Star Trek (1966–1969): Season 3, Episode 10 - Plato's Stepchildren - full transcript

On an urgent medical emergency, Kirk, Spock and McCoy encounter an alien society that had once flourished on earth during the time of Plato. Since reaching their current planet, they've developed psychokinetic powers while also losing their bodies' ability to combat even the simplest infection, making the need for a physician newly apparent. When Dr. McCoy declines their invitation to stay, they begin to make sport with Kirk, Spock, Nurse Chapel and Lieutenant Uhura using their psychokinetic powers.

00:00:05,145 --> 00:00:08,561
Captain's log, stardate 5784.2.

We are responding to desperate
distress calls from an unknown planet.

My science officer, Mr. Spock,
is unable to account for this

since he reported no signs of life
on the planet.

It is rich in kironide deposits,

a very rare and long-lasting
source of great power.

Are you from the spaceship

That's right.

Alexander, at your service.

I sing, I dance,
I play all variety of games.

And I'm a good loser. A very good
loser. Please try to bear that in mind.

But now, would you please
accompany me?

Who are the inhabitants
of this planet?

Platonians. I'm sure
you've never heard of us.

Our native star is Sahndara.

Millennia ago, just before it went nova,
we managed to escape.

Our leader liked Plato's ideas.
Plato, Platonius, see?

In fact our present philosopher-king,

sometimes calls us Plato's children,

although we sometimes think of
ourselves more as Plato's stepchildren.

Excuse me,
someone's waiting for you.

Welcome to our republic.
Who among you is the physician?

I am. What's the problem?

My spouse, his leg. Come this way.

What happened to that leg?

I suppose I scratched it.

I don't understand, this should've
been attended to immediately.

Sheer ignorance.
Is there anything you can do?

Well, we're certainly gonna try.
The infection is massive.

Let me give you a hypo
to ease the pain.

- Where?
- In the arm.

Philana, they came to help.
They deserve better than to die.

Alexander, you talk too much.

Space, the final frontier.

These are the voyages
of the starship Enterprise.

Its five-year mission:
To explore strange new worlds,

to seek out new life
and new civilisations,

to boldly go where no man
has gone before.

Captain's log, stardate 5784.3.

Dr. McCoy is endeavouring to treat the
leader of a strange group of people.

When their planet novaed,
millennia ago,

they transported themselves to Earth
during the time of Socrates and Plato.

After the death
of the Greek civilisation they idolized,

they came to this planet

and created for themselves
a utopia patterned after it.

What is it? What is your prognosis,

I'll let you know
when I have the results.

And from now on,

it would be better if I handle
the instruments without your help.

Bones, I can't understand
why a simple cut like that

could become so serious.

Neither do I, but it has.

How do I knock out an infection

when the tricorder doesn't show
any information on Platonius bacteria?

All I can do,
and this is gonna take time,

is to try to match his bugs
with a known strain and hope.

Your Pan is in jeopardy.

It isn't now. I win.

- Well played, Eraclitus.
- Thank you, Dionyd.

This psychokinetic power of yours,
How long have you had it?

Two and a half...

Ever since our arrival here
on Platonius.

- How is the power transmitted?
- Brain waves.

Do these waves cease
while you're asleep?

No, not if they're embedded
in the unconscious.

What about medicine?
Why no doctors?

We haven't had any pressing need
for the medical arts.

You see, while still on Sahndara,

we instituted a mass eugenics

We're the result.

Pared down to a population of 38,
we're perfect for our utopia.

We're bred for contemplation
and self-reliance.

And longevity.
How old would you say I am?

Don't be afraid. I'm not vain.

- Thirty-five.
- That old?

I stopped ageing at 30. Well, anyway,
you're off by 2000 years.

I'm 2300 years old.

We were married very young.
I was only 117.

And he was 128.

So you see, we scarcely have to
move anymore, let alone work.

- That's why you have no resistance?
- That's right.

