Star Trek

Season 3 Episode 19

Requiem for Methuselah

Aired Unknown Feb 14, 1969 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (10)

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out of 10
151 votes
  • Kirk gets entangled in a love triangle.

    This talky, planet-based story introduces two characters with secrets and lets Kirk, Spock, and McCoy hang out with them to develop a love triangle. (It's like "The Man Trap", but without the dreariness or a salt vampire).

    Theatre actors James Daly and Louise Sorel lean on their stage training to play Flint and Rayna, with all their scenes taking place on uniquely dressed sets representing the interior of Flint's castle. Daly brings an appropriate world weary attitude to the title character, and Sorel shines as an innocent intellectual. They're joined by M4, which would seem to be Nomad's cousin ("The Changeling") and serves about the same purpose.

    Flint, himself, is sort of an historical Forrest Gump; and Bixby's idea of combining several important figures in human history into one is a creative thought with some interesting dramatic possibilities. Unfortunately, Kirk is less interested in him and more interested in his "ward", Rayna. By setting aside the wonders of Flint and the millions of people counting on the Captain to save them from the plague of MacGuffin, the good captain makes a poor showing, seemingly only concerned about scoring with a woman he's just met. If he were more concerned about her freedom, it would be more believable, but it seems like the fine science fiction idea here is only brought up to get Kirk into a fight for a woman.

    Fortunately, Spock seems to genuinely grasp the importance of their discovery, and he even gives us a rare musical plot point, playing a beautiful piece of music that could really pass for the unknown work of Johannes Brahms it's supposed to be. (It was really composed by Ivan Ditmars, the man who did the music for the game show Let's Make a Deal from 1963 to 1976). And there is something interesting about seeing the big three find divergent interests: Kirk wants the woman, Spock is fascinated by Flint, and McCoy needs to obtain a cure to the plague.

    But despite it's good bits, including the first onstage use of the Enterprise three foot miniature, an iconic shot of Kirk's face in the Enterprise viewscreen, and a memorable last word and act from Spock that sets up an important antonym in the second feature film, "Metheselah" doesn't quite get off the ground, with budget cuts turning it into a radio play and the writer failing to use its premise for an original or worthwhile story.

    Still, it's one of the third season's few true science fiction episodes and would have been a fine filler episode for the first or second season.

    Remastered Version:

    The centerpiece of the new effects is a new matte painting of Flint's castle that even incorporates Flint and the landing party into it as they approach his abode. (This replaces a reuse of the matte painting from "The Cage", which does a fine job on its own, though it's not unique). There are, of course, new shots of the Enterprise in orbit (though the new, more Earth-like planet doesn't match the planet set's pink sky as well as the original's pink-tinted version of the "Operation: Annihilate!" planet). Interestingly, the original version has a blob of a moon composited into "Enterprise in orbit" shots, whereas the new version has two (much nicer) moons that appropriately appear in the new matte painting as well.

    Bonus Review

    From Star Trek Continues: "The White Iris": 7

    After taking a blow to the head, Kirk finds that he's haunted by the ghosts of women from his past.

    Breaking out of its usual box, Star Trek Continues offers an episode here the original series would probably never have considered: a character driven piece about Kirk searching for a way to deal with the deaths of those he loved and lost.

    As a Kirk story, it's easy to see why this one was made. Showrunner Vic Mignogna, who plays Kirk in his series, likely couldn't resist the opportunity to carry an episode and explore such weighty emotions. Colin Baker (the sixth Doctor from Doctor Who) guest stars as an alien minister who spends the episode whining, and there are twin planets and some Federation issues tossed in, but all that's there just to provide a background for Kirk's internal struggle. And for fans of The Original Series, well familiar with Edith Keeler, Miramanee, Rayna, and their episodes ("The City on the Edge of Forever" "The Paradise Syndrome", and "Requiem for Methuselah"), the episode itself can be quite therapeutic, providing closure that "City", in particular, lacks.

    Star Trek Continues, of course, doesn't have to worry as much about casual TV fans as the original series, and here it's a good thing; it's likely the regular guy sitting on his couch who enjoys an occasional Star Trek episode would consider this one a clunker; an episode lacking action and excitement with a predictable ending. But the reason most of Mignogna's episodes succeed is that they don't try to be any more than they are, content to be as simplistic as the story calls for. In this case, there's no need for fancy effects or fistfights, and so there are none. What there is is an intelligent, personal story with a clever title that, reminiscent of some episodes of the original series, sneaks up on you at the end.

    "The White Iris" is available to watch for free online and can easily be found by any search engine.

