Star Trek: Season 2, Episode 24

The Ultimate Computer (8 Mar. 1968)

TV Episode  -   -  Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
8.0
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Reviews: 13 user | 3 critic

Kirk and a sub-skeleton crew are ordered to test out an advanced artificially intelligent control system that could potentially render them all redundant.

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Title: The Ultimate Computer (08 Mar 1968)

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Storyline

Kirk is none too impressed when he's told that the Enterprise is to compete in simulated war games but under the control of a new computer. The M-5 computer is the latest invention of the brilliant Dr. Richard Daystrom, who is confidant that his unit can not only take control of the starship but do a better job than humans can. In its first simulated encounter, the Enterprise under M-5's control easily defeats two other starships. Soon, however, it begins to act independently of its human masters, tapping directly into the warp engines for its power and erecting a force field to protect itself. Daystrom has little interest in disconnecting the M-5 and treats it more like an errant child than a machine. For Kirk and the few crew members still aboard, it becomes a matter of life and death when Starfleet Command orders the Enterprise destroyed. Written by garykmcd

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8 March 1968 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Trivia

The Daystrom Institute, mentioned prominently in Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987), Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993), and Star Trek: Voyager (1995), is named for Dr. Richard Daystrom, the guest character in this episode. See more »

Goofs

Kirk gets the M-5 to commit suicide by asking what is the penalty for murder. However, in "The Menagerie, Part I," it's established that the death penalty has been abolished for all crimes with the exception of visiting Talos IV. See more »

Quotes

Captain James T. Kirk: You know, I have... I have never felt this way before - at odds with... the ship. I sat there and watched my ship perform for a mass of circuits and relays, and felt... useless. Unneeded. To Captain Dunsel.
Dr. McCoy: To James T. Kirk, Captain of the Enterprise.
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Referenced in Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) See more »

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User Reviews

Finally, a counterpart for William Shatner
31 March 2006 | by (Goleta, CA) – See all my reviews

William Marshall (Daystrom) overacts with as much vigor as Shatner in this episode. Long impassioned monologues that leave me rolling on the floor laughing.

As usual, the writers didn't miss out on the chance for relevant social commentary. Back then, computers were so expensive, only corporations owned them. And it wasn't just the misinformed who gave computers more respect than they were due. Artificial Intelligence researchers believed that they would soon be matching human reasoning. Such power in the hands of a few was of course a frightening prospect.

Daystrom's best moments are at 29 and 42 minutes on the DVD.


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