A break in the skin
or a cut can be fatal.


I believe we're experiencing
the psychokinetic manifestations

of Parmen's delirium.

- Scott to Captain Kirk.
- Kirk to Enterprise.

we're in the midst of a storm.

No discernible cause.
I've never seen anything like it.

There's 10-scale turbulence
right now.

Emergency gyros
and stabilizers at maximum.

If this keeps up, captain,
we can't last.

Engines at full speed.
Get her out of orbit and into space.

I've tried that, sir. She's locked tight.

Then there's nothing you can do
but batten down and weather.

Right, captain.

Parmen's mind is not... Watch it!

He's not only throwing around the furniture,
he's tearing up the Enterprise as well.

Bones, knock him out, fast.

Help! Save me!


- Stand behind me.
- His mind will find me anyhow.

Don't save him. Let him die.

The others will all kill each other
trying to take his place.

- Hurry up with that shot.
- Now, doctor!

I can't breathe. I'm choking.

Bones! Shake him,
break his concentration.

- Kirk to Enterprise.
- Scott on the Enterprise.

It's all right, captain.
The turbulence has abated.

Good, I think you'll find
that the orbit lock is broken as well.

Assess damage
and repair whatever's necessary.

Aye, captain.

I don't know how I can ever thank you,
not only for Platonius, but for myself.

No thanks is necessary.

show our guests to the south wing.

Thank you,
we must return to the ship.

I think I'd better wait
until the fever breaks.


in that case, we'll stay.

Anything you want, just ask me,

Thank you, Alexander.

Think nothing of it, you saved my life.
Listen, I think I should tell you that...

Tell me what?

Well, just that I never knew
any people like you existed.

Where is everyone?

They're all in chambers, meditating.


are there other Platonians like you?

What do you mean, like me?

Who don't have
a psychokinetic ability.

I thought you were talking
about my size.

Because they make fun of me
for my size.

But to answer your question,
I'm the only one who doesn't have it.

I was brought here
as the court buffoon.

That's why I'm everybody's slave

and I have to be ten places at once
and I never do anything right.

How does one obtain the power?

As far as I know, it just comes to you
sometime after you're born.

They say I'm a throwback.
And I am, and so are you.

- Sorry, I shouldn't have said that.
- Don't worry about it. We're happy without it.

You know, I believe you are.

Listen, where you come from,

are there a lot of people
without the power and my size?

Alexander, where I come from, size,
shape or colour makes no difference.

And nobody has the power.


Somebody wants me.

Captain, it will be very gratifying
to leave here.

That might not be easy
should Parmen die.

- Even if he shouldn't.
- Yes.

This utopia of theirs is one of
the best-kept secrets in the galaxy.

Screening themselves
from our sensors, locking us into orbit.

All this adds up to a pattern.

Jim, my concoction actually worked,
the fever's broken.

And what recuperative powers.
The infection's begun to drain already.

Dr. McCoy, you may yet
cure the common cold.

If there ever was a time
to get out of here, it's now.

Kirk to Enterprise. Scotty, come in.

- Scott here, sir.
- Prepare to beam us up.

I'm afraid I can't do that, sir.
Everything's frozen.

Turbulence hit you that hard?

It's not the turbulence, sir,
damage to the ship is minimal.

What caused it?

I don't know, sir.
And those are the facts.

Did you get up into space?

No, sir, the orbit has locked tighter
than ever.

And subspace communication with
Starfleet, that's completely severed.

All right, Scotty.
I'll handle it down here. Stand by.

Great Pan sounds his horn

Marking time to the rhyme
With his hoof, with his hoof

Forward, forward in our plan

We proceed as we began

- Your Excellency.
- "Parmen" will do.

Philosopher-kings have no need
of titles.

I would like to know why

the ship's instrumentation
and weaponry is frozen.

And why the Enterprise
is locked in orbit.

Captain, please.
You are mistaken, I assure you.

