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(Later entitled "Plato's Stepchildren")
written by Meyer Dolinsky
STORY OUTLINE, Dated
June 13, 1968
report & analysis by Dave Eversole

For good or bad, Dolinsky’s story outline is essentially what aired. There are a few changes in structure, and characters, but all in all it went straight from here to a shooting script. A few changes of note will be looked at, act by act:

TEASER

We open with a sequence explaining that the Enterprise is on a spectroscopic mapping and surveying expedition to the planet Platonium (this is the planet’s name in the outline, as well as the name of the inhabitants). They discover deposits of Selenide, which is useful in batteries and other power storage devices. Suddenly, the ship is locked in orbit, unable to escape, its hull temperature rising rapidly. Kirk, Spock and McCoy beam down to discover what is going on. Most of this is discarded in the aired episode, and we simply get a Captain’s Log explaining the ship is here to investigate the planet’s Kironide deposits.

The backstory of the Platoniums does not include a visit to Earth. They are stated simply as being admirers of Plato.

Dolinsky calls for the landing party to materialize in an exotic garden filled with sculptures and pools. The small anteroom off Parmen’s chambers cost a lot less than a formal garden, no doubt.

ACT ONE

Parmen is coherent for a while, and it is he, not Philana, who explains their body chemistry, their history. He is 1200 years old in the outline, not two thousand plus.

Philana and Alexander play 3-D chess. In the aired episode, Alexander and his opponent played on a life-size set with the squares of the floor as the chessboard.

ACT TWO

Here Parmen’s great displeasure stems from Kirk’s refusal to stay to attend Platonium’s ten thousand year anniversary. The subplot involving his desire for McCoy to remain is absent from the outline.

There is no Tweedledee and Tweedledum dance, and Parmen wants women brought down for the anniversary celebration. Onboard the Enterprise, Uhura, Chapel and Helen, Kirk’s Yeoman, are forced into the transporter and beamed down.

In the aired episode, Uhura and Chapel did not beam down until the end of Act Three.

ACT THREE

The "shaming" of Spock occurred in this act in the outline. For the aired episode, it was in Act Two.

Alexander grabs a knife and tells Kirk he plans to kill Parmen. In the aired episode, he breaks a vase and picks up a sharp shard of pottery to use as a weapon.

ACT FOUR

Kirk is forced to kiss Helen, his Yeoman. McCoy and Uhura are forced to play "toesies." Spock and Chapel are forced to kiss and caress, despite Spock’s protests that as a Vulcan he can only mate on a set cycle.

The Platoniums then make Kirk and McCoy change partners. Kirk kisses Uhura, while McCoy, one presumes, plays toesies with Yeoman Helen.

The outline is pretty much the same as the final script from here on out, though Kirk does not make the horrible "little surprise" pun when communicating with Scotty.

 

Though I understand the desire to show that manipulation of another being for one’s pleasure is loathsome, I have never been able to take this episode very seriously. Shatner’s and Nimoy’s hamming and mugging, and the latter’s singing, effectively turn any serious message they intended to convey into silly camp, in my opinion.

It all looks and feels cheap, and like many of Star Trek’s "morality plays" is as subtle as a sledgehammer.

More information on the lives and teachings of both Socrates and his student Plato can be found here.


MEYER DOLINSKY (1923 - 1984): Television scenarist whose career lasted from 1955 until 1979. Some of the series boasting scripts by him include Bonanza, The Outer Limits, The Invaders, Mission: Impossible and Hawaii Five-O. "Plato's Stepchildren" (the title by which "The Sons of Socrates" aired) was his only sale to Star Trek.


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