An Enterprise shuttlecraft carrying Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Federation Commissioner Nancy Hedford is taken off course by a strange force and deposited on a small planet. Nothing in the shuttle appears to work and suddenly a man appears and greets them. He is very glad to see them, inviting them back to his dwelling. Commissioner Hedford is suffering from a fatal disease, so Kirk tries to pry information out of their host. The mysterious energy cloud that grabbed the shuttlecraft is an intelligent being, and the unknown man turns out to be Zephram Cochrane, the inventor of the warp drive. However, he should have been dead for many decades, so the Enterprise group is suspicious of his claims. After investigation, Spock discovers that the energy being, which Cochrane refers to as the companion, is composed largely of electrical fields. Spock tries to short it out, but the being retaliates. They then try the universal translator and discover that it is female and is in essence Cochrane's lover. He rebels at the idea of having such a relationship, but finally comes to grips with the reality. In the meantime, Commissioner Hedford rapidly grows worse and is on the verge of death. Kirk manages to explain to the companion how humans react to captivity and that it is wrong to keep the humans on the planet against their will. At the moment when the Commissioner dies, the companion enters her body and they fuse to become a single entity. The companion is now mortal and Cochrane realizes that he loves the fused entity and decides to stay with her. The Enterprise crew then leaves the planet and Kirk promises not to tell anyone about them. This episode introduces the character of Zephram Cochrane, love and a form of sexual union between two vastly different species and the universal translator. It is the original series episode that deals the most with the idea of self-sacrifice for love. The companion gives up immortality for love and Cochrane gives up freedom and the adulation due a hero to stay with the companion. Love and sex between two species (human and non-human) is something that will eventually happen and there will be those who will find it obscene. In this episode, it is handled with class and dignity, and they live happily ever after.
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Charles Ashbacher (CharlesAshbacher)
Charlie Ashbacher is a compulsive reader and writer about many subjects. His prime areas of expertise are in mathematics and computers where he has taught every course in the mathematics and computer … more
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Captain Kirk (William Shatner), Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy), and Dr. McCoy (DeForest Kelley) accompany a Federation ambassador (Elinor Donahue ofFather Knows Best) aboard a shuttle bound for a rendezvous with theEnterprise. The ambassador, Commissioner Nancy Hedford, needs to be treated for possible contact with an alien disease, and she haughtily insists that her escorts get through this interruption in her work as quickly as possible. But a vaporous, translucent life form called "the Companion" has other ideas, traveling across space in search of humans who can ease the loneliness of a pilot (Glenn Corbett) marooned on a barren planet for more than a century. Kirk, however, offers the stranded man an alternative: a return to civilization. Whether he wants it is another matter--he and the Companion share an extraordinary intimacy of the mind and heart. A kind of chamber drama largely set in a single locale, "Metamorphosis" was written by series producer Gene L. Coon and directed by frequentTrekhelmsman Ralph Senensky. Guest stars Corbett and Donahue are a bit monotonous in their performances, a little under par for a guest shot on the series. But Coon's story compensates with another fascinating application of one of his pet themes: empathy shared between different species. Kirk and Spock's knowing looks, as they begin to understand the Companion's true feelings for her captive man, by themselves make this episode worth watching.--Tom Keogh