Star Trek (1966–1969)
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Plato's Stepchildren 

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After Dr. McCoy helps the leader of a planet populated by people with powerful psionic abilities, they decide to force him to stay by torturing his comrades until he submits.


David Alexander


Gene Roddenberry (created by), Meyer Dolinsky | 1 more credit »





Episode complete credited cast:
William Shatner ... Capt. Kirk
Leonard Nimoy ... Mr. Spock
DeForest Kelley ... Dr. McCoy
Michael Dunn ... Alexander
Liam Sullivan ... Parmen
Barbara Babcock ... Philana
James Doohan ... Scott
Nichelle Nichols ... Uhura
Majel Barrett ... Nurse Chapel
Ted Scott Ted Scott ... Eraclitus
Derek Partridge ... Dionyd


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. Written by laird-3

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Release Date:

22 November 1968 (USA) See more »

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Did You Know?


This is Alexander Courage's last score for Star Trek. This episode was also the last episode to have an original score, although new songs for Star Trek: The Way to Eden (1969) and a Johannes Brahms paraphrase for Star Trek: Requiem for Methuselah (1969) were composed. See more »


In his Captain's Log, Kirk states that the Platonians' "planet went nova." Planets don't go nova, only stars. See more »


Parmen: 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 seranade from the laughing spaceman?
See more »

Alternate Versions

Special Enhanced version Digitally Remastered with new exterior shots and remade opening theme song See more »


Featured in The True Story: Star Trek (2013) See more »

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User Reviews

Power Corrupts Even Saints on Platonius
11 February 2007 | by BogmeisterSee all my reviews

Well, there never were any saints on Platonius, I'd wager. No, I would say that the small grouping of inhabitants on this planet were always egoist boors, even before acquiring their power. Kirk, Spock & McCoy beam down to a culture patterned after ancient Greece, to treat an infection suffered by the group's leader. However, the resemblance to the old-time Greek philosophers & intellectuals is mostly superficial: the jerks here possess vast telekinetic powers and enjoy using them on 'lesser' beings for purposes of humiliation, to satisfy their sadistic need for vicarious entertainment. In other words, they're bored as hell after an existence of over two millennium and the Enterprise crew offer a brief respite from the doldrums. A cautionary take on the 'power corrupts' principle, the episode shows how these Platonians are unable (read: unwilling) to hold back from using their power for even the briefest of periods. Kirk gets the first sampling when Parmen, the leader, forces him to slap himself repeatedly. It gets worse, much worse.

This episode probably elicits different reactions from viewers based on their ages and life experiences. I know when I was younger - much younger - I couldn't help but laugh when Kirk & Spock started into their forced Tweedledee & Tweedledum routine. With age, callousness gave way to empathy, and now I sympathize with the heroes, because this is torture and I already know what's next; it reminds me of some of the worst excesses of our history, such as how the Jews suffered under the Nazis or the slavery in America before the 20th century. Unlike their turns at an Abbott & Costello shtick in "The Trouble With Tribbles," when we were laughing with them, here we either laugh at them or boil in anger, in anticipation of some payback. In the end, however, this is a good case study of just how far we've evolved in the 23rd century, according to the Trek-makers: Kirk, Spock & McCoy retain their dignity even as they're humiliated and even when the time for revenge has arrived. We see that they will never revert to some of the base instincts mankind left behind 200 years earlier - it's rather inspirational.

This episode is known for the first interracial kiss on TV, occurring between Kirk and Uhura when the Platonians escalate their sadistic manipulations. It's ironic that this kiss is forced and it still caused controversy back in the sixties, though I've also noted attempts to downplay it in later decades, with some stating that the two performers did not actually make contact. Well, it looks like contact to me (I've also read some accounts that Shatner purposely spoiled the takes where they may not be actually touching, forcing the editors to use the take where they were). You can downplay it all you want, but what was the 2nd interracial kiss on TV? I sure don't know, though I guess it would be interesting to look up on the internet. By the way, these Platonians are another example of aliens visiting Earth in ancient times, much like Apollo and his brood from the "Who Mourns For Adonais?" episode; it seems a common occurrence in the Trek universe. This also benefited from the guest star turn by actor Dunn, better known for his mesmerizing portrayal of the villainous Loveless on the "Wild Wild West" TV series.

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