Thursday, November 10, 2016

Good Trek / Bad Trek #4: Charlie X

Boy, this was a week, right folks. I gotta tell you that I did not feel like writing a stupid ol’ Star Trek review post after half the country up and lost their fucking minds on Tuesday. But it’s at times like these that the world needs Star Trek blogs more than ever. Star Trek blogs aren’t written for the good times. They’re for times like these. When things look their bleakest that’s when we as Americans need a snarky review of a fifty-year-old TV show to turn to. So, you're welcome.  

I don’t know if any episode would’ve felt this way, but this week’s episode felt very fitting considering all that went down. The episode is Charlie X and it's about an oddly colored weirdo who sexually assaults women and is generally is just a menace. Yeah, okay I know it's a reach, but cut me some goddamn slack. Plus Charlie is a dude with weirdly bronzed skin who does some pretty weird shit to women, has a child’s mind, and is hypersensitive when it comes to criticism. So...


The Enterprise takes on a new passenger. A seventeen-year-old guy named Charlie Evans who’s been living alone on a planet after being the sole survivor of a shuttle craft when he was three, and he is a weirdo. I guess living alone your entire life leaves you lacking in terms of social skills. He keeps on interrupting Kirk and just about shits his pants when he meets Yeoman Janice Rand. I’m not saying that Yeoman Rand isn’t an attractive lady, but he damn near loses it. Turns out that she’s the first lady he’s ever seen and he likes what he sees. 

Charlie gets checked out. Turns out that he learned to talk by listening to tapes on his crashed shuttle and somehow just found some food on this desolate planet. He slaps Yeoman Rand on the ass and she asks him not to. I don't know what tapes he's been listening to, but he walks around like his only knowledge of humanity is Andrew Dice Clay tapes. The planet he was found on is said to have a long extinct species of aliens called the Thasians. They decide to leave whether or not the boy was raised by aliens and instead look for a surrogate father for young Charlie. 
Making space great again

We go find Charlie in what looks to be the Enterprise’s rumpus room. Uhura is singing a song about how great a lover Spock must be. Charlie doesn’t like that attention is being paid to someone else so he gives Uhura a weird look and then she can’t speak. Then he’s able to impress everyone by doing some sick card tricks. Creeps using card tricks isn’t new, but it does seem that something sinister is afoot. 

I mean the answer is anywhere, but the word you're looking for Yeoman Rand is "pussy"

Kirk tries to explain to Charlie the rules about slapping ladies on their asses, and then the shit hits the fan. The ship Charlie came on has been destroyed. Nobody knows how. A bunch of meatloafs (meatloaves?) that were being cooked have somehow turned into turkeys. Live turkeys. Which seems even weirder to me. I mean ships blow up. You're cruising around the alpha quadrant using a shit load of anti-matter. There's gonna be problems. I don't want to sound space-callous. I'm just saying. But these were just stupid old meatloaves that turned into live birds. That’s messed up. Charlie seemingly melts some chess pieces with his mind too. Then creeps out Yeoman Rand again. He doesn't use his powers to make Yeoman Rand uncomfortable. Just his shitty personality.  
I honestly don't know if this is supposed to be a compliment or a neg
Kirk sits Charlie down and politely asks him to not rape Yeoman Rand. Kirk tells him that he can’t have every lady he fancies and that what he’s going through is the same thing every teenage boy has always gone through. You know how when you were seventeen and wanted to have sex with someone and they wouldn’t so you melted some chess pieces with your mind? Boy stuff. Kirk then figures out that what a boy with far too much sexual aggression needs is to be taught how to fight. So Kirk throws on his Starfleet issued Spanx and tosses the little nerd around. Charlie does not take learning karate very well and the shit hits the fan again. Crew people get vanished. All the phasers on the ship also vanish. The lighting gets all weird so only character’s eyes are illuminated. 
Don't want to call the kettle black here, but that is not a dick that screams "ready for prime time"

Spock, McCoy, and Kirk have a little pow-wow about the Charlie situation. They’re pretty sure that he’s the one that destroyed his old ship. They don’t want to take him to the colony they were headed to because he’s got powers. Not only does he have powers, but since he’s a teenage boy he’d be completely unable to control these powers. Charlie takes control of the ship and decides to keep on heading towards the colony they were originally headed towards. He tries to rape Yeoman Rand again, electrocutes Uhura, breaks Spock’s legs, makes Yeoman Rand disappear and then Kirk decides that something should probably be done about this little shit. They try a forcefield, which surprisingly doesn’t work against a dude who can control time and space. He’s pissed now so a lot of shit hits a lot of fans. We are treated to the third episode in a row where a woman getting old is treated as horror. It almost makes sense this time, but still. I’m beginning to think that this is just something that happens every week. My favorite thing about this week’s "horror of being an old lady" segment is that, unlike the other two episodes, they don’t put old person makeup on a younger actor. They use two. So an older lady was given a part that described “realizing you now look like yourself, and recoiling in horror at your disgusting age ravaged body.”
TOS is 3/3 in shitting on old women for the hell of it

