(airdate: December 1, 1967)
Writer: D.C. Fontana
Director: Joseph Pevney
Eleen: Julie Newmar
Maab: Michael Dante
Kras: Tige Andrews
Keel: Cal Bolder
Akaar: Ben Gage
Captain's Log: The Enterprise travels to the planet Capella IV to negotiate a mining treaty with the local Capellans, a warrior race. However, a Klingon, Kras, is present on Capella IV, also seeking a mining treaty. The Capellan leader, Akaar, is killed in a coup. His wife Eleen is carrying Akaar's heir, but now that Akaar is dead Eleen wishes to die, according to Capellan custom. However, Kirk prevents her from being killed; the landing party attempts to contact the Enterprise, but she's been drawn away from Capella IV to investigate a distress signal, so Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and Eleen flee into the hills. The group is pursued by the new High Teer, Maab, along with his men and Kras, but Kirk and Spock are able to delay them. Eleen gives birth to a boy, but as she does not want the child she flees, meeting up with Maab's party. She claims the child and the landing party are all dead, but Kras demands to see proof, becoming violent and irrational, killing a number of Capellans. Maab sacrifices himself to distract Kras long enough for Maab's second, Keel, to kill Kras. With Maab dead, Eleen's new baby, Leonard James Akaar, is now the High Teer, with Eleen as his regent, and as such she signs a mining treaty with the Federation.
Whoops!: McCoy knows Maab's name without being told. [He's met Maab before.] When Chekov tries to find the ship at the edge of sensor range that's just disappeared from his scanner, we get a shot of the navigation station instead of the science station, with someone who's definitely not Chekov operating it (the rank on the sleeves is wrong). [This shot is fixed in the remastered version.]
What actually starts the fight between the Capellans? We go from a ship-board scene to the fight already in progress. And why don't they bother showing us Akaar's death, given he's the leader and his death means a large shift in power for the Capellans?
What's the point of luring the Enterprise away from Capella IV, other than for the plot reason of preventing Kirk from simply calling for help when his group is trapped in the hills? What do the Klingons gain from this? It's not like they take advantage of this by sending Kras a bunch of reinforcements, and it's not like Kras's presence on Capella IV is a secret - he reveals himself almost as soon as the landing party materializes on the planet. Nor are the Klingons leading the Enterprise into an ambush. So what's the point? Were the Klingons just bored waiting for Kras to finish up and decided to prank the Enterprise?
Technobabble: A magnasite-nitron tablet can produce a bright, long-lasting flame when struck. Topaline is a mineral vital for life support systems on planetoid colonies.
Don't Wear a Red Shirt: Lt. Grant is killed by a Capellan, Keel, with a kleegat after Grant raises his phaser upon seeing Kras. Kirk and Spock start a rockslide that strikes a number of Capellans. Kras stabs a stunned Capellan and steals the phaser the Capellan is carrying. He also vaporizes two Capellans - including Maab, the High Teer at the time - before being killed with a kleegat by Keel. Spock and Kirk each hit a Capellan with an arrow (with Spock's hit looking like a fatal blow, though Kirk's hit looks potentially less lethal), while Kirk also hits Kras in the thigh with an arrow.
Alien Love: Not much to speak of, though it looks as though Eleen develops a bit of affection for McCoy.
Library Computer: Capella IV is an Earth-like planet with humanoid inhabitants. The Capellans are quite tall - seven feet is not an unusual height - and they're very fast and strong. The Capellans have a warrior-like, patriarchal culture, believing that only the strong should survive. They're also very honest, keeping their word scrupulously and becoming offended and even hostile if they believe they're being lied to. They live in large round tents [like a yurt]. The Capellan males (all with pink skin, as far as we can see) dress in solid-colored body stockings that typically cover them up head to toe, with fur-lined capes. The men all have long blonde or white ponytails that emerge from the top of their stockings. The basic weapon of the Capellans is a kleegat, a hollow disc with three curved blades emerging from the edge [so basically a kind of throwing star]; according to Dr. McCoy, they're as effective a weapon as a phaser up to a hundred yards. They also possess a variety of knives and swords, but they never developed the bow and arrow. They greet each other by placing a closed fist against their breast, and then opening their hand, palm upward, as they pushed it out toward the person they're addressing. [Compare this gesture with the similar Imperial salute from "Mirror, Mirror".] Despite their humanoid appearance, however, Capellans differ internally in some respects from humans.
The leader of the Ten Tribes of Capella is called the High Teer. The first High Teer seen here is named Akaar, who wears his hair loose around his head, with no head covering. His wife is named Eleen, and as the wife of a Teer is forbidden from being touched by another man, on pain of death. Eleen was pregnant with Akaar's child, who Akaar said would be a son and thus his heir. However, Akaar was killed in a coup, which placed his rival, Maab, in command. This meant that, as Eleen was carrying Akaar's unborn child, her life was forfeit, and she was prepared to die; however, Kirk pulled her away from Maab before he could kill her, so Eleen demanded the right to watch Kirk be executed before she was killed. [This is sometimes argued as a violation of the Prime Directive, but the fairly extensive contact the Capellans have had with other planets' peoples, combined with the presence of Klingons on Capella IV, may mean that the Prime Directive doesn't apply in this situation.] However, before either of them could be killed, they fled, along with Spock and McCoy, into the hills. [Incidentally, every vowel in these names is pronounced; for instance, Akaar sounds like "Aka Ar".]
