Jammer's Review

Star Trek: The Original Series

"And the Children Shall Lead"

1/2

Air date: 10/11/1968
Written by Edward J. Lakso
Directed by Marvin Chomsky

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

The crew discovers that the members of a research colony have been killed by an unknown force, the only survivors being their children, who are remarkably devoid of grief over their parents' deaths. Once beamed aboard the Enterprise, these children exhibit a bizarre power over the crew, inducing hallucination and mental incapacitation in their victims. It turns out that an alien entity named Gorgan (Melvin Belii) is using the children to hijack the starship so he can consume more worlds and cause more death for his own evil purposes. Bwahahaha.

"And the Children Shall Lead"—that is, lead this episode straight into the gutter. A dismally frustrating, repetitive, and bland hour, we're forced to watch five children take over the ship in extremely uninteresting ways, making the crew look helpless (who wants to see that, anyway?). The "magic pump-fist action" gets really, really goofy, becoming what feels like a lame parlor trick. Melvin Belii is terrible as the completely uninteresting Gorgan, reciting his lines like a robot. Meanwhile, Bones has the thankless role of telling Kirk every five or ten minutes that these children have to be treated with kid gloves in order to prevent psychological damage. Funny, you'd think their helping an evil alien that murdered their parents might already have done that.

The one potentially promising aspect of the episode—playing off the crew's fears—is not utilized the least bit effectively. This is an episode created on autopilot, lacking any and all sense of inspiration. At least "Spock's Brain's" level of badness made it somewhat amusing. This episode is simply dull to the point of being unwatchable.

Previous episode: The Paradise Syndrome
Next episode: Is There In Truth No Beauty?

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10 comments on this review

Paul - Mon, Apr 9, 2012 - 5:25pm (USA Central)
Worst episode of TOS. Perhaps the worst in the history of the franchise.
Lanku - Sun, May 20, 2012 - 11:15am (USA Central)
Absolutely worst episode I've ever seen, completely disregarding the fact tat it made no sense. On the planet, Spock cannot feel the anxiety that was influencing the other humans, making it seem as though he was immune to the effects, and then all of a sudden he was magically compromised? This episode totally ignores all of the star trek conventions and blasts the whole crew into a pit of stupidity. The fact that the red shirts questioned and even attacked Scotty, Uhura not being able to make a call because she appeared ugly, Sulu pushing the captain out of the way for fear of magical sword rays that for some reason would magically destroy a ship made to survive space travel.... It's like some random person heard of the show through word of mouth and wrote an episode about it based of lies and superstition. This had a potential (however vague) to be an interesting episode, but that was completely blasted out of existence by the writer, and not even the actors or the director could have honestly saved it.
The Lady in Black - Sun, May 20, 2012 - 11:23am (USA Central)
This episode would have been a lot quicker if Spock had just used his vulcan sleepy grip.... there were SEVERAL places and times when I was just screaming at the scream for him to do it.
NCC-1701-Z - Wed, Mar 20, 2013 - 11:56pm (USA Central)
Lamest. Red. Shirt. Deaths. Ever.

That's all I care to say. At least there was some snark value when the redshirt got shot by a flower in "The Apple".
Adara - Sun, Oct 27, 2013 - 11:21pm (USA Central)
The whole time I just wanted to yell at them, "Put the children in the brig!"
Ben Masters - Wed, Nov 27, 2013 - 4:41am (USA Central)
Much as I dislike admitting it, I have to agree with the review and all the comments. I just wanted to get through it and move on. Not even the remastering could save this turkey!
SpyTV - Thu, Nov 28, 2013 - 1:11am (USA Central)
Just terrible. One of the worst Star Trek episodes (any series).
michael - Sat, Feb 8, 2014 - 8:42pm (USA Central)
I never watch this episode. It has every story element I dislike. A simple villain who is just merely the embodiment of evil--how easy is that?, tedious wooden children and the crew succumbing to mind control. Mind control plots are just such a lazy way to make your characters do things without worrying if there's a believable motive.

And Kirk's solution is so simple it destroys any credibility that evil really had such an iron grip on these kids anyway.
Adam - Sat, Feb 22, 2014 - 5:20pm (USA Central)
This is not only the worst episode of TOS, but probably of the entire franchise
redshirt28 - Sat, Apr 12, 2014 - 9:21pm (USA Central)
Wow, never knew this ep was so hated. I actually always liked this one.

Not the best but a good middle of pack. To each his own I guess.

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