Star Trek: Season 1, Episode 2

Charlie X (15 Sep. 1966)

TV Episode  |   |  Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 1,496 users  
Reviews: 12 user | 13 critic

Captain Kirk must learn the limits to the power of a 17-year-old boy with the psychic ability to create anything and destroy anyone.

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Title: Charlie X (15 Sep 1966)

Charlie X (15 Sep 1966) on IMDb 7.2/10

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Cast

Episode complete credited cast:
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...
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Charlie Evans (as Robert Walker)
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...
...
Charles Stewart ...
Captain Ramart (as Charles J. Stewart)
Dallas Mitchell ...
Tom Nellis
Don Eitner ...
Navigator
Pat McNulty ...
Tina Lawton (as Patricia McNulty)
John Bellah ...
Crewman I
Garland Thompson ...
Crewman II
...
The Thasian
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Storyline

The space vessel Antares rescues Charles Evans from the forbidding surface of the planet Thasus, and then hurriedly hands him off to the Enterprise. Soon, mysterious happenings dog the boy, who cannot seem to learn certain vital lessons of adulthood. Finally the humiliated teen reveals prodigious psionic powers that could even threaten the survival of the Federation. Who is Charlie, really, and where did he get these abilities? Written by CommanderBalok

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15 September 1966 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Trivia

True to his training as a Method actor, Robert Walker Jr. chose to remain in his dressing room and not interact with any members of the cast as this would help his characterization of a strange, aloof person. See more »

Goofs

Spock can be seen blinking when he is frozen by Charlie. See more »

Quotes

Charlie Evans: He had a mean look. I had to freeze him. I like happy looks.
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Connections

Features Star Trek: The Man Trap (1966) See more »

Soundtracks

Oh, On the Starship Enterprise
(uncredited)
Performed by Nichelle Nichols
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User Reviews

 
I'm Not a Man and I Can Do Anything - you can't
17 June 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Though this was aired in front of "Where No Man Has Gone Before," it's not the first Trek story to feature a human being acquiring extraordinary powers - that would be the aforementioned 2nd pilot for the show. The angle with this episode is that the human being in question is a teenager, 17-year-old Charles Evans (well played by actor Walker, in his mid-twenties at the time). It's bad enough when adults get delusions of godhood; when it's a teen, all bets are off. Kirk brings on a sector worth of trouble on board his ship when he accepts a transfer of a young guest from a smaller ship. The Charlie character spent all his years up to this point on some planet without other human beings. His introduction to the fairer sex (Yeoman Rand - probably Whitney's best episode) is painful in itself; his growing pains are accentuated by his complete ignorance of common social customs.

All this is uncomfortable to watch because Walker imparts an uneasy, twitchy psychosis to his character but then, in the second half of the episode, he reveals his unlimited powers - he literally seems able to do anything, whether making people disappear or transforming them into lizards. The story now begins to take on a more horrific tone; in his frustration, Charlie is not beyond torturing crew members, terrorizing the entire ship. This is alienation taken to the nth degree. The episode makes a strong case for the issue of parental control - even more on the topic of maturing without parents (think of the story of Superman/Clark Kent, for example, and if he'd grown up without the influence of the Kents; this has been on display for the past few years on the series "Smallville"). In this particular episode, the parental duties fall on Kirk, but it's too little too late - far too late. One drawback of this episode: an extended scene of Uhura singing about Spock and then Charlie - the one point that Charlie's surreptitious use of his powers seemed warranted.

As with most of the Trek episodes in the original series, the strongly structured scripts included excellent endings, as is the case here. There are no pat unrealistic conclusions, i.e. a happy ending, where-in Charlie is somehow able to remain with the human race (due to the miraculous removal of his powers, for example). No, even in this sector of space, you reap what you sow and things are not solved for you. There's a genuinely tragic tone to the ending - Charlie's main weakness, after all, was just a great need for other people to like him. That need will never be fulfilled at the end. As with the previously aired "Man Trap," total incompatibility between two sets of entities shows that some things are beyond our ability to set right, even with future technology.


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