Star Trek: TOS – S03E19, Requiem for Methuselah

star-trek-requiem-for-methuselah-2Requiem for Methuselah relies on a brilliant idea, but it seemed to me hastily executed, with little attention to detail. And that’s a real shame! Let’s start forom the plot. The Enterprise arrives at a planet in the Omega system and the situation on board is critical: the Rigelian fever is decimating the crew and McCoy must synthesize a vaccine quickly using a material which is abundant on the planet. Except that when Kirk, Spock and McCoy descend to the surface, they discover that the planet is inhabited by the anything but friendly Flint (James Daly). Kirk basically forces Flint to give him and his crewmembers hospitality.

Once in Flint’s magnificent residence, on the one hand Spock is fascinated by the art on display, and on the other Kirk falls in love (after a few minutes!) with the beautiful Rayna (Louise Sorel). McCoy, the only one who remains focused on the mission, informs the captain that Flint is deliberately delaying the creation of the vaccine and that’s a mystery that will only be solved at the very end of the episode.

The story is well thought out: Flint understands that the three can be useful for the development of Rayna and tries to use Captain Kirk for his purposes. Things go horribly wrong, though, as it is to be expected when mixing androids and feelings (ask Data and Lore of The Next Generation for further clarifications). Actually, it can be said that The Next Generation drew from this episode and developed in a better and more extensive way its themes: what makes an android capable of deciding for itself? Can an android feel emotions? Such questions would be addressed by Picard, Data and the rest of the Enterprise D crew on multiple occasions!

The things that left me perplexed when watching Requiem for Methuselah are the following: why does Kirk lose control so quickly for what is none other than the umpteenth blonde who happens to fall in his arms? I even thought he was under the influence of some strange spell! And how is it possible that Leonardo da Vinci, Johannes Brahms, Alexander the Great… In short, a 6,000 year old human who lived the lives of the greatest artists and wise men in history comes to a fist fight to conquer the woman who he himself has created with his own hands? The episode’s finale left me speechless…

On the other hand, Spock’s actions at the end of the episode are amazing: he uses his Vulcan mental powers to alleviate Kirk’s love pains, with a “Forget” which reminded me of the “Remember ” said to McCoy before Spock’s sacrifice in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982). Sure, maybe Kirk could have preferred to experience the pain due the loss of his love, but the half-Vulcan doesn’t allow him to do so. Another thing I notice is the flat screen TV owned by Flint, yet another technological device whose existence was predicted by Star Trek! Ciao!

PS: I haven’t mentioned the fact that this episode is similar to The Forbidden Planet (1956) due to the robot used by Flint who is halfway between Robby the Robot and the probe of second season’s The Changeling.

Previous episode: The Lights of Zetar

Next episode: The Way to Eden


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