Star Trek: The Original Series – Episode 2 – Charlie X [Remastered]


Fair warning, I’ve seen this episode before. I didn’t really like it the first time I saw it. There’s a lot of snark in this review. As usual, click on “read more of this post” to see the full review.

Watch this episode at CBS.com

SUMMARY

You know that teenage boy in high school who was the “creepy kid”? Charlie has him beat. By miles.

Click the picture for a full summary from the startrek.com database.

REVIEW

Charlie is the sole survivor of a shuttle crash on an “uninhabited” planet when he was three years old, and lived for fourteen years without any contact with other humans. Unfortunately, he’s not nearly as adorably clueless (or hot) as Brendan Frasier’s George of the Jungle. In fact, he has the crew of his prior transport ship scared to death of him. The captain of the Antares is like the parent of a spoiled child who’s looking for a babysitter for the weekend:

CAPTAIN RAMART: Wonderful boy, Charlie. Its been an honor having him aboard… You see, we’d like to keep Charlie with us, but with his closest living relatives on Colony Five and your vessel going that way, why…
CHARLIE: I’d like to see your ship now. All of it. The people and everything.
KIRK: You keep interrupting, Mr. Evans. That’s considered wrong.

That’s annoying trait #1 of Charlie Evans. It’s a constant struggle for attention on his part.

Yeoman Rand shows up to escort Charlie to his quarters, and you can practically hear him get his first boner when he first sees her.

CHARLIE: Are you a girl? (to Kirk) Is that a girl?
KIRK: That’s a girl.

[Pounds head on desk] SO CREEPY!

Charlie sees a couple of crewmen in the hallway chatting it up, and one gives the other a playful slap on the ass. Was that more acceptable in the 1960s? I understand football players doing a bit of booty slappin’, but military officers in the workplace?

Yes, I'm going to use this picture a lot.

Because of this, Charlie thinks that it’s perfectly acceptable to give Miss Janice Rand a little tap on the booty as a sign of friendship. She looks like she wants to kick him in the balls. But she doesn’t. She won’t even explain to him what he did wrong. She tells him to have Captain Kirk explain it.

Spock is in the rec room, rocking out on his Vulcan lyre, and Uhura starts to sing a jazzy song poking fun at him. I’m really loving how adorable Spock and Uhura are together. It seems so weird, but it works well.

Charlie walks in and Uhura starts singing about him, too. This messes with Charlie’s fragile little psyche, and he uses his crazy powers to make her lose her voice. With Uhura out of the way, Charlie starts impressing Rand with his mad card trick skillz, because, you know, that’s the best way to pick up chicks in a bar. [So much sarcasm.]

The Enterprise picks up an urgent warning from the Antares, but before the captain can finish his warning, the transmission is cut off. The Antares explodes. Other weird stuff begins happening, too, like meatloaf turning into live turkeys.

However, instead of dwelling on the explosion of Charlie’s first transport ship (and the sudden increase of live poultry on the ship), Kirk and Spock decide that it’s time to play a game of 3D chess. Charlie wants to try (because he has to be involved with everything) and is quickly beaten by Spock. Spock leaves the room, and Charlie melts the chess pieces with his mind. Like some crazy eight-year-old Drew Barrymore.

Rand tries introducing Charlie to another crewmember his own age, but Charlie is showing some true cougar-loving tendencies, and basically ignores the other girl.

CHARLIE: She’s not the same. Not like you. She’s, she’s just a girl. You’re, you smell like a girl. All the other girls on the ship they, they look just like Tina. You’re the only one who looks like you. You can understand, can’t you? You know about being with somebody? Wanting to be? If I had the whole universe I’d give it to you. When I see you, I feel like I’m hungry all over. Hungry. Do you know how that feels?

HO-LY-SHIT-HE-IS-A-SU-PER-CREE-PER.

Kirk decides to mentor Charlie and give him some of his patented Captain Kirk Love Advice™.

CHARLIE: I don’t know what I am or what I’m supposed to be, or even who. I don’t know why I hurt so much inside all the time.
KIRK: You’ll live, believe me. There’s nothing wrong with you that hasn’t gone wrong with every other human male since the model first came up.
CHARLIE: What if you care for someone? What do you do?
KIRK: You go slow. You be gentle. I mean, it’s not a one-way street, you know, how you feel and that’s all. It’s how the girl feels, too. Don’t press, Charlie. If the girl feels anything for you at all, you’ll know it. Do you understand?
CHARLIE: You don’t think Janice… She could love me!
KIRK: She’s not the girl, Charlie. The years are wrong, for one thing, and there are other things.
CHARLIE: She can.
KIRK: No, Charlie.
CHARLIE: She is.
KIRK: No.
CHARLIE: But if I did what you said! If I was gentle!

