There's a girl version of everything.

Merlin: The Wicked Day
Oh, it's wicked, all right.
Merlin: The Darkest Hour, Part 2
Arthur sacrifices himself for Camelot... almost.
Merlin: The Darkest Hour, Part 1
Morgana unleashes a ghost army on Camelot.

Star Trek: The Original Series - Episode 07 - Charlie X

Original Airdate: September 15, 1966

Synopsis

Jim
We open on the transporter room, as members of the freighter Antares are about to beam over with someone who will be a passenger aboard the Enterprise. Two men and a teenage boy beam over. The boy is introduced as Charlie Evans, who was the only survivor of a transport crash 14 years ago, and apparently learned everything he knows only from educational tapes.

The Antares crewmembers seem to be about to say something unpleasant when Charlie, behind Kirk's back, crosses his eyes and makes a strange expression. Suddenly, the crewmembers chatter effusively about the boy. Jim asks if they need anything while they're there - medical care, entertainment tapes, even Saurian brandy...? No, no, they hastily respond. Gotta be on their way, gotta get moving! They fairly hop back on the transporter pad and beam back over, leaving Jim mildly surprised.

During the conversation, Charlie has periodically interrupted with questions and exclamations, which you'd expect of a kid raised on his own. Jim kindly tells him that interrupting is considered wrong, and Charlie apologizes. We find that the Enterprise has 428 human crewmembers, and presumably Spock isn't counted in that, so I assume full ship's complement is 429 (assuming that there aren't other aliens aboard).

Charlie gets close to the door and it opens, making him jump backward. Then it opens again and Yeoman Rand walks in. Jim introduces them and has Janice show him to sickbay. Charlie looks her up and down, and asks, "are you a girl?" Jim confirms that yes, that's a girl. Poor, long-suffering Janice rolls her eyes and leads him onward.

rec room
Charlie's in sickbay, being given a physical. Bones asks him questions about how he managed to survive 14 years on the remainder of rations from the ship. Charlie's evasive as he says he found food on the planet. "And you learned to talk just from the ship's computer?" Bones asks incredulously. "It talked to me and I talked back," Charlie says. The doctor pronounces him perfectly fit, and Charlie blurts, "Do you like me?" Bones answers, "Why not?" Charlie says that he tried and tried, but no one on the Antares liked him, and he wants people to like him. Bones says that most 17-year-olds do, and shows him to his quarters.

Then we see mildly confusing footage of Charlie wandering around the ship, including a Jeffries tube, intently watching crewmembers at work and smiling at them strangely. One crewmember tells another he'll meet him in the rec room later, and the other replies, "you got a deal, friend," and swats him on the ass.

Uhura
Janice passes Charlie in the corridor, and he runs to catch up. He gives her a bottle of perfume and says it's a present. She loves it, it's her favorite kind! Which confuses her, because ship's stores don't carry it and where did this kid get it? He wants her to stay and talk, but she can't, she's on duty. At his disappointed look, she says she'll meet him in the rec room on deck 3 when she gets off. He says "you got a deal, friend," and swats her on the ass. (I know, who could have seen that coming??) She turns around, shocked, and he's very sad and upset that she might be angry. She tells him, not unkindly, that he should tell the captain or the doctor what he did and they'll explain why it's just not done.
cute scene

On the bridge, Spock and McCoy are at it again. Bones thinks that Charlie did just as he says - why would he have any reason to lie? - and survived on his own, not due to any mythical Thasians. Spock thinks that Charlie's survival argues for the existence of intelligent life on Thasus (this is the first mention I've caught regarding the name of the planet his transport crashed on); there's no way he could have survived on his own. Bones argues that after the rations ran out, he would have been old enough to survive on fruit, etc., but Spock just said the rations would only have lasted about a year and a half after the crash. So, Bones thinks this kid would have been foraging successfully at age 4 and a half? I'm leaning toward Spock's theory.

Bones also would like to see a strong father figure - like Jim - take Charlie under his wing and teach him about ... you know ... that thing ... we don't talk about comfortably ... puberty. Seriously, good God. Two grown men, one of them a doctor, and all this delicate hemming and hawing about adolescence. Sheesh. Jim would far rather Bones took care of this, although he comes off a little less embarrassed and a little more uninterested in having a kid trailing after him.

