Star Trek (1968): S03E13 – Elaan of Troyius


“Elaan of Troyius” is the thirteenth episode of the third season of the American science fiction television series Star Trek.

Written and directed by John Meredyth Lucas, it was first broadcast on 20 December 1968.

In the episode, the Enterprise ferries a spoiled princess whose betrothal is hoped will bring peace to a star system at war.

Elaan of Troyius was written and directed by John Meredyth Lucas, the only person in Star Trek production history ever to both write and direct a filmed Star Trek television episode.


The Federation starship Enterprise arrives at the planet Elas to pick up Elaan, the Dohlman of Elas. Accompanying them is Ambassador Petri of Troyius, a planet with which Elas has been at war. As Petri explains, the Elasian Council of Nobles and the Troyius Tribunal have agreed to marry Elaan to the Troyian king to secure peace, lest the two planets destroy each other. Elaan is a most reluctant bride, cursing an arrangement that she considers a humiliation. Ambassador Petri’s mission is to instruct Elaan in the manners and customs of the Troyians.

Not long after the Enterprise begins her return journey to Troyius at very low impulse speed, a Klingon warship is detected, which paces the Enterprise and ignores all hails. To complicate matters further, Elaan stabs Petri, who refuses to have any further dealings with the Dohlman and vows that his ruler will never marry her. The job of teaching her falls to Captain Kirk.

In Sickbay, Nurse Chapel asks the ambassador why Elasian women are so prized in spite of their savagery. Petri explains that when the tears of an Elasian female touch a man’s skin, his heart is “enslaved forever”.

Elaan does not take kindly to Kirk’s efforts to civilise her and attempts to stab him. He overpowers her, disarms her, and insists that she will learn what she has been ordered to learn. Elaan locks herself in a bathroom and begins to cry, saying she is tired of being hated by everyone. Kirk tries to comfort her, and after wiping a tear from her cheek finds himself falling hopelessly in love. He and Elaan begin a passionate love affair.

Meanwhile, one of the ship’s engineers is killed by Kryton, Elaan’s chief bodyguard, who then tampers with the Enterprise’s warp engines and tries to contact the Klingon battle cruiser. He is captured, but commits suicide before he can be interrogated. Kirk orders Chief Engineer Scott to check every part of the ship’s propulsion systems. Elaan reveals that Kryton had loved her and was infuriated by the news of the arranged marriage.

The Klingon battlecruiser then begins what appears to be an attack. As Kirk orders the Enterprise to go to warp, Scott reports that, as a result of Kryton’s sabotage, any attempt to do so will destroy the ship. As the Klingon passes by without firing, it becomes clear that they were hoping to destroy the Enterprise without an overt act of war. This plan having failed, the Klingons attack in earnest. Mr. Scott reports that Kryton damaged the dilithium crystals in the antimatter reactor control system, making it impossible to go to warp or fire their weapons.

In Sickbay, Ambassador Petri again approaches Elaan and begs her to accept the necklace of Troyian royal jewels that was to be worn at her wedding, as a symbol of the hope for peace between their two worlds. Elaan accepts the necklace and subsequently appears on the bridge wearing it with her wedding dress. Spock detects strange energy readings from some of the jewels, which Elaan describes as common stones, valued only as good-luck charms. The stones are in fact dilithium crystals, which explains the Klingons’ keen interest in this star system.

The “common stones” are quickly delivered to Scott in Engineering, where he and Spock work feverishly to replace the damaged dilithium crystals as the battlecruiser moves in for the kill. Power is restored to the Enterprise just before the Klingons’ final attack. After suffering serious damage from the Enterprise’s photon torpedoes, the Klingon ship is successfully driven off.

A much changed Elaan is delivered safely to Troyius. Before she departs, Elaan gives Kirk her dagger as a memento, explaining she has learned that “on Troyius, they do not wear such things.” She and Kirk say their farewells in the transporter room, with a heartbroken Elaan crying as she is beamed down. Later, McCoy appears on the bridge to report he has found an antidote to the Elasian tears, but it seems not to be needed after all. As Mr. Spock points out, “The Enterprise infected the Captain long before the Dohlman did.”

Star Trek TV Series

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Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s): John Meredyth Lucas.
  • Writer(s): John Meredyth Lucas.
  • Production: Desilu Productions (1966-1967) and Paramount Television (1968-1969).
  • Distributor(s): Paramount Pictures (1966-2006), CBS Paramount Television (2006-2007), and CBS Television Distribution (2007-Present).
  • Original Network: NBC.
  • Release Date: 20 December 1968.
  • Running Time: 50 minutes.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

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