Star Trek (1966): S01E02 – Charlie X


Introduction

“Charlie X” is the second episode of the first season of the American science fiction television series Star Trek.

In the episode, the Enterprise picks up an unstable 17-year-old boy who spent 14 years alone on a deserted planet and lacks the training and restraint to handle his superhuman mental powers wisely.

The eponymous character Charlie Evans is featured as an adult in the fan-created, non-canon miniseries Star Trek: Of Gods and Men.

Outline

The Federation starship Enterprise meets the merchant vessel Antares to take charge of Charlie Evans (Robert Walker Jr.), the sole survivor of a transport ship that crashed on the planet Thasus. For fourteen years, Charlie grew up there alone, stranded in the wreckage, learning how to talk from the ship’s computer systems, which remained intact. Charlie is to be transported to his nearest relatives on the colony Alpha V.

Crew members aboard Antares speak praises about Charlie, but seem pleased to see the boy removed from their ship. After the transfer, they bid Enterprise an unusually hasty goodbye and depart. Charlie undergoes a medical examination by Dr. McCoy. He tells the doctor the crew of Antares did not like him very much, and that all he wants is for people to like him.

Charlie quickly becomes obnoxious and shows signs that he possesses strange powers. First, he develops an infatuation with Yeoman Janice Rand. He presents her with a rare bottle of perfume, which turns out to be her favourite scent. Having observed a man in engineering seal an agreement to rendezvous in the recreation room with a slap on the rear of his co-worker, he does the same to Rand.

Charlie meets Rand later in the recreation room, where Mr. Spock plays a Vulcan lyrette and Lieutenant Uhura sings. Charlie is annoyed with being a subject in Uhura’s performance, as well as with Rand paying more attention to the song than to him, so he causes Uhura to temporarily lose her voice.

When the Antares is nearly out of sensor range, it transmits a message to the Enterprise. The message is cut off before it can convey a warning about Charlie. Shortly thereafter, Spock determines that the Antares has blown up.

In an attempt to get Charlie interested in a woman his own age, Rand introduces him to Yeoman Tina Lawton, but Charlie is only interested in Rand and ignores Tina. Later, Captain Kirk tries to teach the young man how to fight. Sam, Kirk’s training partner, laughs at one of Charlie’s falls, and Charlie makes him vanish before Kirk’s eyes. Shocked, Kirk calls for security guards to escort Charlie to his quarters, but Charlie says he will not let them hurt him; he then makes their phasers disappear. Charlie admits he used his powers to destroy the Antares, but says the ship would have blown up on its own sooner or later and insists, “They weren’t nice to me.”

Charlie discovers Kirk’s plans to divert from Alpha V, and takes control of the Enterprise. He forces Spock to recite Earth poetry (The Tyger, The Raven), turns Tina into a lizard, and chases down Rand. When she resists his advances, he makes her disappear. Charlie then goes on a rampage, hideously transforming or making crew members vanish.

Meanwhile, a Thasian ship approaches the Enterprise. The Thasian commander appears on the bridge, saying that his race gave Charlie his powers to help him to survive on their world, but these powers, which they are unable to take back from Charlie. make him too dangerous to live among humans. The Thasians return Yeoman Rand and repair the damage Charlie has done, apart from the Antares, which they reveal they were unable to save due to realizing too late that Charlie had departed the planet. They promise to take Charlie to live with them. Charlie begs Kirk for forgiveness and pleads with him to not let the aliens have him. Despite Kirk’s statement that Charlie belongs with his own kind, the aliens transport Charlie away as Yeoman Rand cries for him.

Star Trek TV Series

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Star Trek TV Series, Films, and Documentaries

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Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s): Lawrence Dobkin.
  • Production: Desilu Productions (1966-1967) and Paramount Television (1968-1969).
  • Distributor(s): Paramount Pictures (1966-2006), CBS Paramount Television (2006-2007), and CBS Television Distribution (2007-Present).
  • Original Network: NBC.
  • Release Date: 15 September 1966
  • Running Time: 50 minutes.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

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