ST: TOS 1.2 — Charlie X

Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the writer Alice. Her five-year mission: to recap every episode of Star Trek: The Original Series, to post them to this blog, to boldly go where no man has gone before.

And as she goes, she’ll keep her eyes open for the following items:

1. Kirk Fu wouldn’t actually help you; it’d probably get you killed instead.

2. Roddenberry predicts SCIENCE!

3. Space Husbands (Spock/Kirk), Space Boyfriends (Spock/McCoy), and Space Biffles (Kirk/McCoy), oh my!

4. Doomed Crewmen Aren’t Always Redshirts (but they usually are)

5. Scotty talks about SCIENCE! and it’s mostly fake physics. They do their actual jobs.

6. Social issues are addressed.

7. Bones is adorable/grumpy (which is the same thing to me)

8. WTF?! moments are my fav.

9. WTF?! aliens are also my fav.

10. They referenced this in the reboot films!

11. Mark Jefferies was a genius!

12. Catchphrase running tally:

  • Bones—He’s dead
  • Chapel—Doctor!/Doctor McCoy!
  • Chekov—anything regarding Russia
  • Kirk—Kirk out
  • Scotty—the laws of physics
  • Spock—Fascinating
  • Sulu—repeats an order
  • Uhura—Hailing frequencies open

13. The Prime Directive doesn’t matter because Kirk knows best.

14. Omg, costumes!

Title Card

Today, we’re talking about Charlie X.

Kirk: Captain’s Log, star date 1533.6. Now maneuvering to come alongside cargo vessel Antares. Its Captain and First officer are beaming over to us with an unusual passenger.

We open in the Transporter Room, which is one of my favorite places on the ship. We get to meet so many new friends there! Anyhow, Kirk’s there to meet with the Antares guys and our titular character, Charlie. Who is freaking creepy right from the beginning. Seriously.

Okay, here’s my favorite thing about this episode. Charlie Evans, the kid who grew up all by himself without any sort of social exposure because he was a castaway from age 3ish, was played by Robert Walker Jr. Now, this guy decided to isolate himself from the rest of the cast while filming so he wouldn’t be able to connect with anyone. Method acting, guys; it’s my favorite thing.

Right off the bat, we get that Charlie doesn’t have any social skills because he keeps interrupting while Kirk’s trying to talk to the Antares guys. But what’s also weird is the Antares guys don’t need anything from the Enterprise. That’s pretty much unheard of for a transport ship. They tend to run on the bare minimum for luxuries and usually grab whatever chance they can get for entertainment tapes or Sarian brandy (this is the second episode in a row that Sarian brandy is mentioned and I want to know what makes it so noteworthy).

But what’s really odd is there’s this pause before the Antares guys start singing Charlie’s praises and Charlie makes this face:

Remember this creepy face.

Remember this creepy face.

And then the Antares guys can’t stop saying nice things about the creepy kid.

Anyway the Antares guys return to their ship and Kirk introduces Charlie to Yeoman Janice. You remember Janice, right?

Right

Right

Charlie falls immediately for her and we get this adorkable exchange between him and Kirk:

Charlie: Are you a girl? Is that a girl?

Kirk: That’s a girl.

Kirk seems to think it’s cute that Charlie doesn’t know what a woman looks like and Janice escorts the kid to the Sick Bay where McCoy gets to be a doctor! #5

Kirk: Captain’s Log, star date 1533.7. We have taken aboard an unusual passenger for transport to Colony Alpha Five. Charles Evans, the sole survivor of a transport crash fourteen years ago. The child, alone from age three, has not only survived, but has grown to intelligent, healthy adolescence.

McCoy pronounces Charlie “sound of wind and limb” which is just one of many old sayings the surgeon will indulge in over the course of the show. He asks Charlie some questions and we learn that after the crashed ship’s supply of food concentrates (for the replicator #2–the replicator is the scifi forerunner of the 3D printer) ran out, Charlie found “other things to eat, just growing around” and he learned to talk by listening to the ship’s tapes.

Charlie: That, that Captain. Kirk?

McCoy: Yeah.

Charlie: Why does he call me Mister Evans?