In the rec room, Spock is trying to play his Vulcan Lyre, but Uhura keeps humming along and ruining his concentration. After several entirely un-Vulcanly displays of exasperation from him, she apologizes and lets him play ... until Janice, with whom she's playing cards, eggs her on. She starts singing along instead of humming, and finally Spock gives in and lets her. With quite a few unVulcanly and sly smiles, no less. She sings a cute little song about his devilishly captivating good looks, which embarrasses but amuses him too, and he goes along with it good-naturedly. Charlie comes in and tries to get Janice's attention, but she pats his arm placatingly. If he were a puppy, she would have told him to go lie down.

When Uhura finishes, Janice encourages her to do another, so Uhura starts singing about Charlie, who most certainly does not go along with it good-naturedly. He gets that strange expression again and Uhura loses her voice temporarily. He does a few card tricks that "the men on the Antares taught him" except, no they didn't; their source is Charlie's powers.

In the corridor, Jim tells a crewman that it's Thanksgiving on Earth (... on part of it, you mean) and if the crew has to eat synthetic meatloaf, he wants it to at least look like turkey. Ok, that's kind of sweet, Jim, but I think I'd rather not take a bite of turkey only to find that it's meatloaf. That kind of bait-and-switch with food is really off-putting. Charlie comes up and stammers about what he did with Janice, and then finally gives up and swats Jim on the ass and says,"I did that." Jim stammers amusingly, and finally explains that there's no right way to hit a woman, and that there are things you can do ... man to man ... but with a woman, it's another thing entirely. He finishes with, "Do you understand?" Heh. No, and I'd kind of like for you to explain that man-to-man stuff, while we're at it. Or should I ask Spock?

Uhura pages him then, saying that the captain of the Antares is hailing them and wants to talk to Jim urgently. Jim heads for the lift and Charlie follows, swearing he won't get in the way.

Uhura is trying to boost the signal from the Antares because it's so staticky. Captain Ramart says they are as far from Enterprise as they can be and transmit. Jim & Charlie enter the bridge just as Ramart says he needs to speak to Kirk urgently, he has to warn - but the signal cuts off there. Charlie says mysteriously, that the ship wasn't put together very well, and that earns him a suspicious look from Jim. Uhura can't do anything to get them back, and Spock finds only debris at their last location ... definitively, the debris of the Antares.

A crewman hails the captain from the galley, astonished. He put meatloaf in the ovens, and pulled out turkey! Jim's just about to ask him if he's been drinking when Charlie stifles a laugh and leaves the bridge. (By the way, the voice of the crewman is that of Gene Roddenberry himself.)

charred

Jim & Spock are playing 3-D chess and discussing Charlie's seeming knowledge of what happened to the Antares before they knew, when he walks in. Jim pulls a victory out of his ass, to Spock's wry acknowledgement, and Charlie says he'd like to play. Jim leaves so he can play Spock, and it's obvious that's not what Charlie wanted, because he becomes sullen. Spock starts with the basic rules, and Charlie cuts him off with "let's just play." He immediately screws the pooch on his play and when Spock points that out, he throws a little tantrum. Spock leaves, and Charlie does that thing with his eyes again. Now the chess pieces are charred and melted.
Tina Lawton

He stalks off out of there and down the corridor, and almost runs into Rand and a younger woman, Yeoman Third Class (God, what a depressing rank) Tina Lawton. Janice introduces Charlie to her, saying she thought he might like to meet someone his own age, but he rudely brushes her off and basically tells Tina to hit the pavement. She does leave, and she's pretty miffed, as is Janice, who tells Charlie how rude and uncalled for that was. He doesn't care, because Tina's just a girl, and Janice is ... the only one on the ship like her. He'd give her the universe, she makes him feel hungry, etc. She stands there, not knowing what to say, but clearly unhappy.

Is that a weave?

Poor Janice.

You know, I'm not sure where all this "you're too beautiful to ignore... oh, I'm not allowed to notice my beautiful yeoman ... I'd give you the universe..." stuff that's directed at Janice is coming from. When I look at her, I see a nice young woman, a professional, who puts up with a lot of crap. An everywoman, if you will. She's cute enough, and I gotta respect the intricate basketweave bouffant she's got goin' on, but I don't understand the hosannas to her sexy, sexy beauty. To her credit, she doesn't act like she does either, which just makes me like her more. Poor, long-suffering Janice.

