Review – “Plato’s Stepchildren” Remastered | TrekMovie.com
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Review – “Plato’s Stepchildren” Remastered June 20, 2007

by Kevin Ganster , Filed under: Review,TOS Remastered , trackback

It’s one thing for television producers to torture their fictional characters, but it’s quite another when they torture their hapless viewers. Unfortunately, that’s the result of this pointless, turgid, plodding episode. “Plato’s Stepchildren” is among the “bitter dregs” of the third season, if not the entire series.

Here’s the plot: The intrepid Enterprise crew responds to a distress call from a small society of aliens with psycho-kinetic powers who torture Kirk and Spock to force McCoy to make a permanent house call. The crew discovers the chemical source of the aliens’ power, juices themselves up with a super high dose, and beats them at their own game. The end.

Oh, wait. And Kirk slaps himself silly, gets ridden like a horse by a dwarf, does a little ditty with his Vulcan first officer, writhes around on the floor quoting Shakespeare, and puckers up with Uhura (whoa! interracial kiss!). Spock is made to laugh and cry, sing really badly, and kiss Nurse Chapel (whoa! interspecies kiss!). McCoy – and the audience – suffer the worst fate … having to watch it all (whoa! universal torture!).

Now, be honest. If you hadn’t seen the episode, you’d think I was making this up, wouldn’t you?


Liam Sullivan after reading the script

It’s So Pointless

To paraphrase Khan, this episode is so pointless. What do we learn about our characters? About the human condition? About the Star Trek universe? Almost nothing. We already know Kirk is strong-willed, Spock is ashamed of displaying  emotion, Uhura is perpetually frightened, and Chapel is horny for Spock.

Unlike superior episodes where our heroes lack control of their actions and emotions for various reasons – such as “The Naked Time,” “Amok Time,” and “This Side of Paradise” – we gain no new insights into their inner psyches in “Plato’s Stepchildren.” The only thing worse than watching them be humiliated is watching them act out of character, such as when Spock becomes so angry at his treatment that he smashes a vase in his hand (cliché alert!). Logically, he was not responsible for his own actions and therefore has no reason to be humiliated or angry. He has stated numerous times anger is a useless and counterproductive emotion.


Now that’s a kiss

The characters without any character – Parmen and Philana — are as insipid and one dimensional as they are supercilious and condescending. The Vians tortured McCoy to test the bounds of friendship and self-sacrifice … Khan tortured Kirk to recruit Enterprise officers to build a new empire … and the Talosians created the illusion of torture to feed off their captives’ raw emotions. The Platonians do it for … what? Fun? Sport? If they get off on other’s humiliation, why aren’t they constantly luring Federation ships to their planet?

In short, our villains have no redeeming qualities or realistic motivations. This is completely counter to Roddenberry’s oft-stated belief that there are no bad guys, only individuals with different viewpoints and ideas. It’s another sure sign of how he had checked out in the third season.

The only character who demonstrates depth, makes difficult choices, and grows in this episode is Alexander. He makes real discoveries about who he is, what he wants to be, and what’s within his power to do. He is at first vengeful toward the other Platonians, then accepting, then pitying. He chooses to remain true to himself. In other words, he displays a full range of human emotion – we can care about him — in contrast to the cardboard cutout characters of Parmen and Philana.

All of these shortcomings could have been overlooked if we had been treated to an outstanding performance, a rip-roaring adventure, or a special effects extravaganza. But alas, no. Instead we get 25 seconds of Kirk giving himself the Zsa Zsa treatment and nearly three full acts of humiliation scenes.

A Bit of Trek Philosophy

OK, so maybe there a few worthwhile themes in this episode – the corruption of power ("Uncontrolled power will turn even saints into savages, and we can all be counted on to live down to our lowest impulses"), the acceptance and celebration of differences (“Where I come from, size and color make no difference”), and self determination (“If I want to do something, I’ll do it for myself! If I want to laugh or cry, I’ll do it for myself! You can keep your precious power!”) It’s just that they are so poorly executed.


Thanks I needed that

Production Notes

We’ve already discussed Meyer Dolinsky’s contrived and hollow script, but what about the rest of the production? Among the highlights are the energetic and engaging score by “Star Trek” theme composer Alexander Courage. It was the last original score done for the series (with the exception of the “songs” composed for “The Way to Eden”).

