Star Trek: The Original Series

"Charlie X"

3.5 stars

Air date: 9/15/1966
Teleplay by D.C. Fontana
Story by Gene Roddenberry
Directed by Lawrence Dobkin

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

The Enterprise provides transport for 17-year-old Charlie Evans (Robert Walker Jr.), an adolescent who grew up alone on an uninhabited planet after being the sole survivor of a crash 14 years before. Initially unbeknownst to Kirk & Co., Charlie holds powerful abilities that were given to him by an alien race so he could survive his isolation. Charlie now finds himself unable to cope with life among humans, as he careens into social situations where, when he doesn't understand, he feels forced to throw people upon the mercy of his own abilities—including making people "go away," vanishing into apparent oblivion.

The true success in "Charlie X" is in its central character's sympathetic dilemma. Charlie is a boy who wants to be liked and understood, but he doesn't grasp the social norms, and as a result feels threatened whenever he is faced with anything approaching the unpleasant or adversarial. When he experiences a crush on Yeoman Rand, his determination to win her over is poisoned by his ability to harness his anger when his feelings aren't returned.

The episode depends less on plot manipulations than it does on intelligently analyzing one person and the understandable problems surrounding him. Walker Jr. turns in a vivid performance, making Charlie pitiable even when he's at his most sadistic and malevolent. His face-off scenes with Kirk are right on the money. The story's conclusion is a necessary yet unfortunate turn of events.

Previous episode: The Man Trap
Next episode: Where No Man Has Gone Before

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63 comments on this post

AJ Koravkrian
Sat, Mar 29, 2008, 5:39pm (UTC -5)
I just watched Charlie X, and well, it may be a good episode on coffee, but it's unbearably slow. I literally fell asleep during the last couple of acts.
AJ Koravkrian
Sat, Mar 29, 2008, 5:41pm (UTC -5)
Oh, and also in Charlie X, what's with that ridiculous singing by Uhura...not to mention Spock smiling ? That got my attention in the was almost creepy.
Fri, Jun 1, 2012, 8:18am (UTC -5)
I loved the Kirk-as-father-figure aspects of this episode. You do feel sorry for Charlie, which is a nice switch.
Mon, Oct 14, 2013, 8:21am (UTC -5)
I began watching the first season of Voyager and then decided to return to TOS and start at the beginning of the franchise. What immediately strikes me in this episode is the horrifying conclusion and how easily outmatched the crew of the Enterprise were. There was no implausibly brilliant and impossibly convenient solution available to ensure a 'happy' ending. Voyager, in contrast, has felt far too cosy and safe so far.

The danger of space exploration and the possibilities that the 'unknown' present, are much more tangible and direct here - the universe is a place were outcomes are not guaranteed and many answers will be beyond us. It's good to see the Original Series taking such risks so early in production.

I imagine that the programme following in the footsteps of programmes such as the Twilight Zone in which the outcomes lacked redemption for the protagonists.
William B
Fri, Jan 3, 2014, 11:46am (UTC -5)
“Charlie X” is pretty similar in its basic plot setup to “Where No Man Has Gone Before,” in that not only does the crew have to deal with a superbeing, it’s a human who has these powers, and who increasingly insists that people be nice to them. Still, in spite of the episodes’ similarities they are really about different emotional states. Gary Mitchell’s rebellion is an adult one, and is connected with the frontier and ends with a big Western brawl. Charlie Evans is a teenager, and the adolescent-with-superpowers thing has a similar overall meaning to that in something like Carrie, though this time told primarily from the adults’ POV. All or almost all teenagers, we’re reminded, go through a phase of great change, in which they struggle to fit in and understand themselves and find themselves on the outside of society as a whole. That Charlie was completely cut off from human civilization and raised by powerful beings who don’t really understand him is meant to be an exaggeration of what all teenagers feel like. They want to join adult society and get away from the parents, and ultimately need to, but it’s a very painful process. And in some cases, they never quite do fit into society, and Charlie has to return “home,” to his misery. The eventual realization that Charlie was not a true orphan but did have an upbringing helps bring him closer to an exaggeration of a typical teenager’s experience, rather than the experience of a feral child or a Tarzan figure.

What’s interesting about this episode is that the process fails. The gradual escalation here, from Charlie’s social awkwardness to lack of boundaries with Rand to eventually taking over the ship, is pretty well done, I think, where both the crew and Charlie seem to be trying, somehow, to make it work, but they are unprepared to deal with a social misfit teenager and he’s, well, a traumatized orphan with superpowers, so, that’s obviously not going to end well. The crew do seem to me to be on the insensitive side about the incredible trauma Charlie has been through, but I get that they, even McCoy who has some psychological training, are really underqualified for the task of reaching this kid. The gender politics are pretty bad, with Rand trying and not really succeeding to explain why people don’t slap each other’s behinds and that he should talk to Kirk or McCoy about that, at which point they are unable to answer him. But the basic idea that of course he’s going to crush, heavily and overwhelmingly, on an older woman and that this is going to go badly mostly stands. I think that the episode ends up losing much of its momentum about 2/3 of the way through, at which point it’s clear that Charlie’s left much chance of a healthy interaction with the Enterprise crew behind, and the Charlie Problem seems increasingly clearly outside the Enterprise’s grasp. Like “Where No Man Has Gone Before” and to an extent “The Man Trap,” this ending is notably downbeat, solidifying the early-series idea that the Enterprise crew is just on the edge, and the victories it can manage will often be provisional. Even the Enterprise crew can’t deal with a lonely, angry teenager in pain.

This is one of the episodes which seems to be positioning Yeoman Rand as a major figure in the show; she seems to be somewhat on par with Uhura overall in this and “The Man Trap” but gets greater focus here. I like that she tries to balance sympathy with Charlie with the importance of setting the proper boundaries. Still, while the story tries to show Janice’s POV, the fact htat the story is primarily about Charlie and about Kirk means that Janice does remain mostly objectified, ending up on the bridge in her nightie because she’s just so hot. The episode furthers Uhura’s hitting-on-Spock habit, this time through song!, and while it’s weird to see Spock smiling the way he does, I don’t think it breaks the character so much as bends him—it’s implausible, but I could see Spock allowing himself a little bit of pleasant amusement while he’s playing music and sharing some quality time with a crew member he ultimately does respect and like (though not in that way). Kirk continues to be a mostly balanced guy, and his awkwardness and inability to talk to Charlie positions him as an adult uncomfortable with teenagers in a way that makes him almost Picardian.

