Star Trek: The Original Series (1968) – And the Children Shall Lead and Is There in Truth No Beauty?

Captain’s log: stardate 5029.5

And the Children Shall Lead. Written by Edward J. Lasko, this episode aired on 11 October, 1968. It started out with the some good ideas – the Enterprise arrives at a Federation colony to discover that all the adults have taken their own lives, leaving the children, who seem oblivious to what is going on around them. But what is really going on?

Kirk (William Shatner), Spock (Leonard Nimoy) and McCoy (DeForest Kelley) are puzzled by what is going on, and as they bring the children aboard the Enterprise. Unfortunately, trouble begins to arise when the children, or a force working with them, are the cause of terrible, and frightening things happening to our happy crew.

As Spock goes through the colony’s logs, Kirk tries to reach the children who believe tehir families are still alive and and happy in their work on the surface. There is talk of legends of evil, and our trio begin to suspect the work of an alien life form using the children for its own foul reasons.

If the script had been tighter, the villain, Gorgan, not played by a lawyer, Melvin Belli, who can’t acted and some solid child actors had been secured this one could have worked. It cojld have been quite scary if done right. Instead, the story flounders a bit, and an opportunity to examine the concepts of fear and grief aren’t completely aptly explored.

As a child, the image of Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) as an old dying woman, creeped me out, now I just want Uhura to realise that she’s subject to a vicious illusion. 

Kirk, of course, barely succumbs to the fear and dread on the Enterprise, though he was practically shaking in his boots on the planet’s surface when he and Spock explored the alien cave. When he does, his delivery and acting up their melodramatc factor to warp speed.

Of course, Kirk confronts his fear, with Spock’s help, and then they summon Gorgan, and have the children confront him one final time, and they see him for what he truly is and they have to deal with the death of their parents.

This one is a solid ‘could-have-been.’ If it had been put together in season two, I think there would have been some tweaks to the story, and it could have become a classic episode. But the journey continues…

Captain’s log: stardate 5630.7

Is There in Truth No Beauty? I love the name of this episode. Written by Jean Lisette Aroeste, this one came along on 18 October, 1968.

Dr. Miranda Jones (Diana Muldaur in her second Classic Trek appearance) serves as the telepathic interpreter for a Medusan ambassadir, Kollos, whose appearance would drive one mad. The ship is also carrying Laurence Mavick (David Frankham), one of the original designers of the Enterprise. 

Miranda senses danger nearby, and soon, disaster strikes as the Enterprise is taken beyond the edge if the galaxy, Mavick goes insane and the truth about Jones is revealed.

There is some great POV shots in this episode, perhaps using a fish-eye lens(?), that gives some of the episode a very unique look. There is also at its heart a story of love, jealousy as Jones has issues with not only Mavick, But Spock as well, When the Vulcan science officer comes up with the idea of fusing with the Medusan to help the Enterprise find its way home.

The thing I always liked about this episode is the way our trio work together and interact, and while there Isn’t a lot of banter between McCoy and Spock, the sense of connection and camaraderie is very present. I also always liked the fact that Nimoy got to do something a little different.

This one is very solid, especially coming on the tail of the previous episode, and we learn something new about Vulcan physiology.

The Human Adventure continues…​

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