McCoy: Because that’s your name.

Charlie: He’s not, well, he isn’t like Captain Ramart.

McCoy: Well, no. Captain Kirk is one of a kind, Charlie.

McCoy, your biffle-ness is showing, #3.

Charlie confirms that McCoy likes him. Because he wants people to like him. He’s actually fixated on getting people to like him, which I suppose is understandable. It’s like he’s trying to make sure he’s conforming to social norms to the best of his ability despite his lonely upbringing.

Later, Charlie’s wandering the corridors and he watches some random crewmen working and witnesses this conversation:

Crewman 1: Hey, I’ll put the equipment away. See you in the rec room, huh?

Crewman 2: You got a deal, friend.

Which is punctuated by the second crewman slapping the first on the rear. Every time I watch this scene, I feel like I’m back in high school pep band watching a football game. Seriously, what is the point of slapping your colleague on the bum? That’s not the point, though, the point is that it gives Charlie something to imitate.

Charlie lurking by a Jefferies Tube, #11

Charlie lurking by a Jefferies Tube, #11

Which he does with Yeoman Janice after giving her a bottle of her favorite perfume (that they don’t carry in the ship’s storeroom; Janice knows because she’s probably asked/checked). So they make plans to talk in Rec Room 6 on Deck 3 when she’s off-duty because Charlie wants to hang out but she’s got to work. Then he slaps her bum.

She’s rightfully offended. But Charlie goes into hyper-apologetic mode, which I think throws Janice a little and she tells him to tell either Kirk or McCoy what he did and they’ll explain why it wasn’t appropriate and she’s asks him to not slap her bum again.

Check out McCoy's scrubs! #14

Check out McCoy’s scrubs! #14

Meanwhile, on the Bridge, my ot3 of space boys is having a discussion about their newest passenger:

McCoy: But tell me, what reason would he have to lie if there are Thasians?

Spock: That is a very intriguing question. Scanners show no disturbances in this quadrant, Captain.

Kirk: Good. Doctor McCoy, Mister Spock is working out–

Uhura: Excuse me, Captain. Status report. [#5]

Kirk: Thank you. He’s working out a training program for Charlie Evans. Earth history, his own background, that sort of thing. I’d like you to give him the necessary medical orientation on the problems of, um, er, adolescence.

McCoy: Well, don’t you think it’d be better for a strong father image like you? He already looks up to you.

Kirk: The job is yours, Bones. Flattery will get you nowhere.

I love that they’re all kind of uncomfortable with being the father figure for this kid and they don’t want to give him the sex talk. That’s my favorite part of this conversation. Because if Kirk’s reputation has any weight (and it does), there’s a possibility that he’s got a kid out there, somewhere in the galaxy, and McCoy’s got a daughter back home on Earth, but neither of them really thinks they’re up to being a temporary father figure to this random teenager while they take him to Earth Colony Alpha 5. Or they just don’t want to be responsible for being the one to screw the kid up.

The conversation continues and Spock is firmly supporting the existence of Thasians on the planet because “Charlie’s very existence proves” it; “He could not possibly have survived alone.” McCoy doesn’t think the legendary race exists and that Charlie survived through his own sheer Human doggedness. They argue a bit more with Spock saying, “Doctor, are you speaking scientifically or emotionally?” Which, of course, is #3 and makes me squee a little. I love it when they argue.

And then:

Kirk: Gentlemen, the fact is the boy is here and he’s alive and he needs our help.

McCoy: And he needs a guide and he needs a father image, Jim.

Kirk: Hmm. I’ll depend on your astute abilities to supply him with that, or find him one.

Obviously, Kirk thinks McCoy would make a good dad; that’s good news for Joanna. But McCoy’s obviously, like, “I’ve found him a father image and it ain’t me.”

Later, in the rec room, Spock’s playing his Vulcan lute, which is a twelve-stringed instrument tuned on a diatonic scale. This things is gorgeous, guys. LOOK AT IT:

It's so PRETTY.

It’s so PRETTY.

Here’s an instructable on how to build your own. If anyone out there is handy with woodworking, may I commission one from you? I’ve been lusting after this thing for twenty years.