I think the episode is repetitive enough that I’d probably go with 3 stars rather than 3.5, but it’s a pretty good show.
Wed, Apr 2, 2014, 8:11am (UTC -5)
Is it me or was kirk being half-hearted in his attempt to keep the blob from taking charlie back? Kind of like hes saying the boy belongs with his own kind but hes really thinking get that little sob off my bridge. Good ep 3.5 yup.
Mon, Oct 12, 2015, 9:32am (UTC -5)
I thought Charlie was somewhat sympathetic at first but quickly became and for a long time remained very evil so for Kirk to try to help in the end at all was very impressive.
Thu, Nov 12, 2015, 10:20am (UTC -5)
It's nothing deep or too analytical but my favorite part of the episode is when Charlie denies that Spock beat him at chess and Spock casually blows him off and refuses to deal with his temper tantrum. It's actually pretty funny the way he plays it. It's a little self-satisfied and a little selfish. He's not going to bother himself trying to correct the little pipsqueak or teach him anything. He doesn't give a crap. He's just going to Vulcanly enjoy that he made him look stupid and let him sit with it. Pshhhhh. Spock is outta here.
Fri, Feb 19, 2016, 6:23am (UTC -5)
Robert Walker Jr. is pretty great
The sense of dread in the episode is strong. The threat feels real, and when I was a kid the woman who'd lost her face scared the hell out of me.
Unlike in the "first" episode (Man Trap), there's much more of an attempt to sympathize with the threat, which is much more like Star Trek.
I've always like Spock's sudden poetry outburst
"I can't even touch them!"

I don't mind Uhura singing, but it goes on too long
Trying to keep an all-powerful being behind a forcefield is pretty stupid

Nothing to speak of.

Overall: Strong, moody piece with an ending that should feel like a cop-out, but doesn't. Three and a half out of four.
Thu, Apr 14, 2016, 11:04am (UTC -5)
I like this one very much, and I think Walker does a great job, but he looks so odd that it kind of puts me off him. The way they do his hair makes his head into a triangle, and his orange makeup is a bit much.

But this episode, as well-stated above by others, really is a good episode that explores great trek territory.
Sun, Sep 11, 2016, 1:33am (UTC -5)
Watching this episode (and this series) for the first time in 2016, I was struck by just how scary and creepy it was compared to the other series. Despite Deep Space Nine being the "dark" Star Trek, I don't recall ever feeling scared while watching it. Sure there were some disturbing, thought-provoking incidents and episodes, but nothing scary.

In my current watch of Voyager, I've seen some revolting aliens, like the ones who steal organs, but don't recall feeling afraid while watching the episodes.

Charlie was a very disturbing character, with that strange look on his face whenever he felt threatened and angered and his rapey behavior towards the female crew was very unsettling. Would have been a better episode if the treatment of the women wasn't so dated (the character with the funny hair (Janice?) and her inability to explain what was happening to her was frustrating. The lack of follow-up to what Charlie did to Uhura (looked like he hurt her throat to stop her from singing) was unfortunate, because so far in the show, she hasn't been treated as much more than a pretty secretary in a short skirt.
Thu, Sep 29, 2016, 10:53pm (UTC -5)
Pretty cool episode, I agree with the rest of the crew :P this is a bit creepy. The guest actor was a good one this time around.

I think the ending is not a cop-out but thematically consistent with the story. Charlie was basically a (superpowered) teen playing around while his parents weren't looking. And I can't think of many other choices of an ending, either self-destruction or some way to stop him (his parents). He was beyond reasoning or redemption since he banished Rand.

The basic idea of the episode reminds me of the classic short story "It's a good life". Charlie would have ended up like the kid from that story if he wasn't stopped. And yeah, Charlie was a sympathetic character, unlike some other ones I've seen so far (the thing of "The Man Trap"). Overall, I am satisfied.

And btw, I think I am watching the episodes in production order, because this was my eight episode of TOS instead of the second.
Thu, Jan 12, 2017, 12:59pm (UTC -5)
Is it just me or is the face Charlie makes not the most hilarious thing you've ever seen? It seems over the top. It's so bad it's good!
Fri, Jan 13, 2017, 3:46pm (UTC -5)
Not a huge fan of the story although the portrayal of Charlie is well done and Shatner's acting is one of his better performances as he has to explain awkward things to Charlie as well as being tough on him.
My issue with the episode is that I think it could have been compressed into 1/2 hour. Enough slow parts that show Charlie's nature as a teenager that also don't do much for the development of crew members. Spock must be a bad 3D chess player.
The episode establishes a solution that Trek members will employ in subsequent episodes when dealing with a superior being - that of trying to overtax it. Bit of a fortuitous solution in the end when Charlie's "parent" show up to take him away. One can feel for Charlie who will have to live without human contact -- it does show a compassionate side of the crew in the bridge.
For me, this one rates 2/4. In some ways similar to "The Man Trap" with a dangerous being roaming the ship, but "Charlie X" didn't have the interest/tension for me that the 1st episode of Season 1 did.
Tue, Mar 21, 2017, 3:29pm (UTC -5)
Towards the end I was really willing Kirk to go through with that punch, or just chuck the little sod out of an airlock. I'm a bad person :p

This is an interesting episode for me in that it coincidentally follows me having read quite a good social skills series over on reddit:
Everything that is mentioned in that series came up in this episode. It felt like I'd just got to the end of a class and been shown a demonstration video :)

As noted by someone in the previous episode's comments, you do see more UhuraXSpock than I remember, along with more emotions in Spock early on, kind of invalidating those criticisms when they're directed at the 2009 reboot. (I'm still not a big fan of the reboot though)
Trek fan
Sat, Sep 16, 2017, 9:25pm (UTC -5)
Charlie X is "puberty in space" as only Star Trek can do it. As we encounter the 17-year old Charlie learning to cope with powers he's not ready to exercise responsibly, there's a lot of fun to be had in watching Kirk try to parent the boy. But there's a difference in the Star Trek universe as always: This boy really IS all-powerful, rather than simply *thinking* he is such, and he can take revenge on all the people he perceives as slighting him. And when he takes his vengeance on the unwitting crew in Lord of the Flies fashion, evoking our audience fears of being in the hands of an unstable teenager as Spock puts it, there's a real sense of Twilight Zone-esque tension and dread as the crew gradually realizes they are powerless to control him.

Robert Walker is stellar as Charlie, capturing all the ambiguities of adolescense. Shatner shines in his portrayal of Kirk, morphing from bemused half-engagement with Charlie to concern as he realizes the threat to his ship -- the wrestling scene and Kirk's bravado in basically telling Charlie "get out of my chair" at the end hearken to the heart of the Kirk character still being established in these early episodes. The message seems to be that Kirk will roll with a lot of things, but taking the captain's chair isn't one of them -- and Charlie's wavering in the face of a father figure who actually pushes back at him for taking "daddy's chair" is well-played by Walker. Also, as a commenter mentioned earlier, Spock's delicious response to Charlie in the chess scene is quintessentially Spock. While Shatner seems to have Kirk's character down pat from the pilot onward, Nimoy is obviously still working things out, and it's almost more fun to watch him develop the greater complexity of Spock's alien character than to watch Kirk do Kirk.

