Sunday, February 3, 2013

Star Trek: Charlie X

It's the Thanksgiving episode of Star Trek! Kirk himself says that: "On Earth today, it's Thanksgiving. If the crew has to eat synthetic meat loaf, I want it to look like turkey." Mmmmmm, synthetic meat loaf that looks like turkey.

On to the show. The Enterprise meets up with the starship Antares. They beam over Charlie Evans, the sole survivor of a transport ship that crashed on the planet Thasus fourteen years ago. Although there are rumors that Thasians actually exist, none have been seen and Charley has apparently been on his own since the age of three.
"Is that a girl?"
Yeah, Charlie hasn't been out much. He is going through some serious teenage angst and, as we soon learn, he has powers much like Gary Mitchell developed on Where No Man Has Gone Before. Unlike Mitchell he really, at least for a while, wants to fit in and is looking for an authority figure to give him some guidance. 
"Do you like me?"
The Antares has gone on its merry way and after a while urgently tries to get a message to Kirk but is mysteriously destroyed before they can say what it was.

Meanwhile, Charlie joins the fun in the Rec Hall where Spock is jammin' on the Vulcan Lyre and Uhrua sings along - first about Spock and then about Charlie. Everyone has fun in the Rec Hall.

Except maybe Charlie. Did I mention that he has a thing for Yeoman Rand? Yeah, big time. He wants to impress her, but she isn't interested.
Naturally the place to give Charlie an lesson on how to better fit in is the ship's gym, because everybody likes gym class, right?

The activity above left is dangerously close to Anbo-jytsu,one of ST:TNG's sadder moments. Thankfully, at this point ST:TNG hasn't been invented yet.

Things go well until the Gym teacher shows up....
and Charlie makes a crewman vanish.
Eventually he does that a time or two - even making Yeoman Rand vanish. He melts chess pieces and creates more mayhem before taking command of the Enterprise.
Just when Kirk figures out how to take care of getting command back the Thasians show up and say some pretty weird stuff:
I have taken my form from centuries ago, so that I may communicate with you. We did not realize until too late that the boy had gone, and we are saddened that his escape cost the lives of the first ship. 
So he knew centuries ago that he would have to become a giant, transparent floating green head to communicate with Kirk about Charlie, but didn't see it coming that Charlie would escape from the Thasians? I don't get it. At all.

He explains that they have to take Charles back because the power they gave him to survive makes him too dangerous to be among humans. Even in the face of what Charlie has done, Kirk makes an appeal for Charlie to stay with them. He's just that sort of guy, but his plea is to no avail.

Charlie is taken away and for some reason everyone is sad.

Charlie, played by actor Robert Walker, is properly annoying in this episode, but it isn't one of my favorites. There are some good things here though. For me the big Rec Hall scene is the standout, which I guess says a lot. Also, there's the wonderful score contributed by Fred Steiner, who wrote some 24 minutes of music for this episode. Be sure to check out this cue, Zap the Spaceship, over at La-La Land Records.

Want to watch the episode online? Star serves it up here.

Next time Trek takes it up a notch with Balance of Terror.

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