Parmen, I've talked to the engineer
aboard the ship.

We've showed our good faith.
Now you show yours.

- I want the ship released immediately.
- The amenities, captain.

Allow me to remind you
that I am the head of this principality.

Guests do not come barging in here
making demands and issuing orders.

Guests? You don't know
the meaning of the word.

Guests aren't treated
like common prisoners.

Do not take that tone with me.

Kirk to Enterprise.
Acknowledge. Acknowledge.

Enterprise, come in. Enterprise...
I can't raise them.

Obviously, Parmen does not wish
any contact made with the Enterprise.

Well he may still need the ship's medical stores.
Why prevent contact?

To shut out any knowledge of his
brutal treatment of a Starfleet captain.

No, Mr. Spock, one thing for certain.

Parmen is not concerned
with my dignity or safety.

Agreed, captain. And Parmen
would not have treated you so brutally

if he had any intention
of releasing you or the Enterprise.

Where are you going?

I don't know. I don't want to go,
but I can't help myself.

Gentle spacemen.
We are eternally in your debt.

We have some trifles for you. Please
accept them as tokens of our gratitude.

They stem from the very source
of our inspiration.

To our noble captain,
the shield carried by Pericles,

as a symbol of gallant leadership.

To our silent and cerebral
Mr. Spock,

this kithara to pluck music
to soothe his ever-active brow.

And lastly, to the physician Dr. McCoy
who saved Platonius and my spouse,

this ancient collection of Greek cures,
penned by Hippocrates himself.

Has the Enterprise
been released yet?

Captain, wait.

I know what you're thinking.

My humble apologies,
you were badly used.

In my own defence,
allow me to say that my illness

was more profoundly disturbing
than I, myself, realised.

I am sure, captain that you, too,
have been out of sorts

and have been driven
to fits of temper and rage.

Unlike you, however, what I think
and feel, whether for good or ill,

is instantly translated into reality.

So, please,
find it in your heart to forgive me.


Has the Enterprise
been released yet?

It will be shortly.

Then good day,
and thank you for the presents.

Not at all.

But there is one final request.

After my nearly fatal infection,
it has become obvious to us all

that we cannot afford
to be without a skilled physician.

Therefore, we should like you,
Dr. McCoy, to remain.

I'm very sorry, but that's impossible.

Your duties
will be extraordinarily light.

Feel free to read, to meditate,
to conduct research, whatever you like.

You will want for nothing.

The answer is no.

We should like to keep it cordial,

but we are determined
to have you stay, doctor.

- Dr. McCoy saved your life.
- I am losing patience, captain.

And you consider yourself
a disciple of Plato?

We manage live
in peace and harmony.

Whose harmony? Yours?
Plato wanted truth and beauty.

And above all, justice.

My dear Mr. Spock,

I admit that circumstances have forced
us to make a few adaptations of Plato.

But ours is the most
democratic society conceivable.

Anyone can, at any moment,
be or do anything he wishes,

even to becoming ruler of Platonius,
if his mind is strong enough.

And if his mind isn't strong enough,
he gets torn apart like Alexander?

Oh come now, we are not children.

In your culture,
justice is the will of the stronger.

It is forced upon people by means
of weapons and fleets of spaceships.

Our justice
is the will of the stronger mind,

and I, for one,
consider it a vast improvement.

We don't use our weapons
for the kind brutality you practise.

Farewell, captain.

Come on, McCoy.


I can't move, Jim. They're gonna
keep me here no matter what.

- Leave, please.
- No, you're the doctor.

They don't want to force you. They
need your goodwill. They're trying...

Captain, go while you still can.

We're not leaving
until McCoy is released.

This is not the Enterprise.
You are not in command, captain.

Why even discuss it?
Get rid of them.

Oh, no, my dear,
that might offend the good doctor.

You wish to stay? By all means.

You can help us celebrate
our anniversary.

