Requiem for Methuselah

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
"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 appearance(s)
Episode chronology
← Previous
"The Lights of Zetar"
Next →
"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). It is episode No. 74, production No. 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 Čapek, who introduced the term robot).

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


The crew of the Federation starship USS Enterprise is struck with deadly Rigellian Fever. They arrive at the remote planet Holberg 917-G in search of the mineral Ryetalyn, used to manufacture a cure. Sensors detect no humanoid life.

Captain Kirk, first officer Spock and medical officer Dr. McCoy beam down to the planet to investigate and are attacked by a robot. The robot is called off by its master, who identifies himself as Flint. Flint claims that the landing party is trespassing, and orders them to leave immediately.[1]

Kirk will not accept Flint's authority, and orders chief engineer Scott on the Enterprise to fire the ship's phasers at their position if they are harmed. McCoy tells Flint about the disease threatening the Enterprise crew and their urgent need for Ryetalyn. Flint displays emotion when he hears McCoy's comparison of the disease to bubonic plague, and describes the agonies suffered by the stricken in Constantinople in the summer of 1334.

He gives the landing party two hours to gather the Ryetalyn, offering his sentry robot M4 to find and gather the mineral. Flint escorts them to his home, which has an impressive collection of Earth artifacts (including paintings by Leonardo da Vinci and a Gutenberg Bible). Spock, however, is puzzled when his tricorder scans indicate that the works are recent creations with contemporary materials.

The party is surprised by the appearance of Flint's beautiful young ward, Rayna Kapec. Rayna likes Spock, who is impressed by her knowledge of physics. According to Flint, her parents were employees who died in an accident. Kirk plays billiards with Rayna, and they dance to a waltz played on the piano by Spock. The Vulcan calls the waltz an unknown piece by Johannes Brahms, written in manuscript with contemporary ink. In Flint's lab, McCoy analyzes the Ryetalyn gathered by M4; it is contaminated with irilium, and useless.

When Kirk kisses Rayna, M4 attacks him and Spock destroys the robot with his phaser. Kirk confronts Flint about the attack and Flint says that M4 misinterpreted Kirk's actions as hostile. Although Kirk forgives the incident, Flint summons a replacement sentry.

Kirk contacts the Enterprise and asks communications officer Uhura to research Flint and Rayna. Uhura learns that Holberg 917-G was purchased thirty years earlier by Brack, a private investor. With a surreptitious tricorder scan, Spock learns that Flint is over 6,000 years old.

Rayna comes to say goodbye to Kirk, who has fallen in love with her and begs her to accompany him. McCoy tells them that the Ryetalyn is missing, and Spock follows tricorder readings to a chamber with the bodies of other Raynas—all androids.

Kirk demands an explanation, and Flint confesses that he was born in Mesopotamia in 3834 BC. A soldier, after falling in battle he discovered he could not die.[2][3] Flint lived "lifetimes" as Leonardo da Vinci, Brahms, Solomon, Alexander, Lazarus, Methuselah, Merlin and others. He made Rayna as a mate who would "live" forever, and refuses to let them leave knowing his secret. According to Flint, Kirk has taught Rayna how to love and he wants Kirk to redirect her love to himself. Kirk refuses to cooperate, but when he orders the Enterprise beam them up Flint miniaturizes the Enterprise and its crew in his home. Although he is shamed into restoring the ship, when he realizes Rayna will not return his love Flint attacks Kirk. Rayna tries to stop the fight, her feelings torn between the two men, and she dies. Flint and Kirk, grief-stricken, stop fighting.

Flint allows Kirk to leave with the Ryetalyn. On the Enterprise, McCoy discovers from his tricorder readings that Flint is dying. Although earthly conditions made him immortal, living outside that environment has caused him to gradually age normally. Kirk is distraught over Rayna, and Spock helps him forget her with a Vulcan mind meld.

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 Crew meet up again with the character Flint in the Star Trek book The Cry of the Onlies by Judy Klass, which is a follow-on from both "Requiem for Methuselah" and "Miri". He is also encountered in Greg Cox's non-canonical novels The Eugenics Wars: The Rise and Fall of Khan Noonien Singh, as Dr. Evergreen, a 1980s scientist who discovers a hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica, in Immortal Coil by Jeffrey Lang, and in Federation (Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens) as Zefram Cochrane's benefactor Micah Brack.
  • 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 joins forces with the Legion of Super-Heroes to investigate an alternative timeline where Earth has become a galaxy-conquering empire, learning that the villain is immortal Vandal Savage, who turns out to be an alternative version of Flint, Flint being a Vandal Savage who turned his back on violence and conquest.


  1. ^ David Greven (26 August 2009). Gender and Sexuality in Star Trek: Allegories of Desire in the Television Series and Films. McFarland. pp. 25–. ISBN 978-0-7864-5458-7. 
  2. ^ A. Bowdoin Van Riper (2002). Science in Popular Culture: A Reference Guide. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 175–. ISBN 978-0-313-31822-1. 
  3. ^ George Jaroszkiewicz (21 March 2016). Images of Time: Mind, Science, Reality. Oxford University Press. pp. 111–. ISBN 978-0-19-871806-2. 

External links[edit]