The First Q is an X? Originally broadcast on September 15, 1966 this is Charlie X.
Captain’s Log Stardate 1533.6
After picking up a stranded boy who had been alone on a planet for most of his life, the Enterprise crew head to reunite him with his relatives on Colony Alpha 5. Soon they discover that Charles Evans is no ordinary kid and somehow has gained powers in the fourteen years by himself on the planet Thasus. Raised with no guidance, Charlie begins to abuse his abilities torturing the crew until the alien race known as the Thasians appear and explain that they granted Charlie powers in order to survive but it is clear that Charlie is not mature enough to rejoin humanity. Taking him back despite his plea’s, The Thasians leave with Charlie relieving Enterprise of their adolescent threat.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
Charlie X plays out very similarly to the classic Twilight Zone episode It’s A Good Life which also involves a kid with powers who never had an opportunity to learn manners and acts quite immaturely. Much like Anthony Fredmont from the Twilight Zone episode, Charlie is challenged to find his place among people but has a penitent for getting his own way and using his ‘godlike’ powers to, well, cause some serious issues. I find it interesting that the crew of the freighter that dropped Charlie off act much like the family of Anthony as well, giving the implication that Charlie tormented them just as he went on to torment the crew of the Enterprise.
I really love how this episode gives Janice Rand the focus as Charlie finds himself smitten with her from the get go. Sure, she is tormented by the adolescent teen, but Grace Lee Whitney, who portrays Rand, does a tremendous job in her role. She comes across as fully believable and genuinely frightened by Charlie and his antics with Kirk doing all he can to coach the young godlike being.
Although More of a horror story than that of a science fiction, this is a truly classic episode that works on pretty much every level. Actor Robert Walker, who would go on to gain many more credits to his name, fully owned his role as the wayward godlike being and, sadly, we never learn what happens to Charlie after this episode. Maybe he was indeed, the first Q… or….is that someone yet to come?
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
- We learn that the Enterprise crew complement is 428.
- We see the first appearance of the Vulcan Lute.
- We also see the first appearance of Three Dimensional Chess.
- We get a great sampling of Uhura singing in this episode too!
- Now, lets be frank here. If the Thasians were not early Q members who gave Charlie X powers, I don’t know what they could be. I mean, sure it’s possible that there are a ton of other random super beings out in the cosmos but, seriously, how perfect would it be if they were in fact an offshoot of the Q somehow?
- Redshirts killed: 0:0
Thanks for reading the Retro TV Review, I look forward to discussing the rest of the series with you, one episode at a time every Monday, Wednesday and Friday! Next Review: Balance of Terror
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Late To The Game 12/17/2021
Special Thanks to Memory Alpha as they are one of the best sources for details on Star Trek information available. Although I have a pretty deep knowledge on the subject, they have proven invaluable as a regular resource.
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