Ahh yes… "And The Children Shall Lead" is another often maligned episode from Trek’s infamous 3rd season. The episode is so unremarkable that doing a review of it was reduced to a chore that neither Anthony, myself nor any of our regular contributors really wanted to do. I got inspired to write it first so I win? Although Trek’s producers may have been better off taking W.C. Fields advice to "never work with children," the Remastering actually gives us a chance to take another look.
Coherent Plot Need Not Apply
So we encounter our troika checking up on a rather typical planetary expedition to Triacus. But of course things are horribly, horribly awry. So far this is pretty much the beginning to oh say 5 or more episodes of TOS. As our trio finds the scientific party dead, they sort of fail to notice that only adults are dead, and thus are surprised when children come scampering out essentially unaffected by their parent’s dead bodies that are strewn about the landscape. As they discuss what went on, Spock, supposedly the logical one, agrees with Kirk’s total leap of critical thought about the children being coerced/controlled. McCoy mostly serves as that person who gets in front of the camera and screams "Won’t somebody think of the children!"
As the pieces of the puzzle about what happened on the surface fall in to place we get treated to footage of the science team leader Professor Starns recording his anxious and eventually paranoid feelings into a Tricorder, except the log playback is from some unseen floating camera because we can see Starns holding the Tricorder he is supposedly recording into!
How is this angle possible?
Then we find the disaffected children performing a pagan like ritual, which is par for the course, since they also play "Ring Around the Rosy" which is allegedly about the Bubonic Plague. This ritual calls a ‘friendly angel’ (is there any other type?) inexplicably played by high profile lawyer Melvin Belli. As it turns out he has endowed the children with strange mind control powers, which the children then use on various senior staff members to make sure the Enterprise stays on course to Marcus XI, which apparently is a great place and ripe for ruling with mind control powers. The bridge crew is convinced they are still in orbit around Triacus and apparently this also effects the transporter targeting scanners, as the transporter allows two red shirt officers to be beamed out into space. Uhhh fail-safes anyone?
Suffice to say Kirk and Spock figure out that there is a malevolent entity manipulating these poor children and they call him out. He of course is quite the flamboyant crossdresser in a shower curtain/muumuu kind-of-thing. Kirk proceeds to manipulate the children just as much as the evil entity has by using video clips of the children at a family picnic and then cutting suddenly to footage of their parent’s tombstones, this seems to trigger their grief release McCoy has been ranting about the entire episode, and it exposes the ‘friendly angel’ as a nasty pizza faced thing. Inexplicably Kirk addresses this entity as "Gorgan" yet it was never heard on screen before. Gorgan does what all nasty beings do in TOS: he slowly fades out of existence while his auditory taunt of "death to you all!" loops. Kirk sets a course for Starbase 4 and all is well… except he seems to have forgotten that he left a survey team on Triacus…ooops.
So it is silly and full of holes, but the episode does have a couple of unique features. It is the only episode where we see the flag for the United Federation of Planets. Plus it introduces a new set: the recreation room which will only be seen once again as the arboretum in "Is There in Truth No Beauty?"
Hey look it’s Pizza the Hut!
Remastering the Children
"And The Children Shall Lead" is a typical predominantly shipboard 3rd season episode with very little for CBS Digital to get creative with. Their task primarily is to redo the Enterprise orbiting Triacus and Enterprise warping to Marcus XI shots that break up the filmed scenes. CBS-D has the Enterprise down, she looks better then ever, and has for the past few episodes. They also seem to be doing a pretty darn good job with planets; Triacus has some of the best detail I’ve seen on a planet yet. So kudos to CBS Digital for keeping up the good quality of the space shots.
Planets and Enterprise.. check.
That being said the one gripe is that while CBS-D of course replaced any viewscreen shots of Triacus and/or warping away, the one viewscreen shot they did not see fit to replace was Sulu’s knife hallucination. I realize these guys are time limited, but how hard would it have been to make a tunnel of knives? It’s pretty much something a custom PC screensaver could do. Since the original effects are left in the episode the stars change from the finer points of light CBS-D uses to the chubby brighter stars the production team used in 1968.
