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Recap: Star Trek S 1 E 2 Charlie X
Series: Star Trek: The Original Series
Episode: Season 1, Episode 2
Title: Charlie X
Previous: The Man Trap
Next: Where No Man Has Gone Before
Recapper: MemorizePi

The Enterprise takes on a passenger, being that they are commonly in the habit of ferrying civilians. The boy is Charlie, an orphan with a Mysterious Past and really bad social skills. The people dropping him off seem in quite a hurry to leave.

Charlie becomes infatuated with Yeoman Rand, stalking her and delivering presents she doesn't want. In the rec room we get to see Spock and Uhura make music together, which annoys Charlie because it distracts everyone (and especially Yeomand Rand) from him.

The ship Charlie arrived on blows up mid-transmission, with Charlie making a snide remark. Everyone is somewhat concerned, especially as odd things continue to happen upon the ship. For instance, Charlie loses chess and causes the chess pieces to melt. Nobody connects this to him (yet). Kirk is given the responsibility of talking to the boy and attempting to explain how to be normal.

Which he does by teaching him to wrestle. (Obviously.) When Kirk’s training partner laughs at Charlie, Charlie makes him disappear. Kirk is upset and orders him to his quarters, where he goes after making several threats. Charlie goes on a rampage when Kirk refuses bring him to the human colony he was planning on going to. The aliens that taught Charlie his powers appear to take him back, apologizing for the damage he's caused. He is brought back to live with them and the people that were attacked are brought back to normal.


Tropes

  • Alas, Poor Villain: Charlie doesn't want to go back with the Thasians, as they aren't physically real like Kirk or Rand. Kirk evens argues for a chance for Charlie to stay if he can be rehabilitated. But the Thasians point out they can't undo the talents they'd given Charlie to survive on their world. Charlie begs to stay... stay.... stay.........
  • The Blank: Charlie erases several random crew members' faces while having a tantrum.
  • The Cast Showoff: Nichelle Nichols. The musical rec room scene was entirely unnecessary, but entertaining.
  • Characterization Marches On: Spock is smiling throughout Uhura's performance serenading him, merrily strumming along on his Vulcan lyre without so much as a quip or a sarcastic comment when she's finished. This is unquestionably the most laid-back we ever see Spock (without mind-altering devices being at work), and rings very false for him - contrast Spock and Uhura interacting the previous week in "The Man Trap".
  • Creator Cameo: Gene Roddenberry provides the voice of the Galley Chief amazed at the appearance of real turkeys.
  • Death Glare: Charlie has one using his powers. Kirk gives him one of his own after he breaks Spock's legs.
  • Disconnected By Death: The Antares
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Charlie makes a crewmember in the gym disappear because he laughed at Charlie getting put on his ass by Kirk. A gaggle of anonymous crewmembers are rendered faceless because they just happened to be laughing when Charlie stormed past. One female crewmember is turned into a lizard after expressing genuine concern for him. And Charlie wonders why nobody likes him.
  • Expy:
  • Explosive Instrumentation: The communication console emits a shower of sparks and burns Uhura's hand. Justified in this case because it's Charlie using his powers to prevent communications with anyone outside the ship; Uhura states that there wouldn't normally be any reason for it to do that.
  • Gaussian Girl:
    • Yeoman Rand gets the fuzzy treatment in all her close-ups (and not just the ones that are representing the infatuated Charlie's point of view).
    • So, for some reason, does William Shatner.
  • His Name Is...: The Antares tries to contact the Enterprise to warn them about Charlie (presumably after they felt they were a safe distance away), but Charlie destroys their ship, trying to pass it off as being a result of the ship being poorly built. Nobody buys it at this point.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: The entire crew of the Antares.
  • Psychic Powers: Charlie can do lots of things, including transmogrification and making people involuntarily recite poetry.
  • Psychopathic Man Child/Teens Are Monsters: Charlie, with his ability to make people vanish.
  • Red Shirt: The one guy in the gym that laughs at Charlie. Charlie starts his rampage by making him disappear. Interestingly, he's wearing a red dogi. Other crewmembers of all uniform colors suffer in some way or another for offenses both great and small.
  • Reset Button: The Thasians undo everything Charlie did on the Enterprise, but are unable to do anything for the crew of the Antares, who were killed by a warp core breach (caused by Charlie) rather than merely being transformed or disappeared.
  • No Social Skills: Charlie has insufferably poor social skills.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Rand attempts to invoke this by setting Charlie up with a cute blonde crewmember closer to his age, but Charlie is utterly disinterested.
  • Significant Reference Date: The episode was initially intended to air around Thanksgiving, hence the turkeys reference. However it ended up airing earlier due to it being the only completed episode at the time.
  • Stalking Is Love: That's what Charlie thinks, anyway.
  • The Stoic: Spock doesn't think having his legs broken is worthy of mention until Kirk asks him to stand up.
  • Sufficiently Advanced Aliens: The Thasians, who put everything right - except for the fate of the Antares - in about two minutes.
  • The Talk: Charlie's social awkwardness around girls is bad enough that Bones decides the boy needs to learn the rules. So he convinces Kirk to give it. And Kirk, of all people, gets too embarrassed to give it straight at all.
    Kirk: There's no right way to hit a woman.
  • Unnecessary Combat Roll: Kirk demonstrates it for Charlie, and insists it's important when Charlie just wants to learn how to fight. Justified because Kirk is actually showing him how to fall safely when hit, which is just as important as being able to return the blow.
  • Wild Child: Everyone assumed Charlie took care of himself from a very early age, explaining his horrible social conduct. Well, he did indeed have no human contact, so that does basically explain it.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Charlie has No Social Skills, desperately wants to be liked and have friends, and has no sense of proportion when people don't treat him the way he wishes them to. Oh, and he is omnipotent. Picture a corporeal version of Q with No Sense of Humor and you have Charlie in a nutshell. The result is a maladjusted teenager who everyone is afraid of, who tries to make people like him by punishing them whenever they make him unhappy.

Star Trek S 1 E 1 The Man TrapRecap/Star Trek: The Original SeriesStar Trek S 1 E 3 Where No Man Has Gone Before

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