Requiem for Methuselah

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"Requiem for Methuselah"
Star Trek: The Original Series episode
Episode no. Season 3
Episode 19
Directed by Murray Golden
Written by Jerome Bixby
Featured music Ivan Ditmars
Fred Steiner
Cinematography by Al Francis
Production code 076
Original air date February 14, 1969 (1969-02-14)
Guest actors
Episode chronology
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"The Lights of Zetar"
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"The Way to Eden"
List of Star Trek: The Original Series episodes

"Requiem for Methuselah" is a third season episode of the original science fiction television series Star Trek, first broadcast on February 14, 1969. Its repeat broadcast, on September 2, 1969, was the last official telecast of the series to air on NBC. (Star Trek would immediately debut in syndication on the following Monday, September 8, a full three years after its debut.)[citation needed] It is episode #74, production #76, written by Jerome Bixby and directed by Murray Golden. It guest-stars James Daly as "Mr. Flint", and Louise Sorel as "Rayna Kapec". ("Kapec" is an anagram of Capek, after Karel Capek, who introduced the term robot.)

In this episode, the crew of the Enterprise encounter an immortal human in this science fiction variation on Shakespeare's The Tempest.[citation needed]

Plot[edit]

The crew of the Federation starship USS Enterprise is struck with the deadly disease Rigellian Fever. They arrive at the remote planet Holberg 917-G in search of the mineral Ryetalyn, used to manufacture a cure. Sensors detect humanoid life.

Captain Kirk, First Officer Spock and Chief Medical Officer Dr. McCoy beam down to the planet to investigate and are attacked by a sentry robot. The robot is called off by its master, who steps forward and identifies himself as Flint. Flint claims that the landing party is trespassing, and orders them to leave his planet immediately.

Kirk will not accept Flint's authority and calls Chief Engineer Scott on the Enterprise to fire the ship's phasers at their position if any harm comes to them. McCoy informs Flint about the disease that threatens the Enterprise crew and about the urgent need for Ryetalyn. Flint shows emotion when hearing Dr. McCoy's comparison of the disease to the bubonic plague, and Flint describes the agonies suffered by the stricken in Constantinople in the summer of 1334.

Flint allows the landing party two hours to gather the Ryetalyn and offers the services of his sentry robot, "M4", to find and gather the mineral. Flint escorts the landing party to his home. Flint has an impressive collection of Earth artifacts including paintings by Leonardo da Vinci and a Gutenberg Bible, but Spock is puzzled when his tricorder scans reveal that the works are recent creations made with contemporary materials.

The party is surprised by the appearance of Flint's beautiful young ward, Rayna Kapec, who instantly takes a liking to Spock. Spock is impressed with her knowledge of advanced physics. Flint states that Rayna's parents used to be in his employ, but died in an accident. Kirk plays billiards with Rayna, then they dance while Spock plays a waltz on the piano. Spock determines the waltz to be an unknown piece written by Johannes Brahms, written in his style and by his own hand – again using contemporary materials. In Flint's lab, McCoy analyzes the Ryetalyn gathered by M4 and discovers that it is contaminated with "irilium", rendering it inert and useless.

When Kirk romances Rayna, M4 appears and attacks him. Spock destroys the robot with his phaser. Kirk confronts Flint about the attack. Flint excuses it as a misunderstanding, explaining M4 misinterpreted Kirk's advances toward Rayna as hostile. Kirk forgives the incident and is rather relieved by M4's demise, but Flint quickly summons a replacement sentry.

Kirk contacts the Enterprise and asks Communications Officer Lt. Uhura to check out Flint and Rayna's identities. Uhura learns that Holberg 917-G was purchased thirty years earlier by a private investor named Brack. Spock uses a surreptitious tricorder scan to discover that Flint is over 6,000 years old.

When the materials are almost ready, Rayna comes to say goodbye to Kirk. Kirk has fallen in love with her and begs her to come with him. McCoy informs them that the Ryetalyn is missing. Spock follows the tricorder readings to a hidden chamber where they find other Raynas, who are all androids.

Kirk demands an explanation from Flint. Flint confesses that he is immortal, born on Earth in Mesopotamia in the year 3834 BC. He was a soldier, and after falling in battle and later recovering he discovered he could not die. As time went on, he lived several "lifetimes" under names that would become historically important, including Da Vinci, Brahms, Solomon, Alexander, Lazarus, Methuselah, Merlin, Abramson, and others. He made Rayna as a mate who would never grow old, and who could "live" forever just as he can. Flint refuses to let them leave with their knowledge of his secret. He claims that Kirk has taught Rayna something he has never been able to: how to love. He now wants Kirk to redirect Rayna's love toward Flint. Kirk refuses to cooperate. He requests the Enterprise beam them up and prepare to leave orbit.

Flint activates a device that miniaturizes the Enterprise and its crew, and brings them into his home. Flint is quickly shamed into restoring the ship, but when he realizes Rayna will not return his love, Flint attacks Kirk. Rayna tries to stop the fight, but her feelings are confused between the two men. Her mental circuits overload and she collapses dead on the floor. Flint and Kirk stop fighting, and the two grief-stricken men mourn her.

Flint regains his composure and allows Kirk to leave with the supply of Ryetalyn. Back on the Enterprise, McCoy discovers from his tricorder readings that Flint is dying. Conditions on Earth made him immortal, but living outside that environment has gradually caused him to age normally again. Kirk remains distraught over Rayna; after McCoy leaves the room, Spock uses a Vulcan mind meld to make Kirk forget her.

40th anniversary remastering[edit]

This episode was remastered in 2006 and aired June 21, 2008 as part of the remastered Original Series. It was preceded a week earlier by the remastered "The Way to Eden" and followed a week later by the remastered "The Savage Curtain". Changes made specific to this episode include:

  • Flint's home is now a large palatial home, complete with observation tower. Originally, Flint's home was represented by a reuse of the matte painting of Rigel VII from "The Cage".
  • Planet Holberg 917-G is now more realistic, with two moons orbiting behind it.
  • The effect of the Enterprise being miniaturized from space is remastered.

In other media[edit]

  • The author of the Star Trek screenplay, Jerome Bixby, would write a film script at the end of his life which has many plot elements of this previous story, including an ageless man who is 14,000 years old, and has been a student of the Buddha, while he himself was the basis for the story of Jesus. This film, The Man from Earth, was released in 2007.
  • In the crossover comic Star Trek/Legion of Super-Heroes, the crew of the Enterprise join forces with the Legion of Super-Heroes to investigate an alternate timeline where Earth has become a galaxy-conquering empire, learning that the villain is immortal Vandal Savage, who turns out to be an alternate version of Flint, Flint being a Vandal Savage who turned his back on violence and conquest.

External links[edit]