  • Love this Episode

    This is a very interesting Episode. It sort of tackle the age old question of "If you could Live forever what would it feel like" There are some interesting story elements here and by the end you actually feel very sorry for Flint and what he has experienced and witnessed.
  • There can be only one!

    Presumably Flint/Brahms/Akharin/Brack is an Immortal, and can be killed if decapitated. One figures the Highlander folks saw this episode, at any rate, and got some inspiration from it.

    Probably the worst case of a decreasing end-of-season (and end-of-series) budget, recycled sets and a minimal Enterprise presence keeps the costs low.

    What's disappointing is that Jerome Bixby, who displayed his writing talents for Trek in the second season "Mirror Mirror" seems to have tossed it all away for an exploration of immortality, which he would return to later anyway in "The Man From Earth." It's a well-written exploration as far as it goes, but it fits awkwardly in the Trek universe. It takes a bogus plague (we never see anyone with the disease the entire episode) to create a false sense of drama. It also requires Kirk and McCoy to act wildly out of character: Kirk falling in love instantly and McCoy pouring himself booze when the ship's crew have four hours to live. Even Spock somehow recognizes Brahms' handwriting, and then tampers with Kirk's memories.

    There's also just general silliness like the Incredible Shrinking Enterprise.

    Only McCoy's speech at the end, and the power of the concept, really pull it out from a 1-2 rating. Daly and Sorrel give good performances and this would have been interesting as a Twilight Zone episode (it doesn't have the "bear" for an Outer Limits story). But here there are just too many contrivances to fit the square peg in the round hole.
  • One of those third season episodes that wants to examine the human condition and the meaning of emotion, I think somewhat under-rated as an episode.

    The Enterprise is drawn to a planet in order to synthesize a cure for a plague on another world and encounters a mysterious man and his winsome ward.

    I really like this episode, despite some drawbacks. Flint is a sympathetic if misguided man who has suffered the curse of never being able to die. His solution, to create an android companion, is no where near as repellent as Kirk tends to believe. The mystery of Flint's identity is well-played, the scenes of Spock putting the story together are interesting. The secondary plot of working to distill a fever plague cure is workman-like but only meant to keep the main players on the planet. Of all the sturm and drang of this episode, WAY over-played by Shatner (though I like the ending scene of Spock helping him to forget), are Rayna's repeating of Flint's lines on loneliness, - "it's a hunger, a flower dying in the desert" - heartfelt and genuine. At the same time, it's probably best to just accept that Kirk could fall in love with a naive young android in 20 minutes time given that he's done something similar many times before. A ton of believability would be added by having the action take place over a few weeks rather than a couple of hours. Amazingly, Kirk is at least scripted as saying that he "put on a pretty poor show."

    There are some real turkeys in Season 3, but I like this one, "The Empath", and "All Our Yesterdays" in going to the very heart of emotion and sacrifice and how they strike a universal chord about what it means to be alive. Since "Star Trek" was never really going to explore the idea of radically different life forms, at least these episodes scraped beneath the superficial aspects of our own species' behaviors.
  • When Kirk, Spock and McCoy beam down the only planet that has the cure to an epidemic raging on the Enterprise, they encounter a mysterious man and his beautiful young ward. Not a classic, but one of the third season's better examples...

    This episode is far from a series classic, but at the same time, it plays out as one of the shaky third season's better offerings, which a decent story and reasonable performances. Indeed, it deserves to be, as it is written by Jerome Bixby, who was behind favourites such as the second season's classic "Mirror, Mirror".
    In the US, the episode was originally broadcast on St. Valentine's Day 1969, and I wonder if it was deliberately picked for such, as it is a very romance based story.

    This episode is one of just a couple that barely features the Enterprise at all (the other example I can think of being the first season's "The Devil in the Dark"). Instead, the episode plays out on the planet below.
    I do agree with some other reviewers that with such a deadly plague raging on the Enterprise, more crewmen would have beamed down to look for the cure, but that is a minor plot point to be overlooked for sake of the story. Flint's floating robot reminded me of the one from the second season episode "The Changeling", but thankfully the story went in a different direction.
    In one of the most notable instances of a matte painting being recycled, the exterior shot of Flint's caste is reused from one of the fantasy sequences in "The Cage" (note that I am reviewing the original version; I understand that it has been changed in the remastered version).

    Also as has been commented, despite the fact that his crew are about to die a terrible death from disease, Kirk spends no time falling in love with Rayna. We've seen similar in previous episodes of the similar, and again, is just one of those plot points we have to accept.

    The story moves along well (I, like others, enjoyed Spock playing the waltz on the piano, for example), and has an unexpected twist about Flint.
    The final scene on board the Enterprise, with Spock, McCoy and the sleeping Kirk, is one of the best moments of the third season, ending with Spock's almost haunting "forget".

