TREK-A-DAY: Charlie X, Star Trek
EPISODE TWO: CHARLIE X (Feb 2, 2012)
A victim of the ‘interesting idea, poor execution’ syndrome, today’s episode is basically Will Farrel’s Elf in space, if the delightfully naive Buddy the Elf had the power to unmake reality.
This is what omnipotence looks like. (“””17 year old””” Charlie using his powers)
The premise is that Charlie (The Enterprise’s latest passenger) is a 17 year old who survived a shuttle crash by himself for some time and thus doesn’t know social convention. Shades of Tarzan here too as he struggles to understand why he shouldn’t slap the ass of the girl he likes (as Kirk puts it: “There’s no right way to hit a woman.”) Charlie gives us shades of Aspergers’ syndrome as he struggles to relate to how other people feel in relation to his wants and needs, which is where the episode hits on something deeper. Here we are also getting the blueprint for characters like Q, whose fundamental misunderstanding of human nature mixed with omnipotence leads to big problems (there’s also a Voyager arc I remember about Q’s son that plays out in much the same way). Ultimately, Charlie’s magical, green, energy based family shows up to take him away and everyone is sad, despite the fact that he had just spend an hour WRECKING THEIR SHIT and making people disappear who displeased him. Or turning them into iguanas. Or REMOVING THEIR FACES. I think my favorite part of the whole “he doesn’t understand women, but desires one!” thing is that for all the talk of raging hormones, he fails to use his power to disrobe them.
Like Patrick Stewart would have.
This episode also includes Spock jamming on a harp while Uhura improvises a sultry song about him, the introduction of 3D Chess, and Kirk doing his best Labyrinth impression in his Starfleet standard issue red spandex training pants:
Oh Captain, my Captain!