Star Trek

Season 2 Episode 9


Aired Unknown Nov 10, 1967 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
160 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

When their shuttle is diverted to a planetoid, Kirk, Spock, and McCoy encounter Earth's Warp Drive pioneer, Zefram Cochrane, who appears to have survived there alone for 150 years.

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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
Leonard Nimoy

Leonard Nimoy

Mr. Spock

William Shatner

William Shatner

Captain James Tiberius Kirk

DeForest Kelley

DeForest Kelley

Dr. Leonard Horatio "Bones" McCoy

Elizabeth Rogers

Elizabeth Rogers

voice of The Companion (uncredited)

Guest Star

Glenn Corbett

Glenn Corbett

Zefram Cochrane

Guest Star

Elinor Donahue

Elinor Donahue

Commissioner Nancy Hedford

Guest Star

James Doohan

James Doohan

Lt. Cmdr. Montgomery "Scotty" Scott

Recurring Role

George Takei

George Takei

Lt. Hikaru Sulu

Recurring Role

Nichelle Nichols

Nichelle Nichols

Lt. Nyota Uhura

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (9)

    • Kirk should have offered supplies and equipment to Cochrane before leaving the planet, but didn't. It's not clear how he and the Companion are going to survive based on Cochrane's ability to grow fig trees now that the Companion can't provide for him.

    • Trivia: Cochrane was 87 years old when he "disappeared."

    • Technically Goofs, there are several points of this episode that are ignored in the movie First Contact: 1) Glenn Corbett looks nothing like a young James Cromwell; 2) Cochrane here appears to have no first-hand knowledge of Vulcans even though in First Contact he makes...well, first contact with them; and 3) here Cochrane is from Alpha Centauri but in the movie he is an Earth Native (there have been various non-canon and fan explanations for why he would no longer consider Earth his "home").

    • At the start of the episode, Kirk states that they will meet the Enterprise in 4 hours, 21 minutes. Assuming they've been in flight for a short while already, that would probably mean about a five-hour trip to meet the Enterprise. Coupled with a 5-hour trip to pick up the commissioner, that would be a 10-hour shuttle ride. That's an awfully long trip for a shuttle to make. Considering the Miss Hedford's sickly condition, it would be a lot quicker to use the Enterprise to pick her up. Arguably the Enterprise was busy doing something else, but then why does Scotty spend all the episode looking for Kirk? Also, in "The Menagerie", Kirk indicates that the shuttle does not have more than a few hours of oxygen in it, so it seems that a five-hour shuttle ride would be pushing it, and that's assuming that they were able to refuel before they headed back.

    • Toward the end of the episode, Capt. Kirk calls the ship with his communicator. Since they are 57 minutes away from the ship at the time they make contact, that would be an awfully long range for a personal communicator to have.

    • The shuttlecraft that Kirk and company are in is called the Galileo. However, the Galileo was destroyed in the first season episode "The Galileo 7". Later episodes correct for this by showing the shuttle as Galileo II, but they seemed to have forgotten it for this episode.

    • When Kirk and McCoy first see Cochrane communicating with the Companion, they comment about how it looks like love. There is no obvious indication of love whatsoever. All they are seeing is the Companion hovering over Cochrane, but for some reason they just start rambling about it being love.

    • The Companion says it will let the shuttlecraft operate normally so they can leave. Originally it brought them down with an energy dampening field. However, later it shorted out all the circuits when it attacked Spock - how did it fix those?

    • Kirk, Spock, and McCoy agree to not tell anyone in Starfleet of Cochrane's existence on the planet. Then how do they intend to explain the disappearance of the Commissioner. Also, since the Companion was essentially responsible for the Commissioner's death and then stole her body afterward, is it not guilty of a crime? However, Kirk, Spock, and McCoy seem pretty content with letting this all go.

  • QUOTES (22)

    • Kirk: Commissioner, stay inside.
      Hedford: Just how long do I stay inside, Captain?
      Kirk: That's a very good question. I wish I could answer it.

    • Cochrane: I have a small place, all the comforts of home. I can even offer you a hot bath.
      Hedford: How perceptive of you to notice I needed one.

    • Kirk: Perhaps you can find out what we're doing here.
      Cochrane: I already know.
      Kirk: You wouldn't mind telling us?
      Cochrane: You won't like it.
      Kirk: I already don't like it.

    • McCoy: Spock! Are you all right?
      Spock: Yes. Quite all right, Doctor. A most fascinating thing happened. Apparently, the Companion imparted to me a rather quaint, old-fashioned electric shock of respectable voltage.

    • Kirk: How do you fight a thing like that?
      McCoy: Maybe you're a soldier so often that you forget you're also trained to be a diplomat. Why not try a carrot instead of a stick?

    • Spock: The translator's for use with more congruent life forms.
      Kirk: Adjust it. Immortality is boring. Adjusting the translator will give you something to do.

    • Spock: Companion, you do not have the power to create life.
      The Companion: That is for the Maker of all things.

    • The Companion: You said we would not know love because we were not human. Now we are human. We'll know the change of days. We will know death. But to touch the hand of man, nothing is as important.

    • (as the Enterprise is searching for the missing shuttlecraft)
      Scott: It didn't wreck. There's no debris. There's no trace of expelled internal atmosphere. No residual radioactivity. Ah, it's... something took over. Tractor beams maybe... something. They dragged it away on the heading we're now on.
      Uhura: If there are no further traces, how are we going to follow them?
      Scott: We stay on this course. See what comes up.
      Uhura: It's a big galaxy, Mr. Scott.
      Scott: Aye!

    • Spock: There will be no immortality. You'll both grow old here and finally die.
      Cochrane: That's been happening to men and women for a long time. I feel it's one of the pleasanter things about being human, as long as you grow old together.

    • Nancy: What kind of love is that? Not to be loved; never to have shown love.

    • Cochrane: Believe me, Captain, immortality consists largely of boredom.

    • Kirk: It is the nature of our species to be free.

    • McCoy: There's nothing disgusting about it. It's just another life form, that's all. You get used to those things.

    • Kirk: Our species can only survive if we have obstacles to overcome. You remove those obstacles. Without them to strengthen us, we will weaken and die.

    • The Companion: This is loneliness? What a bitter thing ... it's so sad. How do you bear it, this loneliness?

    • Kirk: Not one hundred percent efficient, of course ... but nothing ever is.

    • Cochrane: I can't leave her. I love her. Is that surprising?
      Spock: Not coming from a human being. You are, after all, essentially irrational.

    • Kirk: The idea of male and female are universal constants.

    • Kirk: Love sometimes expresses itself in sacrifice.

    • Spock: Your highly emotional reaction is most illogical. Your relationship with the Companion has for 150 years been emotionally satisfying, eminently practical, and totally harmless. It may indeed have been quite beneficial.
      Cochrane: Is this what the future holds, men who have no notion of decency or morality? Maybe I'm 150 years out of style, but I'm not going to be fodder for any inhuman monster.
      Spock: Fascinating--a totally parochial attitude.

    • Cochrane: What's it like out there, in the galaxy?
      Kirk: We're on a thousand planets and spreading out. We cross fantastic distances, and everything's alive, Cochrane. Life everywhere. We estimate there are millions of planets with intelligent life. We haven't begun to map them. Interesting?
      Cochrane: How would you like to sleep for 150 years and wake up in a new world?
      Kirk: It's all out there waiting for you.

  • NOTES (3)