Episode Reviews (6)
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The shuttlecraft Galileo, with Kirk and three others aboard, is drawn to a planet where they meet the creator of warp drive.
Glen Corbett guest stars as Zefram Cochrane, the inventor of "space warp", in this ambitious episode based on the idea of infinite diversity in infinite combinations. Written the same year the . Supreme Court forced 16 states to abolish their anti-miscegenation laws, the idea of a romance between Cochrane, from Alpha Centauri, and an incorporeal entity, from a distant planet, pushes the boundaries of the issue so effectively, it demonstrates just how silly it is to stop two Earth people from loving each other.
One of the few second season episodes not to be directed by Joe Pevney or Marc Daniels, "Metamorphosis" is a planet-based adventure that takes advantage of wide angle lenses and new colors to show off a new look. (There are even clouds in the sky, thanks to the crew pumping them in through the air vents!). Enhancing the visuals, George Duning supplies the episode with the most sensitive score of the series, providing cues that reappear throughout the remainder of the series.
Unfortunately, Cochrane, himself is rather wooden. Corbett does what's asked of him, but the result is a character that comes across as an office worker putting in late night, not someone stranded on an asteroid for over a hundred years. The irony is that if Cochrane were to appear more wild and unhinged, it would not only add interest to his performance but enhance his alien nature. (After all, if he's going to appear a regular guy, why not just have him be from Montana and make him the inventor of warp drive for Earth as opposed to the galaxy?)
Cochrane shares the stage with the incorporeal being known as "the Companion", effectively brought to life by both a special effect and (thanks to the introduction of the Universal Translator) the voice of Elizabeth Rogers (the same actress who substitutes for Nichelle Nichols in "The Doomsday Machine" and "The Way to Eden"). Rogers, who was hastily chosen as the Companion's spokesperson after the first choice gave a poor performance, gives the creature a spring-like innocence that goes well with the Duning's music, turning the story into one that's easy to empathize with. (There's also Elinor Donahue, the eldest daughter from Father Knows Best, playing a Federation Ambassador, but she's really just there to serve one purpose, which becomes clear near the end).
In a way, "Metamorphosis" is the second season's version of "Devil in the Dark", with Coon once again using a sci fi communication device to show us that just because something is different and scary doesn't mean it's evil and without feelings. (Coon's teleplay also includes the notion that male and female genders are universal concepts, an idea probably there just to make the episode's relationship more acceptable to families of the 1960s. Unfortunately for Coon, the concept isn't even true on Earth, and it's rightly abandoned by future Star Trek
Interestingly, the idea of an alien creature falling in love with a person and merging with another person to consummate the relationship returns in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Zefram Cochrane himself returns in Star Trek's eighth motion picture, First Contact, where he's reinvented as a guy from Montana who's merely the inventor of warp drive for Earth alone. (This, of course, makes a name created for someone from Alpha Centauri a very unusual name for someone from the Earth. But I suppose having the series set hundreds of years in the future gives it an advantage, since you can argue the name will come into fashion later
Taken literally, "Metamorphosis" might not work within the mythology Star Trek develops, taken figuratively; it's a landmark episode and has some interesting things to say.
Remastered: Like "The Galileo Seven", the shots of the shuttle in space get a major upgrade, including the final shot of the episode which (replacing a stock shot of the Enterprise) shows the shuttle departing the asteroid to approach the Enterprise. The asteroid itself (originally a reuse of planet from "Mirror Mirror") is turned into a much more colorless world, which befits its nature but doesn't tie in as well with the purple sky we see on the surface. CBS does, however, touch up the surface stage set, digitally removing strategically placed rock formations that had to be used in the original shoot to disguise the edges of the set. And while Kirk's ship doesn't appear until the second half of the episode, there are, of course, new shots of the Enterprise.
Romantic and touching story, a memorable bit of nostalgia
This is one of my favorite episodes even though I know that it's corny, I somehow just can't help shedding a tear or two every time I see it, even after having seen it countless times. There is just something about the relationship between Zefram Cochrane and the Companion that is extremely mysterious and touching. I am not sure whether its merging with Nancy Hedford into a single entity makes complete sense, yet I somehow am unashamed to state that I am moved to tears by it every time.moreless
Guy who invented warp drive tries to take a bath with some brainy commissioner lady
Well I don't understand why this episode has a rating as high as it does. It looks like I will bring it down a wee bit. I would have rated this a 1.0 if it were the 1970s. Now that I have grown up and now in the 2000s I nudge it to 3.0 only for the reason I am more sentimental. And the story of love I am always a sucker for. But it has always been my least favorte episode of all time. At least back then. It might edge out "The way To Eden" these days.moreless
Interesting, but not TREK's finest hour ...
