Metamorphosis (Star Trek: The Original Series)

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"Metamorphosis"
Star Trek: The Original Series episode
Episode no.Season 2
Episode 9
Directed byRalph Senensky
Written byGene L. Coon
Featured musicGeorge Duning
Cinematography byJerry Finnerman
Production code031
Original air dateNovember 10, 1967 (1967-11-10)
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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"I, Mudd"
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"Journey to Babel"
Star Trek: The Original Series (season 2)
List of Star Trek: The Original Series episodes

"Metamorphosis" is the ninth episode of the second season of the American science fiction television series Star Trek. Written by Gene L. Coon and directed by Ralph Senensky, it was first broadcast on November 10, 1967.

In the episode, a shuttle crew from the USS Enterprise encounters a man out of history and his mysterious alien companion.

Plot[edit]

Federation Commissioner Nancy Hedford is being ferried by shuttlecraft to the Enterprise, to be treated for Sukaro's disease, a potentially fatal condition, before resuming a peacemaking mission. A glowing energy field appears in the shuttlecraft's path, and pulls it down to a nearby planetoid with an Earth-type atmosphere. All communications are blocked, and the shuttlecraft is totally inoperable.

Soon afterward, a young man calling himself Cochrane appears. He tells the party that he has been marooned on the planet for years and that a damping field is preventing their systems from working. Cochrane takes them to a shelter built from material salvaged from his crashed ship, and in the course of their visit, Kirk notices a glowing mass resembling the phenomenon that brought them to the planetoid. Cochrane calls this entity "the Companion", and explains that as an old man, he took one last flight, intending to die in space, but his crippled ship was intercepted and rescued by the entity, which restored him to youth and has been keeping him alive since. When he reveals his full name, Kirk, Spock and McCoy are stunned to discover that he is Zefram Cochrane, the inventor of warp drive.

When the Companion attacks Spock as he is working on the shuttle, Spock deduces that the entity is largely composed of electrical energy. Kirk and Spock attempt to disable the Companion with an improvised electrical disruptor, but the Companion retaliates violently, and only Cochrane's intervention saves Kirk and Spock from being killed.

With Hedford's condition rapidly deteriorating, Spock modifies the shuttle's universal translator to communicate with the energy force. Kirk discovers it has a female personality and is in love with Cochrane. The Companion declares that it has stopped all of them from aging, and will keep them there forever as companions for Cochrane. Cochrane, for his part, is disgusted by the idea of an intimate relationship with an alien.

Cochrane summons the Companion again, and Kirk explains that it and Cochrane are too different for true love. The Companion hypothesizes about being human and disappears. Moments later, Hedford appears outside the shelter, completely restored to health, and they realize that the Companion has merged with Hedford's body, which would otherwise have died within moments. Cochrane excitedly talks about his plans for traveling the galaxy, but the Companion/Hedford reveals that its life-force is bound to the planetoid; it cannot leave, so Cochrane chooses to remain with her. When McCoy asks who will complete Nancy Hedford's mission, Kirk shrugs and says, "I'm sure the Federation can find another woman, somewhere, who'll stop that war."

Production notes[edit]

"Metamorphosis" was the Star Trek debut of Zefram Cochrane (created by writer Gene L. Coon), one of the key figures in the fictional history of the Star Trek 'universe'. In this episode, Cochrane is defined as the developer of the "warp drive" technology which has enabled Earth to achieve interstellar travel with faster-than-light starships, leading to Earth's first encounters with alien civilisations, and the formation of the United Federation of Planets. In the series timeline (as it had evolved by 1967) Cochrane, "of Alpha Centauri," had vanished, presumed dead, 150 years earlier. Commissioner Hedford, who embodies "the Companion", was portrayed by Elinor Donahue who was known for the 1950s sitcom Father Knows Best, where she played Jane Wyatt's eldest daughter. On the next broadcast Star Trek episode, Jane Wyatt guested, playing Spock's mother Amanda.

Cochrane reappears as the focal character of the movie Star Trek: First Contact (1996), in which he is played by James Cromwell.

This episode was the first time in the original series that Kirk does not appear on board the Enterprise at any point.

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