Star Trek TOS: Full of Woe, McCoy Aids an Expectant Mother
Star Trek: The Original Series
Season 2, Episode 11
Kirk and his usuals headed down to a planet called Capella IV, searching for a rich mineral called topaline. He gave orders to Scott for Enterprise’s command and warned everyone Klingons were known to orchestrate tomfoolery in those parts.
The natives of Capella IV, Cappellans, were weird. They dressed like Teletubbies with Greek undertones. And they were violent. An overeager Lieutenant Grant pointed out a Klingon and sought to fire on him. He was too late — the Capellans killed him on the spot. That put Kirk in an awkward spot as Captain.
Kirk and his crew were forced to disarm, so the trek on Capella IV would be tricky. McCoy took some heat from Kirk because the good doctor seemingly vouched for the Capellans. Ever the reflective Captain, Kirk apologized to McCoy moments later. That’s what leaders do.
The leader of the Capellans summoned Kirk for a chat, hosting a debate over who — Kirk’s Federation or Klingons — laid stake to the topaline.
The episode also made a severe emphasis on the inherent, natural rivalry between the Earth Federation and Klingons — almost like Cowboys and Indians or Yankees and Red Sox. It should be common knowledge for the show, at this point, the two factions cannot stand each other.
Right after the meeting between Kirk and the Capellan boss man, an abrupt war — a coup — broke out, ending in the death of the supreme Capellan. Kirk and the Klingon, Kras, jockeyed for position in the wake of Akaar, the Cappelan leader’s death.
There was a lot of fighting in this installment of Star Trek.
Up in the sky, the Scott-led Enterprise was in a cat-and-mouse tryst with a Klingon vessel. Back on Capella IV, Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and Akkar’s widow escaped imprisonment. But the widow, Eleen, was ultra-pregnant and in a foul mood. She even traded slaps across the face with McCoy. Seeking refuge in the hills, Kirk and his party tried to flee the mobbish Capellans and hopefully find a way off the planet. The Capellans, indeed, followed close beyond but were beset by a rockslide in another violet twist to the episode. The Klingon in pursuit with the Capellans was unaffected by the rockslide, trudging forward to find Spock. Cat-and-mouse in outer space, cat-and-mouse in the hills.
Eleen went into labor inside a cave in the hills. She was not a fan of pregnancy or anything to do with birth, evidenced by McCoy’s coaching the woman to want the baby. Nevertheless, the baby was born, and McCoy was excited to share it with Kirk and Spock. Neither man, though, wanted to hold the baby, especially Spock, who was standoffish.
Near the episode’s climax, Kirk and Spock made and used bows and arrows as weapons for combat. The Capellans disposed of the Klingon after the acting leader sacrificed himself for Eleen’s life. Just in the nick of time, Scott and his crew beamed down for Enterprise to outnumber the remaining Capellans. In the end, Kirk secured the topaline mining contract.
The episode was a parable on a woman’s right to not want children as an almighty life goal. Eleen was presumably forced to conceive, carrying the heir to Akaar’s rule. When he was murdered, her aspirations for motherhood waned. It is not a requirement for every woman to embrace motherhood. And this was a bold statement for the late-1960s.
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. His odyssey with Star Trek starts from beginning to finish, watching ‘The Original Series,’ all the way to the present day. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).