Michael Dunn is convincing as Alexander. Liam Sullivan (Parmen) and Emmy-winning actress Barbara Babcock don’t have to much to work with. No one smirks more convincingly than Babcock, playing her second character on “Star Trek” – her first was Mea-3 in “A Taste of Armageddon” (she also did voice work in four other episodes).

David Alexander’s direction is serviceable, but as with much of the third season, there is a claustrophobic and insulated feel to the episode. Alexander apparently had a knack for drawing the short end of the stick — his other “Star Trek” directing assignment was the aforementioned “The Way to Eden.”


The patented Babcock smirk. 

As for the remastering, the planet looked great and the scale of the Enterprise in orbit was the most convincing since “Tomorrow is Yesterday.” However, the ship’s bat-out-of-hell orbital approach seemed way off – looked like it was going to circle the planet in about 3 seconds. The display on McCoy’s tricorder was nicely done, as was the “wobbling” of the Enterprise, which at least approximated the movement on the bridge. The lighting of the ship is almost perfect now, but the surface seems a tad off – almost has a chalky blue hue to it, as opposed to a more “shiny” metallic finish. And it’s movement often still strikes me as “unnatural.”


Almost perfect

Quibbles and Bits

I laughed out loud at the end of the episode when Kirk reached to the back of his toga and whipped out his communicator! I guess the Platonians know how to accessorize. Kirk at one point says the Platonians original planet “novaed” – I’m not a scientist, but I think only suns can do that. I’m not a grammarian either, but I don’t think nova can be used as a verb.

Anyone else think Kirk let Parmen and gang off a little easy? No Talos IV treatment for them?

For all you masochists out there, you can hear Leonard Nimoy sing the full version of his self-penned song “Maiden Wine” on the LP “The Touch of Leonard Nimoy” (DOT, 1969). “Bitter dregs” indeed. (Just kidding!)

[Anthony's Note: Check out MaidenWine.com

Conclusion

“Plato’s Stepchildren” is among the worst episodes of the series, with little character development, even less message, and one of the worst singing performances ever (only joking!).


He recorded 5 albums. FIVE!

Comments

1. NZorak - June 20, 2007

So first we get “And The Children Shall Lead,” then “Spock’s Brain,” and finally this. Since they seem to be doing themes, I wonder if they’re going with a “Roddenberry’s Biggest Mistakes” theme.

The amusing thing about this episode is that it is one of the ones that always gets talked about in retrospectives due to the interracial kiss. I guess that if there’s no way to make a script good, throwing in some arbitrary controversy will make it memorable.

I think I’ve seen this episode a total of three times in my life, and each time is like going to the dentist.

2. Awdraper - June 20, 2007

FIRST…maybe…

Always loved seeing “lovelace” (spelling?) in this Star Trek Episode…

“Star Trek” and “Wild, Wild West” always had the best brawls….

3. Sean4000 - June 20, 2007

The rapid approach of the Enterprise reminded me of a scene in Insurrection where the EE comes out of warp and the planet is like WHAM right there. Just me though.

4. Buckaroohawk - June 20, 2007

You know, I never thought this episode was so very bad. It’s certainly not “Spock’s Brain” bad, but it’s not the best episode of the series, either.

I’ve always found the conversation between Kirk, Spock, and McCoy after they’ve been humiliated by the Platonians to be very touching, and it powerfully highlights the strong bond between these men. Nimoy plays Spock’s very real fury at being forced to exhibit emotion so close to the vest; he’s like a time bomb stuck at 00:01. Kirk actually assumes the more rational and logical role in the scene in an attempt to bring some peace to his friend’s troubled mind.

Then there’s Alexander. Michael Dunn cemented himself into TV history as the intelligent but raving Miguelito Loveless on “The Wild, Wild West,” but here he plays Alexander as a warm, compassionate person who has somehow managed to hold on to his dignity despite the constant harassment of the other Platonians. His performance was amazing and goes a long way toward redeeming an otherwise lackluster episode.

Of course, I’ve always tried to find the ripe apples in the barrel of rotten ones, but I think the digs against this episode are a little unfair. I think many people pass it off as “just another 3rd season show,” but it’s not as bad as all that.

