Star Trek: Season 3, Episode 12

The Empath (6 Dec. 1968)

TV Episode  -   -  Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 752 users  
Reviews: 21 user | 1 critic

Trapped in an alien laboratory Kirk, Spock and McCoy meet an empath and are involved in a series of experiments.



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Title: The Empath (06 Dec 1968)

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Episode complete credited cast:
Kathryn Hays ...
Alan Bergmann ...
Davis Roberts ...
Jason Wingreen ...
Willard Sage ...


Kirk, Spock and McCoy suddenly find themselves in an underground laboratory where they meet an attractive young woman who is not only mute but also an empath who can absorb someone else's pain. When their captors make themselves known, they refuse to explain why the three men have been taken prisoner or why they and the young woman, whom McCoy has named Gem, are there. Inexplicably, they set about torturing them for no apparent reason. Fortunately, Gem's empathic powers allow her to take away their pain, but only at great sacrifice to herself. When their captors tell Kirk that he must choose which of his men to die, their selflessness comes to the fore, leaving Dr. McCoy volunteering himself. They all soon learn that the object of the experiment is Gem herself. Written by garykmcd

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Release Date:

6 December 1968 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This was DeForest Kelley's favourite episode. See more »


After Kirk is abducted by the Vian teleporter, there is a hand print on the dusty floor that reveals how William Shatner got up between shots. See more »


Dr. McCoy: Men weren't intended to live this far underground. It's just not natural.
Captain James T. Kirk: And space travel is?
Mr. Spock: Some men spend the majority of their lives in mines beneath the surface.
Dr. McCoy: I'm a doctor, not a coal miner.
See more »


References The Outer Limits: Nightmare (1963) See more »

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User Reviews

Star Trek on the Cheap
26 January 2007 | by (Fairfax, VA) – See all my reviews

Sorry, but this episode reflects all that was wrong with Star Trek in the third season. Hackneyed plots (Spock's Brain?), stripped down sets, and other cuts to reduce production costs. The S&M aspect of this episode was particularly troubling, of course.

Star Trek ran aground in the third year. The production and writing staffs mailed it in, the budgets were cut, and scripts were written with economy--not drama--in mind.

While I appreciate the letter-writing campaign that saved the series, NBC scuttled it by lousy scheduling and crummy budgets. This episode epitomizes it all.

All in all: lame.

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