The Capellans had a custom where, if friendship was offered, they would send in a woman to offer something, like fruit, in return. However, if one accepted what they offered, this gave the nearest male relative of the offerer the opportunity to try and kill the recipient; this was because the Capellans considered combat to be more pleasurable than love. If this offer was turned down, the male relative was disappointed. "Chur-ah" was a word that expressed this disappointment.
The Federation was interested in signing a mining treaty with Capella IV, as the planet is rich in the mineral topaline, which is a key part of the life support systems for planetary colonies. The Federation offered the Capellans medicine and education in exchange for a treaty. However, the Klingon Empire was also interested in negotiating a mining treaty with the Capellans, and to that end sent down one of their officers to meet with the Capellans. [According to the credits, this Klingon is named Kras, although he's only ever called "Klingon" on screen.] Kras was of average height, with a close-cropped beard with no mustache, and a large balding spot on his forehead. Kras told Kirk that the Klingons also needed topaline, and that he had come to Capella IV in a small scout ship. He made some sort of arrangement with Maab (although we never discover the exact nature of that arrangement [perhaps he helped Maab with his coup?]), but once Maab became High Teer he seemed less inclined to honor his agreement with Kras [or at least, less inclined to give Kras his weapon back]. Kras was killed by a warrior loyal to Maab, Keel, after Kras started attacking the Capellans. [Admittedly, this was after Kirk shot him in the leg with an arrow, so he was likely feeling pissed off at that moment.] However, before he was killed, Kras vaporized Maab with a phaser.
Eleen was not interested in keeping Akaar's child, and she could not be brought to care for it, as in Capellan culture the child was Akaar's, not hers; McCoy was only able to get her to consent to deliver the baby by (inadvertently) claiming the baby as his own. However, once Maab gave her back her life (i.e., no longer required her to be killed), she seemed more inclined to care for her son, who she named Leonard James Akaar, after McCoy and Kirk. After Maab was killed Leonard James Akaar became High Teer, with Eleen operating as his regent.
McCoy was stationed on Capella IV for a few months prior to this episode. [In the archival footage he's dressed in the same blue tunic that he always wears, with the same rank insignia, so this posting presumably was fairly recent. Memory Alpha suggests he may have been stationed there during one of the first season episodes he's not in ("What Are Little Girls Made Of?", "Errand of Mercy"), although it seems like an odd decision to temporarily reassign a starship's chief medical officer for such an assignment - and if it had been during his tour of duty on the Enterprise, Scotty would know about it and so wouldn't need to ask here. It's more likely that this happened between "Where No Man Has Gone Before" (where the crew have different uniforms) and the rest of the series, so therefore shortly before McCoy was assigned to the Enterprise. (Placing it after "Where No Man Has Gone Before" assumes that all the uniforms changed across the fleet at the same time, of course. But Star Trek: Discovery suggests this isn't actually the case - and see "Charlie X" for corroborating evidence that the change in uniform design wasn't all at once.)]
Federation communicators can be adjusted to emit a sound that can be used to produce sympathetic vibrations, which can cause rock slides to occur, given the proper conditions.
A magnasite-nitron tablet can create a bright, lasting flame when struck.
The S.S. Deirdre is a Federation freighter. The Klingons faked a distress call from this freighter to lure the Enterprise away from Capella IV.
The U.S.S. Carolina is a Federation starship, registered in the same sector as Capella IV during the events around stardate 3499.1.
A [Federation] freighter can make warp 2, at best. Scotty is aware of this fact.
Chekov claims that the phrase "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me" was invented in Russia. [Although he grins after he says this, so he may be winding the bridge crew up.]
There is currently no state of war between the Federation and the Klingon Empire ("Errand of Mercy").
There's a Klingon warship that from a distance looks like a long thin strut with a wing-like shape sticking out of it, with a large yellow glow surrounding it. [The remastered version changes this to a standard Klingon battlecruiser. The original version vaguely looks like a Klingon bird-of-prey with its wings raised.]
Final Analysis: "Perhaps to be a Teer is to see in new ways." The efforts to make the Capellan culture alien are commendable, with a nice attention to detail. It's just a pity this care couldn't have been extended to the rest of the episode, with events like the coup and the diversion of the Enterprise apparently happening because the plot needs them to happen, rather than for internal story reasons, and with a Klingon adversary so ineffective they can't even bother to give him a name on screen. It looks nice, and the performances are generally pretty good, but ultimately "Friday's Child" feels largely inconsequential.
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Page originally created: February 12, 2019
Page last updated: February 12, 2019