5. Ron - June 20, 2007

You know, it’s funny…for all the piles of burning coals heaped upon the heads of Rick Berman and Brannon Braga for some of their perceived missteps with the Trek franchise, even the haters must admit the two of them never even came close to putting out the kind of catastrophic stink bombs that TOS occasionally let loose back in its day. * Think about it: “And the Children Shall Lead,” “Spock’s Brain,” “Plato’s Stepchildren,” “The Way To Eden,” “Turnabout Intruder,” and “The Savage Curtain” (I wonder how CBSD will update Honest Abe floating through space in his presidential chair) – all in one season, mind you. Even some of those horrendous first season TNG episodes come out ahead in comparison.

*All right, all right, “Threshold” and “These Are The Voyages” do come close.

6. NZorak - June 20, 2007

I agree. As much crap as Berman gets (and rightly so), he did a very competent job with Trek for a very large amount of time. I really feel like Next Gen was right where it needed to be as soon as he took completely over after Roddenberry died, and made it true to the original, while taking it that next step to the excellence that it enjoyed in the last half of the show’s run. In my opinion, it wasn’t until about season 3 of Voyager that he really began to burn out and started losing it. Even then, the show had more tolerable episodes than crappy ones.

All in all, though I think he really messed up with Nemesis, he did a good job for the most part and really doesn’t deserve the backlash from the fans that he gets.

Now feel free to get the tar and feathers, because I know what kind of reaction that’s going to provoke.

7. Anthony Pascale - June 20, 2007

another interesting and entertaining review Kevin.

got they are just hitting us with the crap stick these last few weeks. The reason why this episode is worse than Spock’s Brain is that it doesnt cross into the so bad its good category nearly as well.

8. KS Trekker - June 20, 2007

Sigh…I went into this episode hoping that it would be better than I remembered it, as has happened with a few other episodes.

No dice.

It was pretty bad. Kirk’s imitation of Mr. Ed was awful – what on Earth was that sound he was making? I’d (almost) rather watch him in those lousy Priceline commercials. I do have to agree that Alexander was a bright spot in the ep…his character actually changed and grew, and you couldn’t help but like the guy. I’m glad they took him with them. A good review as well.

Oh well…on to Miri. Kind of a creepy episode, but I’m glad that the Earth (or Earth-like planet) now looks like Earth from space, and not the globe from my high school library. I do look forward to them getting back to some more season one and two episodes, and ones with more sfx. At least they’ve gotten these dregs out of the way.

9. Tony - June 20, 2007

I’m with #4, 5, and 6.. I can’t believe I’m actually acknowledge that Berman might be just a TOUCH ok after all. Guess I needed a bit of Spock’s Brain to put things in a little perspective..

10. Gary Seven - June 20, 2007

Reviewer states:
“It’s So Pointless”
“To paraphrase Khan, this episode is so pointless ”

Actually Khan said “It’s so useless!” not “pointless.”

Spock, in “Miri”, said “Bickering is Pointless.” So I won’t go on at any length. IMO “Plato’s Stepchildren” is a well below-average episode but not as terrible as the reviewer makes it out to be. I found the themes interesting and Alexander and our boy’s successful attempts to stand up to superior, arbitrary power while maintaining their dignity to be compelling.

11. Gary Seven - June 20, 2007

boys’

12. Gary Seven - June 20, 2007

“boys’”, not “boy’s”

13. Shaye - June 20, 2007

Interesting review even if a tad off, it was certainly not “spocks brain”, and not “the way to eden”, nor was it “City on the edge of Forever” the fact is it is a top 30 of the original shows, not just in my opinion but many others.

It is a far better episode than the credit it is given here, but as we all know the third season! ..it has always been the “whipping boy” for the others shows, and some fans and their ideas of what a Trek Episode is “supposed” to NOT be!…regardless of the facts pertaining to the improvements and changes in the third and to my all seeing mind…
vastly superior season….

Hey, everybody is entitled to their opinions!, and so I will try my very hardest to show them the curtesy for formulating it, So I say the episode is not a shit sandwich, and so they say oherwise…ho-hum., rightio?

