Dangerous combination of adolescent with great power
Jan 24, 2005
This episode has my favorite line in the original series, "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." Every teenager has to hear those words, but none needs to hear them more than Charlie Evans does. He was marooned on a planet as a young child and grew to adolescence in isolation. Recently rescued, he combines the emotional instability of a teenager with the great power of the Thasians. They somehow managed to give him the power to move and alter matter using only his thoughts. At first, no one suspects that he is so powerful, but soon the Enterprise crew realizes how dangerous he is. Fortunately, Charlie respects captain Kirk as a father figure, so Kirk maintains some control over him. Nevertheless, Charlie is still a rebellious teenager, so the control is fading rapidly. Furthermore, Charlie has a deep crush on Yeoman Rand, and he won't stay away from her. Kirk tries to take the Enterprise away from all human outposts, but Charlie takes control of the ship and Kirk realizes he has no choice but to challenge Charlie, even though it will probably lead to his death. At the point where the climactic battle is about to take place, a Thasian arrives and releases the ship. This leads to one of the saddest scenes in the series, where Charlie pleads to stay on the Enterprise. All parents will understand the "I'll be good" plea of a child that has done something terribly wrong and is facing severe punishment. The Thasian proves to be very wise, noting that Charlie will either destroy them or they will be forced to destroy him to save themselves. In many ways, this is a remake of "Where No Man Has Gone Before", the second pilot of the series. A human acquires great powers and simply does not know how to deal with them. In that sense, coming sequentially so close to the second pilot, this story is not nearly as powerful as it could have been. What makes it better than the pilot in many ways is the performance of Robert Walker Jr. as the frustrated adolescent. He understands the power and you can see the intense emotional hurt in his face when he doesn't get what he wants. Like all other teenagers he thinks he knows so much more about life and the world than he really does. There is one aspect of this episode that I wish the producers had incorporated more into other episodes of the series and the subsequent movies. I am referring to Nichelle Nichols singing. She is very talented and while she did sing in a few other episodes, in my opinion, it was far too rare an event. Especially in many of the episodes of the last season, which could have used the spark that she would have provided. I rank the episode in the top fifty percent, but not by much.
Teenage adolescence is both awesome and horrifying. You start to have sexual feelings, think about the future and enjoy those times with your friends before they leave for school and maybe even a job. The other side of the coin can include some alienation to older people who may not take you seriously cause you are still "just a kid" your body changes in odd ways and it IS the first sign of growing up where you gotta let go of those days of being a kid and start taking life … more
Teenager from hell comes aboard the Enterprise and bonds to Kirk as a father figure and Rand as someone to fawn over. Couple this with deadly mind powers and this is one kid you don't mess with when he asks for keys to the starship or wants to have a party on board. Kirk manages to not look weak to the kid and must find a way to outsmart him.
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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Broadcast episode 2 of the originalStar Trekseries, the memorable "Charlie X," stars Robert Walker Jr. as a troubled teen presenting two big problems: pathological immaturity and powerful telekinetic powers. After he wills the destruction of a starship that drops him off with theEnterprise, the titular delinquent stalks a female member of the crew and creates havoc using his terrifying ability to make people, in his own words, "go away."--Tom Keogh