Kirk and crew meet the man responsible for, well, pretty much all of Starfleet and the Federation. Originally broadcast on November 10, 1967 this is Metamorphosis.
Captain’s Log Stardate 3219.8
While transporting a Federation Commissioner to the Enterprise to take her to a medical facility for treatment, Shuttlecraft Galileo is pulled off course only to land on an asteroid where they find the creator of Warp technology, Zefram Cochrane. Shocked that this man is still young and in good health, they learn that he has been living with a being known as the Companion, who seems to be there for the sole purpose of protecting this historical icon. The Companion soon becomes violent but Cochrane prevents it from being killed. Soon it is discovered that The Companion is a female being who has become enthralled with Cochrane, determined to keep him alive even if it means that Kirk and the others never return home.
Commissioner Hedford’s illness worsens and it seems she will die but The Companion sacrifices it’s own immortality to save Hedford allowing Cochrane and the others to leave if they wish to. However, Hedford/Companion is now unable to leave the asteroid of she will die. Cochrane agrees to remain with her for the remainder of their lives as long as Kirk keeps his existence secret. Kirk and the crew leave knowing that Zefram Cochrane and Commissioner Hedford are still alive and happy with their fate.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
This is a pretty interesting episode that explores some of the ‘early history’ of the Federation and human interstellar flight. I particularly love how this episode, which is the first to introduce Cochrane, gives an answer as to what became of the man we later meet during Star Trek First Contact during the first contact between humans and Vulcans. While we never get a complete explanation as to what exactly The Companion is or was, we do learn that it was an alien intelligence that fell in love with an aging Cochrane and vowed to protect him no matter what. I have to wonder if it too was lonely as well bringing Cochrane to her by will or just by mistake. In a way, the Companion is the complete opposite of Armus from Star Trek TNG, as it is a benevolent being dedicated to protecting one life where Armus was a creature determined to kill all it could. Ironically, they were both alone and seemingly lonely although quite powerful.
Overall, Metamorphosis feels like the start of a story that never really gets a resolution. When the episode ends, Cochrane is essentially in the same situation he was in originally but now, certain to die as is the Companion creature. Now, sure, that’s sort of the point here as this original series is episodic rather than serial but there is something pretty significant finding the person who discovered warp technology and just leaving them. It’s like finding Abraham Lincoln alive on an island and saying, eh, just hang out here, I’ll never let anyone know. Then, there is a significant issue with the Companion literally taking the body of the dying Commissioner. Sure Commissioner Hedford was dying and gave permission but I don’t think she had much of a choice in the matter and now her body is being inhabited by a being and are something new. Seems sketchy at best and cringey for sure seeing that the Companion only did it so she could be with Cochrane. If you can squint your eyes at the ending a bit, it’s a decent episode about love and sacrifice, but, as always, there’s a cost.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
- It appears that they recovered the Galileo shuttle from the adventure Spock had after crash landing it last season.
- This is the first appearance of Zefram Cochrane in the Star Trek franchise although it indicates that he was from Alpha Centauri and not Earth. It can be assumed that Cochrane left Earth and settled on Alpha Centauri sometime after first contact but it has never been established.
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Late To The Game 2/9/2022
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