The Lorelei Signal
|"The Lorelei Signal"|
|Star Trek: The Animated Series episode|
|Episode no.||Season 1|
|Directed by||Hal Sutherland|
|Written by||Margaret Armen|
|Original air date||September 29, 1973|
"The Lorelei Signal" is the fourth episode of the first season of the animated American science fiction television series Star Trek. It first aired in the NBC Saturday morning lineup on September 29, 1973, and was written by Margaret Armen,[note 1] author of three Original Series episodes.[note 2]
Set in the 23rd century, the series follows the adventures of Captain James T. Kirk (voiced by William Shatner) and the crew of the Federation starship Enterprise. In this episode, Lt. Uhura (voiced by Nichelle Nichols), Nurse Chapel (voiced by Majel Barrett) and the Enterprise women must take charge of the ship from incapacitated male senior officers and rescue Captain Kirk and his landing party held on an alien world.
On stardate 5483.7, the Federation starship Enterprise investigates a sector of space where starships have been disappearing every 27.346 years. A strangely compelling musical signal lures the Enterprise to a remote planet in the Taurean system some 20 light-years distance. The music works on the men of the Enterprise, affecting their judgement and causing them to experience euphoric hallucinations. Captain Kirk (voiced by William Shatner), First Officer Spock (voiced by Leonard Nimoy), Chief Medical Officer Dr. McCoy (voiced by DeForest Kelley), and Lieutenant Carver (voiced by James Doohan) beam down to the source of the signals.
Arriving on the planet surface they discover the inhabitants are a race of beautiful women who want to celebrate their arrival. They are given drink which they discover is drugged as they begin to fall unconscious. When they awake, they find themselves in a weakened state brought about by rapid aging. They discover headbands locked around their foreheads which somehow transmit their life-force to the bodies of the women, who are growing in strength.
On board the Enterprise, Communications Officer Lt. Uhura (voiced by Nichelle Nichols) talks with Nurse Chapel (voiced by Majel Barrett) about the men's condition and comes to the conclusion that she must take command due to the irrational behavior of Chief Engineer Scott (voiced by James Doohan) and the other men.
Back on the planet, Kirk and his party manage to gather enough strength to escape to a spacious garden and hide inside a tall urn. They discover that the pace of their loss of strength correlates with the proximity of the women. Rather than just wait to be found or just die, they decide that Spock should go back alone and attempt to find a communicator and contact the ship since he has not deteriorated as much as the others. Spock is able to complete his task and orders Uhura to come down with an all-female rescue party.
Uhura beams down with Chapel and a female security force and quickly stun the now-aggressive women with their phasers then compel them to help rescue the men after being told the story of how the Taurean women came to be in their current situation.
Back on the Enterprise, the aging process is stopped with the removal of the headbands, but they cannot find a treatment that will restore their original age until Spock comes up with the idea of using their original transporter patterns from when they first beamed down.
Uhura returns to the planet, and witnesses the Taurean leader, Theela (voiced by Majel Barrett), destroying the device that had been luring starships, stating that Uhura should tell Kirk she kept her side of the bargain. Uhura informs them that a ship of women will return to bring them to a habitable world and that the women's bodies should return to normal in a few months.
In addition to her normal role as Nurse Chapel, Majel Barrett supplies the voice of Theela, the head of the Taurean women, Nichelle Nichols supplies the voice of security officer Lt. Davison in addition to that of Lt. Uhura and James Doohan adds the voice of Lt. Carver to his usual role of Chief Engineer Scott. (Doohan also sings part of an old Scottish folk song as the Enterprise is seen drifting by the planet, in a segment that lasts over half a minute.)
Co-producer Lou Scheimer recounted that during the table read for the episode, "Nichelle [Nichols] yelled happily, 'What you're kidding? I actually get to run the Enterprise? Really?' It broke the whole room up." This is one of three times a woman commands the Enterprise, the other two being in "The Cage" by Number One, and "Turnabout Intruder" by Dr. Janice Lester.
- "The Deadly Years" - a second season Star Trek: The Original Series episode where command personnel are subjected to rapid aging.
- "Unnatural Selection" - a second season Star Trek: The Next Generation episode where the transporter is used to reverse rapid aging.
- "Rascals" - a sixth season Star Trek: The Next Generation episode where Enterprise personnel must use the transporter to restore their physical parameters to normal.
- "Favorite Son" - a third season Star Trek: Voyager episode where Ensign Kim finds himself compelled to join an all-female alien society where, he discovers, they need to drain his life-energy to survive.
- "Bound" - a fourth season Star Trek: Enterprise episode where Enterprise command staff are compelled to do the bidding of Orion slave women they have brought on board.
- Mangels, Andy (Summer 2018). "Star Trek: The Animated Series". RetroFan. TwoMorrows Publishing (1): 25–37.
- DeCandido, Keith R. A. (December 13, 2016). "Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: "The Lorelei Signal"". Tor.com. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
- Hollywood Reporter 'Star Trek': 100 Greatest Episodes
- Roth, Dany (December 28, 2016). "The Top 10 Uhura Moments from Star Trek". SYFY WIRE. Retrieved July 24, 2019.
- "Star Trek: An Episode Roadmap for Beginners". Den of Geek. Retrieved July 24, 2019.