Uhura starts humming along with Spock’s playing and he stops, annoyed that she “did it again.” But after a winning smile from her, Spock begins playing again with the intent of accompanying her singing:

Oh, on the starship Enterprise,
There’s someone who’s in Satan’s guise
Whose devil ears and devil eyes
Could rip your heart from you.

At first, his look could hypnotize
And then his touch would barbarize.
His alien love could victimize
And rip your heart from you.

And that’s why female astronauts
Oh, very female astronauts
Wait terrified and overwrought
To find what he will do.

Oh, girls in space, be wary,
Be wary, be wary.
Girls in space, be wary.
We know not what he’ll do.

I love that they included Nichelle’s talent for singing in the show. She would actually tour and be awesome when she wasn’t acting. And she’s even said that in the ’70s and ’80s, every time she planned to go on tour, they would call her in for a movie. She’d joke that if she ever wanted to work, she’d just have to plan a tour and she’d get to do another film.

Spock, Uhura's totally flirting with you, dude.

Spock, Uhura’s totally flirting with you, dude.

While Uhura’s singing to Spock, Charlie enters to meet with Janice and he tries to get her attention, but she’s listening to Uhura. Charlie’s not thrilled. He’s even less thrilled when, at Janice’s request for another song, Uhura sings about him:

Now from a planet out in space,
There comes a lad, not commonplace,
A-seeking out his first embrace.
He’s saving it for you.

Oh, Charlie’s our new darling,
Our darling, our darling.
Charlie’s our new darling.
We know not what he’ll do.

Remember this creepy face.

How do people not notice this face?

And suddenly Uhura’s lost her voice and Spock’s lyre won’t sound. Uh-oh.

:(

😦

But it doesn’t start getting really creepy until Charlie tries to impress people with card tricks. He says they’re tricks, but it looks more like actual magic. Also, he’s been stalking Janice or something:

I've got three Yeoman Rands to trade for a Trelane. Anyone?

I’ve got three Yeoman Rands to trade for a Trelane. Anyone?

And then he does a trick that puts a card in her bra and I’m not comfortable with that.

Later, Charlie goes to talk to Kirk, and overhears the Captain tell the galley tech that if the crew has to have synthetic meatloaf for Thanksgiving, it’d be nice if it looked like turkey. Which gives us an idea of what food was like for anyone traveling on a starship—not delicious.

Charlie asks Kirk why he should slap girls on the bum, complete with demonstration because he couldn’t figure out how to explain it.

Charlie, those moves won't seduce Kirk.

Charlie, those moves won’t seduce Kirk.

And we’re graced with what I think is Kirk’s most awkward line:

I see. Well, um, er, there are things you can do with a lady, er, Charlie, that you, er. There’s no right way to hit a woman. I mean, man to man is one thing, but, er, man and woman, er, it’s, er, it’s, er. Well, it’s, er, another thing. Do you understand?

How is anyone supposed to understand that, Kirk? I mean, really. But then Kirk’s called to the Bridge because Captain Ramart of the Antares is trying to call him. And Charlie follows Kirk to the Bridge.

Uhura’s having trouble patching the transmission from the Antares through and they say they’re just barely in range and they have to warn Kirk about something. But then Uhura loses the transmission and Charlie mentions the Antares wasn’t very well constructed, which, hello, suspicious comment alert.

Spock sweeps the area of the Antares transmission with the Enterprise’s sensor probes and finds nothing but debris. Which is all that’s left of the Antares. Then the Chef calls up from the galley and tells Kirk that he put the meatloaf in the ovens, but there’s actual, real turkeys in them instead, which makes Charlie laugh. Yeah, Kirk’s suspicious now.

After the commercial break, Kirk and Spock are playing 3D Chess:

Chessmasters

Spock: Your mind is not on the game, Captain. Check. The Antares?

Kirk: A survey ship with twenty men aboard lost. No reason. Obviously, Captain Ramart was not aware of any trouble. I can’t figure it.

Spock: My own concern is more immediate. The boy.

Kirk: I can usually follow you, Mister Spock, but this time?

