Episode of the Week : Charlie X

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Botany Bay, Feb 28, 2014.

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Rate "Charlie X"

Poll closed Mar 7, 2014.
  1. 1

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  2. 2

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  3. 3

    0 vote(s)
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  4. 4

    0 vote(s)
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  5. 5

    2 vote(s)
    7.1%
  6. 6

    3 vote(s)
    10.7%
  7. 7

    13 vote(s)
    46.4%
  8. 8

    8 vote(s)
    28.6%
  9. 9

    2 vote(s)
    7.1%
  10. 10

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. Botany Bay

    Botany Bay Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Each week we're having a look at a TOS episode, going through the series in production order. Please rate the episode out of ten, and have your say below. As usual, I'll record the scores so we can rank TOS in order of popularity when we finally get through them all.


    This week : Charlie X
     
  2. Runetouch

    Runetouch Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Jan 22, 2014
    7.5. Rounding it off, I get 8.
     
  3. Use of Time

    Use of Time Commodore Commodore

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    I'll give it a solid 8. Charlie was a creepy character and I liked the way they played up the Kirk "father figure" aspect of the story.
     
  4. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    I give it a 7. Solid outing. Though it is my wife's favorite episode of Star Trek.
     
  5. 2takesfrakes

    2takesfrakes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I ranked it as #8. Though not without its problems, it is a strong episode. What I found particularly effective was when Kirk starts, rather hesitantly and unenthusiastically, to try to defend Charlie to the aliens who've come back for him. Even going so far as to say that the boy should "be with his own kind." Charlie, of course freaking out and everything. I don't know why I liked that so much. I guess because it does show the kind of leader that Kirk is. He has every reason to want Charlie off his ship and wrapped in heavy chains, but instead, tries to show mercy, however futile he knows this might be.
     
  6. Ssosmcin

    Ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    "When I came aboard!!!!!"

    Sorry, someone had to say it...

    Not a favorite. The rec room scene goes on FAR too long and Uhura gets not one, but two AWFUL songs to warble. For better use of her talents, I prefer The Conscience of the King.

    Otherwise, it's really just a Star Trek remake of The Twilight Zone's "It's a Good Life" or a coming of age version of WNMHGB. Good performances and some really chilling stuff (the faceless woman is right out of Rod Serling's bag of tricks). I give it a 5 for chills, but otherwise, as the second episode aired, it falls far short of what I tune into Star Trek to see.

    Trivia: this is the only episode of the series proper not to use a single clip of the "series" Enterprise model. All shots of the ship are from the two pilots.
     
  7. mach7

    mach7 Commander Red Shirt

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    I give it a 7.

    Great episode for Kirk and Rand.

    But it kind of drags, It feels to me like it could have used another re-write.

    Also, it's kind of an odd Star Trek story, As said before More of Twilight Zone episode.
     
  8. scotpens

    scotpens Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I like the rec room scene with Uhura singing. It's part of the byplay and banter among the regular cast that we saw early in the first season, which fleshed out the characters and made them more human.
     
  9. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    I give it an 8.

    I can't say with certainty this is first, but this episode is among my earliest recollections of seeing Star Trek on television. And over the years I've heard a lot of people dump on this episode, but whenever I watch I find myself liking it on some levels.

    Firstly there's early TOS' execution which is often quite good. The performances are also usually there. And perhaps on some level I can identify just enough with Charlie because I was about eleven years old when I first saw this. Even after all these years I find this is one story with a youth in it that doesn't make me cringe and gag.

    That said if there's anything that really dates this story it's seeing the Enterprise crew struggle with trying to explain the facts of life to young Charlie---it's very much of its time since this was a subject matter that was dicey to dance around on television of that era.

    It would be easy to play it safe and just give this a fair rating, but in all honesty I find myself liking it a little more than that.
     
  10. The Old Mixer

    The Old Mixer Auld Lang Mod Moderator

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    It has its cringeworthy aspects, but is generally entertaining with a good early Season 1 vibe. It was creepier the first time with Bill Mumy. (Did Charlie send his victims to the same cornfield...?)
     
  11. Pauln6

    Pauln6 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The super-powered human comes a bit too fast on the heels of WNMhgb but I like this episode. The Rec Deck scene is fun, Charlie is both creepy, dangerous, and sympathetic - where is the ship's counselor when they actually need one for a change? :P

    The special effects in the episode are some of my strongest early memories of Trek. Uhura gets a fun scene and it is probably Rand's meatiest episode, although I wish they had credited the woman (or pretty much any woman in TOS) with a bit more common sense.
     
  12. The Old Mixer

    The Old Mixer Auld Lang Mod Moderator

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    Troi would have been in the cornfield before the second commercial break!
     
  13. Push The Button

    Push The Button Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Charlie had no redeeming qualities, he was just a cruel monster in my opinion. I give the episode a seven, it was made with lots of that great Season One special sauce that made it memorable.

    A great performance by Grace Lee Whitney, plus it contains that famous Gene Roddenberry voice cameo.
     
  14. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Charlie was an interesting kind of monster. he was a 17 year old without any human guidance whatsoever. He was obviously quite curious about so many things ye he knew nothing about relating to others. in some respects he was quite similar to some teenagers who can be incredibly self-absorbed, but those kids don't have the power to make their annoyances vanish or melt into a puddle. Couple that with a lack of impulse control that quite a few teenagers can experience.
     
  15. Botany Bay

    Botany Bay Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    There is a terrific little scene at the start of the episode where Kirk asks McCoy to provide Charlie with an adult role model, and McCoy tries to get out of it by suggesting Charlie needs a strong role model like Kirk. Kirk then shoots him down, telling him that flattery will get him nowhere. The look on Kelley's face is just priceless. A really nice bit of acting between Shatner and Kelley.

    If you look at the scene where Kirk is explaining why Janice didn't like Charlie slapping her on the backside, Kirk is wearing his standard uniform when he's summoned to the bridge for the Antares distress call. He tells Uhura he's on his way, and when he exits the turbolift, he's suddenly wearing his green wrap!

    Speaking of the Antares, is Captain Ramart a bit of a coward? To offload Charlie onto a ship with 430 people doesn't seem very Starfleet. Or was the Antares not part of the fleet? It's hard to tell in these early episodes. I suppose you could argue Charlie's control of the Antares and its crew was total, and the only time he could warn Kirk was via a distress call when Charlie was 'out of range' or distracted.
     
  16. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    No, Ramart's not a coward. It's obvious that Charlie has them under his control the moment they beam aboard. Ramart had no free will at all until they were out of Charlie's range.

    Charlie later says, "Running the Antares was easy."
     
  17. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    That's actually addressed in Justman's (now infamous, I suppose) second season memo about the Starfleet emblem:

     
  18. CrazyMatt

    CrazyMatt Captain Captain

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    A good, solid 7. One of the better episodes in a strong first season.

    That scene with the faceless girl really freaked my out for years...
     
  19. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, I freaked out to the woman with no face as a kid, and the ending is very well put together. I also love Charlie's outfits and the verisimilitude of the Antares uniforms. Kirk's man-to-man talk with Charlie is also a high point. This episode gets a lot of crap from fans, but I really love it. In between the two pilots over all, so:

    7.
     
  20. Botany Bay

    Botany Bay Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    There you go. Thanks Harvey.

    I agree -it sure was. It's hard not to feel sorry for Charlie here. Who hasn't loved a girl like that when they were seventeen or thereabouts? And, usually, she doesn't feel the same way. Robert Walker Jr is excellent in this scene and this episode, and so is Shatner.

    Good stuff, D.C. Fontana and GR :techman: