Charlie Evans is a nightmare. No wonder they pawned him off on the Enterprise.
That’s the basic idea behind “Charlie X,” the third (for our purposes) episode of season 1. Young Charlie was left to raise himself after his ship wrecked. The crew of the Enterprise is stuck with him until they dump him elsewhere. He’s awkward and bizarre, but what do you expect? The kid has no social skills. He goes around smacking ladies on the ass. Soon his grabby hands seem like no big deal as he melts chess sets and becomes generally aggressive and abrasive.
In the end we learn Charlie, played by Robert Walker Jr., has telekinetic (ish) powers given to him by a benevolent (ish) alien race. Apparently he also possess the power to be creepy and downright obnoxious. But the really important thing about “Charlie X” is that we get to see Kirk flex his outstanding paternal muscles. Man, I wish he was my dad. He imparts some amazing advice about love and women. “There are a million things in the universe you can have, and a million things you can’t have.” Preach on, James.
This episode also features shirtless Shatner in ultra-tight ruby red pants. There’s tumbling and hand to hand combat. It’s so good. And by “good” I mean bizarre and strangely sexy.
There’s a point where Bones and Spock are telling Kirk what a great father figure he is. In the same discussion they make it clear just how dangerous Charlie is. I was left wondering why they didn’t just shove him out an airlock. But my personal feeling may have been getting in the way…
Charlie is distractingly annoying, but episode 3 succeeds in spite of the little jerk. There’s some awesome character interaction, Uhura gets to sing and flirt like a champ, Spock forcibly recites poetry, and someone gets turned into a lizard. This is a fine example of everything Star Trek has to offer. That Charlie though… ugh… what a bummer
Up next is “Where No Man Has Gone Before,” the 2nd Star Trek pilot.