In the Stark Trek TOS episode "Plato's Stepchildren" the telepaths forced a dwarf to ride Kirk like a pony.

Pony Kirk

I understand that they wanted McCoy to stay on the planet as their doctor, however given that the telepaths were also able to control the transporter and the Enterprise itself, why did they not simply get rid of Kirk and Spock in any way they chose? Why the need to humiliate Kirk and Spock?

  • 2
    Lol at this scene. Commented Mar 13, 2016 at 5:56
  • 1
    More like "why does this and other TOS awkwardness exist?"
    – RedCaio
    Commented Mar 13, 2016 at 6:16
  • 3
    Because this is one of the best perks of having mind powers?
    – Misha R
    Commented Mar 13, 2016 at 8:35
  • 2
    Knowing nothing of star trek short of what I have gleamed from Futurama, this question has the most amazing title.
    – Mac Cooper
    Commented Mar 13, 2016 at 22:21

1 Answer 1


The purpose of the entire exercise in humiliating the Enterprise officers in front of McCoy was to break his resistance to serving The Platonians willingly, as a skilled physician. While they were fully capable of forcing other life forms to act as puppets, this doesn't include tapping the skills of the subject as part of the puppetry.

If it had been in line with their goals, they could likely have destroyed The Enterprise or otherwise rid themselves of the rest of the crew as you suggest, but this would remove their main leverage in influencing McCoy.

This is corroborated by the episode's dialog:

KIRK: No. You're the doctor. They don't want to force you. They need your goodwill. They're trying

PARMEN: Captain, go while you still can.

KIRK: We're not leaving until McCoy is released.

PARMEN: This is not the Enterprise. You are not in command, captain.

PHILANA: Why even discuss it? Get rid of them.

PARMEN: No, my dear. That might offend the good doctor. You wish to stay? By all means. You can help us celebrate our anniversary. In the process, I hope we can persuade you to join our tiny republic.

MCCOY: You won't persuade me.

PARMEN: I think we will.

Humiliating Kirk and Spock gave The Platonians a venue for demonstrating their strength and indulging their vanity. In their arrogance, they believed that a demonstration of their strength was the most direct means of demonstrating the futility of McCoy's resistance, and gaining the services they desired.

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