Story by: Gene Roddenberry
Directed by: Lawrence Dobkin
This episode is another example of airing out of order, being the seventh episode produced but the second to air on television.
I never much cared for this one. I found the Charlie (Robert Walker) character to be grating, annoying, and offensive throughout the episode. While Kirk tries to keep him in line and even calls out some inappropriate and misogynist behavior, I don’t think the writing for those scenes goes far enough and some of the “help” comes off as condescending toward women. Now, I know this was the mid-60s and I didn’t see the episode at any reasonable age until the 90s, but the episode doesn’t age well from that stand point. I don’t expect special effects or directing choices to be the same, that’d be unfair, and I think I’ve been fair about that so far in my reviews, but this episode’s issues focus more on gender issues and appropriate behavior that I’d like to think I would not have appreciated even in the 60s.
Overall though, it’s an interesting episode with a powerful, alien type villain. I know Charlie is human but he is given alien abilities. The powers are very cool and interesting. The episode has some intense moments that are a little glossed over, though, like the destruction of the Antares ship and her crew. Additionally, when we finally meet a Thasian, the scene is super slow, drawn out, and awkward. The effect is fine given the era but the long shots just staring at the warped face seem to go on forever.
To end on a positive note, I do appreciate the relationship building between Kirk, Spock, and Bones, along with the singing\music scene between Uhura and Spock. These are great character moments that show a fun, lighter side to our characters. The Kirk\Spock\Bones dynamic is alive and well early in the series and is a thread that was carried through to the bitter end. And though Yeoman Rand’s character was eventually cut out for many, many years, this episode is a great showcase of Grace Lee Whitney and the character. It’s bittersweet since I know we don’t get as much of her as we could have.
The Original Series S1E07: “Charlie X”
- - Interesting concept
- - Cool powers for Charlie
- - Attempted to tackle misogynist issues
- - Crew relationships are strong and significant
- - Charlie's Power Face
- - Didn't handle misogynist issues as well as they could have
- - Robert Walker casting
- - Thasian scene is drawn out and awkward