Yes, Captain Kirk… be gentle. *cue soft jazz music*

As if the love advice wasn’t enough, Kirk takes Charlie to the gym, because nothing will set a confused teen straight like grappling with sweaty older men. Charlie fights like a wussy little girl, and one of the other guys in the gym laughs at him. So, Charlie makes him disappear. NOW Kirk realizes that there is something messed up with this kid. He gets security to come to the gym to take him back to his quarters, and Charlie makes all the phasers on the ship disappear. Spock, Kirk, and McCoy wonder if he possibly picked up his powers from a rumored race of aliens that are supposedly from the same planet that Charlie grew up on. Turns out, Charlie made the Antares blow up, and he’s now in control of the Enterprise.

On an aside note, can I just say how much I hate this kind of lighting in Star Trek? It’s really prevalent in this episode, and it’s almost as bad as the acting:

Oh so emo...

Kirk is trying to take back control of the ship, but Charlie is fighting back, zapping Uhura and making Spock quote poetry. That was actually one of my favorite parts of the episode. Zombie Spock quoting poetry. For once I agree with Charlie:

SPOCK: Once upon a midnight dreary while I pondered, weak and weary.
CHARLIE: Very nice, Mr. Ears. Oh, I can make him do anything, whirl around, laugh, anything.
KIRK: That’s enough, Charlie.
CHARLIE: Don’t you think he’s funny? I think he’s funny.

Charlie, on the way to Rand’s quarters, turns Tina (the girl from earlier into the episode) into an iguana. He gets to Rand’s quarters, and things start to get terrifying:

CHARLIE: I have something for you. [Holds out a rose] Pink is your favorite, isn’t it?
RAND: You don’t walk into a room without knocking.
CHARLIE: Don’t ever lock your door on me again, Janice. I love you.
RAND: I’ll lock it when I please. What is it you want, anyway?
CHARLIE: You. I only want to be nice to you. I can give you anything. Just, just tell me.
RAND: I want you to get out.
CHARLIE: I love you.
RAND: You don’t know what the word means.
CHARLIE: Then show me.
RAND: No!

She slaps him, and he makes her disappear. He momentarily incapacitates Spock and Kirk, and literally removes the faces of some crewmembers who are laughing. What a little asshole.

Kirk realizes that it might be possible to short-circuit Charlie’s powers by turning on every system on the ship. Charlie walks in, sits in the Captain’s chair, and IT’S ON. Kirk is pissed. He and McCoy start flipping switches, turning on everything they can. Charlie loses control, and a Thasian ship appears. The Great and Powerful Oz appears on the bridge, and demands that Charlie returns with them.

A Thasian

The Great and Powerful Oz

This is the absolute worst part of the episode. Charlie loses it, and begins overacting like crazy. It is the most melodramatic, soap opera moment of Trek I have ever seen, and it is horrible. Finally, thankfully, Charlie disappears, the Thasian disappears, the ship is returned to normal. Good thing, too, because there was turkey poop everywhere.

MORAL OF THE STORY

Teenagers are evil. Be glad yours doesn’t have super powers.

RATING

I give this episode the rank of Lieutenant Junior Grade.  1.5 pips out of 4. The idea of the episode was good, the writing wasn’t bad, and some of the acting was great (Spock and Uhura were hilarious in their scenes). However, Charlie, and in some cases Kirk, really overacted and made it hard to watch at times.

TOMORROW ON THE STAR TREK CHALLENGE: Where No Man Has Gone Before

See you tomorrow,

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7 Responses to Star Trek: The Original Series – Episode 2 – Charlie X [Remastered]

  1. Pingback: Star Trek TOS – Episode 3 – Where No Man Has Gone Before [Remastered] « The Star Trek Challenge

  2. Denim says:

    I noticed that right before the warning from the Antares, Kirk managed to change his shirt on the turbolift with Charlie in there. What kind of man lessons was going on in that turbolift?

  3. Pingback: Star Trek TOS – Episode 5 – The Enemy Within « The Star Trek Challenge

  4. Pingback: Review Of The Star Trek Captain Kirk

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