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Intercepting a distress call, the USS Enterprise arrives at the planet Triacus. Captain Kirk, Dr. McCoy, and First Officer Spock beam down to investigate just in time to witness the death of Professor Starnes, the leader of a scientific expedition. The other members of the expedition, save five seemingly unconcerned children, seem to have died at their own hands.

The crew bring the children back to the Enterprise, where McCoy evaluates them and determines that they are suffering lacunar amnesia, unaware of what happened to their parents and unable to grieve. However, when left alone, the children summon a humanoid apparition named Gorgan. At Gorgan's direction, the eldest child, Tommy, uses mental powers to trick the crew into steering the ship towards Marcus XII while presenting illusions that make them think they are still in orbit above Triacus.

Upon reviewing troublesome expedition film recorded by Starnes, Spock, McCoy, and Kirk return to the bridge to find the children and Gorgan fully in control of the crew. Unable to break their hold on the crew, Spock observes that the children are merely possessed by Gorgan, who must be the evil embodiment of an ancient group of space-warring marauders released by Starnes's archaeological survey.

Believing they can break the hold Gorgan has on the children, Spock plays back footage showing the children happy with their parents, who are then shown to be dead. As the children realize what has happened, they break down emotionally and Gorgan's appearance begins to deteriorate. With the children's powers gone, the crew regains control and Kirk orders a course for Starbase 4 while they take care to comfort the children.[1]

Errors and ExplanationsEdit

The Nitpicker's Guide for Classic TrekkersEdit

Plot OversightsEdit

  1. The departure of the Enterprise from Triacus strands two security guards on the planet. No mention is ever made of going back for them. They were probably retrieved en route to Star Base 4.
  2. As part of a process to bring the children back to reality, Kirk tells Spock to play the chant the children used to “summon up the Gorgan." How does Kirk know that the creature is called a Gorgan? The episode dialogue never refers to the being as such until Kirk uses the term. An educated guess, possibly based on Kirk's knowledge of Earth myths.

Equipment OdditiesEdit

  1. After finding the dead scientists on the planet, Kirk uses the leader’s tricorder to play back one of his log entries. Now, isn't that a convenient feature to have on a tricorder? A playback function. Sure would have been nice to have one of those on Spock's tricorder during The City on the Edge of Forever! See entry for that episode for a possible explanation
  2. Back on the ship, Kirk views the logs made by the leader of the expedition. During the playback, the leader holds his tricorder. If the tricorder is making the recording, how can it show up in the picture’? His tricorder could be receiving transmission from another source, such as a second tricorder.
  3. And speaking of these log entries, the leader of the expedition gives the star dates as 5025.3, 5032.4, and 5038.3. Kirk gives the star date on his log at the beginning of the episode as 5029.5, and the leader died just after the Enterprise arrived. How could the leader make log entries after he died? The exhibition's chronometer could have been faulty. [N 1]
  4. After the children commandeer the ship, Kirk beams two security guards down to the planet to relieve those on duty. He is unaware that the Enterprise no longer orbits Triacus. The transporter chief beams them out into space. Does this seem right? Shouldn't there be some sort of sensor check to make sure the destination is actually there before beaming? They would probably see the planet on the sensors during the check, due to the influence of the children.
  5. Seeing the captain consumed by a fear of losing command, Spock hurries him off the bridge. The pair practically run into a turbolift. The ever-sensitive turbolift not only starts up without any instructions from Kirk or Spock, it also guesses their destination and takes them there! The sensors probably detected the need for Kirk to leave the bridge.

Continuity and Production ProblemsEdit

  1. Evidently, the creators didn’t have all the opticals done when they put together the trailer for this episode. The teaser shows the Gorgan with his face disintegrating, but he is solid. in the episode he is always transparent. Possibly a natural ability of the species.


  1. Listed as a Character Error on the IMDB entry.


  1. And the Children Shall Lead at Wikipedia

The Original Series Season 3
Spectre of the Gun I Elaan of Troyius I The Paradise Syndrome I The Enterprise Incident I And the Children Shall Lead I Spock's Brain I Is There in Truth No Beauty? I The Empath I The Tholian Web I For the World Is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky I Day of the Dove I Plato's Stepchildren I Wink of an Eye I That Which Survives I Let That Be Your Last Battlefield I Whom Gods Destroy I The Mark of Gideon I The Lights of Zetar I The Cloud Minders I The Way to Eden I Requiem for Methuselah I The Savage Curtain I All Our Yesterdays I Turnabout Intruder