Star Trek: Season 1, Episode 27

The Alternative Factor (30 Mar. 1967)

TV Episode  -   -  Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
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Ratings: 5.9/10 from 867 users  
Reviews: 17 user | 9 critic

While investigating and scanning an uncharted planet, the Enterprise and its quadrant of space are subjected to a violent force that seems to cause a 'blinking out' of everything near them.... See full summary »



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Title: The Alternative Factor (30 Mar 1967)

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Episode complete credited cast:
Janet MacLachlan ...
Charlene Masters
Richard Derr ...
Commodore Barstow
Arch Whiting ...
Assistant Engineer
Christian Patrick ...
Transporter Chief
Eddie Paskey ...


While investigating and scanning an uncharted planet, the Enterprise and its quadrant of space are subjected to a violent force that seems to cause a 'blinking out' of everything near them. When the scanners resume, where once there was no life on the planet, now there is one life sign. Kirk, Spock and a security force beam down to investigate and find a man named Lazarus who collapses and is brought aboard the Enterprise for treatment. To complicate things further, the initial phenomenon almost totally drained their dilithium crystals. Starfleet and Kirk suspect this phenomenon could be a prelude to invasion. While interrogating Lazarus he tells Kirk that he's locked in a struggle with another being who is 'anti life' and is behind the phenomenon. The disruptions continue to occur and the ship's situation grows worse. Written by tomtrekp

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


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Release Date:

30 March 1967 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


In the original script, Lazarus romantically came on to Lt. Charlene Masters to gain her assistance. The two subsequently fell in love, but when an African-American actress was cast as Masters, the romantic angle was dropped. See more »


Kirk tells Lazarus, "Let's have it. The truth this time." His lips do not move during the second sentence. See more »


Transporter Chief: Sir, you shouldn't be in here.
Lazarus: Oh, I didn't know!
[hits him in the stomach]
See more »


Referenced in Weird Science: Magnifico Dad (1994) See more »

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User Reviews

Ambitious and interesting idea.... weakly executed
19 May 2007 | by (Vulcan) – See all my reviews

This episode of TOS suffered from a mediocre script and very average directing. Robert Brown does a fair job of performing the rather maniacal Lazarus -an interesting biblical allusion, but a bit difficult to interpret the meaning given the character. The cinematography and the script impose limitations that inhibit dramatic development.

The Alternative factor is essentially a sci-fi mystery (hence the choice of Gerd Oswald, known for Perry Mason, as the director). It presents a plot with some interesting, though somewhat impossible, roots in theoretical physics. The known universe is, apparently, about to be destroyed by a malevolent humanoid from the universe of antimatter. Lazarus has been chasing this being for years - to exact revenge for the destruction of his world. The Enterprise crew is stymied and confused (as will be most members of the audience), until the identity of the would-be destroyer is revealed.

Basically, the story line could have been interesting given an hour or so more explanation. As it stands, it appears to be strafed with plot-holes and inconsistent characterization. The franchise, however, learned from its mistakes and did better with similar approaches in a few episodes of TNG and DS9.

6 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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