‘THE CLOUD MINDERS’ (TOS)
Please feel free to comment on my review.
‘The Cloud Minders’ is one of my favourite ‘Star Trek’ episodes from ‘The Original Series’! I love the idea of a city on a cloud and this episode is full of tension and drama throughout with the characters.
The Enterprise visits the planet Ardana where Kirk and Spock beam down. They’re to collect a consignment of zenite, a special mineral that is required to halt a vegetation plague that is on the planet Merak II.
Upon arrival, Kirk and Spock receive an unfriendly welcome from the Troglytes, the miners on the planet. They are soon rescued by the High Advisor, Plasus, who welcomes Kirk and Spock to Ardana.
Kirk and Spock are invited to join Plasus back to their cloud city of Stratos, where they meet his beautiful daughter Droxine. They soon discover what’s been going on with the conflict on the planet.
I enjoyed seeing the cloud city of Stratos in all its glory and it looks very impressive in CGI form for the remastered version of this episode. There’s something dream-like and fantasy-like with the idea.
This ‘Star Trek’ episode became the inspiration for me with one of my ‘Doctor Who’ fan-fiction stories. I wrote a story called ‘The Clouds of Skydra’ in ‘The Coins of Deno’ mini-series for my ‘Fifth Doctor’ series.
There’s an evident theme of prejudice throughout this episode. It seems that the city dwellers of Stratos have rejected the Troglytes who work in the zenite mines and violently revolt against them.
Kirk and Spock observe this and question Plasus’ methods on interrogating the Troglytes who are being led by their Disruptors. Plasus’ however refuses to listen to Kirk and Spock’s objections in this.
Jeff Corey guest stars as Plasus, the High Advisor of Ardana. Plasus is an old man who gets angered when the Troglytes cause trouble. He seems to refuse any kind of change offered by Kirk’s people.
Diana Ewing guest stars as Droxine, Plasus’ daughter. I found Droxine gorgeous, especially with the sexy outfit she wore in the episode. She seems attracted to Spock and they have some nice scenes.
Charlene Polite guest stars as Vanna, one of the leader Troglytes in this episode. Vanna seems very aggressive and she even tries to use a knife on Kirk when he’s asleep, but he manages to outwit her.
It transpires that the zenite mineral also releases an invisible gas which affects people’s aggressive tendencies. This explains why the Troglytes have become aggressive towards the cloud city dwellers.
Kirk tries to persuade Vanna to listen to him as he offers her a gas filter mask to protect her and her people from the zenite gases whilst mining in the mines. It only results for him being taken prisoner.
Eventually Kirk manages to outwit Vanna again whilst in the mines and seals the mine entrance with his phaser. Kirk contacts Spock and orders him to transport Plasus from Stratos to the mines at once.
Plasus gets beamed from Stratos to the mines and is in a furious rage. Kirk then makes Plasus and Vanna work in the mines in order to see the effects of the zenite mines affect them whilst working.
Of course Kirk gets affected by the zenite gas itself and becomes aggressive, resulting in him and Plasus fighting each other. Vanna contacts the Enterprise in time in order to beam out of the mines.
‘The Cloud Minders’ is a great example of ‘Star Trek’ from ‘The Original Series’. I like this episode very much and enjoyed the cloud city of Stratos featured in it. It has a gripping, engaging plot throughout.
The DVD special features for this episode are as follows. On Disc 6 of both the original and re-mastered DVDs of ‘Star Trek: The Original Series – Season 3’, there is a preview trailer for this episode.
‘The Cloud Minders’ (TOS) rating – 9/10
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