The main crew is brainstorming on the bridge. They need to do something about him. Kirk’s plan is to fight him. Which seems pretty reasonable. They're hoping that because he’s using his mind to control too much that he might be weakened. Turns out this is correct. Because a floating green head comes in and explains everything. The floating head folks, who turns out are the Thasians found the three-year-old and gave him a bunch of powers so he could live. They didn’t realize what a goon he would be about them. So they take him back to live on the floating green head world. This bums out Charlie, because he “can’t even touch them.” He can’t touch them like he was hoping to do to Yeoman Rand. And that’s about it. The heads take the sexually frustrated boy back to their home world where he will have the rest of his life to undoubtedly get very good at masturbating. 
Slimer's stodgy grandfather

Did This Episode Suck?

Yeah, kinda. Though it was also funny in a bad way. This is a common theme that future Star Treks will come back to time and time again. Both the crew taking on an alien that doesn’t appear dangerous at first but then turns out to be very dangerous, and young alien that’s been orphaned and tries to make a parental bond with a member of the crew. Charlie is just so unlikeable that it doesn’t really make any sense that the floating heads would even want him back. The episode feels both rushed and to take forever. I don’t want to be a nerd about it, but given the shitty shitty election that we all watched the craziness of watching a dude grab a lady by her space pussy and have the captain laugh about it seemed grosser than usual. So maybe I just wasn’t in the mood. 

Oh yeah, there was also this. A girl wants to join the Faceless Men? 

There were lessons to be had though. I like how when confronted with a childlike buffoon who smacks ladies on the ass and makes fun of Spock’s alien heritage the Enterprise crew gets him the fuck off the ship. They don’t just hand over the stupid keys. So the future is bright. 

Better Trek

I don’t know if I’d go so far as to call it a bad episode. It wasn’t a great and there are a lot of better ones one for sure. It was just kind of there. This is a formula they’ve used a lot and I would definitely watch almost any other one of them instead. 

TNG: Hero Worship

This used to be one of my absolute favorite episodes. I was a big Data fan growing up, and this one is great. The Enterprise helps a wrecked ship that has but one survivor, a young boy. Both his parents along with everyone else was killed. Because Data is the one that saved him, and because Data is super strong the boy starts emulating Data and pretending that he also is an android. The relationship between the two is very nice. Data helps him pretend that he’s an android to help him get over the death of his family. It’s a Star Trek trope done very well. 


Q is an interesting character mostly because he should suck. Any kind of omnipotent character is usually just a means of lazy writing in my opinion. Who gives a shit about what an omnipotent being wants or need? Q should suck, but the chemistry between John de Lancie’s Q and Patrick Stewart’s Captain Picard made the character work. DS9 and VOY didn’t have Patrick Stewart so the Q episodes usually were pretty bad. They reminded me of a character from a beloved sitcom who just pops by a lower rated sitcom to say hi. I don’t remember if he ever met Archer. Probably did and it probably sucked. That being said, Janeway does play annoyed well, and Q does annoying well. This time he brings his kid by to be raised by Janeway. It’s not played nearly as seriously as Hero Worship or Charlie X, but it’s also about a powerful child who wreaks havoc on a Federation starship, and it’s a hell of a lot better than Charlie X. Plus the young Q has his faults but is very good in the not raping department. 

DS9: Abandoned

Quark accidentally buys a baby Jem’Hadar. Odo adopts him and starts raising him hoping that he can help the little guy grow up to be a productive member of space despite the fact that he’s genetically programmed to want to fight and kill. Odo is very good at being the gruff guy with the heart of gold. Technically he doesn’t have a heart because he’s a shape shifter. The Jem’Hadar don’t have telepathic powers like Charlie X or the Qs do, but it still follows a similar path. The station is worried that keeping him around will result in death and destruction, but Odo is firmly in the nurture camp so wants a chance to help him live a better life. In the end, nobody ends up happy. 

That’s it for this week. These are getting longer and longer every week, but who gives a shit I guess. Tune in next week for the second pilot Where No Man Has Gone Before. 

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