Here is an episode which features several recurring TOS plot elements and themes - Super-being plays with Kirk (Who Mourns for Adonais?, Gamesters of Triskelion, Squire of Gothos, others), Kirk can't resist the urge to try to piss off his superior opponent although he knows he's hopelessly outmatched (Adonais, Gamesters, Squire, others), Kirk deliberately invites torture and doesn't really mind too much when it comes (too many to list), Kirk risks his own life/freedom in exchange for his crew's freedom (Savage Curtain, Gamesters, Squire, others)....
There are some minor bits in this episode that are arguably suggestively slashy between Kirk and Spock. This was early in the show's run, but Kirk is 100% fully himself and at the top of his eccentric little game. This episode is rich with a good assortment of Klassic Kirkisms of every kind. Observe as I spotlight Kirk's "creative" (some might say peculiar) problem-solving methods which add weight to my assertions that Kirk acts like he is a masochist, and is possibly Gay or at least bisexual as well.
One thing becomes clear: Kirk is not a horndog playboy who is casual about using women for pleasure. As we see in this episode, Kirk respects women, and in fact has a mature, unselfish, enlightened attitude about relations between the sexes.
OK, it all begins when the Enterprise receives a passenger from the cargo ship Antares: A teen boy named Charlie Evans. The Captain of the Antares is super glad to meet Kirk, and seems overly eager to rid himself of Charlie, for reasons that later become obvious. Kirk is asked to transport Charlie to colony Alpha five, where he has living relatives waiting for him.
It is explained that Charlie grew up all alone, orphaned from age 3 after his parent's ship crashed, and he somehow survived alone. He taught himself to speak with only ship's records to listen to and learn from. Obviously he's never been properly socialized, so Kirk is at first patient when the kid rudely keeps interrupting as the men talk. Finally he explains to Charlie that interrupting is considered wrong. The kid becomes contrite and seems eager to learn, so, so far, so good.
Yeoman Rand appears, and is ordered by Kirk to escort Charlie to sickbay so he can be examined. Charlie has never seen a living human female before, and like a baby duck who bonds to the first thing it sees, Charlie instantly is smitten by Rand.
To Rand Charlie says, "Are you a girl?" She doesn't answer, apparently because she's not sure what to say, so Charlie turns back to ask Kirk, "Is that a girl?".
Kirk confirms that Rand is a girl.
[NOTE: Remember this show was produced in the 1960's. _MS. Magazine_ had yet to appear. Nobody meant any harm, honest. All he means is that Rand is indeed female, like Charlie thinks she is.]
After Charlie is checked out by Dr. McCoy, Charlie tells McCoy that the crew of the science ship didn't like him, and that he wants people to like him. McCoy assures him that that is normal.
Like any normal, curious kid, Charlie begins to wander around the ship to watch the crewpeople at work. He watches the guy with the ten-foot pole not touch anything. He watches as a couple of co-working crewmen back out of an access chute and the black one agrees to meet the white one later in the rec room and gives his "buddy" a swat on the fanny as a way of saying "See you in the 'rec room' later". Then the white guy bristles, looking at Charlie as if to say, "So? Wanna make sumpin of it, pussy-boy?", and Charlie decides he should probably move along.
Charlie then encounters Yeoman Rand, and runs after her to give her a bottle of her favorite perfume. Moved, she asks him to meet her in the rec room later, so he imitates what he saw before and gives her a swat on the fanny as a way of saying, "See you in the 'rec room' later". She, oddly, reacts differently than he thought she would. She disapproves, and asks Charlie to ask Dr. McCoy or the Captain to explain it.
[NOTE: here's evidence that Kirk is not in fact generally regarded to be a horndog playboy. If Rand saw him that way, would she send Charlie to him for advice on proper, gentlemanly behavior? No, she wouldn't.]
Cut to a scene on the bridge, where there's some discussion between Spock, McCoy, and Kirk about Thasians, and whether or not they maybe exist, etc. Kirk orders McCoy to teach Charlie about the birds and bees. McCoy demurs, tries to defer to Kirk, but Kirk quite unequivocally doesn't want to play daddy or even big brother to their teen passenger.
[NOTE: Of course not. Kirk would always rather that somebody else play the daddy. He's probably like that in bed, too.]
Charlie meets Rand later in the recreation room, and Spock starts playing a Vulcan lyre while Uhura entertains her shipmates with a song -about Charlie. Charlie feels like he's being teased, and with a magic glare causes Uhura to choke up and stop singing. No one aboard ship realizes it's Charlie's doing yet, but we the audience now realize that he has some scary powers.
