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The Enterprise responds to a distress call from the Triacus Science Colony. When they arrive, they find that all but one of the adults have committed suicide. The lone survivor dies shortly thereafter in Kirk's arms. The children seem to be fine and of good health, and are transported to the Enterprise to be taken to the nearest starbase. Once aboard, they begin to act oddly and start to refuse to answer any of Kirk's questions.
Starring RolesCo-Guest StarsUncredited
The scientific colon on Triacus sends a distress signal and the Enterprise
goes to investigate. Kirk, Spock, and McCoy beam down and find members of the colony scattered around the area, dead. They find Professor Starnes, the colony leader, who dies even as they find him. McCoy checks and determines that they all took cyalodin, a deadly poison. They play back Starnes' tricorder and hear his log warning that they're being threatened by an enemy within. To stop it, they vow to destroy themselves. Suddenly the colony survivors arrive: five children. They greet the landing party and then start playing around their parents' corpses...Read the full recap
The recreation room in this episode was created at great expense and never used again, except in re-dressed form as the arboretum in "Is There in Truth No Beauty?". A scene had been filmed in the room for "Elaan of Troyius", but it was cut from the episode. Roddenberry had plans to create the first holodeck in Star Trek during the third season and to place it in this new set, however, with the problems encountered in the final year, these plans never materialized.
Brian Tochi, along with Phil Morris in "Miri", is one of a very few actors who appeared in TOS as a child and was later cast in one of the new series or movies. Tochi and Pamelyn Ferdin would later be reunited on the 70s Saturday show Space Academy.
This is the only episode in which we see the United Federation of Planets flag.
The entrance to the Gorgan's cave will be seen again in many third season episodes, including "Spock's Brain", "The Cloud Minders", "All Our Yesterdays" and "That Which Survives".
In the trailer, footage of Gorgan's transformation at the end of the episode is seen without the "green light bath" special effects.
Children: Hail, hail, fire and snow. Call the angel, we will go. Far away, for to see, friendly Angel come to me. Hail, hail, fire and snow. Call the angel, we will go. Far away, for to see, friendly Angel come to me.
Kirk: Scotty. I want you to override the bridge navigation system. Lay in a course for Starbase 4.
Scotty: I can't do that, sir!
Kirk: Why not!?
Scotty: These are very sensitive instruments! I will not have you upset their delicate balance! We would all be lost! Forever lost! Go away, now. Go away or we'll kill you!
Spock: Captain, so long as the children are present, there is danger. They are the carriers.
Kirk: Spock, they're not the alien beings. They're children being misled.
Spock: They are followers. Without followers, evil cannot spread.
Kirk: They're children.
Spock: Captain, the 430 men and women on board the Enterprise and the ship itself are endangered by these children.
Kirk: They don't understand the evil that they're doing.
Spock: Perhaps that is true, but the evil that is within them is spreading fast, and unless we can find a way to remove it...
Kirk: We'll have to kill them.
Gorgan: I would ask you to join me, but you are gentle, and that is a grave weakness.
Kirk: We're also very strong.
Gorgan: Ah, but your strength is canceled by your gentleness. You are full of goodness. Such as you cannot be changed.
The chant of the children has different words when Spock plays it back on the bridge at the end of the episode, despite the fact the kids only perfomed it on one occasion that could have been recorded.
It is never explained why Kirk refers to the alien played by Melvin Belli as Gorgan.
In some stock footage shots of the bridge Lt. Hadley is sitting at Chekov's station creating continuity errors.
Kirk appears to "forget" two security men on Triacus. The landing party returns aboard, leaving two guards on the planet. At the end, Kirk sets course for a starbase, seemingly forgetting the two men.
The man who played Gorgan was far more famous as a civil trial lawyer. The "King of Torts" won millions for his clients, and along the way created new tools used by tort attorneys now, such as the "Day in the Life" video - a film that documented the difficulties faced by his injuried clients in an attempt to elicit sympathy from the juries.
What Changed in the Remastered Version
Not too much changed in this episode beyond the general improvements cited on the main series page. The planet Triacus received the expected CGI upgrade, and a few exterior shots were redone with the CGI model. Key special effects, such as the rings of knives (Sulu's fear), the diseased Uhura, and the Gorgan itself, did not receive upgrades - but these effects would be extremely difficult to recreate, so this is understandable.