Sulu’s knife hallucination
The filmed elements look very good, this being a later episode I think helped. The episode has never looked better and I noticed it was better looking then some of the other remastered episodes. Colors are rich and well saturated, detail is high, and there is a good sense of depth to most of the scenes. All in all a forgettable episode that looks better than ever. CBS-D seemingly have the look of the Big E and planets down pat, leaving us to look forward to more interesting and challenging episodes.
A new ‘Original v Remastered’ for "And the Children Shall Lead"
video edited by Rick Kelvington
Erm . . . anyone care enough about the episode to comment? ;)
Good review Matt. Fair to all involved. About the Tricorder Recording Angle – this 23rd Century technology is similar to that displayed by Scotty in “Assignment Earth” – ‘bouncing’ off an object for some great angles on Gary Seven.
There seems to be some criticism generally of not replacing the Sulu hallucination shot. Did it need replacing? It seemed to work ok.
Er…is it just me, but does the “colour timing” of the LIVE ACTION portions of the video above look WORSE than the original? Strange, but still great to see these side by side comparisons.
Thanks for the review Matt. I think the planet and the Enterprise looked fantastic on this episode. It surely improved watching it all the little bit more? When you see the windows on the Enterprise you can see the rooms lit up inside with those brilliant TOS colours they used for the room lighting. It helps tie in the outside of the ship with the inside. Its a great touch.
Which gets me wondering about the Poll for the Grade of “And The Children Shall Lead” Remastered. Is it for the episode story content or for the new effects?
I will not grade the story content as I guess that’s always been pretty bad plus I haven’t watched it recently I have only watched the video on here. We don’t get TOS remastered in the UK :O(
But I give the effects a B. It would have been an A if they had bothered to replace the knives. I guess they figured the episode wasn’t worth it due to time and budget which is fair enough but still would have been fun to see.
Which brings up another long standing point I wish they had more time, and some more money so they could do all the things they want to do.
it just makes me feel this project is being rushed by the powers that be.
Oh well looking forward to seeing what they do with “All Our Yesterdays”
Also meant to AGREE with something that LordEdzo pointed out recently, that I too would have seen the swords/daggers redone if only so that it was their POINTS coming towards Sulu’s veiwpoint (and ours), not the HILTS!
# 6. Cervantes
I agree that would make alot more sense.
I guess Sulu was more freaked out as to why he was seeing Swords floating in space and notso much the damage they would do to the Enterprise.
#7 Holo J
lol… I’ll TRY to look at it that way until these perhaps get a re-tweak sometime in the future.
I could have been a trick of light, but I could SWEAR that during the gorgon’s speech about “those who are against us will fall” …his face morphed into Karl Rove for just a split second.
The camera angle when he does the log is just another example of the sloppy thinking in third season.
Actually I think the swords are all pointing inward toward the middle, which makes sense.
Matt , I find your offhanded back hand against this episode to be insulting and if without merit, as it is silly and full of holes….
ANTHONY?…If you want a reviewer who REALLY knows STAR TREK , the original series and I REALLY do…then call upon me your friendly angel of mercy upon any episode (but the Lazarus episode which I hate!)..I would gladly give ATCSl an unbiased review, worthy of this site and the fans who appreciate it and your site….I do.
In conclusion any episode of the original series is better than 3/4 of whatever is on tv today including this rather good if “different” episode.
Somebody must not like children I take it…thats the only thread I run into against this episode again and again at the various trekker web sites.
That’s too bad…the kids were good in this story, and remember.. children were and are our future…and they shall lead…someday.
AND THE CHILDREN SHALL LEAD ROCKS!
just my opinion and a few million others..
I may be remembering wrongly… but doesn’t the dialogue about the knives remain kinda vague.. like “Don’t you see them!” I suspect this is not the last overhaul we’ll ever see of TOS. So… someday… perhaps someone can put something in Sulu’s mind that’s more believeable than a looped series of daggers on a table. Something like, oh I don’t know, meteors? As least the experienced helmsman wouldn’t look like an idjut.
