Sunday, March 19, 2017

Star Trek: And the Children Shall Lead

It has been quite a while since I've done any blogging, but today I am back to look at another episode of classic Star Trek:
And The Children Shall Lead is not a good episode of Trek. It's the kind of episode that gives season three of TOS Trek a bad name. It's bad enough that I watched it two months ago and am only now able to bring myself to write about it. Really (okay, I've been busy too).
If you loved the kids in the first season episode Miri (I didn't), then you were probably thinking Trek was overdue for another kid-heavy episode. So here it is.

In this one we get kids playing Ring Around the Rosie, Kirk & the kids eating ice cream, and more! It begins with the Enterprise, responding to a distress call from the planet Triacus, finds that all of the adults in the "scientific colonoy" there are dead, but their children are strangely unaffected. They show no remorse or even awareness of their parents' deaths. McCoy is worried that the children could receive permanent psychological damage if the situation isn't handled well.
The children are brought aboard the Enterprise where we soon learn that they are under the influence of the "friendly angel," who instructs them to seize control of the starship and send it on to Marcus 12 where they will make more friends.
They take over, exerting their control over the Enterprise crew by shaking their fists. Maybe they do that because the friendly angel can't - he's got no arms!

It takes Kirk and Spock a while to figure out what is going on. Spock, as usual, has done his homework explaining:
According to the legend, Triacus was the seat of a band of marauders who made constant war throughout the system of Epsilon Indi. After many centuries, the destroyers were themselves destroyed by those they had preyed upon... like so many legends, this one too has a frightening ending. It warns that the evil is awaiting a catalyst to set it again into motion and send it marauding across the galaxy.
Hmmm... maybe that's happening here.

Under the influence of the children the Enterprise breaks orbit before Kirk even realizes it, which was very unfortunate for these two Red Shirts. Instead of being beamed down to the planet they were beamed into empty space. Doesn't anyone scan the beam-down site first?
After Kirk figures out what is going on, he tries to get Sulu to change course, but the helmsman thinks he's navigating the Enterprise through a bunch of giant space swords: "Captain, stay away from the controls! If you touch them, we'll be destroyed."

Kirk soon finds that virtually the entire crew, except for Spock, has turned against him.

Curiously, Spock then begins to refer to the being controlling the children not as an alien or an entity, but as evil. That's unusual for Spock, but then this isn't a well written episode.
Kirk wonders why Gorgan has no arms.
Finally, Kirk has had enough and wants his ship back so he asks Spock to "playback the chant the children sang to summon up the Gorgan." I'm not sure where or when they recorded the children doing this, why they didn't step in when they did, or when they knew that Goran was the name of the being, but whatever.

After some tough talk from the Gorgan they display a recording showing the children playing with their parents and then shots of their parents dead on Triacus
It ends with Kirk calling Gorgan out and saying to the children "Look at him. Without you children, he's nothing. The evil remains within him... Look how ugly he really is. Look at him and don't be afraid." Yes, because ugliness must be evil and .... actually I don't really understand the ending at all. It all just sort of happens and doesn't make any sense. The kids cry, Gorgan leaves and all is well again if you ignore the fact that the kids helped to murder their parents.
Anyway, McCoy is happy because the kids are crying and can now be helped. By the end of the episode the audience is crying too because they had to sit through it all, but then this is third season Trek, so get used to it.

Composer George Duning wrote the music for the episode. He previously wrote music for Metamorphosis and Return to Tomorrow. His music for this episode works, but unlike a lot of Trek music it isn't something that I enjoy listening to.

The next episode for me is the classic that people love to bash as possibly the worst ever episode of Star Trek: Spock's Brain