Spock: He seemed to know what happened to the Antares before we did.

Charlie enters the rec room, apparently with the intent of hanging out with Kirk. But the captain pawns him off on Spock right after he checkmates his First Officer. Spock resets the board and begins to explain how to play when Charlie interrupts, “I know what it is. Let’s play.”

GOOD GOING, CHARLIE, I WAS FINALLY GOING TO LEARN HOW TO PLAY. (I know the rules exist out there, but I’m visual; I need to watch people actually play before I understand.)

Spock quickly gets Charlie in checkmate, which angers the kid. When Spock leaves, we get creepy face and melted chess pieces:

Someone owes Spock a new chess set.

Someone owes Spock a new chess set.


For reasons unknown, Janice seems concerned that Charlie needs to be able to integrate into society easily, so she tries to introduce him to cute Yeoman Tina, who is his age. He doesn’t want to have anything to do with Tina and she leaves, clearly annoyed.

Tina, you're adorbz.

Tina, you’re adorbz.


Janice reprimands Charlie for being rude and he gives her possible the creepiest answer he could possibly think of:

But she’s not as—she doesn’t—she’s not the same. Not like you. She’s, she’s just a girl. You’re—you smell like a girl. All the other girls on the ship, they, they look just like Tina. You’re the only one who looks like you. You can understand, can’t you? You know about being with somebody? Wanting to be? If I had the whole universe, I’d give it to you. When I see you, I feel like I’m hungry all over. Hungry. Do you know how that feels?

And Janice does the smartest thing ever. She goes directly to talk to Kirk. I love this. She doesn’t want to do anything to sabotage Charlie’s chances of functioning properly in society, but she recognizes that he respects Kirk’s opinion on things, so she goes to the only person on the Enterprise who has had any form of influence on the creepster rather than trying to handle it herself. If she had tried to handle it, with Charlie unaware of acceptable behavior, she could have gotten really hurt.

So, Kirk calls Charlie to his office to chat about the situation. And rather than just summarize, I’ll give you the whole conversation because it’s my favorite in the entire episode:

Kirk: Come in, Charlie. Er, Charlie. Charlie, do you know anything about this chess pieces? Did you notice anything peculiar in them when we were using them this after noon?

Charlie: No, sir. Is that all?

You’re a liar, Charlie.

Kirk: Er, no. No, no. Sit down. Charlie, being seventeen is more than how many years you’ve lived. It’s a whole other thing. Dr. McCoy could probably explain the biological conditions. Well, let’s, let’s use a specific. Yeoman Rand is a woman.

No kidding, Kirk.

Charlie: Oh, I won’t hit her like that anymore.

Kirk: No, there’s more to it than that.

Charlie: Everything I do or say is wrong. I’m in the way, I don’t know the rules, and when I learn something and try to do it, suddenly I’m wrong!

Red flag #1.

Kirk: Now wait, wait.

Charlie: I don’t know what I am or what I’m supposed to be, or even who. I don’t know why I hurt so much inside all the time.

Kirk: You’ll live, believe me. There’s nothing wrong with you that hasn’t gone wrong with every other human male since the model first came up.

I’m using that line if I ever have children and they’re whining at me about puberty, okay, Kirk? Awesome.

Charlie: What if you care for someone? What do you do?

Cry, Charlie. You just cry.

Kirk: You go slow. You be gentle. I mean, it’s not a one-way street, you know, how you feel and that’s all. It’s how the girl feels, too. Don’t press, Charlie. If the girl feels anything for you at all, you’ll know it.

CAN I HAVE THIS ON BILLBOARDS ALL OVER SAN DIEGO PLEASE?

Kirk: Do you understand?

Charlie: You don’t think Janice—you—she could love me!

Kirk: She’s not the girl, Charlie. The years are wrong, for one thing, and there are other thing.

Charlie: She can.

Kirk: No, Charlie.

Charlie: She is.

Kirk: No.

Charlie: But if I did what you said! If I was gentle!

