Monday, November 14, 2011

Elaan of Troyius

** (2 stars out of 5)

Season Three marches dismally onward with the tale of Elaan, the spoiled, bloodthirsty Dohlman of planet Elas forced to marry her enemy on planet Troyius.

Troyian Ambassador Petri is the green Severus Snape assigned to tutor Elaan in civilized ways. He has neater hair, but none of Snape's nobler qualities.

"Stop trying to kill each other- then worry about being friendly," is Captain Kirk's advice to Petri shortly before the shrew Elaan stabs him in the back.

Chapel asks the bedridden green courtier why Elasian men would love women who behave so badly: what's the magical attraction? It's not magic- but simple, everyday, biochemical enslavement via their optical secretions, don'tcha know.

UCLA Professor Daniel Bernardi's book "Star Trek and History: Race-ing Toward a White Future" apparently states that Elaan is a stereotypical Asian dragon woman slash demure geisha who needs Great White Kirk to tame and civilize her. I disagree. The fact that actress France Nguyen is partly Vietnamese does not appear to have any bearing on the story: she's playing an alien named for a Greek myth, her Elasian subordinates are white and her wig looks Egyptian. Racist? Not necessarily. Misogynist? Oh, hells, yah.

Kirk's supposedly enlightened attitudes are undercut with statements like "The women of Vulcan are logical. That's the only planet in this galaxy that can make that claim." Let's not even mention his offer to spank the Dohlman.

She tricks him into touching her tears, and Kirk is hooked on a feeling, high on believing that he's in love with her.

The Tellun system, and specifically Elaan's necklace, contains common stones they call radans. Dilithium, by any other name, will still attract Klingons.
The classic, original Klingon ship model looked great, right?! I wish I could say the same about the male Elasian costume: barbarians with spangly gold evening gloves? And padded out with giant cumbersome sheets of gelatin? I think the engineer bumped off by the Elasian goon probably died of embarrassment on his killer's behalf.

Helen of Troy was the face that launched a thousand ships. "Elaan of Troyius" could barely inspire me to eat a thousand chips.

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