Star Trek

Season 3 Episode 19

Requiem for Methuselah

Aired Unknown Feb 14, 1969 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (10)

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  • 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.

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