On the bridge, she tells Jim that something's gotta be done - she's seen that look before - and well, she's his first love. If something isn't done, she's going to have to hurt him, tell him to leave her alone, and that wouldn't be good for him right now. (Or her, not that she knows that.) Jim agrees to say something.

Which he does, and right away. He calls Charlie to his quarters and the conversation is awkward at first, but the two of them warm right up and get into a rousing rendition of "parent and teenage kid" wherein he tells Charlie that Janice is not the girl for him and a few of the finer points of not going all psycho-stalker-boy when he likes a girl.

He takes Charlie to the gym, and I think - I hope - it's the only time in the entire run we see the gym. There are women in red tights and leotards working on their front walkovers, and the men ... well, they're also in red tights. And Jim's in just tights. Which is okay - he looks great. It's just that the tights look stupid on everyone. Also, they have the Enterprise delta logo on them, so they really look stupid.

Jim's teaching Charlie how to fall, so that he can teach him how to fight later. What was that about not wanting to be a father figure? Charlie doesn't want to learn to fall though, because it looks hard, and like it might hurt. Jim "borrows" Sam, a big crewman working out nearby, to help show him what to do, and then he gets Charlie out to try. Charlie goes down like a sack of bricks, and Sam laughs. Charlie does that thing with his eyes, and Sam vanishes. Jim is horrified and wants to know where Sam went. "He's gone," is the answer. Jim presses, and Charlie gets dismayed. He doesn't have a better answer, just "gone."

Jim calls on security, and two officers show up to escort Charlie to his quarters, where Jim tells him he's to stay. Charlie uses his powers to knock the officers down, and then to vanish one's phaser. Jim tells him firmly to go to his quarters and stay there. Charlie gives Jim a warning look, but then can't seem to go through with vanishing him, and goes quietly and defeatedly with security.

Uhura pages Jim and tells him that all phasers on the ship have disappeared. She asks if she should repeat that, knowing how it sounds, but he tells her no. And also to have Spock and Bones meet him in the conference room.

There, they discuss what happened, in the gym and to the Antares. Spock wonders if he's really a Thasian, as they were rumored to have the power to make things invisible, among other powers as well. Bones disagrees; he believes Charlie's human. They decide not to take him to colony Alpha V, because he can't be trusted. Jim feels that he's just a boy, and might be redeemable, but he is certainly a danger.

The door opens, and Charlie comes in with a security officer. Smiling, he says, "you wanted to ask me something?" Jim point blank asks him if he was responsible for what happened to the Antares. He admits to it, and says it's because they didn't like him. It would have blown up anyway - they had a warped baffle plate. Jim asks him, "what about us, Charlie?" He turns and leaves sadly, saying he doesn't know.

Jim enters the bridge and tells Uhura to raise the governor of Alpha V directly, and orders the navigator (no one we know this time; maybe Riley's on latrine duty) to change course. Uhura can't raise anybody or anything with the distortion and feedback she gets, and then it cross-circuits, burning her hand. Helm and navigation find the ship not registering the course change, and then Charlie shows up. He forces Spock to start reciting poetry (everytime something happens to strip Spock of his dignity, I cringe. I cannot stand that shit. I don't know who I'm more embarrassed for, the character or the actor.) and starts to give Jim the funny face again, but once more backs down and leaves. He really got feisty and arrogant that time, though, and Spock tells Jim the obvious - that soon he won't back down.

Charlie runs into Tina in the corridor and turns her into a lizard, then drops in on Janice. Literally, as in "walks into her quarters without knocking, while she's writing a letter in her nightgown." He has something for her, a pink rose. She lays down the law - don't ever enter a room without knocking. And then he reveals the kind of husband he'll be someday by replying "don't ever lock your door on me again, Janice. I love you!" This gets her dander up - she'll lock it whenever she pleases, and by the way, what does he want?

faceless

Her. He wants her. He advances toward her, every inch the psycho. As he yammers, Janice reaches behind her and flips a switch, broadcasting the conversation to the bridge. Jim & Spock haul ass to her quarters, and burst in only for Charlie to push them away with his powers. Janice slaps him, and he disappears her. Once again, Mr. Disavows All Responsibility believes that she made him do it. She wasn't very nice at all! And neither, he feels, were Jim & Spock. He puts Jim through what appears to be a beauty of a bellyache, and he's broken Spock's legs. He lets up on Jim and tells him he has to be nice. The Antares was easy to run, but the Enterprise isn't, and he needs Jim to run it for him and take him to the colony. Jim demands that he heal Spock because he needs his help, and Charlie does. He then leaves, saying "growing up isn't so much. I'm not a man and I can do anything!"