;-)

P.S. Anthony I got the “youtube” interview with Ron Soble up that was done for the scifi ch special edition of Spectre of the Gun, So if anybody cares to see the late great western “bad guy” Ron Soble in one of his last interviews, Star Trek very luckily had him in 1968, and for us in 1998, and again now in 2007 via the web….he will be long remembered for his many roles, may he rest in peace, dear Ron.

peace out…trek friends,

“Spectre f the Gun” Commentary by the late actor Ron Sobel/Wyatt Earp:

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=9g10IRMl7yA

14. toddk - June 20, 2007

This episode was simply “Fun!” does anyone get that? Fun?, I have always enjoyed all of the episodes and each for various reasons, If nobody here recognizes what a fun episode this was then what a bunch of grumps, I have never heard anyone from the cast of the show saying they regretted it. and only “Here” have I heard such moaning.

Spock’s brain-Fun
way to eden-Fun
Plato’s stepchildren-Fun
Who mourns for adonis-Fun

Shatner was right,” Get a life!”

15. Dr. Cheis - June 21, 2007

My only real problem with the episode was they now invented a telekinesis drug, and yet never in the next hundred years do we see anybody use it.

How useful would it be for security officers to use their telekinesis to disarm enemy combatants?

Personally I would think the drug would do some kind of damage to the humanoid brain, (which might explain why it never showed up again), but we don’t really see that. They’re essentially promoting mind-steroids.

The core of the problem was I think that by creating the synthetic telekinesis drug, the Meyer Dolinsk accidentally introduced a do-anything-device, which makes it difficult to provide any real threats in the future.

16. Ron - June 21, 2007

#14: I agree that most of the third season screwups are indeed “fun” in a b-movie, Ed Wood-type sense (bearing in mind that “fun” need not equal “good”). “Spock’s Brain”? Sure. “The Way to Eden”? Definitely. I’ll even throw in “The Savage Curtain” because the silliness quotient is so exceptionally high (plus Kirk splits his pants during a fight, which is infinitely amusing). But “Plato’s Stepchildren,” an episode that exists only to show the heroes being abused, humiliated, and stripped of their dignity, is neither fun nor good in my book.

I bet the reason you haven’t heard cast members expressing their regrets about it is because most of them have intentionally blocked it out of their memories…

17. Capt. James R. Kirk (James T's great grandfather) - June 21, 2007

Anyone notice the “dripping” coals from the end of Spocks coal rod just before Kirk threw the whip down? I thought that was a nice touch.

I always liked the way Nimoy handled Spock being pissed to the max yet being restrained. That scene had some very good character development, IMHO.

Some green blood dripping from the goblet shards after Spock gave it his death grip would have been another nice touch.

18. Shaye - June 21, 2007

“Nimoy was happy to sing the song “Maiden Wine” , that so of you call bitter dregs, and Joan Winston who was on the set for part of it at Shatners behest, said they all had fun and enjoyed working with the guest cast and had fun with the story, as a matter of fact.

Joan Winston told me that back in ’1974 at the Convention we were both working at in late January of that yea in nyc, hey the third season is not quite the shit sandwich some of you are trying to make it out to be!

Cheers!

p.s. Say!… why dont you go read Herb Solow’s and Bob Justman book?

Bonus Message at 3:40 a.m. Auckland Time:

As It Happened July 11th, 1969, complete transmission of the blast-off of the most powerful rocket ever buit to this very day, as the Saturn-V takes three brave humans on a star trek of there own, man…i remember this…huddled around our fist colour tele!

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=zGNryrsT7OI

19. FredCFO - June 21, 2007

That was July 16th when Apollo 11 launched (9:32am) — on a Wednesday just like the news summary said in “Tomorrow is Yesterday”.

Of course, the landing occurred on July 20, 1969 (Sunday)…

I had to make do with a black and white TV for the launch. Unfortunately, your colour TV didn’t do you any good for the surface excursions because the TV transmission was in black and white. The first color transmission did not occur until Apollo 12 (November, 1969) and that was short lived because the camera malfunctioned.

20. Penhall - June 21, 2007

Havent seen the remastered version, but I didnt think this episode was THAT bad. But hey, I’m a huge TOS fan so I can usually find something to love in every episode.

21. Kev - June 21, 2007

I think Spock’s barely controlled rage ( he breaks the pottery) said something about the Vulcan’s character. Also, we see McCoy willing to stay to save Spock and Mccoy. As for the Platonians, the scripts makes the point that they have become so selfish, effette and lazy that they have no purpose any more and have become despotic and sadistic as a result. Alexander represents the everyman, whipped merciliessly physically and psychological by Parmen. Parmen’s hypocrisy in professing adherence to Plato’s while engaging in torture is a criticism of such kind of leadership, which has unfortunately occured many times in history. I think this show had layers which the review did not explore. This is more of an editorial than a review.

