Jammer's Review

Star Trek: The Original Series

"Friday's Child"


Air date: 12/1/1967
Written by D.C. Fontana
Directed by Joseph Pevney

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

Just how much treachery and deception can fit into a single hour of Trek? That seems to be the most useful question to ask of "Friday's Child," an episode full of double-crosses and marginally clever traps and tricks.

The plot involves Kirk, Spock, and McCoy (and a soon-to-be-dead red-shirt) beaming down to Capella IV to negotiate a deal for minerals with the warlike tribes living there. The Klingons, however, are also there to negotiate, and the treachery between the Klingons and the Capellas—and even a struggle within the Cappella tribes' own hierarchy—quickly becomes a free-for-all. The landing party escapes imprisonment, but not before the show begins suffering from the fact it seems D.C. Fontana kept randomly inserting "[FIGHT SCENE]" into the script. Meanwhile on the Enterprise, Scotty chases a distress signal from a freighter. The signal turns out to be a Klingon forgery intended to lure the Enterprise away from Capella so the Klingons can thwart the landing party and plunder the minerals, but Scotty discovers the trick in time.

The editing technique with the cross-cutting storylines is rather annoying, switching back and forth so frequently that it's hard to care much about either storyline. The episode benefits from some great lines and sarcastic looks from Mr. Spock, and also some chemistry between McCoy and the pregnant Eleen (Julie Newmar), but it's not enough to save an hour so lacking in direction that it becomes a disjointed sum of its parts. What a shame to waste such effective outdoor photography.

Previous episode: Journey to Babel
Next episode: The Deadly Years

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8 comments on this review

Grant - Sat, Oct 31, 2009 - 7:18pm (USA Central)
Am I crazy? Friday's Child is one of my favorite episodes. First of all, this is McCoy at his "take no b.s." best and I agree that McCoy and the chief's wife have chemistry. I also found the customs of the clan to be really interesting.

Also, why only 3 stars for "Amok Time"? I've never met anybody who didn't love that episode.
Paul - Tue, Apr 17, 2012 - 10:56am (USA Central)
I think you're too hard on this one, Jammer. The fight scenes are over the top, but I actually enjoyed Scotty's part of the plot very much. And the Big Three chemistry is good.

The episode is hokey (and suffers from some continuity mistakes) but it's not boring. To rate this the same as "The Apple" -- which is really boring and lame -- is overly harsh.
Strider - Sun, Jun 3, 2012 - 10:14pm (USA Central)
One of the things that gets me in general is the occasional lack of discipline among the Enterprise crew. They land on the plant, Redshirt sees a Klingon, and he just steps out and fires? Doesn't wait for an order or anything? It doesn't seem very Kirklike to allow that sort of thing.
Paul - Mon, Feb 18, 2013 - 10:26pm (USA Central)
Strange that the Prime Directive doesn't seem to exist in this episode. The Capellans clearly don't seem warp capable.

That wouldn't prevent the Klingons from being there, of course.
langtonian - Mon, Jul 22, 2013 - 11:42am (USA Central)
I had the same reaction as Strider. The redshirt's reaction was completely indefensible, but Kirk acts as if it was totally reasonable.
SpiceRak2 - Thu, Oct 17, 2013 - 2:32am (USA Central)
You can see how much reinterpretation the Klingon species receives later on in the Star Trek Universe by looking at this episode. The concept of honor is wholly absent from the Klingon parts of the script and there were several instances where the character is fearful, irrational and impotent.

If TOS didn't need villains so badly, we may never have seen the Klingon species develop.

Two stars for the chaos.
Moonie - Sun, Dec 1, 2013 - 8:30am (USA Central)
This episode did not make one iota of sense to me.

Where was the prime directive?

And why would the Klingons even bother to negotiate with a primitive species like that?

Weak, as most episodes that deal with "primitive cultures" are.
Paul - Mon, Dec 2, 2013 - 3:33pm (USA Central)
@Moonie: Presumably, the Klingons would have had to deal with the Capellans, who were quite formidable even if they were backward. Remember, this is before Klingons lived for battle. TOS Klingons were more like TNG Romulans or Cardassians.

But the Prime Directive issue is certainly hard to figure, though this is far from the only example of TOS forgetting it existed.

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