In which Petruchio takes the red pill and I hate everyone. There is no third thing.
Ha ha I get it, it sounds like ‘Helen of Troy’ but all spacified. That’s always been the mark of a good plot. So the Enterprise is organizing a diplomatic mission and obey Ambassador Petri. McCoy goes off about how hot the women are, and Kirk gives a Look. The counterparts are beamed aboard and immediately pull out guns to secure the arrival of the Dolman of Elaas. Apparently the most hated enemy of the Troyians. When she beams aboard, Kirk immediately sinks to his knees. I’m sure her purple sequined swimsuit as revealed by the quintessential feet-to-head sweep has nothing to do with that.
I’m making crude sex jokes at Kirk’s expense. Deal with it.
So the top-secret diplomatic mission is to take the imperious queen to the other planet slowly enough to coach her manners from, shall we say Spartan to be more Athenian, in order to prepare her for a political marriage to prevent mutually assured destruction between the two planets. So after seeing her throwing all the wedding gifts at the ambassador, himself, and Uhura’s furniture, he decides to stop playing nice. If the character of the Dolman was written as less of an cross between a feral animal and the worst privileged attitudes of historical royalty, I’d say he was being condescending. It’s convenient that, despite her grievances, she’s written as completely unreasonable, so that a modern enlightened audience isn’t forced to have too much sympathy. She stabs the ambassador in the back, forcing Kirk to come down and take valuable time away from dealing with the Klingon problem. Stabs him with a dagger, I mean.
So, anyway, this is a Taming of the Shrew situation. Kirk tries to teach her table manners so she throws a knife at him. Apparently, the female of the species has a powerful addictive mind-altering substance in their tears and enslave men with them. I’m just the messenger. They yell at each other for a while, she cries on him and then asks for a spanking. Stop throwing rocks at me, I’m just the messenger.
One of the guards appears to be a plant and is sabotaging the Enterprise in ways he shouldn’t know how. This is problematic, likely because of the tight-beam communication coming from him and going to the Klingon ship, and because Kirk is now incapacitated in the way he so often is. She tries to convince him to abandon his mission and blow up Troyius but he is fortunately able to resist long enough to have the crisis call him away.
If this episode has any saving graces whatsoever, it’s that the Katherina of this particular production is a person of title and duty which she is actively shirking. She could step down and avoid the responsibilities, or she could step up to the responsibilities, but she’s doing neither. As a wise man once said, “Walk on road, hmm? Walk left side, safe. Walk right side, safe. Walk middle, sooner or laterget squish just like grape.”
So with the Enterprise low on power because the dilithium crystals were destroyed, it’s lucky that she acceded to her duties and wore the crown jewel-equivalent necklace, which just happens to be made of dilithium crystals, in time to be detected and get them down to Engineering.
What’s actually interesting here is that the Klingons have been pounding the Enterprise for several minutes with all power going to the shields, but as soon as she gets enough power back to throw a couple of torpedoes at the Klingons they’re nearly destroyed. It says a lot about the relative battle readiness of the two nations. Granted, the plan was for the Enterprise to be so badly crippled they couldn’t mount a defense, but the D7 was the3 backbone of the Klingon fleet for quite a while. Presumably, they relied on numbers and ambush tactics, where the Constitution-class is, though an exploration vessel, loaded down with enough weaponry to obliterate all humanoid life on the surface of a planet. (Recall General Order 24 from “A Taste of Armageddon”) The Klingons here may have overplayed their hand, but still, it takes like two torpedoes to send them running. I suppose the D7s are easier to build than a Constitution class, but at a commensurate sacrifice in raw power.