While TOS sometimes veers into sexism, I actually didn't perceive that with Yeoman Rand's character in this one, as Charlie is clearly mimicking the behavior of one man to another man when he slaps her -- it's not like he saw a male crew member slap a female crew member on the rear. Also Grace Lee Whitney plays Rand very well here, trying simultaneously to protect the intense Charlie's feelings while sending off the "I'm not interested" vibe with increasing force, a very relatable experience for many people (even today) who have tried to let down unwanted crushes gently. Kirk's awkward effort to explain to Charlie that slapping a woman on the rear is wrong, far from coming across as sexist, feels more like the Abrams reboot Kirk -- the expression on Shatner's face, hinting at his own tendency to push boundaries with women rather than set them, comes across as pretty hysterical.

Other highlights include the Uhura-Spock song in the rec room, elaborating our view of shipboard life as well as Uhura's musical character, and the freaky little moments like the faceless woman as Charlie takes his revenge. Very rarely does Trek in any incarnation feel dangerous and shocking, but it does here: We really don't know what vicious things this kid will do next. And Kirk's effort to show compassion for the kid at the end, even knowing how Charlie killed an entire freighter crew, feels very Trekkian in its effort to find *some* good in apparent evil. There's some good nuance here that sometimes doesn't appear in other Trek shows of various series in dealing with all-powerful beings. The omnipotent being as a teenager here is a nice twist on the formula.

All in all, I particularly enjoy this one for the realistic way it reminds me of all the teenagers I've known, and for the salutary lesson that great power requires maturity to be exercised responsibility for the benefit of all. This is a classic Trekkian morality tale that remains somewhat unique in the canon. I'd give it 3 1/2 or even 4 stars.
Just another fan
Fri, Oct 13, 2017, 12:18am (UTC -5)
Wow. Nice review, Trek fan. I'm re-watching TOS on Netflix from the beginning for the first time in many years. And so far I'm finding that despite the hokey sets that look like they're made of paper mache, they're still gripping. I forgot that TOS is much more like the Twilight Zone than it is like later Trek series -- happy endings are not guaranteed, and it's not only the red shirts who meet untimely ends.

This episode had a real atmosphere of dread that continued to build throughout. Here, I felt sympathy for Charlie as he tried to navigate the rough seas of adolescence. Without human guidance during his prepubescent years, he had poorer social skills than most young people and no sense of how to control himself. Yet I never felt that he was "bad," only that he had never been taught. So I understood the dilemna the crew faced. I remember being a teenager with all those feelings of insecurity and angst. Even if it meant I could be younger, I wouldn't go through that stage of life again. So I could only imagine the pressure on a young person facing all of those painful rites of passage without an adequate support system.

At the end, when Charlie begged not to be sent back with the aliens, the camera panned the faces of the crew and you could see that no one but Janice and Kirk felt they could even advocate for the boy to stay. A true, Trekkian dilemna, where there was no comfortable choice to make.

I've also been taking note of how the women are treated in these episodes, and so far, it's not too bad for the time period. As usual on Star Trek, there's the odd mixture of an interest in looking at women and commenting on their appearance -- in skirts so short, women couldn't comfortably wear them today, in their nightgowns, sometimes with carefully torn clothing strategically placed, with green skin, with elaborate hair styles, and blue and silver nail polish -- but no real understanding of how to speak to women or relate to them, as if women also were aliens. Witness how Kirk cannot articulate to Charlie why he shouldn't slap a woman on the rear end. In the unaired pilot, the Cage, Captain Pike says he can't get used to having women on the bridge. So given that time period, where women were just beginning to join certain professions, some of the discomfort makes sense. But oddly enough, I see the same treatment of women in Enterprise, as though the people who write Star Trek haven't learned anything about how to relate to women in 40 years. It's a little funny, but while it was somewhat amusing in the sixties, by the 21st century it's more than a little sad.

One thing they got right pretty fast with this series was the distinctive characters. It's early on in the show, and already most of the series regulars are establishing clearly differentiated personalities. It's fun to watch that come together.
Sat, Dec 16, 2017, 6:46am (UTC -5)
Why couldn’t the Thasians just take away Charlie’s powers?
Mon, Jul 9, 2018, 4:19am (UTC -5)
Great episode. Story, characters, development of plot. Even without the later joking/teasing remark at the closing moment of the show, you feel the chemistry between them is working as early as here.
I don't see the smiling of Spock while playing his instrument and being mocked by Uhura's singing as contradictionary to his character. He could just pretend not to bother about her but being concentrated on his own music thereby. We see them off duty in a recreational setting so the formalities don't apply here as they would on the bridge.
Playing chess, doing exercises in the gym, playing cards and nipping at drinks while socializing - the show does a good job at showing casual life on board of a ship en voyage. Also scenes with crewmembers working on engineer tasks, all this while developing the story around Charlie, or even the traffic in the corridors - it's enjoyable how the Enterprise is fleshed out as a ship with a living crew doing their job and having fun besides shifts on duty. They manage to do that without looking awkward or wooden, it has a 'natural' look. Something you don't see too such extent for example on ST Enterprise from 2003 so far I have accompanied its episodes (3rd season). TOS does the show and atmosphere very well and contributes to the authenticy it wants to convey.
And all this besides a strong story. Chapeau!
Tue, Nov 13, 2018, 10:30pm (UTC -5)
consumption of classic sci-fi at this point is in a fundamental way an historicist exercise in tracking our social progression as much as it is entertainment. while there is no point maligning it for where it fails to meet modern sensibilities--especially since one is presumably there in the first place to celebrate where it still manages to succeed in doing the same--i do believe discussion of how our sensibilities have shifted out-of-universe is a useful and important continuation of the REAL WORK i like to see trek attempt in all its iterations. After all, trek doesn’t just inspire us to model our flip phones and ipads on ‘communicators’ and ‘padds’ and theorize about warp drives--it also attempts to give us a model for human behaviour in our BEST POSSIBLE FUTURE. Checking in with older versions of our best possible future is one way we find the consensus to course-correct our biggest and most necessary cultural shifts and recalibrate our (projected) trajectory (see TOS ref. interracial kissing or DISC ref. homosexuality. whatever you think of them, most of us apparently agree now that they will probably still exist in ALL of our possible future(s) and that our posterity will very likely not give whatever shits we might).