    This is by no means one of the best episodes of the Original Series when compared to some of the other greats, but it probably is one of the best of the weak third season. I cam easily imagine it being part of the (superior) first or second season, where it would no doubt have fared even better.
  • Kirk and company go to a planet to get something called Ritalin to cure Regelian fever.They meet some guy named Flint with a robot girlfriend.(sounds like a sitcom alreadyHilarity ensues.

    To say that this is the dumbest,most ridiculous episode of Classic Trek doesn't go quite far enough.This is the worst episode in the history of the Trek franchise!First off I never heard,not even in sci-fi,of anybody buying a planet. Imagine the classified ad "Planet for Sale. Even climate.One privous owner.Fixer-upper. Price negociable." Then it turns out he has this robot girlfriend that he somehow gets Kirk (Who main focus at this point should be that fact that his entire crew is DYING!)to fall inlove with her(in a matter of hours.Yeah,right) Of course Kirk doesn't know she's a robot at first, but even after he finds out he still wants to be with her! I mean lonely is one thing but to fall in love with something that's not much more than an animated sex doll is ridiculous.How this episode got a 7 rating is beyond me.
  • Kirk's android fetish strikes again

    This episode seems a little undeserving of some of the poor ratings it has received, if only because of a couple of featured "treats" (such as Spock playing a waltz on the piano) and the unforgettable scene at the end. Granted, it has a few holes in it (see trivia above), which it seems the producers did not properly address in their attempts to focus the story on the Flint/Rayna/Kirk triangle.

    The scene at the end, however, in which McCoy gives Spock a somewhat lengthy discourse on "love," is particularly touching. McCoy's thoughts are noteworthy in themselves, but what strikes me is Spock's reaction. He does not say anything – simply listens without comment or expression – and it is one of the few times when there is no rebuttal from Spock nor argument between the two. After McCoy leaves, assuming that once again his remarks on a topic Spock couldn't possibly care about nor understand have fallen on deaf ears, Spock hesitates, goes over to the sleeping Kirk, and touches his temple in the mind meld, saying simply "forget." It is a very simple scene, and one of the most profound in the series. This small, unperceived gesture by Spock is so infused with compassion. He truly absorbed, at least partially, what McCoy was trying to impress upon him about the noblest action/emotion known to mankind.

    The worst I could fault this episode for was Rayna's hairpiece. It needed some help, as it was distractingly obvious that it was a bad wig.
  • Not the worst episode but nowhere near the best either.

    When i first watched this ep years and years ago it was one of my faves. However a recent re-watch has changed my mind.

    Getting the cure for the disease is of the utmost importance yet only 3 crewmen beam down. True the ship is running on minimal crew but i'm sure they could manage more than just 3.

    Once again Tubby Kirk falls in love in under 13.6 seconds and proceeds to forget about his dying crew and trya nd get his end away. The character of Kirk is way off in this episode.

    McCoy, however, shines in this episode with his speech at the end being quite moving........until he ends it with "Good night Spock" i think an uncomfortable silence would have been better.

    The mind meld at the end was way off as well. No Way would Spock just take it on himself to fiddle with Kirks mind and memories. Also what about Kirk saying in the 5th film that "i need my pain"

    Like i said, not one of the best
  • Kirk is faced with a two-cushioned bank shot, eight ball corner pocket

    Once again, I see this episode in a different light. Love means so much more to me now than it did in the 70s. In fact, I didn't know what it was. So I really felt for Rayna this time around. I totally agree with the trivia note that it was absolutely ridiculous that Kirk let Rayna stand in between him and the survival of his crew. What happened to the Kirk who overpowered the influence of the spores in "This side of Paradise"? On a side note, I just adored that unknown melody that Spock played on the piano. Is that really unknown? The ending speech McCoy made to Spock about love in Kirk's quarters was pure poetry. And how touching it was for Spock to mindmeld with Kirk and whisper "...........forget".
  • Kirk and company meet Flint who might help him with the fever ailing the crew.

    Decent episode brings into focus the theme of "immortality",
    "ownership", and "love".

    Enjoyed the episode, disagree about the continuity because Kirk has always acted like a lovesick teenager. This wouldn't change even going into the Star Trek movies (he'd had a son named David yet still be a bachelor.)

    No lack of continuity there. So Kirk and company meet Flint, a very peculiar man with a flying robot acting as security.

    The twists are very well hidden and I thought it brought well together the themes about immortality, love, aownsership, being cilivized and being animals (recurrent

    Great acting all around and it's amazing to see Days of Our Lives star Louise Sorrel here (better known as Vivian).

    Great episode.