Plato's Stepchildren (TOS S3 E12)

Published on: 11th June, 2024

Plato's Stepchildren (Star Trek: The Original Series, S3 E10) was recommended by Kaleb, he/him (pronounced 'Kay-lub'), who said: When thinking of which episode to recommend, this one didn't even cross my mind; I was sure it must be universally beloved! However, I found that it seems to be rather divisive, so I'm taking that as an excuse to recommend one of my all-time favorite episodes.

It has some really great Spock character moments- especially in the scene after he and Kirk are humiliated by Parmen and Philana- which I'm always excited about. Really the entire scene lives rent free in my mind, especially Alexander’s speech and his anger towards the other Platonians. As an autistic person, I really relate to how he- a disabled man living among a population created through eugenics- is finally able to verbalize that his treatment wasn't deserved because of his difference, and that he doesn't want to be just like them.

I also really love Uhura and Kirk's exchange right before their kiss, showing the trust shared between the members of the bridge crew this far into the series. The whole scene surrounding it has THE most sinister undertones, it's a little uncomfortable to watch, but it's supposed to keep you on tenterhooks waiting to see how far it’ll go before they find a way out.

Yes, it's another (allegedly) advanced alien species that's modeled itself on Ancient Greece- however it's camp as hell, so I love it, especially Spock, Chapel, and Parmen’s outfits. I have a blast every time I rewatch it, even though Parmen needs to learn that just because you're in space doesn't mean you don't have to ask for consent before making people do weird fucked up acts for your amusement.

TLDR: Have you ever heard of Plato, Aristotle, Socrates? Morons.

Plato's Stepchildren first aired on November 22, 1968, written by Joyce Muskat, and directed by John Erman

The Joy of Trek is hosted by Khaki & Kay, with editing & production by Chief Engineer Greg and music by Fox Amoore (Bandcamp | Bluesky)

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About the Podcast

The Joy of Trek
Every Star Trek story is somebody's favorite, and that might as well be us!
Two lifelong besties (and their trusty engineer) adventure through the vast constellations of Star Trek's decades on TV, especially the lesser-loved stories.

But instead of bitching about why they’re bad, we’re going to find the joy in each of them, because everybody loves the great episodes, but it takes dedication, insight, and hard-working fools to love the clunkers too.

And by Jove, we are those fools!

Positive, inclusive and optimistic (though not uncritical!) we try to find the brilliance even in the least-loved episodes of our favorite TV shows!