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Star Trek TOS - Season 3 - Episode 21

Star Trek TOS - 3x21 - The Cloud Minders

Originally Aired: 1969-2-28

Kirk is forced into negotiating peace on a planet with severe class inequities. [Blu-ray] [DVD]

My Rating - 6

Fan Rating Average - 5.11

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- Just after the opening credits when Kirk said, "Who are you, what's the meaning of this attack?" his lips weren't moving.
- Why does no one on the Enterprise crew at any time object to the class struggle on Stratos on the grounds of it and its consequential cruelties and torture being illegal in the Federation?

- The view of the planet from Stratos are actually satellite images of Earth.
- The "Troglyte" race is actually a reference to "Troglodytes," which is slang for "cave dweller."
- The class struggle on Stratos in this episode bears a striking resemblance to the similar one that occurred in the 12000 BC time period of the 1990s RPG Chrono Trigger. However, both are probably based on the H. G. Wells novel "The Time Machine."

Remarkable Scenes
- The sight of Stratos. Some neat artwork.
- Droxine: "I have never before met a Vulcan, sir." Spock: "Nor I a work of art, madame."
- Droxine: "Father, are we so sure of our methods that we never question what we do?"
- Kirk forcing Plasus and Vanna to dig in the mines.

My Review
The Ardanans and Troglytes look exactly like humans. Looks aside, these guys make poor Federation members, what with this class inequality and all. One wonders how they were ever accepted into the Federation. Fortunately, it seems the situation was largely resolved. Despite the seeming lack of consistency with a Federation member having social class issues, the episode is largely exciting and visually stunning (especially for its day). Quite a memorable original series episode.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From rhea on 2008-04-27 at 9:33pm:
    Two things I would like to point out that have not been mentioned (therefore in the review section):
    1. Problems: in Amok Time Spock is unwilling to tell anybody about the Pon Farr - this goes so far that he is almost willing to die instead of confiding in his best friend, his captain. And all of a sudden he tells Droxine about it, a woman he has met maybe a day before? Not granted he is smitten with her (which is a little out of character, anyway), but this is one of the greatest characterization inconsistencies of TOS.
    2. Praise: One of the very few occasions where we have a woman who is a) the leader of men, b) smarter than most of them c) willing to physically fight and d) even kicks some serious ass. Have we ever seen Kirk in a true fistfight with a woman which he did not win easily? Gotta love Vanna.
    The reference is probably indeed to The Time Machine, only that in Wells's book the upper class people were mentally degenerate, while the lower class people were physically ugly, but highly intelligent. But then, there's gotta be some variation on the theme.
  • From Strider on 2012-07-02 at 3:38pm:
    I liked Vanna, too. I loved that she was resourceful enough to figure out how to use the communicator and then to call the Enterprise to beam them up. And you could see Kirk liked her, but he never made a real move on her, besides one or two suggestive comments. Probably afraid of getting his butt kicked.

    I have mixed feelings about the Spock/Droxine aspect. Spock's "flirting" is so low-key and subtle, it is wonderful to watch. It's like with the Romulan commander--he doesn't make overtures, he receives them, he just answers questions, but he does so in that slow, deep, thoughtful voice and some serious eye contact.

    And I know that Droxine seems childish and naive, but I can see why she appeals to Spock. She's intellectual and artistic, and those are two primary values for Spock--even if the Stratus-dwellers were prejudiced, they did produce good art and science. Besides that, for a man who has seen every kind of violence, horror, abuse, and flaw of nature, someone who is soft, welcoming, and likes him, in addition to being aesthetically beautiful, could be very appealing.

    And I expect he's learned from Jim that there are joys to be found in the opposite sex. How many women did Kirk hook up with in the series, sometimes almost right in front of Spock? You have to think that every now and then Spock wonders, "Maybe I should get me some of that." In a more Spock-like way, of course.

    I was also a little put-off by the "ponn-farr" conversation, but I realized that he never speaks about his own experience. He only speaks theoretically. It made me think that she was the one who asked the question and he was answering it. She's probably read about it. Bringing up such a sensitive subject is one way very young people flirt.

    Besides, it isn't very clear in the whole early ST world whether Vulcans ONLY have sex during the ponn-farr, or if that's just the drive toward the specific mate that happens in that way. Weren't we all just a little curious?

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