Cut to a very interesting scene. It all begins with Kirk telling some galley slave that he wants the kitchen crew to at least try to make the synthetic meatloaf look like turkey, for Thanksgiving. Just as he's leaving, Charlie walks in, and he stops Kirk to make a little conversation. Here is that conversation, captured word-for-word:
Charlie: "Captain? I'm supposed to ask you something. Why shouldn't I...I don't know how to explain it."
Kirk: "Well, say it right out, Charlie, that usually works."
Charlie: "Well in the corridor I saw...when Janice...when Yeoman Rand was...well, I did (gives Kirk a swat on the fanny) _that_ to her!"
Kirk: (Brightens, seems intrigued)
Charlie: "She didn't like it. She said you'd explain it to me."
[NOTE: Klassic Kinky Kirkisms about to Kommense]
Kirk: (Straightens, puts his hands on his hips, and for a split second apparently wonders, ~who has Rand been talking to about me?~)
"Me. I see. Well, um...ahh..."
(Starts thinking fast: should he explain that spanking is great but not on the first date, and that it should always be 100% consensual- and about safewords, etc.?)
"There are things you can do with a lady, Charlie, that ah..."
(...suddenly remembers that this feral child is not sophisticated enough to handle the whole truth, decides to change tacks and give the kid a safe general guideline...)
"Well, there's no right way to hit a woman."
(...decides that he doesn't want to discourage the budding sadist entirely, so gives him some hope...)
"Man to man..." (Gesturing to himself and then to Charlie) "...is one thing! Man and woman is uh, well it's uh, another thing! Y'unnerstand?"
Charlie: (Totally confused) "I dunno."
[NOTE: Kirk doesn't worry about Charlie not getting it. Kirk is no doubt accustomed to being misunderstood on this point. Besides, Charlie is not really his type.]
Kirk is called to the bridge, Charlie follows. The Antares Captain tries to give Kirk a message, but suddenly the Antares is toast. Uh oh. And suddenly it's revealed that the synthetic meatloaves in the ovens have become real turkeys. Uh oh. Weird shit seems to be dramatically increasing all of a sudden, and Spock smells a rat.
Soon, Spock draws Kirk's attention to the disquieting fact that Charlie seemed to know that the Antares was toast before they did - over a friendly game of 3D chess. As usual, Spock lets Kirk win the game. Maybe he's hoping to score in a different way soon and want to make sure Jim is in a good mood, who knows? Just then Charlie walks in. Kirk, all aglow from his recent victory, leaves Charlie with Spock, saying:
"I leave you in the hands of our chess master."
...and runs off to go slip into something more comfortable.
Spock proves he actually is the ship's resident chess master by swiftly and handily defeating little mister God-boy, showing among other things that _of course_ he just ~lets Kirk win~. Charlie is pissed. A moment later, as "Master" Spock exits to go chase down Jim Kirk, a humiliated Charlie mentally melts the chess pieces in a fit of pique.
Moments later, Rand stops Charlie in the hall, and introduces Charlie to Yeoman third class Tina Lawton. Charlie is only interested in Rand and he's rude to Tina. Tina stomps off, and Charlie tells Rand how special she is to him, in his own inexpert, creepy fashion.
Cut to the bridge, where Rand complains to Kirk that she needs him to give Charlie a talking to.
[NOTE: Oh boy. We already tried that once, and it went rather strangely. We can't actually hope this time will be better, but, as usual, Kirk surprises us. It turns out he actually does have some useful advice for Charlie.]
Charlie comes to Kirk's quarters, and Kirk welcomes him in warmly. Charlie stands just a little too close, but Kirk just smiles. He asks Charlie if he knows how the chess pieces got melted and Charlie lies and says no. After a couple more remarks, Jim gets down to brass tacks:
Kirk: "Yeoman Rand is a woman..."
[NOTE: See? He's not calling her _a girl_ now.]
Charlie: "Oh, I won't hit her like that anymore!"
Kirk: "No, there's more to it than that."
Charlie: (Frustrated) "Everything I do or say is wrong! (etc.)"
Kirk: (Gently) "...There's nothing wrong with you that hasn't gone wrong with every human male since the model first came out."
Charlie: (desperately) "What if you care for someone? What do you do!?"
Kirk: (Sincerely) "You go slow. Give it a while. You be gentle. I mean, it's not a one-way street you know...how you feel and that's all. It's how the girl feels too! Don't press, Charlie. If the girl feels anything for you at all, you'll know it. You understand, Charlie?"
Charlie: "You don't think that Janice...you...she could love me!"
Kirk: "She's not the girl, Charlie. The years are wrong, for one thing. And there are other things."
Charlie: "She can."
Kirk: (Simply) "No, Charlie."
Charlie: (Freaking out) "What if I did what you said!? If I was gentle!?"