This episode is pivotal in that it's the first time we get to see Zephram Cochrane, inventor of the Warp drive, who's been missing in the ST universe for about 150 years. The thrust of the plot is that Kirk, Spock, McCoy and an irritable, critically ill diplomat called Nancy Hedford are drawn to a remote planet by an ethereal life form as company for another human, who turns out to be Cochrane.
It turns out that the life form, "the Companion", cares deeply for Cochrane and wants him to be happy in his benign imprisonment. Kirk convinces the creature that in confinement humans will wither and die, so the Companion takes over the body of the dying Nancy. Kirk and the others are allowed to leave, but Cochrane elects to remain with the Companion.
This is not a great episode, but it contains aspects that will become important later on in ST mythology.moreless
It has some flaws, it's a little dated, but I find this installment under-rated.
The shuttle crew and an important commissioner are stranded on a planet by a cloud-like alien intellect.
I'd actually ignore the continuity of this episode with the tortuous use of Zephram Cochrane in the movie "First Contact", I frankly like the tragedy of the character as explained here much better. This episode is one of the first I remember backward and forward from the reruns of the early 70s, and it has some memorable aspects.
The idea of a completely "alien" alien in love with a human is intriguing and fairly remarkable for the series (and the late 60s) and its decently played here. It comes off as novel and sweet in most aspects. It is also interesting to see Spock, McCoy, and Kirk gradually discover the intent of "The Companion". The progressive ideas begin to falter when Kirk begins to stupidly spout how an alien can't love a human because sex ("joining") is impossible, but that's typical "Kirk-speak" - too bad it destroys the idea that by joining thoughts, the man and alien have already had more intimate relations than people are ever able to have. Those kind of ideas would have to wait for more sophisticated sci-fi. What many fans never realize, though, is that Kirk's stupidest dialog can often highlight an issue extremely well.
I actually like the staging of Hedford as changing in personality after joining with "The Companion" and in one clever scene, she uses the gueze of her costume to simulate glancing at Cochrane in a the same way as when she was a shimmering energy entity. The violin score introduced here works well, and becomes standard for some later episodes that introduce love.
I find this episode more interesting than many people give it credit for.moreless
The shuttlecraft carrying Kirk, Spock, McCoy and a ill diplomat is pulled off-course to a planetoid, where they meet the castaway creator of Warp Drive, who has been cared for over 150 years by a mysterious alien. Unexpectedly good (and very underrated)..
After a run of more so-so episodes, things bounce back with this enchanting story.
I went in to this episode knowing little about it, with it seeming to be one of the very few 'Star Trek' episodes that I had not seen (at least, not recent enough for me to remember; I am currently in the process of putting that right, watching right from the Original Series through to 'Enterprise'). To my pleasant surprise, I personally found it to be an unexpected favourite. It is, in my opinion, a much underrated episode. I was very surprised to find it didn't have a higher rating on this site. It did seem a bit convenient that the shuttlecraft was carrying the three main characters – Kirk, Spock and McCoy – but I'll let that one pass.
There are some continuity problems regarding Zefram Cochrane, being somewhat different here to his later (or should that be earlier!) appearance in the movie 'Star Trek: First Contact'. In that movie, set before this episode, he appears to be a somewhat different character, but I don't think there's much that couldn't be explained away with some creative reasoning. After all, he's been living alone on the planetoid for 150 years in this episode, that's bound to change a man!
There are also other little niggles, such as Cochrane being said to come from Alpha Centauri, but what's to say that didn't become his home after the events of 'First Contact'? (And if anything, surely it is the movie that breaks the continuity, not this episode?)
But anyway, this episode boasts some great performances, and a story that unfolds really well. There are no enemies to battle with or anything like that, no 'monster of the week', but a quite different story, and kudos to 'Trek' for brining to life such a different tale.
The only character I didn't warm to was the ill (and very miserable) Commissioner Nancy Hedford. Okay dear, we know you're dying, but even so...!
One thing that must be mentioned is the music. Most of it was recorded for this episode (unlike some others, which consist of standard, pre-recorded 'Trek' scores), and was wonderful. It really brought the episode to life.
I love the way that the story unfolds, and we find out more about "The Companion", and her love for "The Man". Some episodes in the second (and third!) season are ones I only really care to watch once before moving on, but this episode really has a re-watchable appeal.
I'm surprised this episode isn't held in higher regard. Personally I love it. But as I've said before, that's one of the appeals about 'Star Trek', there is something for everybody. If you don't like one episode, odds on there will be something for you in the next one. Personally, this one might even make my Top 10 favourite episodes. I know others with disagree.moreless