2/5/12

Star Trek: Asterisk "Charlie X"

Vital Information
Series: The Original Series
Episode: S01E02
Air Date: September 15, 1966
Written by: D. C. Fontana
Directed by: Lawrence Dobkin

Premise
What's worse than a teenager? A teenager with superpowers. Worse still: a teenager with superpowers and absolutely no social skills.

Review
The U.S.S. Antares is a cargo vessel transport ship science-probe vessel survey ship weirdly shaped Federation starship that was on its way through space after exploring Thasus. A ship had crashed on this planet several years ago and the sole survivor is a seventeen-year-old kid by the name of Charles Evans. They picked the kid up and it is now the job of the U.S.S. Enterprise to take him to civilization while the Antares gets back to work.

Once on board, Charlie meets his true love!
And basically the true love of everyone on the ship
At first Charlie has to confirm that Yeoman Rand is a girl, because it's the first girl he had ever seen. But after he knows that, he falls completely. Then he attempts to integrate into normal life by doing things like slapping Janice on the butt, magically silencing Uhura so that he can have Janice's attention, trying to show Janice a card trick, ignoring Janice's younger friend, and talking to other people about Janice.

Oh, yeah, did I mention that Charlie has superpowers? That's probably what the Antares called back to warn the Enterprise about, but before they could say anything, they were destroyed. "It wasn't very well constructed," says Charlie, which was an odd thing to say since no one was sure that it was destroyed at the time he said it.

Well, now it's time for Charlie to figure out what else he likes to do besides look at Janice creepily, so he tries some three-level chess with Spock. When he loses in two moves, he melts all of Spock's pieces. Kirk tries to befriend him and takes him to the gym for some light sparring, but when Charlie gets annoyed by another man in the gym he activates his magical teenage powers and makes him "go away." Well, that's when Kirk really gets alarmed about Charlie.
It wasn't when he stole the pajamas right off of Kirk's back.
Well, now everyone knows about Charlie's powers. Kirk speculates that he's secretly a Thasian, but Bones insists that, medically, he reads as completely human. Charlie then admits to destroying the Antares, but justifies it by saying they were mean to him and probably would have blown up anyway. His jig being up, he takes full control of the Enterprise. He really wants to get to Colony 5 where he assumes people will actually like him. But Kirk knows how dangers it would be if he ever actually got there. His mission now: to take back control of his ship.

In the mean time, Charlie wanders the corridors, turns Janice's younger friend into a lizard, visits Janice in her quarters, almost attempts to rape her, but instead makes her "go away". Kirk and Spock try to lock him up in the brig, but Charlie makes the force field and half of the wall "go away".
It wasn't very well constructed.
Then Charlie stomps around like the angsty teenager that he is, makes a young crew-woman old, takes away the faces of some laughing crewmen, and generally just acts like a douche. Ever the gambling man, Kirk decides that if Charlie has to focus on keeping the Enterprise under control, his powers will be weakened. So he has Spock and Bones do random things on the computer to occupy Charlie, but then, suddenly...
A WILD THASIAN APPEARS!
It took these guys a while to figure out that Charlie had left their planet and then come after him. They restore the Enterprise back to normal and return Janice on the bridge. The Thasian then explains to the bridge crew that they granted Charlie the powers he had so that he could survive on the planet. And for some reason they can't take these powers away, I guess. Certain that it would be impossible for Charlie to live a normal life with his own people, and despite Charlie's own pleas to stay with the crew, the Thasians bring him back to their "ship" thinggie and leave.

And the crew is left sitting on the bridge... to contemplate... the meaning of life.

Overall Thoughts
The rise and fall of a teenage god. This was a pretty great episode. It kind of drives home Gene Roddenberry's theme of power without responsibility. So far we've had two of these kinds of episodes in four, though. I hope he doesn't wear the idea thin.