#3 — I agree that perhaps it didn’t need replacing, but CBS-D has now set a new style for the stars and using the old footage mixes the two.
#12 — oh please, I’m just having fun with a silly episode. I love all TOS, and this episode has its’ good moments. And FYI I love kids, just not the 2 dimensional portrayal of children this episode puts forth.
Some fans define “unbiased” as “uncritical praise” where TOS is concerned. I\’d suggest that they not hold their breath if that\’s what they\’re looking for here.
Matt, great review.
I particularly liked the “Gorgan does what all nasty beings do in TOS: he slowly fades out of existence while his auditory taunt of “death to you all!” loops” observation – quite true, and I\’d never really noticed. Hello, Charlie Evans and Apollo… :lol:
Not really giving a fuck how many million people Shaye imagines agree with him…
#14 I know you would not eat children for breakfast (as W.C. Fields once implied.)..lol.
But I take issue with your slight about the kids 1, 2 or 3 dimensional atribute’s in fact.
Who is to say just what the young and pliable mind is capable of under the right, or wrong circumstanses?
When I was a young girl and I saw this episode and it wasnt chopped up by a million commercials, I remember it as scary, and the kids as being very realistc in their attitudes and behaviour patterns, and playing games and doing “digs” agains the adults in very familiar ways…..I still do!
p.s. and I too was just having fun with your offhanded review…so no offense my trek friend, okay?
P.P.S. Please wont you give, and give again, a far worse review to the TOS “Lazarus episode”?, that one was the WORST episode of all time for any Trek series!!!
thank you Matt!
I don’t envy your having to sit down and write about this POS.
# 17 please mate, dont be such a “turd”.
yes I very much appreciated Matt tackling this, especially since I have the flu. maybe the episode is at fault!
and Dennis is right. It is possible to be a trek fan without thinking that every inch of film they made wasn’t perfect
It’s just you, Cevantes. The colors are much brighter on the remastered. Check out Tommy Starnes’ swimming gear again, if you doubt me. LOL
# 15 & #19 Attentron Dennis Bailey!
I am not a “HE” you are assuming far to much, and you KNOW what happens when you ass-u-me….
And in spite of your rudely aimed remark directed my way, I STILL DO
care about what you…. and others think in agreement.. or not with me, because I am a compassionate woman with feelings that run deep where Star Trek is concerned, I worked as a helper with Joan Winston on The Star Trek Wellcomitee in the mid 1970’s for the early conventions.
Regards from Shaye….. a gal from Novia Scotia, born in NZ..
All Our Yesterdays didn’t have many FX shots…probably even fewer than this turd.
Damn it’s getting hot in here like Korean Parliment!! You boys settle down and leave f-bombs for the locker room. Marta will not dance for either of you for at least a month.
The remastered color problems in the side by side are problems with the capture techneque used to create the side by side and not in the original itself. The remastered clip is off a PVR and the original is off a DVD.
Still a POS episode. Loved the comment about the fading away in the end for all evil alians with the audio track looping away!
Someone out there should make a video of all the times this has happened.
This episode is like a G-Version of Evil Dead: A dead scientist leaves behind a posthumous taped record documenting the entity his research team accidentally stumbled upon. The entity is summoned by incantation. The entity attempts to take control by playing on mortal fears.
They should have had Sam Raimi re-imagine this one… …the epsiode begins when the team finds a 76 Oldsmobile on a distant planet…
#21: “I am not a ‘HE'”
Okay, I’ll amend it to “Not really giving a fuck how many million people Shaye imagines agree with her…”
Tone it down, please.
yes tone it down
…and Shaye….we get your point that you ‘care’ about Star Trek, but perhaps you care too much. Everyone here is a fan. But you dont need to take it so personally whenever anyone points out a flaw. Matt and Dennis love Trek, but do they have to love ALL of it…every single second?
and Dennis….you are a writer….how about some more creative words instead off f-bombs
Anthony and Dennis, I am sorry …i’ll bite my tongue but you know it is not fun being sworn at or poked fun at…over a what was meant as a light hearted and joking around a tad post I made and Say!…you have never gotten the “F” word out of me and you never shall.