So although i found myself mostly tracking themes of gender-interaction & adolescence in charlie x during THIS watchthrough and plan to spew some impressions about those subjects here, I’m not really trying to squabble/troll/strut my neo-americo-politico. For contrast, the last time i watched it the gender politics were totally eclipsed by my simultaneous reading of a ton of ray bradbury and harlan ellison so scifi-horror genre blending and twilight zone comparisons were my primary analytical lenses. anyway, people get real sensitive about gender discourse without pretty thorough disclaimers these days, but gender discourse is nevertheless part of that REAL WORK i was talking about before so feel free to engage, but only if you can sustain a picard-level of civility in the undertaking, thx.

so as an artifact of its time, i find charlie x pretty daring in its effort to imagine its own time's 'less sexist' future. even stuck in our ‘past-future’, blind to its own blind spots, and missing some of its marks, this episode still feels like it’s doing some of that realwork in parsing sexual politics and departing from realworld madmen-era norms. I get that by modern standards the males here come off as (still in the 23rd century) somehow unable to explain simple ideas of autonomy and a sentient being’s innate right to bodily agency to an adolescent boy (even though they manage just fine to speechify the same concepts to/about blobs and gasbags)--but the take away to me is that they try at all in a less-than-totally-alien context.

it’s a pretty bold depiction for the time of a woman flatly denying male attention without any consequence/scorn/joke (perhaps only possible then because of the young male/older woman angle)--especially of a woman who actually DOES appear to care about the person whose attention toward her feels increasingly rooted in the obsessive/possessive feelings that are so often real-world precursors to sexual violence. It devotes quite a lot of time to showcasing the yeoman’s gradual steps toward taking the actions that (may) become necessary to her bodily safety and which match the escalation of charlie’s advances in a pretty true-to-life way. She sends him to an older male for counsel, she tries to explain it herself, eventually she goes to her superior with her grievance. etc. I bet at the time it felt very familiar to women but maybe not so much to men who probably couldn’t bring themselves to break decorum and address harassment directly if at all then. In retrospect, rand’s comfort with sending charlie to a man in authority to ask about his misstep is kind of great since it supposes a future in which she is not ashamed and presumes that man will have a reasonably accurate understanding of her perspective sans any assumption that she herself somehow invited the affront. again, possibly only the age difference makes this work here, but in the mid-60s i call it a win.

it does seem that her genuine affection-but-not-passion for charlie is presented as something that this adolescent (male?) just cannot decode without (male?) guidance though. without this guidance, it seems that every time rand responds warmly to him or appears friendly (as during the mess scenes with the card tricks), it appears not just to reinforce his crush (totally natural) but also feelings of entitlement to reciprocation (also natural? only correctable through social instruction? idk). his previous lack of human contact is the in-universe explanation for this inability, but he is not also a small child like anthony from twilight zone’s ‘it’s a good life’--he plays chess and runs a starship with his superpowers. he knows that HE feels emotion and that others do as well. he knows that he doesn’t like his feelings hurt. he says kirk is “not nice” when he tries to confine him, hates being laughed at or feeling humiliation but nevertheless laughs at spock and attempts to humiliate him on the bridge by having him spout poetry, turns that girl into an iguana and grins maliciously, etc so it’s difficult to buy from a contemporary standpoint that he doesn’t have enough on humans at his disposal to deduce that if the yeoman does not want him, his taking her or disappearing her is, in fact, ‘not nice.’ if charlie knows what he is doing is wrong, his acts against rand are much more frightening, but also much more analogous to realworld situations. when does a young man learn that it is wrong to force your will onto others? is the answer different now than it was then?

The assumption of young men’s lack of emotional intelligence here is totally expected in this period, but I also think it’s worth noting that the apriori assumption that charlie (and by allegorical extension adolescents in general) CANT learn to identify, decode, and apply emotional information based on experience and observation alone (listening to rand and accepting her choice) helps absolve him/them of the responsibility of cultivating the skill (emotions are a skill some people have to work on), and then simultaneously punishes him/them for not having it down already--which is a very arrogant and adult failure. charlie is first snickered at for benign faux pas and then eventually banished for, in some sense, quitting the growing-up game and the intricacies of navigating adult space at a disadvantage while he is faced with perceived ridicule--a very adolescent failure, to be sure. but where does the episode place the blame for this failure? on him rather than the adults around him who fail him spectacularly even though they clearly want to help and feel that what they offer him should be enough for him to extrapolate the rest.

so the episode positions kirk as the dispenser of knowledge, arbiter of justice, and guiding paternal hand here--all in keeping with period--but consider kirk's initial fail regarding the 'bum-tap.' it’s a less successful joke in today's atmosphere because its humor comes from our adult knowledge that there are, in fact, 2 answers to charlie's question, well why can’t you slapass anyway?
answer 1) in public and in theory (and in fictional projections of our best future-selves which celebrate us at the height of our civility) we don't harass unfamiliar women/people like that because we agree as a society that certain areas of the body are restricted-access. they require familiarity and prior authorization to engage them. it is a violation of the other person's body-sovereignty/sentience/personhood to treat them as something you are free to manipulate without obvious encouragement if not outright verbalized permission.
answer 2) well, son, when you're naturally 'gifted' at this (as i am, kirksmirk) you just KNOW when it's okay to initiate rump-thumping protocols and when it isn't, how can i possibly TELL you if you don’t already KNOW? It’s just INTUITION my boy...
I wonder where charlie’s feelings of inadequacy start, eh? WE get kirk’s joke, of course, but charlie doesn’t. he needs the first answer but he only gets the second. worse, kirk’s delivery makes it pretty obvious that there IS some second meaning he should already know. coupled with the pain of rejection you’ve got a perfect kickoff for the development of feelings of inferiority in an adolescent superbeing.

the episode’s “right” answer is of course what kirk says later in his failure--there are a million things you can have and a million you can’t--an oversimplification that only comes AFTER charlie has failed to miraculously devine human taboos through the very helpful mix of snickering, teasing, ignoring, and patronizing he endures at the hands of cap’n’crew. as an adult, you know uhura’s teasing song and the crew’s laughter is based in affection but if you know any teens you also know how obtuse they can be when they feel stupid academically, socially, or otherwise.

so here, where charlie’s initiation into the club of adulthood becomes VITAL for him to be accepted/acceptable in society because of his power, again, the only instruction he receives is in the form of a frustrated, nervous adult laying down the law. if emotional intelligence IS innate, the implication becomes that charlie just ain’t got it, and his failure to meet ‘normal’ social standards is grounds for expulsion from the club of humanity. the inability of his untutored adolescent brain to decode rand’s or the rest of the crew’s behavior positions charlie, for all of that power, as inherently defective, unfixable, and dangerous. even if on the other hand, emotional management is a learned skill, the implication here is still that charlie couldn’t learn it because he was supplied by kirk with the KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL so to speak, and was still unable to process the information into a usable moral code within a few days. either way, it amounts to a very adult dismissal of a very real adolescent quandary--especially in a reality where humans are interplanetary superstars at diplomacy with various alien species of various emotional configurations all mostly figured out (snort from over here in reality snort).

