Star Trek: The Animated Series

Season 2 Episode 6

The Counter-Clock Incident

Aired Saturday 10:30 AM Oct 12, 1974 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
49 votes

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Episode Summary

The Counter-Clock Incident

The Enterprise tries to save an unidentified ship plunging into a supernova but is dragged into a universe where time runs backwards. Their only hope to return home is Commodore Robert April, the first commander of the Enterprise, who is onboard on a retirement trip.

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  • While transporting the first Captain of the Enterprise to his retirement ceremony, Kirk and company plunge into a "counter-clockwise" universe.

    This series finale is quite special, and a great way to end the five year mission. The idea that Starfleet would have a mandatory retirement age (and that it would be 75 years old in the 23rd century) seems a little silly and outdated, but the episode succeeds because of its heart. And the wink to Gene Roddenberry by including Captain April, the first Commander of the Enterprise, is cute. (When Roddenberry first created Star Trek, he proposed it as the Captain's name.) Also included is some great artwork, including the look of the counter-clockwise universe. All in all, it's a great ending to the series.moreless
  • While escorting Commodore Robert April to Babel, the Enterprise is sucked into an alternate universe where the young are born old, and the old get younger

    Anything about an alternate universe is always interesting, and it is no exception for The Counter-Clock Incident. This universe that they go to is the exact opposite of this universe. The nigh sky is white with black stars, people talk backwards and the older in age you are, the younger you become. Needless to say, this makes for a great story. Especially since it features Robert April, the first captain of the USS Enterprise. Naturally, he is happy that he is getting younger since he was on his way to retire, but soon discovers that he prefers his own age after all. A great story that did a wonderful job at ending this sadly short lived series.moreless
  • This is great Star Trek

    I have watched this episode some many times. I just love the way they bring Robert April into the show. That was something that they could not do in the original series. I just think that the whole primes of the show is great. The ship is on it way to a starbase for Commadore Robert April's retirement. On the way they come across this ship that is moving at great speed right into the heart of a nova. Well the Enterprise to the rescue. In the process of tring to "rescue" this ship they get caught in the gravity of the nova and get taken to another universe where eveything works in revires. As the crew try to think of a way home they start to notice that everyone is getting younger. They find a way home and everyone is returned to normal and after Captain Kirk tells Starfleet of Commadore April's deeds that go above and beyond duty April does not have to retire. Just a great episode.moreless
Nichelle Nichols

Nichelle Nichols

Dr. Sarah April/Karla 5

Guest Star

James Doohan

James Doohan

Commodore Robert April/Karl Four

Guest Star

George Takei

George Takei

Lt. Hikaru Sulu

Recurring Role

Nichelle Nichols

Nichelle Nichols

Lt. Uhura

Recurring Role

James Doohan

James Doohan

Lt. Cmdr. Montgomery "Scotty" Scott / Lt. Arex

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • On the DVD release of the Animated Star Trek, some episodes were accompanied by Text Commentaries from Mike & Denise Okuda. The commentary for "The Counter-Clock Incident" contains a rather notable error though. The Okudas comment on Sarah April's Capellan Flower, stating that Capella IV was visited in TOS's episode "A Private Little War," but Capella IV appeared in "Friday's Child". The planet seen in "A Private Little War" was never named on screen, but was referred to in scripts as Neural.

    • This episode contained a slight chronology error. In an early scene, McCoy says after giving Sarah April a tour of sickbay, "Jim, I didn't realize how many of the tools I use in sickbay were designed by Sarah." To which Sarah replies, "As the first medical officer aboard a ship equipped with warp drive, I'm afraid I had to come up with new ideas all the time." This clearly can't be true, since the Bonaventure, not the Enterprise was the first starship with warp drive installed. She must have meant something like she was one of the first medical officers aboard a ship with advanced warp drive installed.

    • This episode makes absolutely no sense. So what happens when Karla Four's "father" reaches the point of birth - does he crawl back into her womb?!? The accelerated de-aging also makes no sense: people don't get older faster when they travel at high warp speeds in the "real" universe - why do they get so much younger in the reverse-universe? And why do only the people and their uniforms de-age, but not anything else like the Enterprise itself. These problems are sorta explained in Allan Dean Foster's novelization but even he has Spock and others comment on the silliness of these issues. Author Fred Bronson claimed this was due to Einstein relativity, but that clearly doesn't apply at warp speed. In "normal" space the crew doesn't age as rapidly as they deage when travelling at warp.

  • QUOTES (2)

    • Robert April: No matter where I've traveled in the galaxy, Jim, this bridge is more like home than anywhere else.
      Kirk: Yes, Commodore, I know the feeling.
      Robert April: To me she was always like my child. I was there in the San Francisco navy yards when her unit components were built.

    • Sarah April: But what about us? We don't have to use the transporter. We can remain young, live our lives over again. You could command a starship once more.
      Robert April: What a blessing to be able to live one's life over again. If the life you've lived has left you unfulfilled. No, Sarah, I don't want to live it all over again. I couldn't improve one bit on what we've had together.

  • NOTES (5)

    • Majel Barrett is credited but has no role in the episode.

    • Beta Niobe is referred to as a star gone nova. In the original Trek episode "All Our Yesterdays" this star was mentioned as going nova - a nice continuity touch. The same for another star gone nova, Minara, which was mentioned as ready to go nova in the original Trek episode "The Empath."

    • Fred Bronson wrote this episode under the pen name of "John Culver". As Fred Bronson he wrote "Menage a Troi" and "The Game" for Star Trek: The Next Generation.

    • This episode's use of Robert April is consistent with Gene Roddenberry's notes as seen in The World of Star Trek, where he identified April as the first captain of the Constellation-class Enterprise. This is the first and last time he is mentioned or appears, although his use here makes Roddenberry's disavowal of the animated series as canon even more inexplicable.

    • Allan Dean Foster's Star Trek Log novelization of this episode added on a second "half" of original material which had the Enterprise encountering a strange primitive planet that exists in the middle of deep space (with no sun) with odd contradictions while they oppose the Klingons. It turns out some strange all-powerful race are testing both races, first with the "reverse universe" and then with the non-solar planet. This explains the contradictions in the first half (and the original episode). The Klingons claim they had a similar adventure in a reverse-universe called Nognilk!