‘CHARLIE X’ (TOS)
Please feel free to comment on my review.
In this episode, the Enterprise takes charge of a sole survivor from a transport ship named Charlie Evans. Charlie is a young, adolescent who has these god-like powers and can do anything he wants.
Unfortunately Charlie can’t seem to mature or grow up as he should. He takes an obsessive crush on Yeoman Janice Rand and causes the destruction of the Antares starship that took him aboard earlier.
I’m not so keen on ‘Charlie X’ as on many other ‘Star Trek’ episodes. It’s a good and tense story about this young adolescent with god-like powers, but this is not one I would watch over repeatedly.
Kirk and the crew gradually discover that Charlie has god-like powers and can’t seem to stop him from doing something wrong. Charlie gets too powerful and Kirk and the other can’t overthrow him.
Robert Walker guest stars as Charlie Evans. I was mesmerised by Robert’s performance as Charlie and couldn’t help feel sorry for him by the end, even though he’d done some pretty terrible things.
This episode is also very good for Grace Lee Whitney as Janice Rand. Janice is uncomfortable with Charlie having a crush on him, as she gently discourages him from going too far with her in the story.
I also liked that Nichelle Nichols gets to use her singing talents as Uhura in this episode. This occurs when most the Enterprise crew are in the recreation room and Uhuru sings to Spock’s Vulcan lyrette.
It was also good to see Leonard Nimoy as Spock showing his music talents with playing a harp-like Vulcan lyrette. Spock would play this musical instrument now and again and play chess with Kirk too.
Eventually, Charlie robs Uhuru of her singing and Spock of his lyrette playing as he tries to impress Janice and everybody with his card tricks. This is where the meanness of Charlie gets to be revealed.
Sometimes I could emphasise with Charlie, as he wants to have Janice to fall in love with but she’s twice her age. Kirk tries to reason with Charlie and talk him out of his crush with Janice, but he can’t.
Shockingly however, Charlie commits mass murder by blowing up the Antares starship. He does this because the crew weren’t nice to him. Charlie looks very horrible when he uses his god-like powers.
Charlie comes across as short-tempered, especially when people laugh at him or hurt him. He does this a number of times to people in a gym and even does it to Janice she rejects and then slaps him.
William Shatner delivers a great performance as Kirk in this episode. Kirk tries to father Charlie, even when he’s being naughty at times. Kirk manages to gain some respect with Charlie on a good level.
Eventually Charlie’s respect for Kirk gets compromised, when Kirk and Spock try to contain him inside a room with a force-field. Charlies manages to overcome it by removing the force-field itself.
I can’t say I understand what the point of this episode was about. Maybe it’s teach viewers about adolescence and overcoming it, but I just felt uncomfortable from seeing how Charlie was portrayed.
Also, the explanation for what Charlie is in terms of how he can have god-like powers isn’t entirely clear for me. There’s mention of something scientific by Spock and Bones, but this wasn’t very clear.
‘Charlie X’ isn’t a favourite ‘Star Trek’ episode of mine. It’s got a tense atmosphere and a great performance by Robert Walker as Charlie, but I can’t say I was entirely comfortable from watching it.
The DVD special features for this episode are as follows. On Disc 1 of both the original and re-mastered DVDs of ‘Star Trek: The Original Series – Season 1’, there is a preview trailer for this episode.
‘Charlie X’ (TOS) rating – 5/10
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