The real horror of this episode isn’t charlie himself really. It’s the terrifying, ever-fading ability of adults to communicate with, relate to, and/or control younger people who seem too volatile/reckless/fearless to wield the powers and knowledge they already have with wisdom they certainly do not have, yet cannot realize they lack. In other words, not all teens are a charlie, but every adult is a kirk--we all see ourselves as someone who could take a kid underwing, do a little boxing, fishing, and viola! But then we end up talking way too much instead of listening. We’re too busy reminiscing, too cringingly knowing, we think we’re funny (because we are) but we forget so easily that they don’t get us yet because we vaguely remember being like them.

But when we abandon kids in trouble or railroad their lived experiences or titter at their juvenile antics its easy to forget the humiliation that is sometimes involved in learning the rules that govern adult conduct. Something small can feel big enough to a kid to justify copping out of learning these rules and avoiding people altogether. Then, a few years later that kid is a charlie, limited experience with people and a whole lot of new power, wondering why someone won’t just explain the rules and stop laughing at them.
Tue, Dec 11, 2018, 11:08pm (UTC -5)
Ein starkes Kapitel, das mich unbehaglich gemacht hat, die Gymnastik-Szene ist wirklich witzig
Tue, Feb 19, 2019, 3:28am (UTC -5)
I think that Jammer is right in saying that the point of the episode lies not so much in its plot, but rather in the theme of adolescence which is actually treated well.

I wrote about it here!
Mon, Mar 4, 2019, 9:18am (UTC -5)
A good one. Robert Walker Jr does a great job. He freaks me out already as I've never seen any kid who was so much of a clone of his father. If you've never seen RW Sr, go goggle it. I actually remember this ep when it first aired. I was just a kid, but I'd seen Sr in something or other - probably an old movie or something - and I remember being confused about how he could be in this episode, so young . . . I think that's why I remember this ep.

Definitely a "coming of age" story, but a weird and twisted one, that ends badly and sadly, without any real growth or change. Charlie's stuck forever, and I suppose the message of the ep is how much we need each other to learn our lessons in life, and for love and support while we do that.

Shirtless Kirk. Uhura singing. Rand in a night gown. I think the early shows here are highlighting the cast's talents and sexy features to grab an audience.
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 10:20pm (UTC -5)
I know these were written ages ago, but ...

“When he experiences a crush on Yeoman Rand, his determination to win her over is poisoned by his ability to harness his anger when his feelings aren't returned.”

Should that be “inability?”
Mon, May 27, 2019, 6:23pm (UTC -5)
When Kirk and Charlie were on the turbolift on the way to the bridge, did they stop off at Kirk's quarters so he could change his shirt?
Daniel B
Sun, Jun 9, 2019, 6:43pm (UTC -5)
"Witness how Kirk cannot articulate to Charlie why he shouldn't slap a woman on the rear end."

I can get why people would find that problematic. Personally I felt like it was a combination of

* Kirk is good at being the particular type of authority figure that his job requires of him. He's completely out of his element at being the authority figure for a lonely 14 year old kid who wants to look up to him and wants to feel that Kirk admires/respects him. Thus why the talk starts out really awkward.

* Charlie feels out of place and wants to fit in, and has no idea of what normal social interaction is like. So he sees two people having fun and sees one of them give the other a "good game" pat on the rear end, and he thinks "ok, doing that is part of how I fit in". So Kirk is having trouble about the butt-slap because he doesn't know how to explain why it was ok for that other guy but not for Charlie (especially since Charlie is going to instantly default to whining about how it's unfair that other people can do things he can't, without waiting for the full explanation).

* And I liked how Kirk finally quits talking about the social interactions of physical contact and just tells him basically "This is how life is: if you like someone, then you put what they want ahead of what you want. Sometimes that means you don't get what you hope for, and it hurts, but you keep on living and you'll be ok." which he delivers a bit stilted, but it's a good message.
Tue, Jun 11, 2019, 11:44am (UTC -5)
Let's talk Charlie X. So this is basically a high concept similar to the much-maligned VOY episode "Q2" with the premise being "What if an adolescent had super powers?". The similarities with Q2 stop here.

What works thematically about this one is we have a crew that's in its freshman years deep in space, just getting its bearings. We have Uhura singing, Spock smiling while playing music, card games and other games that can be considered youthful vices. The smart part of this is how Charlie can dig into all these activities like your typical teenager, but we see he is totally incapable of sharing these experiences with others. He wants to be the cool one, the mature one, the one everyone laughs with - not at. When he enters a room he hopes for cheers at his importance. So while he can relate to the Enterprise crew on a surface level, he fails to see the "why" behind all their playful activities. Failing to acclimate, he quickly finds a role model in the most charismatic person on the ship, Kirk.

As Jammer notes, we see how despite everyone's earnest efforts to accept Charlie, it inevitably doesn't work. It's great how the differences start slow like Charlie just showing off a few abilities that can be dismissed as tricks or coincidence. But these parlor tricks add up and Charlie, in typical adolescent fashion, can't control his feelings well enough and has to keep compensating for more and more with flash over substance.

As many have noted, Robert Walker Jr.'s performance really seals the deal as we see his innocence, passion, anger, and fear projected loudly in every scene. Apparently Walker practiced his part by keeping his distance from the cast, never socializing and sticking to character, and it really shines on the screen. Shatner is also good as an overwhelmed father. He does his best to provide guidance and a stern hand which make for some marvelous confrontations between the metaphorical Father-and-Son.

A few things detract from the episode, however. The episode runs out of gas at some point, and it feels like the Enterprise crew is trying countermeasures like a containment field which they should know by that point is futile. He destroyed a whole ship, for Pete's sake! Also, it's diffcult to tell if something that happens on screen is Charlie's doing. For example, Uhura was singing about Charlie while Charlie hoped to put the moves on Yeoman Janice Rand. Suddenly, Uhura appeared to be violently silenced by Charlie using his powers to remove her voice. But this incident was never reported and could have tipped off Kirk to Charlie's powers before the Antares met its doom. Was that really Charlie at work or just a production error?

But all in all, these are minor things in what's surprisingly the (second?) officially aired episode of Star Trek. We have get a great story of a lost child all can relate to who cannot truly return to humanity. Was it kindness of the aliens to keep him alive artificially or cruelty because of the life he'll have to lead? That's the kind of thought-provoking question that makes for great Star Trek.

"Shirtless Kirk. Uhura singing. Rand in a night gown. I think the early shows here are highlighting the cast's talents and sexy features to grab an audience."

