“Requiem for Methuselah” is the nineteenth episode of the third season of the American science fiction television series Star Trek.
Written by Jerome Bixby and directed by Murray Golden, it was first broadcast on 14 February 1969.
In the episode, the crew of the Enterprise encounters an immortal human.
Its repeat broadcast, on 02 September 1969, was the last official telecast of the series to air on NBC. Star Trek would immediately appear in syndication on the following Monday, 08 September, a full three years after its debut.
The crew of the Federation starship Enterprise is struck with deadly Rigellian fever, for which the only treatment is the mineral ryetalyn. They arrive at planet Holberg 917-G in search of the substance. Captain Kirk, first officer Spock and medical officer Dr. McCoy beam down and are attacked by an airborne robot, which is called off by its master, Flint. Flint orders them to leave immediately, but is finally moved by their plight.
Flint gives the landing party two hours, offering the help of his sentry robot M4 to gather the mineral. Flint then escorts them to his home, which has an impressive art collection, including undiscovered paintings by Leonardo da Vinci. Spock notices that the brushwork of the paintings is identical to Leonardo’s, but his tricorder indicates that they are made with contemporary materials.
The party is introduced to Flint’s beautiful young ward, Rayna Kapec, whose late parents, according to Flint, were employees of his. On Flint’s suggestion, Kirk plays billiards with Rayna, and they dance to a waltz played on the piano by Spock. The sheet music, apparently in the hand of Johannes Brahms, is written with contemporary ink. Shortly afterward, M4 returns with a container of ryetalyn, but it is contaminated with irilium, and therefore useless. Flint apologises and accompanies M4 on a search for more ryetalyn.
Oddities begin to mount up. When Kirk kisses Rayna, M4 reacts as if he were attacking her. The Enterprise reports that no information can be found on Flint or Rayna. A tricorder scan reveals that Flint is over 6,000 years old. Finally, the processing of the new ryetalyn, supposedly being performed in Flint’s laboratory, is taking a suspiciously long time.
Rayna comes to say goodbye to Kirk, who has fallen in love with her and begs her to accompany him. McCoy tells them that the ryetalyn is missing, and Spock follows tricorder readings to a laboratory chamber containing android bodies, all labelled “Rayna”.
Flint finally reveals the truth. He was born 3,834 years BC, and after falling in battle discovered he could not die. Flint has lived “lifetimes” as Methuselah, Solomon, Lazarus of Bethany, Alexander the Great, Leonardo da Vinci, Brahms, and many others. Rayna is to be his mate, now that Kirk has taught her how to love. He intends also to keep the Enterprise crew in a suspended state, to protect his privacy, but relents on Rayna’s objection. A fight then breaks out between the two men for the possession of Rayna. Rayna stops them, claiming her right to choose her own future, and then, overwhelmed by her newfound emotions, dies.
Back on the Enterprise, McCoy discovers that Flint, having left Earth’s environment, is now ageing normally. Kirk falls asleep on his desk wishing to forget Rayna, and Spock places a suggestion to “forget” into his mind.
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Production & Filming Details
- Director(s): Murray Golden.
- Writer(s): Jerome Bixby.
- 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: 14 February 1969.
- Running Time: 50 minutes.
- Country: US.
- Language: English.