Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot.
Star Trek: Season II, Episode IX (38): Metamorphosis (1967) Directed by Ralph Senensky, Written by Gene L. Coon, Created by Gene Roddenberry
Mr. Spock: Your highly emotional reaction is most illogical. Your relationship with the Companion has for one hundred and fifty years been emotionally satisfying, eminently practical, and totally harmless. It may indeed have been quite beneficial.
Zefram Cochrane: Is this what the future holds? Men who have no notion of decency or morality? Well maybe I'm 150 years out of style, but I'm not gonna be fodder for any inhuman monster.
Alien love; Star Trek has it, and in few episodes to the degree we see here. Captain Kirk (William Shatner), Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy) and Doctor McCoy (DeForest Kelley) are on a humanitarian mission in a shuttlecraft; specifically, they are ferrying Commissioner Nancy Hedford (Elinor Donahue) back to the Enterprise where she will be treated for a rare disease. Commissioner Hedford continues the long standing tradition of Star Fleet personnel of being arrogant, demanding, and overbearing, seen first in Commissioner Ferris in The Galileo Seven (hey, maybe it’s the shuttle craft that makes them cranky! No, there was also Ambassador Robert Fox in A Taste of Armeggedon.) Of course, maybe it is the disease making her cranky.
Due to rendezvous with the Enterprise, the Galileo is suddenly overtaken by a strange electrical cloud, and towed helpless towards an unknown destination.
On a strange, oddly earthlike planetoid, the encounter a strange figure (Glenn Corbett), marooned on this planetoid by the same force that stranded Kirk and crew. There are mysteries; why do their systems not work? What was that cloud? And who is this man who is centuries behind the times. His name is a clue: Zefram Cochrane. That’s the name of the man who invented warp drive. To put it in perspective, how would you feel if you were marooned on a deserted island with someone named Thomas Edison? And they were actually the Edison?
The cloud is a sentient creature that healed a very old, suicidal Cochrane, restored him to health, and has kept him alive for a century and a half. And it has brought the Galileo here to provide him with the company of his own kind. Can Kirk solve the riddle of how to escape before Commissioner Hepford dies of her illness?
This is a great episode because it features alien love…and not just girls with green skin, or green hair and a jiffy pop bra. And Kirk is not the object of affection; it is Zefram. And his reactions to the obvious evoke a great deal of introspection.
Oh, the episode has a few problems; why were the three most senior officers sent in a shuttlecraft to retrieve anyone, no matter how important? McCoy and Sulu could have managed just as well. But I still like it as a demonstration of a simple human principle; Zefram Cochrane has lived with the Companion for 150 years, and can’t wrap his mind around the fact it loves him. Can’t see the forest for the trees. I also find it fascinating that Spock gets it instantly. Some of the looks he and Kirk exchange are very…knowing.
However, the show did teach all future incarnations of the show a lesson; the measurements of warp energy are in cochranes. Build a future history person, and use them repeatedly, like we today reference Shakespeare, or Edgar Allen Poe. It gives the show an internal validity. Zefram Cochrane would appear again, but not until much later, and much earlier, as the focal point in history that is the battle between the Borg and Picard in “First Contact”. I have to admit though, they couldn’t choose two more different actors to play the same man than Glenn Corbett and James Cromwell.
Still, I wonder how Kirk explained that he lost a Star Fleet Commissioner somewhere, out there.
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Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Fit for Friday Evening
Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children up Ages 8