Star Trek - The Original Series, Episode 79: Turnabout Intruder
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This, the final episode of the originalStar Trekseries, is a doozy. Dr. Janice Lester, scientist and ex-flame of Captain Kirk, uses alien technology to switch bodies with him. As Kirk fights to regain control of his body and theEnterprise, the ship's … see full wiki
Strong acting by Shatner as a woman in a man's body
Jul 29, 2004
Some of the best acting that William Shatner has ever done is in this episode. Many years earlier, Captain Kirk and Dr. Janice Lester had loved and then parted. He went on to captain a star ship and although she went on to a career in archeology, she remained psychotically obsessed with Kirk. In her studies, she finds a machine that is capable of transferring personalities between bodies. By arranging to have nearly all of the members of her team die of radiation poisoning, Janice Lester is able to lure the Enterprise to Camus II. She is able to get Kirk alone with her and she transfers her personality into Kirk's body and Kirk's personality into her body. They beam back to the Enterprise, where "Kirk" starts behaving irrationally. His facial expressions and mannerisms change, which is immediately recognized by the crew. Eventually, McCoy orders "Kirk" to submit to a complete set of physical and emotional tests, which reveal nothing unusual. While this is happening, Spock meets with "Lester" and after performing a Vulcan mine meld, Spock realizes that the transfer has occurred. "Kirk" is rapidly growing more irrational, "his" movements and speech becoming more psychotic and taking on a more feminine form. Spock is accused of treason and a hearing is convened. During the hearing, Scotty also realizes that "Kirk" is not right and speaks to McCoy during a recess. Their conversation is recorded and played back as "Kirk" accuses them of mutiny. He then sentences them to death, which then forces the remaining officers to make a decision. They refuse to follow orders and eventually the personality transfer is reversed. What makes this episode work is the acting of Shatner while Kirk is possessed by the personality of Janice. His facial features and gestures become more feminine in subtle but obvious ways and his hysteria is kept well within reasonable bounds. The scene where "Kirk" tries to convince her lover to kill "Janice" was well played, although within the strict limits of the times. Having one male touch another in a loving manner was certainly not possible in the world of network television in 1969. The weakest part of the episode is the mild way in which everyone reacts to the alleged transfer. It would have been a simple matter for "Kirk" and "Lester" to be asked questions that only James Kirk would know. Those tests would have been sufficient evidence for Dr. McCoy to temporarily relieve "Kirk" of his command. Nevertheless, the strong overcomes the weak and this is one of the better episodes of the final season.
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