Tango! A little known fact about this one is that RCA owned NBC at the time. So, in order to sell color TVs, they were pushing for the show to have vivid colors against the dull gray of the Enterprise. It stands to reason they'd want vivid images of actors too. Thus, this one was meant to be enjoyable on a technical level even if you didn't like the Sci-Fi.
Peter G.
Tue, Jun 11, 2019, 12:52pm (UTC -5)
I will have to watch this one again to verify some details, but I wonder whether we might take Charlie as a message about what happens when power is mixed with a lack of social checks, and specifically in the world of TV. Obviously in real life powerful people have their way with others, and we don't need any sci-fi show to tell us that. But what if the message is more about media, where we're used to seeing charismatic leads getting the ladies, with the presumption that an attraction woman is on-screen *to be won* by the male lead (or vice versa now). Likewise, we're inundated with material where people with powers - whether supernatural or just political - can get away with all kinds of stuff that we'll root for, whether it's Marvel characters doing zany stuff, or Kevin Spacey in House of Cards charming as the anti-hero.

If we take all of this in context and give Charlie X a lot of credit, maybe we're seeing the underbelly of all of that: that it's naked power showing its unsophisticated self, wanting whatever it sees without consideration for what it means or whether it's good. Someone like Kirk, who by all rights *could be seen* as a standard womanizing lead who does whatever he wants (which I don't really think he ever was) is faced here with explaining to a juvenile why it's wrong and to try to put a stop to it. What starts off as innocent turns dark quickly when "no" is not an acceptable answer. Could this be some kind of examination of what might happen in standard media if leads in TV shows and film experienced rejection instead of victory?
Tue, Jun 11, 2019, 4:10pm (UTC -5)
@Peter G.

That's a good observation. It might be the case that modern media is more and more aiming at adolescents, or adults who are adolescent at heart. In that sense, this episode works as an indictment against people who feed on their ids. They can influence events, people and hold enormous power, but when things don't go their way or there's too much to handle (note that the solution to this episode was turning all the functions of the ship on at once giving Charlie much more than he could control at once) the whole thing falls down like a well... house of cards. :-)

But I do think that you're right, that Kirk and the others are rejecting this type of power and attention. They try to understand the boy and teach him, but they do not give into his demands when he fails to listen and grows ever more desperate. Pretty fascinating material here!
Jason R.
Wed, Jun 12, 2019, 5:48am (UTC -5)
Peter I'll admit I thought your hypothesis was a bit out there. But then I watched the episode last night again for the first time in a while.

I still doubt that was what they were going for with it, but I enjoyed applying your filter to the action.

Kirk's utter inability to explain to Charlie why you can't slap a woman's behind (in essence, why consent is necessary to sex or simply no-means-no) may be just "ha ha sex is awkward" but one could wonder if Kirk simply can't address the question because it has never come up for him. In his universe, no woman ever says no to him. Kirk, like Charlie, exists in a universe where his will becomes reality.

In a meta sort of way Kirk and Charlie are mirror images. Kirk is the hero, and for that sort of hero, "no" is alien, unfathomable. Charlie is what happens when heroes fall into a 'real' real world and ot ain't pretty.
Dan Bolger
Mon, Dec 9, 2019, 1:34pm (UTC -5)
Great early episode. Sad to read of Robert Walker jr 's passing on. Played an excellent role in this show.
Mon, May 11, 2020, 2:28pm (UTC -5)
Disliked this episode as a kid; dislike it now. Very dated and silly. The kid with super powers. Not that interesting. Weak second episode for a brand new sci fi series. The next few are much better. Charlie was just annoying. Sorry
Fri, Jun 5, 2020, 10:16pm (UTC -5)
I hadn’t seen this in like 30 years, but the lead in Bandersnatch reminded me very strongly of Charlie. So I’d say this ep left an impression on me.

The reason is trivial though. A late teenage male with a bouffant who is more than a tad unsocial.
Proud Capitalist Pig
Mon, Aug 31, 2020, 4:55pm (UTC -5)
"Charlie X" -- It should be called "Charlie Z," because the titular brat is clearly a member of Generation Z: spoiled, whiny, "wanting a million things that he can't have," and throwing a temper tantrum when he is rejected or stymied. I should know; I parent three of them. What struck me as especially true of most contemporary teenagers was that he craves nothing but instant gratification without doing any work. He refuses to listen to Spock while he tries to explain three-dimensional chess, just wanting to play without learning the rules and caveats. And then later, he doesn't care to learn the initial wrestling and falling techniques Kirk is patiently and amicably trying to teach him because he wants to get right to the sparring. Seems to me that the Giant Heads who raised him should have spanked him on the backside a lot more. Maybe then he would know not to play grab-ass with the older officers (Kirk trying to explain to Charlie why he shouldn't be slapping Janice's ass was priceless). Poor Janice. The look on her face, after Charlie's incident with her, had my son and I bursting out laughing.

So then they realize Charlie has incredible superpowers. He made a crewman disappear right in front of Captain Kirk's eyes. He transformed a junior yeoman into an iguana (what torture that must be). It was inevitably established that force fields and bulkheads will NOT hold him. And yet no one thought to SHOOT him? Or beam him into oblivion? They could have at least tried! Something tells me that despite having superpowers, he was still a human being (as Dr. McCoy basically reported), and probably could have been neutralized.

One other thing confused me--at the end, with Charlie clearly not able to live among human beings, why didn't the Blob Head aliens simply take his powers away? Then Kirk could have thrown him back in jail with no fuss or muss.

I did enjoy the little spots wherein we get to know the characters more. Uhura is still wanting some serious Vulcan Dick, and the scene of her singing while Spock accompanies her on the harp (trying not to grin) was delightful. William Shatner was admirable again as Kirk, this time the reluctant father-figure to the worst possible teenager who's ever lived. He brilliantly exerted Kirk's bemusement, patience, and calm authority throughout the episode.

Best line: "There are a million things you can have, and a million things you can't have!" -- Kirk, a truism that ought be plastered on every billboard from Portland, Maine, to San Diego, California.
Mon, Aug 31, 2020, 9:24pm (UTC -5)
You're post contains some... interesting rhetoric, first compairing Charlie to Gen Z, as you see similarities to you're own kids, then you blame the parenting for Charlue's behaviour... which seems to indicate you blame parenting for the current generations behavour, which includes your own kids... so you... blame yourself for how your kids turned out? I don't think you meant to imply that.

I also think you've avoided the fact that pretty much ALL teenagers are enititled brats who want things done NOW without putting hard work in from time-to-time, as well as the fact that Social Media and an increasing online life gives these teenage hormonal developing voices more airtime and more like-minded people to share and spread their views.

