Jammer's Review

Star Trek: The Original Series

"Metamorphosis"

***

Air date: 11/10/1967
Written by Gene L. Coon
Directed by Ralph Senensky

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

A shuttle carrying Kirk, Spock, Bones, and Federation representative Nancy Hedford (Elinor Donahue) is pulled toward a small celestial body by a mysterious entity. Upon landing on the planetoid, the shuttle passengers discover Zefram Cochrane (Glenn Corbett), the inventor of warp drive, who had been presumed dead two centuries earlier. He had somehow been revitalized and kept in an eternal state of youth by the entity, known as the Companion (voice supplied by the frequently utilized Majel Barrett).

The episode is another analysis of life, discovery, and understanding in the tradition the classic-themed "The Devil in the Dark." The Companion and Cochrane have an interesting, affectionate relationship that might best be described as mutual co-dependence. Strangely, the episode's most interesting (and in some ways puzzling) notion is Cochrane's reaction when he learns the Companion is actually female. In fact, this reaction prompts us to rethink how love is defined, and even how gender might be defined. Since this lifeform is so utterly different from a human, how does the gender issue even apply? Is Cochrane or any human's love dependent upon the need for another human form?

In "Metamorphosis," Cochrane can't come to terms with the Companion's love for him until it merges into one with the body of the dying Nancy Hedford. "Metamorphosis" doesn't know all the answers, but it certainly poses some intelligent and probing questions.

Previous episode: I, Mudd
Next episode: Journey to Babel

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5 comments on this review

Nic - Tue, Jun 8, 2010 - 9:00pm (USA Central)
Actually, Elizabeth Rogers did the voice of the Companion. For some reason, she was not credited:

www.imdb.com/name/nm0736861/

memory-alpha.org/wiki/Metamorphosis_%28episode%29
SpiceRak2 - Tue, Oct 15, 2013 - 3:55pm (USA Central)
I believe that Cochrane's reaction to learning the gender of the Companion was intended to demonstrate disgust regarding love between species. When he thought the relationship was one of friendship or at the minimum, caretaker, he was able to process it. Considering that the alien had something to gain, be it emotional, if not sexual, gratification caused him to feel victimized and certainly embarrassment. He never really acknowledged the terms of his capture.
Take it easy - Mon, Oct 28, 2013 - 2:41am (USA Central)
Ms. Hedford was taken over by the companion without her permission and decided to stay behind. And nobody blinked that her life has changed. I don't think she would have been willing to this (what reason there could be to stay behind? and she was so anxious to get to the war region to prevent it).

Kirk promised he won't tell about Cochrane. How will he explain Hedford's absence? Lie?

Sad that TOS episodes bring out so many interesting ideas but falls miserably half way through.
Jack - Fri, Jan 3, 2014 - 3:58pm (USA Central)
Zefram Cochrane being "the inventor of warp drive" really has no meaning beyond Earth. We know that Vulcans had warp way before us...whoever invented it on their world did it long before Zefram did, and Spock almost certainly knows who did so. Every indication is that the Klingons had warp before us as well, and Romulans must've as well, in order to leave Vulcan when they supposedly did.
dgalvan - Thu, Apr 10, 2014 - 2:25pm (USA Central)
It bothered me that no one batted an eye about essentially sacrificing Ms. Hedford in this way. The companion said she was "still there" in a sense, but it seems like it was just the companion in Hedford's body. You could argue that Hedford was about to die anyway, but she wouldn't have been if the companion hadn't trapped them in the first place. To make it all the worse/insulting, Kirk has a one-liner where he said "I'm sure the Federation can find another diplomat to prevent that war." Like ambassadors are a dime a dozen.

Other than that the episode was thought-provoking on its own.

As part of Trek canon, it shows the fate of Zefram Cochrane, who we saw as a somewhat old dude in First Contact, and then was referenced in Enterprise as being off on some ship somewhere, lost. Apparently he got captured by the companion, reverted to youthfulness, and then eventually died with "her". Kirk/McCoy/Spock probably the last people to see him alive.

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