‘You’re older than you’ve ever been
And now you’re even older
And now you’re even older
And now you’re even older.
You’re older than you’ve ever been
And now you’re even older,
And now you’re older still.’
- They Might be Giants ‘Older’
Yep, this one is about crew members getting old….except for one. Originally broadcast on December 8, 1967, this is The Deadly Years.
Captain’s Log Stardate 3478.2
On a routine mission to resupply the Gamma Hydra IV colony, the Enterprise crew discovers the entire colony has aged exponentially. Soon the away team is struck by the same illness causing all of them to begin to rapidly age, with the exception of Chekov. With only weeks to live until they die of old age, they begin to search for answers. Things get more difficult when Kirk begins having trouble captaining the vessel causing Spock to call his command into question. Kirk is relieved of command and McCoy is forced to use an experimental serum derived from Chekov’s blood on him in hopes that they can cure him before his death. Just when things couldn’t get worse, the Enterprise is attacked by the Romulans after Commodore Stocker mistakenly orders them to plot a course through the Neutral Zone.
Just when everything seems lost, a revived Kirk arrives on the bridge and, using the classic Carbonite Maneuver, he tricks the Romulans into calling off the attack allowing Enterprise to return to Federation space.
In the end, the crew is rejuvenated and an antidote is created to prevent the illness from spreading. Kirk notes that the Stocker learned a valuable lesson having never served aboard a starship before. Placing Sulu in command, Kirk takes a much needed rest.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
This one is interesting as it begins with a mystery that slowly begins to envelope the crew little at a time. While it’s not the most original of concepts, stories about abrupt aging wasn’t a new idea even in the 60’s, the way they go about the aging is very impressive. In fact, unless you are paying attention, you won’t notice the very subtle signs of this affliction in the hair and skin of the affected crew members, that is until Scotty shows up looking like a grandfather. For a series of this time, I have to say that the makeup effects are quite impressive even in the ‘extreme’ old age looks. Sure, it consists mostly of some heavy makeup and hair frosting, but it is extremely well done.
The episode itself is a mixed bag of a medical mystery, a bunch of people acting old, a Captain’s mentality in question and a ship threat making for a rather complicated and almost convoluted story line. While it seems to be a bit of a mess, somehow it all works as the problems build on one another creating further difficulties one after another like a story version of a Rube Goldberg Machine.
Overall, this isn’t the most memorable of episodes but it is a good one that works despite itself. I particularly enjoyed how they managed to maintain continuity with a previous episode with Kirk using the ‘Corbomite Maneuver’ once again. While the solution to the super-aging virus being Chekov’s adrenaline was a little…odd…for the most part, it’s a solid entry worth watching.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
- We learn that Kirk is 34 and he was engaged to a woman by the name of Janet Wallace.
- We learn that Sulu has served with Kirk for two years at the time of this episode.
- Apparently the Romulans have cracked several of Starfleet’s communication codes since they faced off last season.
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: I,Mudd
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Late To The Game 3/2/2022
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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