‘PLATO’S STEPCHILDREN’ (TOS)
Please feel free to comment on my review.
This isn’t one of my favourite ‘Star Trek’ episodes from ‘The Original Series’. But I have enjoyed watching it. It has interesting concepts throughout especially as our ‘Star Trek’ team are in jeopardy.
In ‘Plato’s Stepchildren’, the Enterprise visits a planet of humanoids that depend on Ancient Greek ideals. These ideals emanate from long ago by those philosophies of Socrates and significantly Plato.
But the people of this Ancient Greek-styled planet are sadistic and selfish when they use Kirk, Spock and Bones for their amusement, using their telekinetic powers. Can our heroes escape this planet?!
I admit I wasn’t familiar with Ancient Greek philosophy from Plato and Socrates before seeing this episode. I have used it lately for some of my ‘Doctor Who’ fan-fiction stories in ‘The Fifth Doctor by Tim Bradley’ series.
The idea of an Ancient Greek society surviving beyond the confines of Earth and into outer space on another alien planet is interesting enough. But it seems limited for its people using telekinetic ability.
The Ancient Greek society on this planet is also cruel and selfish. I was anxious for Kirk and the others when they were being used by these Greek-like people for their pleasure and entertainment.
The leader of the society is Liam Sullivan as Parmen. Parmen is sick at first when the Enterprise responds to a distress call. Once healed, Parmen is able to use his powers on Kirk, Spock and Bones.
There’s also Barbara Babcock as Philana, Parmen’s wife. Philana is equally selfish and sadistic as Parmen, since she takes pleasure to seeing Kirk, Spock and Bones and others used as entertainment.
There is one member of this society that is very unlike Parmen and Philana and that is Michael Dunn as Alexander. Alexander is a dwarf-like character who’s a slave to both Parmen and Philana’s service.
I liked Alexander’s character as he’s the most sympathetic and doesn’t have telekinetic powers like Parmen and Philana. It was so intriguing to see Kirk, Spock and Bones interact with Alexander in this.
Parmen and Philana demand that Bones stays behind on their world to act as their full-time physician. Bones refuses as he has duties aboard the Enterprise. Parmen and Philana will not have it.
It was amusing and disturbing when Kirk and Spock get used by Parmen and Philana for their entertainment in order to persuade Bones to stay. Kirk and Spock do some silly and unusual things.
Kirk and Spock get to dance and talk gibberish whilst performing before Parmen and Philana. It was so shocking when Spock finds himself laughing and sobbing his heart out whilst before his audience.
Lt. Uhura and Nurse Chappel soon get beamed down to the planet and used to perform for their audience. They even get dressed up with Kirk and Spock in some Grecian clothes before everyone.
The thing that’s most remembered for this ‘Star Trek’ episode is the inter-racial kiss between Kirk (a white man) and Uhura (a black woman). I know William Shatner and Nichelle Nichols did many takes on that! 😀
For me, the kiss between Kirk and Uhura isn’t a problem as I see it as a man and woman kissing each other, even though it was forced. But back then for 1960s US TV, this was a daring, brave thing to do.
‘Plato’s Stepchildren’ is an interesting ‘Star Trek’ episode from the series. It’s not an absolute favourite, but I found it interesting and it was tense when Kirk’s people were being misused in this.
The DVD special features for this episode are as follows. On Disc 3 of both the original and re-mastered DVDs of ‘Star Trek: The Original Series – Season 3’, there is a preview trailer for this episode.
‘Plato’s Stepchildren’ (TOS) rating – 6/10
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