The Magicks of Megas-tu
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|"The Magicks of Megas-tu"|
|Star Trek: The Animated Series episode|
The alien "satyr" Lucien
|Episode no.||Season 1
|Directed by||Hal Sutherland|
|Written by||Larry Brody|
|Original air date||October 27, 1973|
"The Magicks of Megas-tu" is the eighth episode of the first season of the animated science fiction television series Star Trek. It first aired in the NBC Saturday morning lineup on October 27, 1973, and was written by American television writer Larry Brody[note 1] who would go on to write the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Tattoo".
In this episode, Captain Kirk must defend both humanity and an alien named Lucien on their turf.
On stardate 1254.4, while exploring near the center of the galaxy, the Federation starship USS Enterprise is caught inside an energy/matter vortex and all her computer systems fail. A being named Lucien appears on the bridge, repairs the ship's systems and takes the crew to explore his planet, Megas-Tu.
On this planet, magic and witchcraft are quite normal. The Megans are an ageless species that had, at one time, lived on Earth, and were responsible for the legends about witches. Lucien, their guide, is in reality the Lucifer of Earth mythology. During this time, the Enterprise crew begin to experiment with magic: Lt. Sulu conjures up a beautiful woman while Science Officer Spock creates a Vulcan chess game. Lucien then warns the crew that their experiments would draw unwanted attention, but it is too late. The crew are transported into Salem during the middle of a witch trial where Lucien is the creature placed on trial by the Megans.
The Megans are determined to put humanity and the Enterprise crew on trial for what humans did to their people during the Salem witch-trials. Kirk comes out in support of Lucien's life and says that killing him would make the Megans just like humans. Lucien's punishment is to be condemned into limbo for eternity for bringing humans into the Megans' world. While Kirk states that humanity has progressed infinitely since 1691, the Megans ignore his words. At the end of the trial, Kirk offers his life to save Lucien's and the Megans are so impressed by the captain's gesture that they spare Lucien, and tell the Enterprise that they would welcome future human visits to their planet. They also return the Enterprise to its proper universe.
Some critics consider "Megas-tu" to be "one of the best animated episodes" which placed "Kirk in the bizarre situation of having to defend a misunderstood Satan." While it was quite ambitious and heady for a Saturday morning children's program, "it's somehow appropriate that Star Trek is able to pull it off successfully." This intriguing animated episode postulated that witches on Earth were actually "travellers from another dimension where magic exists." While this episode is somewhat similar to the live action Star Trek show "Plato's Stepchildren" where Kirk and his crew also gain superpowers, "it's actually a better episode, as Kirk pleads humanity's case to the Megans. The show depicts Kirk successfully defending Lucifer from banishment and noting that he will not fall prey to legendary superstitions. At the end of the episode following Kirk's successful defense, Spock says ironically to Kirk: "This is the second time Lucifer was cast out and, thanks to you, the first time he was saved."
It should be noted that at the time of production, the nature of the center of the Milky Way was not well understood by astronomers. The luminous feature at galactic center known as Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*) was not discovered until February 1974, and it would not be until 2002 before Sgr A* was confirmed to be the location of a supermassive black hole, a feature now known to be at the center of the vast majority of observed galaxies in the universe.
- "The Magicks of Megas-tu" at the Internet Movie Database
- "The Magicks of Megas-tu" at TV.com
- "The Magicks of Megas-tu" at Memory Alpha (a Star Trek wiki)
- "The Magicks of Megas-tu" at StarTrek.com
- "The Magicks of Megas-tu" at Curt Danhauser's Guide to the Animated Star Trek
- "The Magicks of Megas-tu" Full episode for viewing at StarTrek.com