Red flag #2. Also, Charlie’s giving off Nice Guy vibes, which is creepier than any of his weirdo magic tricks. Also, Kirk’s response is my absolute favorite line in the entire episode, possibly the series:

Kirk: Charlie, there are a million things in this universe you can have and there are a million things you can’t have. It’s no fun facing that, but that’s the way things are.

This also needs to be on billboards across San Diego.

Charlie: Then what am I going to do?

Kirk: Hang on tight and survive. Everybody does.

Charlie: You don’t.

Kirk: Everybody, Charlie. Me, too.

Charlie: I’m trying, but I don’t know how.

Ugh, such a good conversation.

And then we’re in the ship’s gymnasium and we’re blessed with this image:

My captain's hotter than your captain.

My captain’s hotter than your captain. #14


He’s teaching Charlie how to fight and defend himself, presumably to help him left off steam in a questionably healthy way, and it’s hilarious, #1. Kirk asks Sam to help him demonstrate a “few throws” and seriously, #1. When Kirk has Charlie try to throw him and the kid can’t and gets dumped himself instead, Sam chuckles, because hey, it’s funny. Especially considering what Kirk’s wearing. Everything in this scene is funny.

Charlie doesn’t like it when people laugh at him, which I understand, but he’s got the greatest overreaction I’ve ever seen. First he yells, “Don’t laugh at me!” And then gives us creepy face. And then Sam disappears. Just, poof.

*poof*

*poof*

Red flag #3, Kirk. I hope you’ve been paying attention.

Busted!

Busted!


When Kirk tries to talk to Charlie about Sam, Charlie pins the blame and the fault on Sam. Hooray for victim-blaming, #6.

Charlie: He shouldn’t have done that. It’s not nice to laugh at people.

Kirk: What happened to him, Charlie?

Charlie: He’s gone.

Kirk: That’s no answer.

Charlie: He’s gone! I didn’t mean to do that. He made me do it! He laughed at me.

Kirk calls for two security officers and tells Charlie he’s being confined to his quarters. Charlie says he won’t let the security officers hurt him and Kirk assures him that they won’t.

But when security arrives, Charlie resists arrest. Okay, he’s not being arrested, really, but he’s not cooperative, either. He knocks the officers to the ground and one draws his phaser. Which, of course, angers Charlie and the weapon disappears.

The very rare Disappearing Phaser.

The very rare Disappearing Phaser.


Kirk: Go to your quarters.

Charlie: He was going to hurt me.

Kirk: Go to your quarters or I’ll pick you up and carry you there.

Raise your hand if you want to see that.

Hermione-Raising-Hand

Charlie leaves with security and Uhura calls Kirk over the comm and tells him security reports all phaser weapons have disappeared. Kirk’s clearly got an uncomfortableness. He tells her to have McCoy and Spock meet him in the Briefing Room.

Spock playing with data cards is always relevant.

Spock playing with data cards is always relevant.

In the Briefing Room, they’re talking about the Thasians again. Thasians are an ancient race who reportedly have the power to transmute objects or render things invisible, which Charlie can clearly do. Kirk’s seen him do it.

Kirk brings up the possibility that Charlie isn’t actually an Earthling, that he might be Thasian, but McCoy shoots that theory down super-quick and Spock agrees with him. McCoy says Charlie’s definitely human unless the Thasians physically developed in the exact same way as humans.

Kirk: Well, whatever he is, we have some idea of the power he has. I know what I saw him do in the gymnasium.

McCoy: Considering the effect a normal adolescent has on a home, Charlie with the power he has–

Kirk: Short-tempered, because he doesn’t understand. He needs, he wants. Nothing happens fast enough.

Spock: The probability is he’s responsible for the destruction of the Antares, which would indicate a total disregard for human life.

Kirk: He doesn’t understand what life is. He’s a boy.

They decide they definitely can’t bring Charlie to Earth Colony Alpha 5, because that would be a super dumb thing to do and McCoy and Spock are like, “Face it, Jim. You’re pretty much the only one on the ship the kid respects, so the struggle has to stay between you and him. Good luck.”

Then security brings Charlie in because Kirk wants to talk to him. He asks if Charlie blew up the Antares. Charlie’s response?