In the process, I hope we can
persuade you to join our tiny republic.

- You won't persuade me.
- I think we will.

- I'm Tweedledee, he's Tweedledum
- Spacemen marching to a drum

We slithe among the mimsy troves
And gyre among the bororgroves

You're not staying, McCoy,
no matter what he tries to...

Being your slave

what should I do

but tend upon the hours

and times of your desire?

I have no precious time
at all to spend,

Nor service to do, till you...

Stop it!
Don't do this to him, Parmen.

McCoy, no matter what
he makes me say or do,

the answer's no.

No, Parmen! Stop it!

Well, doctor?

I have my orders.

As you wish, doctor.

Is this your utopia?
Your grand vision of the future?

You don't even...

We have had enough
of your moralizing.

And we've had too much of yours.

You'll never get me to stay here.

You will be happy to stay.

It takes a little time, doctor,
but you will be happy to stay.

He's a Vulcan!

You can't force emotion out of him.

- You must be joking, doctor.
- You'll destroy him.

We can't let him die laughing,
can we?

I beg you...



Don't let them break you.

Hold on!


Parmen, they saved your life.

I'm ashamed to be a Platonian.

How can you let this go on?

Can you do anything for him?

There's no medicine that can help him.

He'll have to come through this

I trust they did not injure you too much,

My muscles are sore, that's all.

The humiliation must have been
most difficult for you to bear.

I can understand.

The release of emotions, Mr. Spock,
is what keeps us healthy.

- Emotionally healthy, that is.
- That may be, doctor.

However, I have noted that
the healthy release of emotion

is frequently very unhealthy
for those closest to you.

Which just goes to prove that there's
no such thing as a perfect solution.

So it would seem.

- Captain.
- Yes, Spock.

Do you still feel anger
toward Parmen?

Great anger.

- And you, Dr. McCoy?
- Yes, Spock, and hatred.

Then you must release it,

as I must master mine.

I might have seriously injured you,

even killed you.

They have evoked
such great hatred in me,

I cannot allow it to go further.

I must

master it.

I must...



This is senseless. I've thought it over.
I'm staying.

- You can't.
- Parmen has promised you'll be safe.

Promised? Parmen?

He'd let us beam up
to the Enterprise

then plunge the ship
back into the atmosphere.

But why? Why trick me?

Because if he killed us outright,
in front of you, you'd retaliate.

You're a doctor,
you have the means.

Bones, I know you're trying
to do the right thing,

but if any one of us escaped,

Parmen knows that Starfleet would
never let this planet go unpunished.

Sacrifice yourself by agreeing to stay
and you sign our death warrant.

He's right.
I should have warned you.

They were treating you the same way
they treat me. Just like me.

Only you fight them.

All the time, I thought it was me, my
mind that couldn't even move a pebble.

They even told me I was lucky
they bothered to keep me around at all,

and I believed them.

The arms and legs
of everybody's whim.

Look down, don't meet their eyes.
Smile. Smile.

These great people,
they were gods to me.

But you showed me
what they really are.

And now I know, don't you see,
it's not me, it's not my size, it's them.

It's them. Them!

- Put it down.
- No, this is the best thing for...

- Put it down.
- No.

- Do what I say. Alexander.
- I'm gonna... I'm gonna cut them.

Parmen first,
and they'll all get infected.

But this time, listen, whatever they say,
don't save them. Let them die.

- Give it to me.
- At least let me give them a taste

of what they gave me. Please.

They're gonna kill you, anyway,
you know that.

In that case, what's the point
in you dying too, Alexander?

Give it to me.

That's the first time anybody ever
thought of my life before his own.

I should have told you
when you first came

that they were gonna kill you
because I knew that, but I was afraid.

- I was afraid.
- It's all right.

It's all right, Alexander.

Listen, we haven't given up.

And there may be something
you can do to help.

- Anything I can do to help, you just tell me.
- All right.

