Star Trek – Charlie X

by Alan Rapp on May 9, 2014

in Television Reviews 

  • Title: Star Trek – Charlie X
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Star Trek - Charlie X

The USS Enterprise picks up an unusual passenger in Charlie Evans (Robert Walker Jr.), the sole survivor of a ship crash on the abandoned planet of Thasus, who has somehow survived on his own since he was only 3 years-old. The crew of the freighter, which is destroyed mysteriously not long after depositing him aboard the Federation starship, is obviously relieved to be free of the unusual young man, but it takes some time before the Enterprise crew learns why.

Despite not wanting to be burdened with the boy, Kirk (William Shatner) spends time with Charlie in an attempt to help him fit into the crew and also deal with his crush on Janice Rand (Grace Lee Whitney) which has begun to get out of hand. When Kirk observes Charlie make a member of the crew disappear along with all firearms on the starship, the Captain begins recognize the growing instability in the young man whose powers of transmutation and teleportation are only matched by his uncontrollable hormones and inability to adapt to proper rules of etiquette.

Starved for friendship, attention, and the fulfillment of desires he can’t quite explain, Charlie becomes much bolder once the truth of his abilities is revealed taking control of the ship. Only by creating a scenario where Charlie’s attention is pulled in too many directions to control the situation does Kirk regain control of the Enterprise which is then visited by the believed-to-be extinct non-corporal Thasians who granted the boy powers to survive their world but now arrive to take Charlie back realizing how large a danger he poses to the galaxy. Although Kirk believes the boy belongs with his own kind, he is forced to admit that Charlie will never be able to properly fit in and represents a grave threat to any life he may come across.

The amount it takes for anyone other than Rand to notice there’s something wrong with Charlie is problematic, especially given the number of odd occurrences which all begin the moment Charlie steps on-board. Evans, who apparently remained in character his entire time on set, certainly brings a creepiness and mania to Charlie. Along with giving us a look at the crew off-duty as Spock (Leonard Nimoy) and Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) perform an impromptu musical number in the lounge, the episode also begins the tradition on Star Trek shows introducing an omnipotent opponent who this crew, and others to follow over the years, will struggle to properly deal with.

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