Let’s continue our Star Trek (Not Stargate! I keep making that mistake!): The Original Series re-watch. Today, Cookie Monster and I discuss Charlie X…
Me: A very strong episode this one, reminiscent of The Twilight Zone’s equally creepy “It’s A Good Life”, based on the short story by Jerome Bixby. It stands the test of time and stands out as an incredibly suspenseful ride. Sure, there are a few unintentionally hilarious moments, and the ending is a bit of a letdown, but it’s a powerful, seminal episode.
Cookie Monster: If monster said it once, me said it a hundred times: Kids Be Creepy! And monster have very bad feeling about dis one when he start making funny faces behind Kirk’s back…
Me: Yeah, I was like WTF? The Captain of that other ship couldn’t get rid of him fast enough. It was like: “Here you go, Kirk. Enjoy your new passenger!” And then, as he’s preparing to get transported back to his ship: “Sucker.”
Cookie Monster: More disturbing den creepy kid be Spock rocking out on Vulcan lute while Uhura belt out tune. And everyone else in room pretend like dey enjoying demselves and not wanting to get back to private conversation.
Me: Yeah, she reminds me of an ex-girlfriend who used to do that – break into song at parties. “Food glorious fooooood! Hot sausage and mustard! While we’re in the mooood – !”
Cookie Monster: Shut de fuck up! Me trying to enjoy a cocktail weenie over here!
Cookie Monster: But scene effektively convey first rumblings of trouble with Charlie (ie. Uhura losing her voice). Then, later it eskalate when sore loser Charlie melt chess pieces.
Me: Coincidentally, reminiscent of another ex-girlfriend. She didn’t go quite so far, but would quit a game anytime it looked like she was about to lose.
Cookie Monster: You dated some crazies.
Me: I’d rather not discuss my personal life.
Cookie Monster: Hey, monster not de one dat brought it up!
Me: Anyway, back to the episode. I feel obligated to point out that act breaks have come a long way in fifty years. We learn that the Antares has been destroyed. You’d think that would be the act break. Instead, it’s someone discovering real turkeys in the oven. Dum dum daaaaaa!
Cookie Monster: Me feel more effektive akt break would have been first shot of Kirk in his tight red tumbling pants. Dum dum daaaaaa!
Me: Yep, that was quite a sight.
Cookie Monster: Speaking of sight, what wit de weird lighting? Most of de scene take place in a brightly lit gym, den when we cut to close-ups, suddenly it be all dark and moody.
Me: Well, it certainly reflected the tone of the scene, especially after Charlie makes Sam disappear. Although I had to wonder why Kirk didn’t request Sam’s return. I mean, it couldn’t have hurt to ask, right?
Cookie Monster: Me tink he not want to antagonize Charlie further. Kid have short fuse, as demonstrated later when he make Spock stroke out on de bridge.
Me: And, later, removes that woman’s face. I remember being horrified by that scene when I was a kid. Upon further review, maybe not quite as scary. A lifetime of horror movies has inured me to faceless people.
Cookie Monster: Monster tink she look cute. Like muppet.
Me: Until you realize that, without a mouth and a nose, she wasn’t able to breathe and presumably suffocated to death.
Cookie Monster: But dat okay becuz, in de end, benevolent super aliens come to de reskue and undo everyting.
Me: Ah, don’t get me started. Yes, Kirk and co. have the problem solved for them. By episode’s end, everything is as it was before.
Cookie Monster: Even de chess pieces?
Me: Especially the chess pieces.
Cookie Monster: Lucky for de props department!
Me: Uh, yes. So, all in all, a pretty damn good episode. If it wasn’t for the Deus Ex Machina ending, I’d rate it in my top ten.
Cookie Monster: Monster like it too. But, like most shows, it lose points for singing component.
So, what did everyone else think of this episode? Leave your thoughts in the comments section.
And, tomorrow, let’s reconvene to discuss: Where No Man Has Gone Before!
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