Did the Platonians
always have this power?

- No, not until we came to this planet.
- Alexander.

Is it possible for you to recall
how long after you arrived here

that their power began to develop?

How could I forget that?

It was exactly six months
and 14 days after we got here

that they started
pushing me around.

Would you know how many months'
supplies you brought with you?

- Four, I think. No, three.
- That's close enough, Alexander.

Fascinating. Their power developed
two or three months

after they started eating
the native foods.

That's right.

Then it is logical to assume
that there is a connection

between the psychokinetic power
and the eating of the native foods.

Well, then, why wouldn't Alexander
have the same power as the others?

Perhaps his system
cannot absorb the crucial element.

Bones, I think it'd be a good idea if you
took a reading of Alexander's blood.

Not that I'm afraid or anything,
but will it hurt much?

You won't even know it happened.

You still have a tricorder reading
of Parmen's blood, don't you?

Of course, Parmen possesses the
highest order of psychokinetic ability

and Alexander the lowest,
in the same environmental conditions.

The probabilities are
that Alexander was born

with some biochemical deficiency
relative to Platonius.

I'll run both their blood samples

for a full comparative test
in the tricorder.

And if our theory works out,
we've got a weapon.

The one significant difference between
Parmen's blood and Alexander's

is the concentration of kironide
broken down by pituitary hormone.

Kironide. It's a high energy source.
That could be it.

The pituitary hormones
confirm the hypothesis.

They also regulate body growth.

You mean,

the same thing that kept me from
having the power made me a dwarf?

Yes. It's also obvious why Parmen
kept this little utopia a secret.

Anyone coming down here
and remaining long enough

would acquire the power.


McCoy, there must be a quick way

of building up a concentration
of kironide in our blood.

It'll takes some doing,
but it's possible.

What are we waiting for?

What is it, Bones?

Well, even if the kironide
reaches its desired effect,

it still may not help us
get out of here.

- Yes, there are 38 of them.
- The point is well taken.

However, the psychokinetic power
is not additive.

If it were, considering
the Platonians' hostile propensities,

two or three of them would have
combined forces centuries ago

and deposed Parmen.

He's right.

You know, Parmen says
that each one

has his own separate
power frequency.

Because before when they tried
to combine their powers

and use them together,
it never worked.

- I'm ready.
- Let's not waste any time.

Give us double the concentration
in Parmen's bloodstream.

The time factor concerns me.

It may take days or even weeks

before there's enough build-up from
the kironide to be of any benefit to us.


What about Alexander?

Since the kironide's broken down and
injected directly into his bloodstream,

it should work on him as well as us.

Better, in fact,
because he's acclimated.

Oh, no. No.
Not after what they've done to me.

Why not? You could
conceivably take Parmen's place

and run the whole planet.

You think that's what I want?
To become one of them?

Become my own enemy?

Just lie around like a big blob of
nothing and have things done for me?

I want to move around for myself.

If I'm gonna laugh or cry,
I wanna do it for myself.

You can keep your precious power.

All I ask is one thing. If you do make it
out of here, take me with you.

Just drop me anyplace where they
never heard of kironide or Platonius.



Lieutenant Uhura.

I guess we weren't
sufficiently entertaining.

Are we ever glad to see you.

We were forced in the transporter
and beamed down.

It was like
becoming someone's puppet.

I thought I was sleepwalking.
I mean, I couldn't stop myself.

Captain, what is it?
What's going on?

Spock, do you feel any effect
of the kironide shot?

I did experience a slight flush,

So did I. Let's try a simple test.

on raising this plate of fruit.


Fellow academicians,
2500 years ago,

a band of hardy vagabonds arrived
on this barren, rough-hewn planet.

It was a desperate hardship,
of back-breaking toil,

and then a divine providence
graced our genius and our dedication

with the power of powers,

and through it our every need
instantly materialised.

We thereupon determined
to form a Utopian Brotherhood.

