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 seriously. No one taught this to Charlie Evans, the title character of this episode and when you learn he has been abandoned for most of his life, and is a teenager. He has feelings that are developing but his mounting frustration makes him lash out in lethal ways.
The Enterprise has met up with a cargo ship that found young Charlie living among himself. Charlie seems out of place having been living alone so long but sees Kirk like a dad to give him advice. His first sight of a woman is the lovely Janice Rand and is instantly smitten with her. Ol' Charlie needs to ask Jim why it's impolite to slap Rand on the ass at one point.
Slowly but surely as anything else, Kirk and Spock get to sense that Charlie is dangerous. It's hinted at when they learn the ship that delivered Charlie suddenly is destroyed but further hammered home when Charlie makes a crew member dissapear solely for laughing at him when Kirk and Charlie work out. Charlie's emotions are in full teenager swing and angst and anyone who starts to upset him can meet an end. Kirk can't simply shoot Charlie, a danger to his ship cause Charlie made the phasers dissapear and attempts to trap him fail since Charlie can immobilize anyone arround him. Sending him to an Earth colony will not only endanger the inhabitants but the Enterprise could meet a fate similar to the ship that previously brought Charlie. It looks like Kirk is stuck with this teenage brat and will have to wheather his tantrums and outbursts. Or will he?
I may not have a child, let alone one who is a teenager but as much as I did want to see Kirk outsmart this kid, you do feel for Charlie at the same time. He's not mean so much as he is misunderstood and being thrust into civilization after so long is hard.
It's hard for all of us Charlie, and if you think about it: Star Trek back in 1966 predicted the High School shooting.
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