Kirk: (Firmly) "Charlie, there are a million things you can have in this universe and a million things that you can't have. It's no fun facing that, but that's the way things are!"
Charlie: (Miserably) "Then, what am I gonna do?"
Kirk: (Gently) "Hang on tight and survive. Everybody does."
Charlie: "You don't!"
Kirk: "Everybody, Charlie. Me too."
[NOTE: What's this? Mister red-hot horndog playboy-of-the-stars knows about going slow and gentle, about respecting a woman's wishes, about rejection, about courage in the face of loneliness? Who knew?]
Well, that was beautiful.
Kirk, realizing quite wisely that Charlie needs a wholesome outlet for his manly energies, next takes Charlie with him to the gym, dresses himself and the kid in red tights, and proceeds to dance the kid around.
[NOTE: Brace yourself for a slew of galaxy-class kinky Kirkisms. This time we're not just chewin' and spittin': This ain't no cupcake, it ain't no layer cake, it's a full-blown four-tier weddin' cake.]
It's difficult to do justice to the very fruity scene that now follows. Kirk put Spock in charge of the ship, obviously so Spock isn't available to interfere with Kirk's little sweat-summoning seance. Kirk, doing his best to instill Charlie with manly qualities, attempts to teach him how to fight - while wearing red tights. When Kirk's butch fighting buddy Sam laughs at the wimpy Charlie's ineptitude, Charlie makes him disappear.
Kirk now sees that Charlie has the power to manipulate matter. He calls security guards to escort Charlie to his quarters, but Charlie objects and causes all phasers on the ship to vanish.
Kirk, realizing now that he is in deep doo-doo with an incredibly powerful and dangerous foe who is in a highly agitated emotional state naturally exercises extreme caution... NO HE DOESN'T. As is his wont, James Tiberius Kirk now chooses this time and place to try to live up to his middle name, by, among other things, attempting to get his butt kicked in a way no masochist has ever gotten his butt kicked before. He cannily figures that one more indignity will probably push this nasty little terrorist over the edge, and his next move is to perform that indignity.
Looking Charlie dead in the eye, Kirk incredibly says, "Go to your quarters, or I'll pick you up and carry you there."
Well, Kirk miscalculated. Even though Charlie has fantastic powers, he is still just a kid, and so when Kirk's wave of musk hits the kid full in the face, he practically faints, as any sensible person would. He quails, and backs down, which frustrates Kirk horribly.
Jim Kirk naturally immediately thanks his lucky stars that he survived a fit of his own folly and resolves to be careful from now on... NO HE DOESN'T.
Blah, blah, blah, Kirk and Spock now chat about Charlie and their predicament. Kirk suspects that Charlie has been given certain powers which legend ascribes to an ancient race of Thasians and confronts Charlie. Charlie admits he destroyed the Antares by making the warped baffle plate on the shield of the energy piling "go away".
Moved no doubt (among other things) by a perverse desire to keep the kid and his mischief all to himself, Kirk tries to divert course away from Alpha 5, but Charlie takes control of the Enterprise and the crew with his magical powers, and sets sail for Alpha 5 again.
He makes his move on Rand, but gets rejected, so he makes her disappear. Things get very ugly very fast after that.
Kirk convinces Spock to help him to enrage Charlie by, among other things locking him in detention, but it doesn't work. The kid easily escapes, and hardly even seems put out. The kid learns fast. He has already figured out that it does no good to punish Kirk because he enjoys it too much, so Charlie takes his fury out on everybody else instead, which drives Kirk absolutely nuts!
Kirk, who can't stand the suspense another second, orders Spock and McCoy, against their advice and wishes, to try something that is absolutely, positively guaranteed to piss Charlie off to the final degree, and it finally looks like Kirk is successful. Charlie gets pissed and starts torturing Kirk, which is of course exactly what Jim was angling for all along.
DEUS EX MACHINA!
Just as things are getting good, the Thasians arrive and reclaim Charlie. You'd think, after all the trouble that he caused that Kirk would be glad to get rid of him, but incredibly, Kirk actually pleads with the Thasians to let Charlie stay aboard the ship with his own kind, namely sadomasochists. The Godlike Thasians still think of Charlie as their little boy and they don't happen to appreciate the way Kirk is trying to corrupt him, so they take him back, restoring Yeoman Rand and everybody else that Charlie offed in exchange.
[NOTE: We see the exact same ending in Squire of Gothos. Godlike being is just starting to enjoy kicking Kirk around when the parental units show up to say, "Uh, no. We don't think that's a very nice game, even if he is begging for it."]
All site contents Copyright L. Goodwin 1990 - 2002
Back to details
Back to SSTO