones in the warp drive. They may be unpredictable, but they're all the Enterprise has.
- Unfortunate Implications: According to Kirk, only Vulcan females are logical.
- Not to mention women holding power over men by their tears...
- Worthless Yellow Rocks: The Federation has no idea why the Klingons are so interested in a planet inhabited by a low-tech race. When they happen to look at a necklace worn by Elaan, they discover the "common stones" it is made of happen to be dilithium crystals, which are the source of starship power and highly valuable to space-traveling races.
- Would Hit a Girl: Kirk slaps Elaan after she slaps him. She responds by throwing a knife at him.