Yes. There was a warped baffle-plate on the shield of their energy pile. I made it go away. It would’ve blown up anyway. Well, they weren’t nice to me! They wanted to get rid of me. They don’t now.

When Kirk asks, “What about us?” What does Charlie intend for our crew? The kid just says, “Dunno.” and leaves.

The ot3 is displeased.

The ot3 is displeased.

Back on the Bridge, Kirk asks Uhura to call Colony 5 so he can speak to the governor, then he tells the navigator to replot their course away from the colony to buy some time for him to think.

While Uhura’s trying to send the transmission to the colony, her console short-circuits, burning her and sending her to the floor. In a fantastically dramatic fashion that will prove to be commonplace on the Bridge.

With how often her console sparks at her, I wonder how often her nails melted.

With how often her console sparks at her, I wonder how often her nails melted.


They send for McCoy and Kirk asks Uhura how bad she’s hurt. Her answer:

I think it’s all right, sir. Sir, there’s no reason for that panel to cross-circuit like that. I checked it over myself not fifteen minutes ago!

(#5) Then we find out the navigation console isn’t accepting the course change and the helm isn’t responding, which is bad if you couldn’t tell.

And then Charlie enters, looking entirely too pleased with himself, but no one notices him.

When Kirk asks Spock if he’s got anything working at his station, Spock recites poetry:

Spock: Yes, sir. There’s a—Tyger, tyger, burning bright in the forest of the night.

Kirk: Mr. Spock?

Spock: I’m trying to—Saturn rings around my head, down a road that’s Martian red.

Spock reciting poetry would be charming if it were his decision, but seeing as it isn’t, it’s really unnerving in the least. Charlie scolds Kirk for trying to change course. When McCoy enters, he comments that Spock’s acting weird, because apparently, he was still on the comm when he started with the poetry.

Spock: Once upon a midnight dreary while I pondered, weak and weary.

Charlie: Very nice, Mr. Ears.

Can I mention how much it bothers me when characters who aren’t the Bridge Crew call our space family names? Oh, good. Because it bothers me a whole lot. Only Kirk and McCoy are allowed to call Spock names that mention his ears. That is all.

Anyway, so it’s very apparent that Charlie can make people do whatever he wants and he won’t let anything get in the way of him getting to Colony 5. This isn’t good.

In the corridor, Tina, being the sweetheart she is, asks Charlie if something’s wrong and he, being the jerk that he is, turns her into an iguana.

The crew's most adorable iguana.

The crew’s most adorable iguana.


Then Charlie goes to sexually harass Janice in her quarters. He insists that he only wants to be nice to her, and she insists that she wants him to leave her alone and to get out of her quarters. She switches on her comm, which allows Kirk to overhear the conversation from the Bridge. He and Spock run to help Janice.

That's an incredibly pink room.

That’s an incredibly pink room.

When Spock and Kirk run into Janice’s quarters, Charlie uses his power to knock them away. She slaps him and he makes her disappear. And Charlie has a mini-meltdown:

Why did she do that? I loved her, but she wasn’t nice at all. What you did wasn’t nice, either, but I still need you, Captain. The Enterprise isn’t quite like the Antares. Running the Antares was easy. You have to be nice. All right?

Then he breaks Spock’s legs. I really don’t like that Spock keeps getting targeted by this kid. It’s weird. Kirk tells Charlie to heal Spock because he needs him to help run the ship. Charlie complies, then taunts them about being able to do anything and they can’t.

After the commercial break, Kirk and Spock are outside a cell-type room. This I don’t quite understand. They’re not in the brig, because it’s obvious that they’re near the crew’s quarters. My only thought is maybe some of the quarters have the force field doors that the brig is equipped with in the event the brig is full. Most likely, they hadn’t really settled on where the brig was or what it looked like at this point.

They trick Charlie into entering the cell and Spock activates the force field. This only upsets Charlie. So he freezes Kirk and Spock and makes the entire wall disappear.

That wasn’t nice. You’ll be sorry. You wait, you’ll see, you’ll be sorry you did that. You will.