Jim & Spock try sticking him in a room with a force field, but the kid removes the entire wall to get out and tells them he'll get them for that.

He goes on a real tear, aging a young woman, and making another female crewmember faceless. He evidently, through the magic of quick-cutting, ends up on the bridge, where he personally adjusts the helm's course for the colony, and won't let it be changed. Uhura says she knows there's a message coming in from another ship, but can't hear it. Charlie won't tell if he's blocking the message or creating it. He takes off through the ship, cutting a swath, freezing people, shoving, etc.

Big Giant Head
Still on the bridge, Jim, Spock, and Bones mull over an idea; what if they turn on every possible thing on the ship? Overload him, stretch him too thin to do anything else? Then Jim could distract him, and Bones could tranquilize him. Charlie comes right back onto the bridge, and takes the center chair, telling them there's nothing they can do. He's full of bravado until Spock and Bones start flipping switches, turning everything on. Jim advances on him and Charlie, repeating "I'm sorry," makes Jim feel a world of hurt. Suddenly, his control snaps, and the helm responds, and Uhura gets her message - a Thasian ship is pulling alongside.

Janice appears on the bridge, in her nightgown. The Thasian "ship," a green cloud of energy, appears on the viewscreen, and Charlie screams. The face of an older man appears on the bridge in the same green glow, and Charlie appeals to the crew not to send him back to live with them. The glowing green head says that he has righted everything that Charlie's done to the Enterprise and her crew. The Thasians gave him the powers to help him survive, but he cannot live among humans; it'll come down to a kill-or-be-killed scenario. Jim tried to plead for him, that he deserves to be among his own kind, but the Thasian will not be swayed. Charlie begs and pleads, even saying heartbreakingly that he can't even touch them, but he's taken from them and the Thasian vanishes.

Notable Moments

looks like Lagerfeld's work


  • Charlie's jacket in the opening looks like something Karl Lagerfeld designed. This is not a compliment.

  • When Charlie's being tested in sickbay, he's on his back with the reflective vital signs indicator well above him, but when the camera focuses on it, his profile is reflected in it. Whoops.

  • Speaking of whoops; in the corridor talking to Charlie about the ass-swatting incident, Jim's got on his usual gold shirt except for one thing; there's a very weird zipper along the side. I have never noticed this shirt before in all my viewings of Trek. (Of course, that includes prior viewings of this episode, so maybe I'm just not very observant.) And maybe Jim doesn't like his weird gold shirt, because he enters the turbolift to go to the bridge with it on, but when he steps out on to the bridge, he's wearing his wraparound green shirt!

Best Line of the Episode

Jim:

"Charlie, there are a million things in this universe you can have and there are a million things you can't have! It's no fun facing that, but that's the way things are."

Sex Appeal Moment

Spock, smiling at Uhura ... whoa.

whoa

Gorgeous Visuals

Rand's quarters. I love pink, what can I say?

Pink!

I See You Managed to Get Your Shirt Off

In the gym:

the tights ruin the whole thing

Trek 101

Ok, a cursory and flawed explanation of impulse power vs. warp speed:

As I understand it, impulse power is standard, non-faster than light travel; our present-day space shuttles have something akin to impulse. Warp speed is faster-than-light, or FTL. Each successive speed factor is cubed ... I'm no mathemetician. For a really in depth explanation, you can go here or read Black Holes and Baby Universes by Stephen Hawking. He explains it better than I ever could.

By the way, when he did his guest starring spot on ST:TNG (no, I'm not making this up), they gave him a tour of the set and when they got to the warp core, he said, "I'm working on that."

Keep working, dude.

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Comments (1)

Bren:

"Charlie's jacket in the opening looks like something Karl Lagerfeld designed. This is not a compliment."

= GOLD.