Star Trek TOS: Trek’s Take on ‘Taming of the Shrew’

Star Trek TOS: Trek’s Take on ‘Taming of the Shrew’
Star Trek TOS: Trek’s Take on ‘Taming of the Shrew’

Star Trek: The Original Series

Season 3, Episode 13

Elaan of Troyius

Enterprise hosted an ambassador from the planet Troyius, a green alien-like man named Petri. A group of armed folks from the planet Elas followed, plus a woman dressed as an Egyptian. She was the ruler of the Elasians and was considered rather formidable. Everyone – including Kirk and his team – knelt for her. 

Her name was Elaan, and she was protected by rude, terse bodyguards. All the while, Petri insisted Kirk play along with the obedience routine toward Elaan. Elaan was slated for marriage with the ruler of Troyius, so Petri basically had to suck up to her. He directly asked Kirk to “minimize friction” between the Starfleeters and the Elasians. 

Elaan, like her guards, was also a real treat, berating Kirk and Petri for a bedroom she perceived as insulting. Petri did damage control, brownnosing Elaan while seeking to keep the soon-to-be marriage intact. To put it bluntly, Elaan was a temperamental, maniacal headcase. 

Kirk, Petri, and everyone else attempted to mitigate Elaan’s moods when a Klingon ship suddenly arrived hot on the trail of Enterprise. Contemplating a resolution for that budding problem, Kirk was summoned to Elaan’s quarters for an emergency. The emergency? Petri was stabbed in the back and motionless on the floor.

He made a quick recovery, though, up and talking to Kirk and McCoy in sickbay soon after the assault. But the incident changed his mind on relations with Kirk. Petri quickly changed his tune about Kirk as his friend.

Elaan admitted stabbing Petri without hesitation, explaining Petri merely got on her nerves. She had a discussion with Kirk as he chowed down on food like an eight-year-old. Kirk decided Elaan needed manners and discipline, so he began treating her like a kid. 

The next day (or scene?), Kirk went for another visit with Elaan, but her bodyguards were skittish about letting the captain have a word. They pulled their weapons on Kirk, prompting Spock to blast them with a phaser before they could get a shot in Kirk’s direction. He eventually got in the door to chat with Elaan, telling the Elasian ruler that she might need a “spanking.”

Suddenly, Elaan became very melancholy, proclaiming she wanted people to like her. This was a trick. Elaan possessed power of seduction, ensuring men desired her after a simple touch of the man’s flesh. She touched Kirk – and boom – he fell in love. They kissed. 

Spock and McCoy knew of Elaan’s power and sniffed out the romance. Kirk fully embraced Spock and McCoy’s suggestion about Elaan’s seductive power, ordering the good doctor to find an antidote. 

To complicate matters, the Klingon ship tried to attack Enterprise, but Kirk bluffed his way out of the threat. Scott learned one of Elaan bodyguards, who was madly in love with her, rigged a bomb on Enterprise out of jealous spite. 

Petri wanted Elaan to accept a jeweled necklace as a peace offering between the warring nations of Troyius and Elan. Spock recognized the jewel as dilithium, a stone sought after by Klingons. That’s why Klingons were on the prowl. 

Kirk fired on the Klingons and survived their onslaught. 

The episode was a homage to Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shew and a vehicle to showcase William Shatner. The complex-yet-scatterbrained episode was held together by Kirk/Shatner as the Shakespearian parallel was a little messy. 

Oh, and we also got another “Are you out of your Vulcan mind?” from McCoy. 

Themes: Marriage

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).