22. Joe - June 21, 2007

There’s some good pictures from the original episode (not remastered) and also some good musical clips from the show in this part of the Maiden Wine Website:

http://www.maidenwine.com/catalog_05_film_stage.html

This episode was really just far to dark and depressing. The crew never really get to like heros and no one really wants to see the crew humilated in the way this episode did it. It just needed a better resolution with Parmen really getting justic served to him by Kirk, or at least leave Alexander in charge of the planet!

23. Joe - June 21, 2007

There’s some good pictures from the original episode (not remastered) and also some good musical clips from the show in this part of the Maiden Wine Website:

http://www.maidenwine.com/catalog_05_film_stage.html

This episode was really just far too dark and depressing. The crew never really get to like heros and no one really wants to see the crew humilated in the way this episode did it. It just needed a better resolution with Parmen really getting justic served to him by Kirk, or at least leave Alexander in charge of the planet!

24. Jon - June 21, 2007

While this episode is certainly no favorite of mine (I remember being embarrassed watching it as a pre-teen with my grandparents in the ’70s…somehow, it always seemed to be repeated when I was visiting them:)), it is the character of Alexander that redeems it (or at least makes it watchable). He is quite the tragic figure in this one when you think about it, and it is gratifying at the end when he gets to leave presumably to live a new life of dignity and equality.

One other problem with episodes like this one is that you can start to see formula writing rearing its ugly head…this episode, when broken down to the basics, is the same as “The Gamesters of Triskelion” really…Kirk and co. are forced to a planet/situation against their will, forced to do things that humiliate them, and then they come up with a cure-all at the end to save the day.

At least in “Gamesters,” the “fix” was more fun and a even a little philosphical :) (When Kirk tells the Providers that they will find educating the Thralls in the ways of freedom and peace “a much more exciting game than the one you’ve been playing.”)

Just my 2 cents…

Jon

25. Jordan - June 21, 2007

Well, this one is quite horrible, but nothing can save The Way to Eden (the only TOS episode I’ve never finished).

26. FredCFO - June 21, 2007

“Star Trek Whine”

Take care, Star Trek fans, and value your time.
Be watchful of bad eps of Third Season slime.
You’ll wish by yourself that you drank a whole keg,
And puked up this crap, leaving bitter dregs.
Ahh-ah-ah-ah, bitter dregs.”

With poor story lines that lacked any touch,
Freiberger offered little and asked for so much.
He almost ended an incredible sensation,
And in the Third Season brought sure cancelation.
Ahh-ah-ah-ah, sure cancelation.

From “FredCFO’s Music from Near Space”

27. FredCFO - June 21, 2007

“Endin’ the Third Season”

Endin’ the Third Season
Yea brother
Endin’ the Third Season
No more Star Trek for my body or my mind
Gonna watch reruns on the channels I find
I can only count to seventy-nine
Yea brother, yea.

From “The Debit and the Credit of FredCFO”

28. FredCFO - June 21, 2007

“Beyond Syndication”

My TV was green and glowing
Where my eyes were
Where my eyes were
Where….the Third Season ended
Somewhere, beyond TV
Beyond sydication

It’ll be back though it takes forever
Forever is ten years.
Forever is watching Space:1999
Forever is watching BSG

And let the screen go fading
Where my eyes were
Where my eyes were
Where…Star Trek eternally is waiting
Somewhere, beyond TV
Beyond sydication

From “FredCFO Is More Than a Little Touched”

29. FredCFO - June 21, 2007

“Star Bleech”

Beyond the dim story plots,
The Third Season made my blood clot
I know I’ll find
In Trek clustered reaches
Plots, weird plots
Freiberger teaches.

I know this journey did end.
But Star Trek did go on, friend.
But tell Fred while
He trashed the dream of Roddenberry
The Third was
So very crappy!

From “FredCFO The Way I Squeal”

30. Joe - June 21, 2007

Since we’re on a musical thread…check out the MAD MAGAZINE parody here:

http://www.maidenwine.com/library_magazines.html

If you can get a copy of the magazine, there are even more songs in it. MAD did a great job on this one!

