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Recap / Star Trek S3 E13 "Elaan of Troyius"

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No, this isn't a Katy Perry video. That's Elaan, being her dignified self.

Original air date: December 20, 1968

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 bit of Altar Diplomacy, 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?

This is the only episode of any Star Trek series written and directed by one person (John Meredyth Lucas).

Elaan of Tropius:

  • Altar Diplomacy: Elaan's marriage to the Troyian leader was arranged to bring peace between two planets standing on the brink of mutual annihilation. She is... unenthusiastic.
  • Arranged Marriage: For the sake of interplanetary peace. Elaan is understandably unenthousiastic about it, and while Kirk also becomes reluctant to accept it after she uses her power on him, he nonetheless views it as part of her duties as ruler.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: Kryton 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.
  • Brainless Beauty: Nobody has informed Elaan that a "light-year" is a measure of distance, not time. Probably for fear of getting a knife in the back.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: After he barely avoids catching a knife in his back like Petri did, Kirk calmly tells Elaan, "Tomorrow's lesson will be on courtesy."
  • Chekhov's Gun: The necklace that Elaan rejects (along with everything else) has the dilithium crystals that end up saving the day.
  • Cool Starship: The Klingon D7 cruiser debuts in this episode, influencing the designs for future Klingon starships, and was inserted into the remastered versions of earlier Klingon-centric episodes.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Elaan is a Jerkass 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....
  • Diplomatic Impunity: Elaan bullies and demeans everyone on the Enterprise and stabs Ambassador Petri, nearly killing him. The fact that she's Head of State of a strategically critical planet is the only reason Kirk doesn't throw her in the brig or out an airlock.
  • Double Standard Rape: Female on Male: No one seems disturbed by the fact that men are incapable of saying no to Elasian women when they've been touched by their tears. While Kirk looks deeply uncomfortable every time she touches him, and Bones and Spock are angry on his behalf, Fred Freiberger called the episode a "love story".
  • Downer Ending: While Kirk's love for the Enterprise remains strong, Elaan is forced to marry someone she doesn't want, and Kirk heavily implies that the trauma of what she did will stay with him forever.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: This was the first episode to feature the official Klingon trefoil logo; however, it's shown pointed horizontally towards the right rather than pointed upward.
  • Emergency Refuelling: A traitor destroys the Enterprise's dilithium crystal converter assembly, rendering the ship without warp power or weapons. Scotty manages to use some dilithium crystals that Elaan wears as a necklace to replace the lost crystals.
  • 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.
  • Green-Skinned Space Babe: Elaan, although she's honey-colored rather than green.
  • High-Class Gloves: In her first few scenes, starting with her arrival aboard the Enterprise, Elaan, an Elasian princess, wears a pair of silver shoulder-length gloves as part of her outfit.
  • Hypocrite: At least part of Elaan's grievance is that she is forced into an Arranged Marriage, but she still has no problem using her Elasian hypnotic powers to evoke a situation of Questionable Consent with Kirk.
  • Ironic Name: The Arranged Marriage between princess Elaan from planet Elasnote  and the ruler of planet Troyius is supposed to stop a war between their respective worlds. The Trojan War inverted In Space
  • 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: Elaan contemptuously dismisses engineering as a "menial" occupation, much to Scotty's irritation.
  • Loved I Not Honor More: Kirk reminds Elaan of! their! duty! to maintain the stability of a star system while staring reeeeeeeeeeeeally far down her "outfit" of two diaphanous orange wisps.
  • Love Potion: The tears of an Elasian woman. We're never told if the Troyian prince she's to marry was captivated by them — it seems unlikely — or if he's just doing it out of duty as she is.
  • Neck Snap: How Kryton kills the poor Redshirt who catches him in Engineering.
  • Nice Guy: Kirk tells Scotty to be this, despite the Elaysians' bad attitudes. He comes dangerously close to disobeying.
  • 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 realize that Elaan's necklace has a bunch of them. She surrenders it gladly, bemused that they would want them, considering that on her planet they are Worthless Yellow Rocks.
  • No-Sell: Not entirely, as Kirk is affected by Elaan's tears. However he nonetheless remains functional during the critical battle despite Elaan's presence on the bridgenote , and is ultimately able to let her go. When McCoy finally finds an antidote for the tears in the final scene, Spock points out it's completely unnecessary: Kirk's love for Enterprise was more potent.
  • Proud Warrior Race: The Elasians, of the sort that clearly sees no need for the social graces.
  • 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 Elasian women are a potent love potion.
  • Real Women Don't Wear Dresses: One of the things fueling Elaan's hissy fit. Her whole attitude is closer to the way Elasian men have been described— vicious and arrogant. Kirk implies that she has a military background, and presumably was socialized around a lot of men, when he says she must understand about giving and taking orders.
  • "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.
  • Recycled In Space: Helen of Troy IN SPACE (albeit with the twist that the marriage would prevent a war rather than start one). The first draft of the script is even less subtle, being titled "Helen of Troyius".
  • Red Shirt: When John Meredyth Lucas called Victor Brandt to play Watson, he said he had another death scene for him.
  • Resistance Is Futile: The Klingons only talk to the Enterprise to demand their unconditional surrender.
  • Royal Brat: Elaan, just, Elaan. To put it mildly, she's the WORST. 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!
  • Servile Snarker: Kirk is not intimidated by Elaan's vase-hurling bridezilla act. In fact, he seems to think it great amusement.
    Elaan: Were you responding to my demand for better quarters?
    Kirk: There are none better. I suggest you make do with these.
    Elaan: You suggest?!
    Kirk: There are no more available, but if that's the only way you can get gratification, I'll arrange to have the whole room filled from floor to ceiling with breakable objects.
  • Space Clothes: Good Lord, what are Elaan's bodyguards wearing?
  • Tsundere: Elaan is a Type A. She’s a rude, demanding, and violent princess to everyone. However, after Kirk finally gets through to her, she breaks down and admits that she doesn’t know how to get people to like her. She also turns very affectionate to Kirk after he wipes away one of her tears and starts referring to him as her “love”.
  • 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. Naturally, they work.
  • The Vamp: It's not clear if Elaan seduced Kirk accidentally or deliberately, but she tries to make him commit horrible things.
    Elaan: It was no accident. I chose you, and you chose me. I have a plan. With this ship, you could completely obliterate Troyius. Then there will be no need for the marriage. And in gratitude, my people will give you the complete rule of this system.
    Kirk: What kind of a mind could think of such a thing?
  • 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. Elaan tells Kirk that the necklace is supposed to bring luck. A line that was ultimately left out explains that the only reason this folk-art necklace is cherished and is appropriate for a royal wedding is its antiquity.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Kirk slaps Elaan after she slaps him. She responds by throwing a knife at him. Elasians sure know how to do foreplay.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Elaan cries so that Kirk will fall under her spell with magic tears, and Kirk pretends that the ship is helpless so that the Klingons will come closer, obviously speaking from experience.