Monday, February 20, 2017

Episode Review - Charlie X (Original Series, Season 1)

For those who are new to my episode reviews, you can find the post where I establish my point criteria here

Charlie Evans

Overview – The Enterprise meets up with the ship Antares where they take upon them a young man named Charlie Evans. Charlie was the lone survivor of a crashed spaceship, and he had lived on the planet Thasus for most of his life, presumably alone. Charlie has trouble adapting to life aboard the Enterprise and soon starts to lash out. Kirk and his crew soon learn that Charlie has special powers, but lacks the maturity to use them well. In addition to destroying the Antares, whose captain tries to warn Kirk about, he takes away Uhura’s voice, makes various crew members and equipment disappear, and changes the ship’s Thanksgiving dinner from synthetic meatloaf to actual turkeys. Kirk and his crew find themselves at the mercy of Charlie’s moodiness and whims.

Charlie and his first love, Yeoman Rand

Score: 8/10 – Robert Walker, who plays Charlie Evans, puts on a tour de force in this episode. He nails it. The show in and of itself is just fine. Maybe not the strongest episode, but it is quite good. Kirk is quite good as he tries to be the mentor and father figure to Charlie. The ending is little clich√©, but it makes sense.
Charlie uses his card tricks to win the hearts of the crew

Relevance - 1 point. This would be for the mention of the United Earth Space Probe Agency (UESPA) that would be mentioned again in the episode “Tomorrow is Yesterday” and several episodes of Enterprise.

Captain Ramart and his first officer Tom Nellis of the Antares

Continuity - 2 points. Character continuity scores a point here. I particularly enjoyed how Kirk handled himself with Charlie, acting as a surrogate father. Universe continuity is fine as well. Story continuity mostly works, but there is a little goof made. While Kirk is in the turbolift heading to the bridge to hear the Antares’ distress message, Kirk is wearing his standard gold command uniform. When he arrives on the bridge, however, he is wearing his green wraparound.

Kirk gets pushed to the limit with Charlie

Character Development – 2 points. We learn that Uhura sings and that Spock plays a Vulcan lyre. We see Janice Rand deal with the unwanted affection of lovestruck Charlie. Kirk likely gets the most development here as he takes on a more fatherly role towards Charlie. Not much more than that, but enough to score it a couple points.

Uhura's song about Spock, On the Starship Enterprise

Social Commentary – 2 points. Coming of age is a classic theme, which this show is for Charlie. While Charlie is having to adjust to life with humans, he just cannot seem to make the transition without causing major havoc for the Enterprise crew. Sometimes when a person is not raised in their native culture, it is almost impossible to fit back in. There is also the classic tale of “power corrupts” here, as the Thasians learn that by giving Charlie the powers that allowed him to survive, he became someone who would not be able to live with his own kind again.

Don't laugh at Charlie when he's mad

Cool Stuff – 3 points. A point has to be scored for getting to hear Nichelle Nichols sing. Her voice is as beautiful as her soul is. Also a point for the cool effects (circa 1966, of course). I also need to give a point for the knowledge that in the 23rd Century we still celebrate Thanksgiving. And if any of those didn’t hit the cool factor for you, then how about this: the galley chef, who is never seen but we hear his voice, was performed by Gene Roddenberry himself.

"I want to stay! STAY!"

Rank – Captain (18 points). A really good episode that tells a great story and has some great moments. The character of Charlie Evans is intriguing and superbly performed by Robert Walker. A classic episode that deserves a viewing.

Yet another spot with a shirtless Kirk

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