TOS: S1E03: “Charlie X”

In which L’enfant terrible Charlie Evans writes a primer on stalking and temper tantrums, and the viewer is invited to meditate on just how molest-y the late 60s were.


Literally the first shot of the episode about rape.

I vaguely remember what this episode is about, and wanted to start off with some false indignation about more psychic powers, but I cannot, in good conscience, do so. That would be cheating. Instead, there’s this fun fact. It’s been said you can tell how far into a seasons it was by Kirk’s gut. William Shatner tried very hard to stay in shape, but the shooting schedules were hell on him, so he’s always trim in the early seasons, and, well, less so later on. Two Kirk-episodes in, and he’s still wearing that green blouse with the plunging neckline. Oh, Shatner. Never change. Anyway, back to the introduction I wanted to give:

Come on, really? Another episode about a psychic terrorizing humanity? Humanity really gets the short end of the stick out in space, don’t we? Less than a minute in and we get the hints of terrible things in the works. Give them this – they did not believe in fucking around and slow-rolling the viewer back in the day.

Today, we get the first real look at life aboard the Enterprise when there isn’t a crisis going on. As I mentioned in “The Man Trap,” the Constitution-class is a military ship with limited space, so unlike her successors, she doesn’t have specialized rooms for space-squash or plays. There’s a rec room with a table and a chess board, and off-duty time is spent in the company of everyone else who’s off-duty or in solitude.

Charlie thinks it’s cute to magically produce glamour shots of the woman he’s stalking and magic cards into her bra. Listen, Charlie, there’s no right way to hit a woman. Gee, Kirk, we’re making leaps and strides for equality in the workplace today, aren’t we?

"But there's no WRONG way to eat a Reese's."

“Then again, there’s no WRONG way to eat a Reese’s.”

We’re all so concerned about things being awkward for the new unsocialized boy that we get to have a nice dramatic close-up of Janice Rand afraid she’s going to have to hurt her stalker to keep him from making unwelcome advances. We’re going to be making fun of Picard a bit for how he acts around children, but Kirk is singularly awful at giving the Father-Son talk to a half-feral psychic god-child. Picard would’ve laid down the law and at least had a straightforward crisis to handle. Sisko would’ve decked him from harassing his crew.


“What a piece of work is man. How noble in shirtlessness, how infinite in spandex pants.”

Charlie has now shown his true power and lack of control, and Kirk gets to be dramatic and serious without a shirt. Plus, the best way to deal with an out-of-control living weapon who can vanish you at the drop of a hat is to threaten him with physical violence, apparently. I’m pretty sure  that “Charlie X” isn’t actually a metaphor for humanity playing around with nuclear weaponry, but it works well enough for me for now. Impulsive, believing that might makes right. I’m not sure where the whole turning-a-girl-into-an-iguana part comes in, though.

God-like Beings That Are Really Petulant Children With Too Much Power Count: 1

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