31. FredCFO - June 21, 2007

“Mister Spock, McCoy and Kirk”

Has anybody here seen my old friend Mister Spock?
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
He entertained a lot of people but it seems the good die young
I just looked around and he’s gone.

Has anybody here seen my old friend McCoy?
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
He entertained a lot of people but it seems the good die young
I just looked around and he’s gone.

Has anybody here seen my old friend Kirk?
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
He entertained a lot of people but it seems the good die young
I just looked around and he’s gone.

Didn’t you love the first two seasons?
Didn’t they give something good to you and me?
But the series did end in three
It’ll be back
It’s gonna be one day

Has anybody here seen my old friend Roddenberry?
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
I thought I saw him walking up o’er the hill
With Mister Spock, McCoy and Kirk.

From “The New World of FredCFO”

32. jonboc - June 21, 2007

#14 is right, even when they are bad, they are fun and it’s that fun factor that is sorely missing from the Bermanized Trek of the past 20 years. When TOS was bad it was still good. When the spinoffs were bad, they were just, well, bad.

33. Redshirt - June 21, 2007

#24 Jon
I would agree with you on Alexander’s story. I think in some sort of situation we have been pushed around too much which makes the episode at least watchable. People can relate with that character. I don’t know how many would say they relate to Spocks Brain at all. Theirs a handful of Season Three’s I felt that were well done. Nothing like the first two years of the show .If your producer worked on Lost in Space or another campy show like Fred Freidberger the chances of doing brilliant meaningful Science Fiction are pretty much gone. The First Dark Age of bad storytelling wasn’t easy. And it wasn’t the last

34. NZorak - June 21, 2007

#14 toddk

“And The Children Shall Lead” – not fun. :-/

35. Ron - June 22, 2007

If “Bermanized” Trek, as you put it, isn’t fun, why have we all been watching it for the past twenty years? I think what we’ve been describing here as “fun” might be better identified as that quality of watching Our Heroes encounter truly absurd story premises and keep straight faces as they come out on top. Nazi Planet, Roman Planet, American Indian Planet, Gangster Planet, Telekinetic Greek Planet, space hippies, Kirk switches bodies with a woman, Abe Lincoln in space, feeble-minded space amazons steal Spock’s brain, space demon uses children to take over a starship, more god-like computers than Chekov could shake a stick at, and so on. Modern Trek has, by and large, tended to abandon those more “absurd” premises (with some exceptions – anybody remember that Old West planet NX-01 ran into during the Xindi affair? Or the TNG episode with the planet terraformed to look like Scotland?). Which doesn’t necessarily make Modern Trek less fun, just that they don’t necessarily embody that same quality.

36. Jon - June 22, 2007

Hey, I just thought of another nice moment in this episode (I have too much free time it would seem :) ):

It’s when Alexander is being forced to choke himself during Parmen’s delerium at the beginning of the episode. Shatner does a great job with his acting here…his passionate attempts to save Alexander are actually quite stirring. It’s a great moment really as you see the true hero that is the character of James T. Kirk wherein he will do anything and everything he can to save a life, no matter the size, shape, or color of the person (or alien) :) …

It’s the little touches like the above that make even the mediocre and/or bad episodes of TOS still quite watchable, even on repeart viewings.

Jon

37. Jon - June 22, 2007

#33 Redshirt

Yea, the 3rd season gets a bad rap and it is the weakest to be sure, but there were still some good episodes in there, and even some great ones.

My ranking off the top of my head:

Great: “The Paradise Syndrome,” “Day of the Dove,” “The Enterprise Incident”

Very good: “Elaan of Troyius,” “Spectre of the Gun,” “All Our Yesterdays,” “Is There in Truth No Beauty?,” “The Tholian Web”

Decent: “Let that be Your Last Battlefield,” “The Savage Curtain,” “The Empath,” “Requiem for Methusalah”

Sure the science in some of the episodes I list as “decent” was a bit wonky, but the stories were at least interesting. The errieness of the music in “The Empath” alone make it noteworthy. I also love the moment in “Requiem” when Flint reveals who he really is and why he is doing what he is doing with regards to Rayna (granted that Kirk’s willingness to give up his whole life and career for Rayna after having known her for all of a couple of hours is pretty out-of-character)….

