Star trek tos, season 1 charlie x lion of the blogosphere

This is the fourth episode in a row about psychic powers. In “Man Trap” ( previously reviewed ) a woman they think is Nancy Crater is actually a space-monster with psychic powers. In this episode, Charlie, who they think is a normal teenage boy with poor social skills (because he was marooned alone on a deserted planet for 14 years), is really an awkward teenage boy with poor social skills who has super-psychic powers!

In “Where No Man Has Gone Before” ( previously reviewed), Gary Mitchell gets super psychic powers and becomes a danger to the whole crew and the entire human race. In this episode, Charlie has super psychic powers and is a danger to the whole crew and the entire human race. The lesson that Star Trek is teaching us is that it’s not safe for one man to have superpowers that put him above all other men.

They must be cast out or killed.

Leaving aside the unoriginal science fiction parts of this episode, the good thing about this episode is William Shatner who does such a perfect job of playing the father figure to Charlie. I will also include Yeoman Rand (played by Grace Lee Whitney), the MILF for whom Charlie has a bad case of oneitis, as another highlight of the episode, even though I don’t have anything especially good to say about Whitney’s acting skills. So sad that Yeoman Rand only appeared in eight episodes. Obviously, at the beginning of the series, the intention was that she was going to be a major character.

Hey, is it racist for Uhura to liken Spock to the devil because of his appearance which he has no control over? Is that any different than saying a black guy looks like a monkey? Is it racist to portray Uhura as the stereotype of a black woman with greater sexual appetites than white women? This is the second episode in a row where Uhura and Spock have some weird interaction with each other. Were they supposed to be secretly having sex? Why did this good stuff get dropped from the series?

My love for Shatner’s performance begins in the transporter room when Charlie is first beamed over from the Antares. First, Kirk seems to dislike Charlie (and there isn’t anything likeable about him, he’s a weird-looking kid with a whiny voice), but then when Charlie stares with puppy-dog eyes at Yeoman Rand and asks Kirk “Is that a girl?” Kirks whole attitude changes, and with great amusement says “That’s a girl.”

Another great scene with Kirk and Charlie is in the gym, and shirtless Kirk (the very first Star Trek episode were Kirk is completely shirtless, but there will be more) has to deal with Charlie after Charlie shocks Kirk by making some other guy in the gym disappear because the guy laughed at him, Kirk does the stern fatherly thing and disciplines Charlie with complete alpha-male confidence, even though he knows that Charlie could make him disappear as well. I think there was an important lesson here about the power of the dominant alpha personality over the weak beta personality, even though when it comes to actual power Charlie (with his super psychic abilities) is way more powerful than Kirk.

Charlie has a case of beta-male rage long before the term was invented by one of the commenters on my blog. Mad that Rand rejects him, he uses his psychic powers to hurt a bunch of women on the ship. He turns one woman into an iguana, he makes Rand disappear like he did to the guy at the gym, he makes another woman’s face disappear (very creepy), and yet another young woman he turns into an old crone. He’s like Elliot Rodger or George Sodini, but with super psychic powers instead of guns.

How do they escape from Charlie’s super powers? Well, to give away the ending, the Thasians come to the rescue and take him away. The Thasians explain they gave him the super powers so he could survive on the deserted planet, and that he got away without them realizing it, and now they are taking him back. Sorry about the dead people on the other ship, but we brought back all the people he made disappear on your ship.

This episode is so good because it’s based on human relationships rather than some dumb science fiction suspense that doesn’t make any sense. There aren’t any gaping plot holes like there are in the previous three episodes I reviewed. The only scene that stands out as illogical and stupid is when Spock and Kirk are playing tridimensional chess, and Spock moves a piece and smugly says “check” and Kirk then moves a piece in return and says “checkmate.” Spock says “Your illogical approach to chess does have its advantages on occasion, Captain.” Come on, if you can’t see that your opponent will checkmate you in response to your move, it’s because you’re a crappy chess player and not because the other guy used “illogic” on you.