I'd also like to point out that this is probably the only site where users can say "Okay boomer" without it being a generational backtalk thanks to a certain prolific poster. Haha.
Mon, Aug 31, 2020, 9:31pm (UTC -5)
"I also think you've avoided the fact that pretty much ALL teenagers are enititled brats who want things done NOW without putting hard work in from time-to-time, as well as the fact that Social Media and an increasing online life gives these teenage hormonal developing voices more airtime and more like-minded people to share and spread their views. "

You might also say that pretty much all parents are believers in the idea that hard work or sacrifice is a requirement to acquire or obtain something. Because without that belief, passed on down the generations, there is no basis for calling these teenagers "entitled brats".
Tue, Sep 1, 2020, 12:39am (UTC -5)
I live to serve. :)

It was an interesting post. My children are horrible monster, but I love them. They are made that way by a society we created.

Very meta.
Tue, Sep 1, 2020, 2:12am (UTC -5)
Funny how it's always "society" that's at fault, eh?

Don't parents have a responsibility for their kids' upbringing and education? And the responsibility of setting a personal example, as well?

Nah... what a silly idea. It must be society's fault. Meanwhile, lets get drunk on a regular basis, develop a super-negative cynical view of the world, troll random communities on the internet, and attack every person who sees the world a bit differently than we do. What could possibly go wrong? ;-)
Tue, Sep 1, 2020, 2:21am (UTC -5)
As for Charlie being "Generation Z":

Only people with a very short memory would say this.

Teenagers have always been that way. It's part of the natural growth process of human beings, and always was. The important question is whether the youngsters grow out of this phase or not.
Jason R.
Tue, Sep 1, 2020, 4:19am (UTC -5)
Omicron, when a single child is a brat you can comfortably say it's bad parenting. When it's say 500,000 children, then you can comfortably blame society. That goes for almost any social problem. I always kind of laugh when an older generation condemns a younger one - ummm who made us gramps?

As for Generation Z I agree that they are not radically different from others save one important factor - social media. It doesn't just mold them the way TV or video games molded my generation - it also gives them the power to mold society in their own image, something no previous generation could do. When I was in high school lots of kids had stupid ideas but their tantrums couldn't bend the wills of multinational corporations and governments. A 16 year old on Twitter in 2020 can be more influential now than a national news anchor was in 1980.
Tue, Sep 1, 2020, 4:53am (UTC -5)
Agreed on the effects of social media.

As for whether we blame society or the individual parent: It's not an either-or proposition.

Just because there are certain problems in society as a whole, doesn't mean that individual parents are off the hook. Sure, society will screw the kid's mind either way, but we can at least make sure that we aren't making the situation even worse with our own behavior.
Jason R.
Tue, Sep 1, 2020, 5:39am (UTC -5)
"Sure, society will screw the kid's mind either way, but we can at least make sure that we aren't making the situation even worse with our own behavior."

Sure, and I am not denying that people make bad choices. But if you're talking about a problem in generational broadly sweeping terms like "kids today!" or "how about that opioid epidemic!" it's asinine to turn it around and say it's just individuals behaving badly while dismissing "society" at large.

A priori, anything that effects a generation must be societal. When you roll the dice a couple of times and you get sixes that's just luck. If you roll the dice 100,000 times and get nothing but sixes then you know something more is going on.
Top Hat
Tue, Sep 1, 2020, 7:21am (UTC -5)
"This programme from the '60s reminds me of kids today, and how they are uniquely and unprecedentedly terrible."
Tue, Sep 1, 2020, 8:28am (UTC -5)
You know Top Hat that just proves that Star Trek was always ahead of it's time.
William B
Tue, Sep 1, 2020, 11:30am (UTC -5)
This discussion reminds me of this exchange from Plan 9 From Outer Space (substitute gender for generation gap):

Lieutenant John Harper: Modern women.
Colonel Tom Edwards: They've been like that all down through the ages. Especially in a spot like this.
Tue, Sep 1, 2020, 12:33pm (UTC -5)

I'm not talking about general trends.

I'm talking about the fact that a person who doesn't bother to get their own lives in order, has a cynical attitude towards life, and is blaming everybody but themselves for all their problems, is in no position to blame "society" for how their kids turn out.

That's all I'm saying.
Thu, Oct 22, 2020, 5:52am (UTC -5)
Charlie X
Star Trek season 1 episode 2

3 stars (out of 4)

"KIRK: We have a large supply of entertainment tapes, gentlemen.
RAMART: No, we've a tight schedule to make, Captain. Just twenty of us, we're making out fine.
KIRK: Not even Sarian brandy?”

- Kirk’s offer of porn and booze is rebuffed by a ship of gay mormons

When The Graduate premiered in 1967, the actress playing Mrs. Robinson was 36 years old, exactly the same age as Janice Rand in “Charlie X” which aired the year prior.

There is something about a woman at that age. Would you believe that Stacey’s Mom was 34 when that video came out? That’s exactly the same age as Uhura was in this episode, when she sang and she shimmied as Mr. Spock played his harp.

Teenagers think they know what sexy is. Charlie thought it was ass-slapping.

Star Trek these days thinks it is twenty-somethings acting all deep and mysterious. But the sultry mid-thirties are incredible. Gate McFadden (Doctor Beverly) was 38 when TNG premiered. That’s the same age as Stifler’s Mom in American Pie, yes the movie that popularised a crude modern word for Mrs. Robinson. Jeri Ryan was 33 when Seven first kissed Chakotay. Kira was 36 when DS9 started. We see the first sparks between Troi and Worf when Troi is, that’s right, 36.

Soji is 21. Which by the way is the same age as that Yeoman Third Class Tina, who Charlie didn’t give two fucks about. Who can blame him?
Tue, Dec 1, 2020, 11:57pm (UTC -5)
There’s no Charlie wxyz here, this is a very simple story of a (very well tanned) young boy in puberty in a completely alien world.

This is unfortunately the hellish nature of what the TNG The Bonding was really offering the boy there. Although, damn, should Kirk allow this? Does he have a choice? Whatever these aliens have done, is it right for them to take the boy away?

And in a more meta sense, it’s fascinating the much smaller 1701 in a very large and mysterious galaxy vs the mighty 1701-D seeming to virtually lord over the Alpha quadrant.
Mon, Jul 12, 2021, 8:13am (UTC -5)
The little sadistic bastard was held accountable for his actions in the end and paid for them accordingly. What a concept!!! Great ending for that was a cruel and monstrous boy that was Charlie X. A very good episode and a frightening reminder about how power can be abused. I give it a sold A.
Sun, Sep 12, 2021, 7:26pm (UTC -5)
I liked this a lot more than the aired Pilot, Charlie's character is intriguing, an alien teenager who doesn't fit in and doesn't understand social norms, sounds like many a teenager on Earth! It's relatable. You feel for Charlie despite the despicable things he's doing to stay in control. [The actor is excellent.] Unfortunately the ending lets it down, Kirk and crew's plan is to put some ship lights on and for Kirk to punch him. Ha ha! Really? Take him on Kirk! As Jammer said, the resolution is necessary but still disappointing. A good ep though.
The Queen
Sat, Apr 2, 2022, 10:04pm (UTC -5)
I always connected this episode strongly with "It's a GOOD Life" by Jerome Bixby, a rather famous short story from the Golden Age of science fiction. In that story the superbeing was an 8-year-old who could "send you to the cornfield" if he didn't like you. (You didn't want to know more . . . ) He could read minds, change the weather, pretty much anything. Everybody had to pretend to be happy all the time. It was turned into a Twilight Zone episode. That story also had an unhappy ending, worse than the Trek one. I'm surprised so few people are aware of it.