This night is indeed
a festive occasion,

for tonight we welcome
into that brotherhood

its first new member.

Not yet, Parmen.
You have to convince the doctor first.

They'll never do it, Jim.

Doctor, please, you have destroyed
the festive mood of the ladies.

We must recapture it at once.

I know.

What would be better than a serenade
from the laughing spaceman?

Take care, young ladies
And value your wine

Be watchful of young men
In their velvet prime

Deeply they'll swallow
From your finest kegs

Then swiftly be gone
Leaving bitter dregs

Bitter dregs

With smiling words
And tender touch

Man offers little
And asks for so much

He loves
In the breathless excitement of night

Then leaves with your treasure
In cold morning light

In cold morning light

Now let the revels begin.

How faithless and fickle.

Make up your minds.

I'm so ashamed.
Please, make them stop.

We have tried.

Please, please make them stop.

I haven't the power.

I'm deeply sorry.

We've failed you.

For so long
I've wanted to be close to you.

Now all I want to do
is crawl away and die.

Careful, Mr. Spock,
too much love is dangerous.

Cupid's arrow kills Vulcans.

I'm so frightened, captain.
I'm so very frightened.

That's the way they want you to feel.
It makes them think that they're alive.

I know it.

But I wish I could stop trembling.

Try not to think of them.


I'm thinking...

I'm thinking
of all the times on the Enterprise

when I was scared to death.

And I would see you
so busy at your command,

and I would hear your voice
from all parts of the ship,

and my fears would fade.

And now they're making me tremble.

But I'm not afraid.

I am not afraid.

Parmen, let's get on with it.

You are so impatient, my wife.
Observe the doctor and learn.

He's quite content to wait
for the pièce de résistance.

You're half dead, all of you.

You've been dead for centuries.

We may disappear tomorrow,
but at least we're living now.

And you can't stand that, can you?

You're half crazy because
there's nothing inside. Nothing!

And you have to torture us
to convince yourselves you're superior.

Stop it, Parmen! Stop it!

I'll do whatever you want me to do,
I'll stay here and serve you, but stop it!


Alexander again.

He likes to play with knives.
Very well, we shall indulge him.

Who did that?

- I did.
- Impossible!

Quite possible. And logical.

- What is this?
- What's going on?

Platonians, listen to me. The next one
of you that tries any trick will get hurt.

Not only do we have
your psychokinetic ability,

but at twice your power level.

Not twice mine.

Captain, no!


I beg of you, I'll do anything you say.

I do not wish to die.

Captain? Do you hear me?

Don't stop me. Let me finish him off.

Do you want to be like him?

Parmen, listen to me. I could have had
your power, but I didn't want it.

I could have had your place
right now.

But the sight of you
and your Academicians sickens me.

Despite your brains,

you're the most contemptible things
that ever lived in this universe.


You knew that I intended to
destroy both you and the Enterprise.

Yet you spared me.

To us, killing is murder,
even for revenge.

But there will be other starships...

Well, there's no need for concern.
They'll be safe.

Of late I have begun to think

that we have become bizarre
and unproductive.

We are existing merely to nourish our
own power, it's time for some fresh air.

We shall welcome
your interstellar visits.

I don't believe you.

That would be
highly uncharacteristic.

We must expect, Parmen,

that the moment we leave here,
your fear would be gone.

And you would again be as sadistic
and as arrogant

as your 2500 years have made you.

And just remember, we can recreate
that power in a matter of hours.

So don't try anything.

Understood, captain.

And you're right,
none of us can be trusted.

Uncontrolled, power
will turn even saints into savages.

And we could all be counted upon
to live down to our lowest impulses.

You're very good
at making speeches, Parmen.

Just make sure
that this one sinks in.

Now, move aside.


Kirk to Enterprise.
Mr. Scott, prepare to beam us up.

I have a little surprise for you.

I'm bringing a visitor aboard.

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