Star Trek S1E02 – Charlie X

Star_Trek_TOS_logo.svgI have a very refreshing feeling watching Star Trek again. It doesn’t matter what the episode is, I’m having fun going through the episodes, noticing little details, and thankful that I can pause the video whenever I want. I continue The Star Trek Project with the second episode of the original series. Keep in mind that I include spoilers!

Season 1, Episode 2: Charlie X

Original Air Date: September 15, 1966

Stardate 1533.6

Planet: None. En route to Colony Alpha V.

Featured Alien: Thasians

Main Cast: Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Uhura, Rand

Main Guest Characters: Charlie Evans

Things I Noticed

This is the first time we get to see Kirk’s alternate green uniform. Picard also had an alternate uniform. Maybe Captains can use them?

This is also the first time we get to see another Starfleet ship. It’s a small ship, but thanks to the CGI used in the remastered version, it looks good. In the original series, every ship had its own insignia. The Enterprise insignia that we’re used to is used in all other later series as the Starfleet insignia.

After Charlie beamed on board, everyone seems to act strangely around him. He hasn’t exhibited any unusual behaviour to make them do that, so why do they act so unnaturally? Either bad acting or bad writing.

Sexism pops up again. Charlie slapped Rand on the butt, and she had a hard time explaining why it was wrong. She told him to ask McCoy or Kirk. Later on, he asked Kirk, and he had a hard time explaining, as if he were embarrassed. You know what? Picard probably wouldn’t be able to explain well, either. I’m not even sure if Sisko or Archer could do it, but I’m sure Janeway could’ve. She would’ve said it well. Other characters, like Riker, might have had a good explanation.

There’s more Uhura and Spock interaction here. This time, it’s teasing. Uhura has a way with making people feel uncomfortable or embarrassed it seems. Spock played his harp (a first in the series) while Uhura sang (also the first time in the series). She teased him about his appearance, saying he looked a bit like the devil. When Charlie came in, it became extremely awkward. She teased him about liking Rand. That’s when we start seeing Charlie’s revenge escalating. One more thing about this scene is that Spock smiled. Still a bit more emotional than the rest of the series.

This is the first time UESPA is mentioned. It’s the United Earth Space Probe Agency. It will be mentioned several times in various series, and is kind of a predecessor of Starfleet, though they merge before the Enterprise series begins. It seems they work together for some time before eventually just being called Starfleet.

I was curious about the actor who played Charlie. Robert walker was 26 years old at the time this episode was made. Charlie was 17.

Notable absences are Scott, Sulu, and Chapel.

My Impressions

My main feelings about this episode is that it was incredibly awkward. We introduce a teenager who hasn’t lived around humans for most of his life, and has god-like powers. He doesn’t know how to control his anger. Charlie isn’t the awkward thing about this episode. It’s everyone else. They’re all acting as if they’d never been around a teenager before. They don’t seem to know how to talk to him. And Kirk’s reluctance to even say a word with him for half the episode was strange. And everyone was trying to get him to talk to Charlie. Stop acting like that!

For a second episode, it was still lacklustre. Two episodes in and we don’t have a strong episode yet. I’ve seen discussions online where people are wondering why they didn’t just start with the third episode (which I’ll do next), as it was a strong one. The main cast are still getting into their characters. Spock isn’t quite totally in control of his emotions. Uhura’s time singing was just plain awkward. And Kirk being flustered and unable to explain to a 17 year old why you can’t slap a woman on the ass was painful to watch. You know who was the star of this episode? I thought Robert Walker’s portrayal of Charlie was quite good. He made this episode.

It was moderately enjoyable, but still weak.



Your Voice

What did you think of this episode? Let me know in the comments below. Also, coming soon is The Star Trek Project page, where you’ll see all blog and video reviews linked.

9 thoughts on “Star Trek S1E02 – Charlie X”

  1. You sum it up well: it was an awkward episode. As far as Spock’s not-quite-Spock behavior, I think that was because the writers still weren’t sure what they wanted to do with the character.

  2. The first time I saw this episode, I thought Charlie looked to old to be a teenager. My mind just could not make the connection. And as in any episode with Yeoman Rand, I was distracted by her hairdo. Overall, my sympathies were stirred for Charlie’s situation; life with the Thasians had ruined him for human companionship. Interesting that sometimes parents unwittingly do that with their children.

      1. I have a question about comments. What is your preference with respect to how often? Your articles are thought-provoking; that is why I comment. But I do not want to overstay my welcome or become a nuisance. So if I am commenting too often for your taste please let me know. Thank you.

        Now back to Star Trek….

        On Thu, Dec 29, 2016 at 9:55 AM, I Read Encyclopedias for Fun wrote:

        > Jay Dee commented: “I guess that could be a warning to parents in this > episode. ” >

        1. Sorry about the late reply. I’m still trying to catch up. I have no problems with you commenting as much as you like. I welcome it, actually. The more comments the better 🙂

  3. I just watched this episode (for the umpteenth time) and I really like it. Spock smiling didn’t bother me, as they were still fleshing his character out, and that may have just been an oversight. I love Uhura’s voice and songs as well. I like Rand and wish her character was used more often in the show, but not just as the sexpot she was often portrayed. The themes were good, and I always like one especially about gods or godlike beings. Dealing with socially awkward teenagers was another good one, and I can understand everyone’s discomfort around Charlie, as he was rude, overbearing, immature, and later on, creepy whereas Most of them were well disciplined adults whose lives depended on obeying orders, keeping a cool head, and due diligence.

    1. Thanks for the comment. The thing about Rand for me is that she didn’t seem to have much of a purpose on the ship other than getting Kirk his food, coffee, and having him sign the logs. In other Star Trek series, the Yeoman position doesn’t exist. But thinking about the time the series was made, they probably couldn’t predict the future in this aspect.

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