Seriously Dennis please forgive and excuse me?, and sorry regarding my seeming bad grammer!..guess what!? I have a sticky key laptop problem which has caused all kinds of mahem!…lol…im getting some cleaner for it to-day.
So…peace friends, one and all…oh Dennis that sticky key word in my post to you that time was meant to be “attention” not a attentron…eeek!
BTW!….I really love to chat with you guys, honest, So won’t you take
some of what I say as Tongue-firmly-planted-in-cheek?…pu-leazze?
Shaye to make you feel better I would indeed rag on The Alternative Factor just as much if not more then this epsiode. That episode is fairly universally agreed upon as a mess.
I hope CBS-D does something with those tilting blue-screen room fight scenes in Alternative Factor. That was always utterly lame, although, Robert Brown’s performance actually does SAVE the ep. IMHO.
No doubt “The Alternative Factor” is a royal mess, but I’ll still take it over “Children” any day, as the former was an interesting concept gone horribly wrong, while the latter was a horrible concept gone horribly wrong. And “Factor” at least has one saving moment of visual grace: the rear POV shot of the Enterprise firing its phasers on the planet, which was one of the more unique visual FX shots ever done on TOS.
Shaye, I envy you your early participation in the ST fandom scene, when it was still possible to be floored with amazement and delight at the realization that thousands of others shared your improbable love for a failed little space opera. From what I’ve read of her, Joan Winston was quite the character.
Thanks for your kind words Michael, Yes, it was back at the old Commadore Hotel on 42nd st where I was a “helper”, basicaly helping from keeping the fans mobbing the stars and producers of Trek!
Those were the days when we kept the dream alive because that was all we had…was a dream to bring Star Trek back…but we stuck together and …by the Gods…it worked!
20,000 fans crammed into convention rooms for 5000!…it was a living sardine can!…ask anybody!, I remember Shatrner being cornered by a large group of fans as we tried to sneek him in and he was scared to death as modtly young ladies tore at him and his clothes!
I have not seen Joan since the 1976 ST Con, but have my memorys of her and the others, Goerge Takei was fun, and Gene Roddenberry was too, and when we had the “helpers” partys, we got to meet all the stars, and they were all alive and still young and well., except for Gene Coon..he left us waaay to early!
Susan Oliver was really great with the fans by the way, I still grieve over her death, she was much too young to go, and now as with Jimmy Doohan, and De Kelly…lifes so short…..we must enjoy and treasure each moment, each person we know or meet!
…make that MOSTLY young ladies….
I can say the same about “The Alternative Factor:” myself.Liked it. Theirs really hardly anything done for this. I don’t think theirs more to be said about this piece. Theirs really hardly anything done for “And the Children shall Lead” to make it better or worse.
Bjo…is that you? LOL
The separate viewpoint for the guy’s tricorder log could be explained with the use of a 2nd tricorder, and a Bluetooth link allowing his tricorder to use the image from the second one.
standing in front of a mirror while recording?
This episode definitely does not rock. The review is dead on. This episode is in the top 10 of stupid episodes. Stupid stupid stupid. And the remastered color looks worse than the old stuff. Strange, but appropriate for such a stupid stupid episode.
l have to say — aside from the effects and the richer color, all good, I agree that something less ridiculous than daggers should have appeared to Sulu — something like asteroids, or something. If you see daggers floating in space, wouldn’t you start by doubting your own sanity? Something like that could’ve been fixed.
My big problems are writing and acting, here. Was Uhura really so vain that the sight of her old reduced her to simpering helplessness? And at the end, when the children were crying, Kirk looks at one of them like he can’t wait to get them off his bridge. Hardly compassionate.
And don’t get me started on Melvin Belli.
But the remaster was good, as good as can be expected.