38. Robb - June 23, 2007

Regarding ‘Plato’s Stepchildren’- one great thing about the Trek Universe is, if you see a bad episode just wait and, hopefully, you’ll see a good(or great) one. Alexander’s character was inspiring…the fact he *didn’t* want to be like Parmen and all the other ‘walking dead’(or whatever similiar line he used)…..and then the fact that Kirk & Co. can take him away to a better place where he’d just be one more welcome member of society(hey, Enterprise, where r ya??? lol)….Not a great episode, but *not* ‘Spock’s Brain’….and, like I said, if it bothers you, plug in ‘City on the Edge…’ or ‘Journey to Babel’ and you’ll be just fine……;)

39. The Realist - June 24, 2007

I must admit I liked Bermans Trek, he did a great job keeping TNG true to it’s name, and Rodemberry’s dream, DS9 was different, and I realy enjoyed it, and I think highly of Enterprise, VOY was ok. I fully agree the Nemesis was a horror, but after nearly 20 years, even the best would burn out. He deserves more credit than he gets. Why am I saying this, well I hate been negative but, this episode of TOS is damn crap! It and Spocks Brian, Plot? Plot, What is plot, argh, they make Rick Bermans and Branaon Braga’s worst episode seem like a work of ART!

40. Martin Lukashenko - June 28, 2007

The scenes with the Trek women, especially the Spock-Christine kiss, are SO hot. ‘Now THAT’S a kiss’ indeed.

41. planettom - June 29, 2007

Since the Remastered “Plato’s Stepchildren” had the “bitter dregs” lyrics edited out of the “bitter dregs” song (!!!), I’ve made a little tribute to Bitter Dregs.

http://tinyurl.com/ywld25

Note that if you hover your mouse above the montage of The Many Loves of James T. Kirk, it gives episode info, so you can test your Trek-savvy.

42. Darkenedfury - December 6, 2007

lol – this is by far the most memorable episode for me – My no nonsense – non sci-fi mother happened to walk down in the basement Just as Alexander mounted Kirk and him braying like a horse. I am laughing now looking back but what an earful I took that day. I dont care how bad it is, it makes me laugh everytime i see it

43. Tim the Trekker - February 8, 2008

Ah how useful a telekinesis drug would be. Consider that the power can not only force actions, but also speech from a poor victim. Can you imagine the fun some teenage kid, overflowing with hormones, would have forcing some chick to behave as if she has the hots for him?

In fact, I’d bet Kirk would use the drug for exactly that purpose if there were a season 4.

44. Peter Berczik - June 13, 2009

Has anyone else noticed the incredible similarities between this story line, and the science fiction novella “Telek” by Jack Vance? I would bet anything that this was Dolinsky’s source for the screenplay. BTW, Vance’s novella is far superior.

45. Philippa - April 9, 2011

I think that the BBC wouldn’t show this episode (which would have gone out at 6pm in the UK) not, it was said, because of the famous kiss, but because of the sadism.

Me, I reckon it was a fine illustration of the “All power corrupts ..” motto The storyline is about the problems of people who look just like you and me, then add one little drug and they turn into thugs and natural-born torturers. I’m not surprised they were worried about showing it in the Deep South.

It also is a fine illustration of how easy it is for the good guys to become the victims – they had to provide a gizmo to get them out of that.

Dark, yes. Depressing, yes. True to life – you bet.

46. Johnny C. - February 3, 2012

So many, many here don’t see —

This show is METAPHOR:

Metaphor for the NWO enslaving humanity…

Metaphor for Annunaki giants ruling those physically and psychically the lesser beings under their sadistic rule…

This episode, like “Who Mourns For Adonis”, “Return Of The Archons”, and particularly “Day Of The Dove”, is arch METAPHOR for the real story of what’s happening here on Earth — that Roddenberry was trying to get out.

Look at the WHOLE TOS SERIES this way, and you will find its true gems.

Look at it superficially, and be a vain idiot (see review above).

“Do you think I want to be like THEM?” Alexander asks Kirk, when he refuses the chance to have the same power as Parmen. “All is ask, if you survive, is — take me with you.”

I’ve always liked to think that of all the closing shots of the Enterprise sailing off into the stars, the last shot from this show has Alexander aboard, free at last of the sadistic tyrants who made his life such a misery.

And a part of me is aboard as well.

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