He unfreezes them and storms off, throwing out ridiculous punishments for imagined slights left and right. Like, removing people’s faces for laughing:

And you all thought The Idiot's Lantern was original, didn't you?

And you all thought The Idiot’s Lantern was original, didn’t you?


So basically, Charlie’s taken over the entire ship. On the Bridge, Kirk contemplates challenging the kid. McCoy and Spock are like, “Yeah, no. That’s stupid, Jim.” A beat and then Kirk has a stroke of genius:

Kirk: Wait a minute. Does Charlie—? Now, wait, Spock, has he done away with anybody since he took over?

Spock: Not so far as we know.

Kirk: Maybe he can’t. Could be he’s overreached himself. It’s a big ship. He’s taken full control. If we could tax his power, turn on every device on the ship, every circuit, every light, all of it, and while he’s fighting that, if I could distract him, maybe you could tranquilize him, keep him under until we reach Colony 5.

McCoy: Risky, Jim.

Kirk: If we don’t try, Doctor, he’ll get rid of us anyway. There’s no choice, gentlemen, none at all.

This is one of the things that I really love about Kirk. He would do anything for his crew, and I mean anything. Here he is, willing to sacrifice his own life to try to retake control of his ship for the sake of his crew.

Charlie shows up on the Bridge and they put their plan into action. It’s actually kind of cute because it looks like DeForest Kelley and Leonard Nimoy weren’t given specific instructions on how to do this scene and were just told to press ALL THE BUTTONS:

pressing buttons 1pressing buttons 2pressing buttons 3

Soon, some outside force revokes Charlie’s influence on the ship and suddenly Janice is on the Bridge in her pretty pink nightie. Uhura gets a message from something off the starboard bow, saying the outside force is from Thasus. And Charlie freaks out:

No! Oh, no, please, don’t let them take me. I can’t live with them anymore. You’re my friends. You said you were my friends, remember? When I came aboard! Please, I want to go home. Take me home.

And then a floaty, transparenty head appears and apologizes on Charlie’s behalf and informs Kirk that they have returned the ship and restored the crew. Charlie begs Kirk to let him stay with the humans, going so far as to promise to never use his power again.

Kirk, being everyone’s champion tells the Thasian, “The boy belongs with his own kind.” And that they could train Charlie to not use his power. The Thasian’s having none of that:

Thasian: We gave him the power so he could live. He will use it, always, and he would destroy you and your kind, or you would be forced to destroy him to save yourselves.

Kirk: Is there nothing you can do?

Thasian: We offer him life, and we will take care of him.

Then Charlie disappears, still begging to stay with the Enterprise. Uhura receives a message that Charlie’s back on the Thasian ship and that they’re leaving.

The end.

What I loved about the episode:

To me, the whole thing felt like it was a message regarding rape culture and victim-blaming and everything that goes along with it. It felt like they were trying to convey that everyone needs to be taught from a young age what is appropriate behavior between people and the importance of consent. I especially loved that it was Kirk who was the most vocal about making sure Charlie knew that consent was incredibly important, seeing as the world sees Kirk as this hyper-horny tom cat, which isn’t my favorite thing about the reboot films. Yes, Kirk can be charming and he’ll kiss a girl, but he never forces himself on her beyond the kiss. Which makes consent a little fuzzy in those cases, but the issue is explored in further depth in The Enemy Within.

What I would change:

The gymnasium costumes. They’re ridiculous.

What I hated:

The way some of Charlie’s lines were delivered. But that’s an actor’s choice and I can’t really do anything to help that.

Headcanons I developed because of this episode:

Yeoman Janice is totally in love Kirk. And she trusts him implicitly. And it’s super cute and I ship it.

Catchphrase Tally for this episode: 0

Remarkably, there aren’t any this episode, so we’re still at 6 for the series.

Sorry about the formatting; I messed with it for over an hour in an attempt to fix it before I gave up. Hopefully, it’ll be better on Sunday, when we explore Where No Man Has Gone Before.

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About alicegracey

Writer, Actor, Advice Nerd. At least, that's what it says on my business card these days. Mostly, I just write in order to try to get my brain to shut up. I like to share what I write, but be warned, I don't do happy.
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