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Old June 13 2013, 11:28 PM   #59
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Re: Joel Revisits TOS....

**This was actually supposed to be reviewed before 'Balance of Terror.' So, we're 'trekking' backward this time before we get back on course with 'What Are Little Girls Made Of?'**

Charlie X

Story: 17-year-old Charlie Evans is picked up by the U.S.S. Antares from Thasus where a colony vessel crashlanded 14 years prior. Charlie comes off as extremely immature, and becomes a threat when he is discovered to have powers to wish people away when they upset them, as well as manipulate people and hardware.

Ideology/Themes: The idea of growing up and knowing what right and wrong is can be one of the most challenging 'treks' a person – of any age - can have.

Plot Holes: I couldn't find any.

Miscellaneous Thoughts:
There was probably a reason I forgot to review this episode, namely because it is a forgettable episode, in my opinion. It's servicable, given that it is written by prominent author D.C. Fontana, but it doesn't doesn't break new ground.

This episode has similarities with Jerome Bixby's 'It's a Good Life' for The Twilight Zone. Both have 'villains' who need to grow up or who lack much needed adult supervision. However, Kirk in the climax has run out of patience with Charlie, who at that point has become a signficant threat, and is about to knock Charlie out before a Thasian appears to take the 17-year-old away. It's interesting that Charlie even gets scared. (Unlike the Twilight Zone episodes protagonists, the Enterprise crew actually act on trying to get their villain subdued).

William Shatner gets another 'shout out' with his performance, which – again – is subtle. Even when he is hit with Chalie's power. The scene where Kirk explains why a man shouldn't hit a woman on the butt is pretty funny as Kirk stumbles with his words, since this it is assumed this is the first time he has to play big brother to a young man learning about his sexuality.

The scene with Uhura comes off slightly cheesy. I'm not a big fan of the singing, although Nichelle Nichols looks good having her moment. Spock is interesting since he seems to be taking in the crowd (and Uhura's antics) with a slight smile.

It's left up in the open what happened with Charlie. Did he grow up and learn from his mistakes? Did he grow up and try to take over worlds? Did he lose his power? (Billy Mumy's antagonist from that aforementioned Twilight Zone episode actually got a follow up in the 21st century Twilight Zone series). It's not entirely clear, and I had to look online for this information, but Charlie received his power from the Thasians to survive while he was on Thasus. I always thought that he was a lost Thaisan and just happened to be within a human colony. (Note: Trek has done this before, breezing thorugh plot information – obviously, the best episodes are the ones where everything is understood within the episode, kind of like 'Balance of Terror' which comes after this episode).

I have to point out the mixture of women wearing regulation skirts and regulation pants. This is something that the current Trek films has also shown, and something that was lost in later Trek series. This episode shows that a woman can be sexy and professional at the same time, feminity doesn't have to be robbed to show 'progress' - which obviously isn't real progress if it is thought that having women dressed from head to toe shows them equal to men, the same as when people got upset that TNGStar Trek: The Next Generation - had men in 'skirts' or 'skants' for the first season. Gender roles in regards to Trek writers and fans needed work later on, and it showed that Trek and some of its fans weren't as progressive as they thought they were.

Janice gets her moment to shine, even though it's in regards to another man who is lusting after her. The first time (that we saw onscreen) she had to fend off a man who didn't take 'no' as an answer was Kirk's double in 'The Enemy Within.' This time it's Charlie Evans who – at first – she thinks his crush is cute, but later says she is going to 'hurt him' if he doesnt' back off when he – Evans – gets a bit too pushy and creepy.

As a contrast to Charlie, I thought 17-year-old Tina Lawton was likable. She only showed up for two scenes, but I liked her character. (Of course, I wonder whether or not it was because she was attractive and in her blue Starfleet outfit). There is already a sense of maturity and duty since she is on a vessel where there is a chance she could lose her life. To paraphrase, as we hear in various sci-fi shows (and James Bond films) 'she knows the risks.'

Two little things I thought was always hilariously annoying; nitpicky things. Officer Tom Nellis' hair (that guy from the U.S.S. Antares) and the shape of Charlie's head. Nellis' hair was very 1950s/1960s and definitely dates this episode, but not at the point to where it overshadows and grates the enjoyment of the episode. In regards to Charlie's head, I – as the viewer – wanted to slap that head because I became so annoyed with the character. Interestingly, I – like some of the Enterprise crew – felt sorry for the guy when the Thasian came to take him away, but there was still relief that he was gone.

The Thasian shown is the same actor who portrayed the 'Kyben leader' in the Outer Limits episode 'Demon with a Glass Hand' (written by another Trek alumnus, Harlan Ellison). Obviously, this information isn't new, but it's interesting to point.

Score: 3.0 out of 5. As aforementioned, this is a forgettable episode, and would be followed up with the more memorable 'Balance of Terror' which did challenge audiences with its storyline and character interactions.

Star Trek will return
'What Are Little Girls Made Of?'

Last edited by Joel_Kirk; June 13 2013 at 11:57 PM.
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