Charlie X

Seventeen year old Charles "Charlie" Evans has recently been rescued from the planet Thasus where he crashed as a child. How Charlie survived-and even thrived is a mystery to all. The Enterprise is called upon to rondevue with the rescue ship Antares and transport Charlie to a colony planet where he can transition back into society. The Captain of the Antares is in a hurry to hand Charlie off and get on about their business.

Charlie seems well meaning and eager to make friends aboard the enterprise. However, the lack of human interaction has made Charlie socially ignorant and quite selfish. When Captain Kirk tries to mentor the young man he finds that there is more to Charlie than meets the eye. Charlie has acquired astonishing psychic powers which he's not shy about using if things don't go his way.  Charlie banishes one crew member into non-existence for laughing at him. He removes the face of another crewman and to yet another unfortunate red-shirt he turns into an old hag.

The only person aboard the Enterprise Charlie respects is the captain and with each flair of the captain's temper, Charlie is liking him a little less. Charlie also develops a doomed crush for Yeoman Janice Rand.

All of this presents a huge problem for the Captain.  What the hell are they gonna do with Charlie? They can't take him to the colony-he's too dangerous.  They can't let him stay on the Enterprise, either!

This is the first episode in which we see a Star Trek staple: Captain Kirk taking on a Man or robot or child who is constantly petulant and has developed or been given almost demi-god powers. Usually when that happens Captain Kirk is jerked around like a puppet on a string, much to said demi-deity's delight.  We usually get a few speeches about humanity, why being human is better than being the villain of the week and so fourth, all presented with the patented Shatner-esque gravitas.  Good Stuff! In this respect, Charlie X is related to the episodes THE SQUIRE OF GOTHOS, THE CHANGELING, THE GAMESTERS OF TRISKELLION, and STAR TREK THE MOTION PICTURE, and STAR TREK THE FINAL FRONTIER.  If it's not demi-gods Captain Kirk is spanking it's seemingly all powerful Robots, androids, and alien drones-and so in that respect this episode is also related to I, MUDD and WHAT ARE LITTLE GIRLS MADE OF. If I were a super intelligent Android or a demi-God I would STAY AWAY from Captain Kirk!  Finally, if we were to keep playing the six degrees game I would also point out the similarities between this episode of Star Trek and the Twilight Zone episode IT'S A GOOD LIFE about a small boy with limitless mental powers.  In one scene that mirrors CHARLIE X, Anthony gets mad and instead of sending someone to non-existence he "wishes them into the cornfield"-another dimension of non-existence.

Robert Walker turns in a great performance as Charlie.  He's likable one minute and a terror the next. He's angry, confused, love-sick, desperate for attention and acceptance, selfish, dangerous-Walker is given quite a smorgasbord of emotions to display.


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