Jerome Bixby wrote one or two TOS episodes, though I can't remember which ones now.
Tue, May 17, 2022, 8:13pm (UTC -5)
@The Queen

I, too, see the similarity of this episode to Bixby's story.

It is also very similar to another Trek episode, The Squire of Gothos. Trelane is not human, and apparently grows up with parents of his own species, but like Charlie, he is a naughty boy with unspeakable power.
Fri, Aug 5, 2022, 8:56am (UTC -5)
Robert Walker is almost too good at playing this part. Very annoying, but still sympathetic. Still, I really really wanted Kirk to deck him at the end of the episode.

Trek's long tradition of bad wigs begins with Grace Lee Whitney's beehive. It's especially ridiculous in this episode. I was looking at some old promo pics and they gave her much nicer looking hair initially:

A funky but kinda cool looking space retro thing:

I wonder why they made the switch.
Mon, Sep 5, 2022, 11:42am (UTC -5)
Interesting parallel, but although the “Generation Z” reference made me smile, I don’t think that the episode’s central message is that all teenagers are spoiled brats who deserve to be spanked. What makes Charlie dangerous is not his age, but his superior powers, and concerning this subject, I agree that there are some parallels to Where No Man Has Gone Before. But unlike Gary Mitchell, Charlie has grown up with these abilities, with the consequence that they are an intrinsic trait of his personality, a part of his reactions to his environment, as natural and incidental as other body functions like breathing or batting eyelids.

When he arrives on board the Antares, his mind powers immediately establish a border between him and the ship’s crew, which means that the total isolation in which he’s lived until then and which he’s desperate to overcome, still continues. On the Enterprise, the first thing he does to break out of this isolation is to reach out to those around him (like McCoy), to model himself on others, to imitate their behavior, which is basically what most children and adolescents do. So why doesn’t this work? I admit that I’ve been mulling over this for some time after watching the episode. After all, McCoys plan to appoint Kirk to act as a sort of father image for Charlie does make some sense, considering that Kirk has many characteristics that make him a father figure: authority, empathy, understanding, even sensitivity… and when he interacts with Charlie, like in the scene in his quarters, he brings all that to bear, devotes his time to him, even charging Spock with an important task he wanted to perform himself so he can take Charlie to the gym. But what he can’t tolerate is Charlie’s egotism, his self-centered way of thinking, circling exclusively around his own wishes and desires… in the microcosm of the ship’s crew, there is no place for this kind of behavior; everyone must respect the others and if necessary, place their needs above his or her own. I agree, maybe that’s the egotism of youth, albeit certainly not of a particular generation but in general. And while this contrast immediately opens a gap between Charlie and Kirk, the episode doesn’t stop here: the real conflict hasn’t even broken out by the time this scene happens, and when it does, in the end, it’s again more about Charlie’s powers than about his young age. Maybe the problems of adolescence are best described as a sort of “fire accelerant” for the destructive potential of his mind powers.
Michael Miller
Sun, Oct 2, 2022, 7:04pm (UTC -5)
3rd episode, and literally 2 out of the 3 based on humans turning into gods essentially. And his obsessive attraction to Jannice is overdone and ridiculous. He's got all these powers and that's all he can think about? Why is a 17 year old so interested in a 30-40 year old? And that whole Kirk being a daddy figure couldn't be any more ironic, considering how he takes advantage of every woman of every species he can get his hands on, his genes are spread throughout half the quadrant by the end of that season, oh the irony. If I started watching it in order and these were the first 3 episodes I saw, I would think this was a stupid show, am glad I didn't.
Mon, Oct 3, 2022, 10:23am (UTC -5)
@Michael Miller
>Why is a 17 year old so interested in a 30-40 year old?

Did you never like any of your teachers when you were at school?
Wed, Dec 28, 2022, 4:57pm (UTC -5)
Ughhh. A spoiled brat with superpowers given to him by the Wizard of Oz. Not my cup of tea.

The scene in the gymnasium with kirk wearing spandex has to be one of the cheesiest of all time.
Wed, Jan 11, 2023, 12:38pm (UTC -5)
Robert Walker Jr. Was only 9 years younger than William Shatner. It's amazing to me to think these two actors pulled off the son/father figure roles. I have always liked this tragic episode, moreso as I've gotten older. It forever leaves me with the question of why more couldn't have been done for Charlie, not from the human who tried to help them but the aliens who gave him his powers.
Mon, Mar 13, 2023, 10:27pm (UTC -5)
I really liked Yeoman Rand in the Man Trap and in this episode. She was a spunky, self-confident character and Grace Whitney acted the role well. I was very sorry they discontinued her character.
When I Came Aboard
Sat, Apr 29, 2023, 4:21pm (UTC -5)
It would have saved the day if Lt Uhura's looks (as in glances and scowls) at CHarlie in the last few scenes could kill, with the same efficiency as his looks could kill.
Sun, May 21, 2023, 7:29pm (UTC -5)
How did they come up with that Charlie made when invoking his powers?
Sun, May 28, 2023, 8:02am (UTC -5)
Enjoyable episode. Interesting story and strong acting,especially Robert Walker Jr. Hell, I'd like to have given Rand a tap on the fanny too.
Sat, Jun 3, 2023, 1:46pm (UTC -5)
It’s interesting how often the idea of super powered young people is used in post war pop culture. The Twilight Zone did it, and TOS did it at least three times(Charlie X, Trelane, those bonk-bonk-on-the-head kids). The fear of out of control youth was a pretty big anxiety in the late 20th century I guess.

As for the episode, it exceeds expectations by quite a bit. Normally stories centered around kids or teens don’t really grab me. But here it works on almost every level, and really lands heavy with Charlie as a tragic figure.

The only weak area is TOS’s usual Achilles heal of dated gender stuff. The fact that Rand can’t calmly explain boundaries and personal space to Charlie comes across as very contemporary rather than futuristic. Although I’d say that in kirk’s case it serves his character development( the guy’s uncomfortable around kids, I sympathize).

Overall a very strong, very human, episode.

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