Star Trek: Season 3, Episode 21

The Cloud Minders (28 Feb. 1969)

TV Episode  |   |  Action, Adventure, Mystery
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 801 users  
Reviews: 11 user | 4 critic

Kirk and Spock are caught up in a revolution on a planet where intellectuals and artists live on a utopian city in the sky while the rest of the population toils in mines on the barren surface below.



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Title: The Cloud Minders (28 Feb 1969)

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Episode complete credited cast:
Kirk Raymond ...
Cloud Guard #1 (as Kirk Raymone)
Jimmy Fields ...
Cloud Guard #2
Ed Long ...
Troglyte Prisoner
Harv Selsby ...
Cloud Guard #3


In order to save an inhabited planet from being destroyed by a botanical plague, the Enterprise goes to pick up zenite, the mineral cure, on the only known planet where it is mined. When Kirk and Spock beam down, they are attacked by 'troglites' (troglodyte miners) but not captured. High council adviser Plasus intervenes and brings them to Stratos, a luxurious metropolis which literally floats in the sky. However, it is under attack from 'disruptors', troglite revolutionaries who want equal life conditions for their peers. They do all the hard work, mainly toiling miserably in mines and dwell in caves on the barren surface below. Dr. McCoy ascertains that the alleged intellectual inferiority of the troglites is not genetic but the reversible effect of exposure to an invisible gas emitted by the zenite. Written by KGF Vissers

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Release Date:

28 February 1969 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Fred Williamson:  as Vanna's ally Anka. This was one of the first TV roles for football star Williamson, who later became a prolific film actor. See more »


Plasus rules as a cruel dictator over Ardana, suspending civil liberties and hoarding resources. This is contrary to the justice- and fairness-oriented ways of the United Federation of Planets. As Ardana is part of the Federation, the Prime Directive does not apply in the matter. Plasus is a criminal and Kirk & Spock are officers of the law. They waste valuable time negotiating and working out deals with Plasus when they have a legal obligation to arrest him and return the hoarded resources to their rightful owners. See more »


Captain James T. Kirk: Mr. Spock, let's get that zenite delivered. I believe we only have three hours left.
Mr. Spock: Two hours, fifty nine minutes, to be exact, Captain.
See more »


Referenced in Elysium (2013) See more »

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User Reviews

One of the most unfairly-panned TOS episodes
26 April 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

If this episode had been produced the way David Gerrold wrote the script - IE, about a three way class struggle/war, it never would have been aired. Especially with the subtle hints to Spock's illogical attraction to a Stratosian Woman, which he himself is bothered by. But I believe that Spock is not immune to meeting that one person who affects him physically, everyone meets a person like this at one time or another and as Spock is half human, he must have been having a lot of trouble with this in this episode. On the Vulcanian side, Pon-Farr only erupts every seven years, but being half human it would be rational to believe that Spock could "perform" out of that Vulcanian "limit"- If in fact, Vulcanians are strictly limited to Pon Farr for gratification and do not engage in any casual "multiplicative proclivities." Who knows, Theodore Sturgeon never mentions this in "Amok Time."

Most of the hits this episode took were regarding Mr. Spock, apparently openly talking about his biology to "Droxine" (Diana Ewing)- Which we know, is a private issue which "Vulcanians" (later called "Vulcans") are loathe to discuss outside of their Species- It is one of the most Private Issues of Vulcans. So how can Spock, who carefully guarded this issue in "Amok Time"- Discuss it so apparently freely with a woman he does not even know? I explain it as follows:

In fact Mr Spock himself excuses this - He openly admits admiration of aesthetic beauty, and that beautiful women, women of a certain type, Droxine's type - disturb him. He is obviously disturbed by Droxine, obviously attracted to her despite being half-Vulcanian, and I accept that if Spock were Biologically and Aesthetically attracted to a woman of Droxine's type, he would probably discuss it, but only with her, as she is the object of it (He would have to if wants to, er, "do it"). This is as close Spock gets in any Original Series or later story, of being attracted to a woman on sight. It is illogical, he knows this. In fact this episode is one of the only Original Series episodes that have Spock talking about this in his "Log" which is a voice-over at the very beginning of the episode- In it, he muses about the attractiveness of Droxine, her sheltered lifestyle, and how she would react if she were introduced to the Class Struggle which is even now developing under her feet. A musing that will be answered, as this very thing happens, as she reveals an almost racist bigotry against the "Troglytes" which live to mine the "Zenite" in the caves below, the Zenite which makes the cloud city Stratos rich, and that wealth is denied to the workers who mine it.

The issue of Class Struggle never really gets swept under and excused as the result of "Zenite Gas" - The Issue of Zenite Gas merely allows the issue of the missing Zenite delivery to come to a quick resolution. Part of the Class Struggle of the planet Ardana is the false belief by the Stratos dwellers that the Troglyte Miners are somehow genetically inferior and cannot understand certain concepts, in fact Kirk finds this to be false. So his job is to prove to leaders of the sky city AND the miners why this is so.

The issue is not resolved in the time period this episode encompasses, it is merely brought out into the open, and we can leave the Episode knowing that it will be dealt with, just not within the scope what we see here. We also see Spock having deal with his "love on sight" issue, or, How he can be attracted to a woman who is so beautiful but has such an ugly belief in her? But this is solved by Droxine herself, finally understanding why what she had been raised to believe was so wrong.

I saw this when I was 10 years old, I didn't care about any of these issues when I was that age, I didn't even know about them. I was agog by the images of Stratos, shocked when the Troglyte "Disruptor" flung himself from the city, and of course I was also attracted to Droxine - Although at 10 years old I did not know why yet.

This was one of those episodes that I loved when I was 10, and can appreciate now, now that I know about these issues.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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