|Star Trek: The Original Series episode|
|Episode no.||Season 1|
|Directed by||Lawrence Dobkin|
|Story by||Gene Roddenberry|
|Teleplay by||Dorothy C. Fontana|
|Featured music||Fred Steiner|
|Cinematography by||Jerry Finnerman|
|Original air date||September 15, 1966|
"Charlie X" is the second episode of the first season of the American science fiction television series Star Trek. Written by Dorothy C. Fontana (from a story by Gene Roddenberry) and directed by Lawrence Dobkin, it first aired on September 15, 1966.
The Enterprise picks up an unstable 17-year-old boy with dangerous mental powers who lacks the training and restraint to handle them wisely.
The Federation starship Enterprise meets the scientific exploration vessel Antares to take charge of Charlie Evans (Robert Walker Jr.), sole survivor of a transport ship that crashed on the planet Thasus. For fourteen years, Charlie grew up there alone, stranded in the wreckage, learning how to talk from the ship's computer systems which remained intact. Charlie is to be transported to his nearest relatives on the colony Alpha V.
Crew members aboard Antares speak praises about Charlie, but seem pleased to see the boy removed from their ship. After the transfer, they bid Enterprise an unusually hasty goodbye and depart. Charlie undergoes a medical examination by Dr. McCoy. He tells the doctor the crew of Antares did not like him very much, and that all he wants is for people to like him.
Charlie quickly becomes obnoxious and shows signs that he possesses strange powers. First, he develops an infatuation with Yeoman Janice Rand. He presents her with a rare bottle of perfume, which turns out to be her favorite scent. Having observed a man in engineering seal an agreement to rendezvous in the rec room with a slap on the rear of his co-worker, he does the same to Rand.
Charlie meets Rand later in the rec room, where Mr. Spock plays a Vulcan lyrette and Lt. Uhura sings. Charlie is annoyed with being a subject in Uhura's performance as well as with Rand paying more attention to the song than to him, so he causes Uhura to temporarily lose her voice.
When the Antares is nearly out of sensor range, it transmits a message to the Enterprise. The message is cut off before it can convey a warning about Charlie. Shortly thereafter, Spock determines that the Antares has blown up.
In an attempt to get Charlie interested in a woman his own age, Rand introduces him to Yeoman Tina Lawton, but Charlie is only interested in Rand and ignores Tina. Later, Captain Kirk tries to teach the young man how to fight. Sam, Kirk's training partner, laughs at one of Charlie's falls, and Charlie makes him vanish before Kirk's eyes. Shocked, Kirk calls for security guards to escort Charlie to his quarters, but Charlie says he will not let them hurt him; he then makes their phasers disappear. Charlie admits he used his powers to destroy the Antares, but says the ship would have blown up on its own sooner or later and insists, "They weren't nice to me."
Charlie discovers Kirk's plans to divert from Alpha V, and takes control of the Enterprise. He forces Spock to recite Earth poetry (The Tyger,The Raven), turns Tina into a lizard, and chases down Rand. When she resists his advances, he makes her disappear. Charlie then goes on a rampage, hideously transforming or making crew members vanish.
Meanwhile, a Thasian ship approaches the Enterprise. The Thasian commander appears on the bridge, saying that his race gave Charlie his powers to help him to survive on their world, but these powers (which they are unable to take back from Charlie) make him too dangerous to live among humans. The Thasians return Yeoman Rand and repair the damage Charlie has done, apart from the Antares, which they reveal they were unable to save due to realizing too late that Charlie had departed the planet. They promise to take Charlie to live with them. Charlie begs Kirk for forgiveness and pleads with him to not let the aliens have him. Despite Kirk's statement that Charlie belongs with his own kind, the aliens transport Charlie away as Yeoman Rand cries for him.
The premise for this episode formed part of Gene Roddenberry's original March 1964 pitch for Star Trek, under the name "The Day Charlie Became God". When the series entered production, Roddenberry assigned it to Dorothy C. Fontana to dramatize.
For a while during production, the episode was known as "Charlie's Law"; a name which survived in the James Blish adaptation of the episode for Bantam Books. In a scene in the script which did not air, Charlie's Law is stated as "You'd better be nice to Charlie...or else."
Gene Roddenberry made an uncredited audio cameo as the cook (or mess officer) who exclaims that the turkey-shaped meatloaf in the galley ovens has turned into real turkeys. This was his only appearance in The Original Series.
Zack Handlen of The A.V. Club gave the episode a 'B' rating. Handlen marked the episode down for its poor treatment of Yeoman Janice Rand and use of the "god-child" cliché, but praised more "disturbing" elements of the episode such as Charlie's pranks and his eventual fate.
- Herbert Franklin Solow and Robert H. Justman (1996). Inside Star Trek: The Real Story. Pocket Books. ISBN 0-671-00974-5.
- Charlie X Archived January 3, 2008, at the Wayback Machine, final draft by D. C. Fontana, online at Orion Press
- Handlen, Zack (January 16, 2009). ""The Man Trap"/"Charlie X"/"The Naked Time"". The A.V. Club. Retrieved June 10, 2009.
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