main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
Recap: Star Trek S 1 E 27 The Alternative Factor
Kirk and one version of Lazarus.

Opening shot: a lovely view of Spock's back. Just as he's giving his survey analysis of the uninhabited iron-silican planet the Enterprise is orbiting, everything rocks violently and we get a double exposure image of a nebula. Yeah, get used to this effect, you'll be seeing it a lot. Make a drinking game of it if you wanna get hammered. Once everything stops shaking, they realize that the planet is no longer quite so uninhabited.

Kirk, Spock and more Red Shirts than you can shake a stick at beam down to Kirk's Rock to find a crashed Flying Saucer. They also meet Lazarus, who rants about death and destruction as he takes a pratfall off the rock he's standing on.

Lazarus rants about a "monster" that destroyed his civilization that must be destroyed. According to Spock, there is no other life form on this planet. And...overlay of the nebula again.

Lazarus, meanwhile, has enormous mood swings and a scrape on the forehead that seems to disappear and reappear. And that beard goes from thin to thick after every ad break.

This episode is also known as "The One That's Almost As Bad as (Or Worse Than) 'Spock's Brain'."


  • Alternate Self: Lazarus and Lazarus.
  • Ambiguously Human: Lazarus and his alternate universe counterpart: were they human, or Human Alien? The episode itself seemed confused on this point.
  • And I Must Scream: How both versions of Lazarus end up.
  • Antimatter: There are two versions of Lazarus, one made of matter from our universe and one made of antimatter from a parallel universe. If they ever get together in either universe, both universes will be destroyed. This would not happen in real life, although you'd get a sizable explosion.
  • Big "NO!": Lazarus lets out a Big "NO!" when Kirk vanishes into a antimatter universe.
  • Executive Meddling: The original script had a subplot about a romance between Lazarus and Lieutenant Masters. It was cut when network heads objected due to the actress playing Masters being black. The hasty rewrites that followed were one cause of the uneven story we ended up with.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: Matter!Lazarus goes stark raving mad upon learning of the existence of his Anti-Matter double and becomes hellbent on destroying him, even if it means the destruction of both universes.
  • Hell Is War: Matter and Anti-Matter versions of the same man are locked in combat forever in the corridor separating their universes.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Anti-Matter!Lazarus views his eternal struggle with his double as this. A Stupid Sacrifice when you really think about it.
  • Hollywood Science: Spock declares the planet they are orbiting has a "oxygen-hydrogen atmosphere". This is extremely unlikely, as oxygen and hydrogen are highly reactive and react rather violently with each other, producing water. Specifically, this is the strongest chemical reaction per weight unit we know about, and we use it in rockets like the Space Shuttle to get satellites and other equipment into space. Very likely Spock wanted to say "oxygen-nitrogen" instead, describing an atmosphere like the one we currently enjoy on earth.
  • The Klutz: Lazarus makes Chevy Chase look graceful! He falls a total of 3 times and several times looks like he's about to fall if weren't for that handy wall.
  • Large Ham: Lazarus makes Kirk look subtle.
    • It doesn't help that the actor (Robert Brown, later from Here Come the Brides) was a last-minute hire, owning to the original actor, John Drew Barrymore, failing to show up for work the day filming was to begin.
  • Meaningful Name: Lazarus was a man who was resurrected. The two Lazaruses (Lazari?) are forever in a cycle of non-death.
  • Never the Selves Shall Meet: Two identical men named Lazarus. One is from our universe and insane. The other is from an anti-matter universe. Apparently, if both meet in the same universe, it destroys both of them. No explanation was given why the anti-matter Lazarus didn't blow up upon contact with any matter from our universe. The episode ends in a Fridge Logic moment where Kirk traps the two between universes, so they can fight it out for eternity. Apparently no one thought of killing or imprisoning the insane one.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Matter!Lazarus is so far around the bend that he doesn't care if he and both universes are destroyed, so long as his double goes with him.
  • See You in Hell: "Come! Come! It'll do you no good! I'll chase you to the very fires of HELL!!!!"
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: If Lazarus and his insane counterpart from the antimatter dimension were ever to meet in the same universe, that universe would be destroyed. Both of them are sent into an intermediate dimension so that this can never happen, and where the two of them will be locked in combat for all eternity.
  • Special Effects Failure: Ugh. That constant "winking" effect with the overlays of a nebula and two ghostly figures struggling against each other. It was probably trying to be arty, but it comes across as pretentious, confusing, and just plain boring. All the scenes that get cut for syndication, and they couldn't reduce any of this useless Padding?
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: The idea of a man going insane when he learns he has a double from another universe and wants to kill said double at all costs is one of the more interesting concepts in the series. Unfortunately, the episode does little to effectively build upon it.
  • Troubled Production: Part of the reason this episode is so bad is that the intended guest star, John Drew Barrymore, the most notoriously flaky member of that family, suddenly disappeared shortly before shooting and Robert Brown had to replace him at literally the last minute.
  • Understatement Kirk remarks that Lt. Masters has a knack for this when she says that the Enterprise will be at risk without the power of the dilithium crystals.
  • Vehicular Sabotage: The Enterprise qualifies as a vehicle, right? In this case, Lazarus swaps a few banana plugs in a control panel to cause an electrical fire that will distract the engineering crew long enough for him to steal the dilithium crystals.
  • What an Idiot: They got Laz in sick bay. Bones says he's "not going anywhere. Not this time." after telling a muscley Red Shirt to take a hike. Bones and Kirk then walk off, leaving Laz unattended. Bones even lingers by the doorway, as if trying to remember something he forgot. Oh yeah, he should've either tranqed or restrained the madman who was trying to steal the dilithium crystals!
  • What The Hell Costuming Department: Robert Brown seems to be wearing a different fake beard in just about every scene.

Star Trek S 1 E 26 Errand Of MercyRecap/Star Trek: The Original SeriesStar Trek S 1 E 28 The City On The Edge Of Forever

TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy