Star Trek

Season 1 Episode 27

The Alternative Factor

Aired Unknown Mar 30, 1967 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
181 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Kirk and Spock encounter a mysterious alien named Lazarus who claims to be hunting a ruthless maniacal creature.

Who was the Episode MVP ?

No results found.
No results found.
No results found.
  • unwatchable

    After rows of great episodes of Star Trek's first season, this is the first time the show really trips - and lands on it's face. I'm told that there was a b-plot to this episode, but it was removed at the last minute, leaving an empty void behind. The 'void' was apparently filled with repeated, pointless shots of the two Lazaruses fighting that drag on through the whole episode, or the shots of Lazarus falling off of cliffs. Sadly, because of this, the episode is pretty much unwatchable. A shame. Without all this, "The Alternative Factor" would have probably made a decent episode.moreless
  • The effects they used KILLED this episode

    I considered this one unwatchable as a kid but forced myself to watch the HD version last night

    While I concede that this episode is one of the worst in season 1; I think we can all agree that it had the right concept. A great Sci Fi concept and I think a very good choice of bad guy (if Lazarus' are bad guys) that fell hard because of a few bad choices:

    1. The effects they used KILLED this episode. Especially the daily planet newspaper/batman rotating newspaper whatever thing. The nebula they keep showing for no reason. And then WHY did they feel the need to do it sooooooooooo dam much?! They could have used that poor effects kit 2 times and we would have forgiven them but 7 times?! Inexcusable.

    2. Direction on this one was bad. Spock is lost. Kirk is too. And most of the other standbys are off somewhere else with generic folks filling in.

    3. Why did Lazarus have to fall off the cliff 2 times? Inexcusable.

    There were a few positives. The concept was great but they just needed to EXPLAIN it to us!!! It should have been more obvious when Lazarus switched just short of the crew noticing. I Love the Lazarus costume and think it probably the best one in the series. That's not saying that much but..give credit where due. I liked the actor who played him too not his fault he didn't have anything to say.


  • The crew of the Enterprise meets a confused man in a confusing episode.

    This episode has an interesting premise, but the screenplay (by Don Ingalls) and the execution (by director Gerd Oswald) hurt the promising story. The episode attempts to be mysterious but comes across as fragmented and confusing. It probably didn't help that John Drew Barrymore (the father of Drew Barrymore,) originally cast as Lazarus, never showed up for the shoot. It also doesn't help that the part doesn't have any backstory or character development in the episode. The guy basically wonders around and falls off cliffs.) That said, I do like the overall story and the ending. It's a fair episode.moreless
  • This episode was stretching to fill its allotted time and was a real stretch to keep it going as long as it did.

    Sadly, even though I had never seen this episode I immediately knew the predictable "twist" of the episode about a third of the way through. Then of course they allow the man they find on the planet to have free reign and wander everywhere on the ship, even though they really know nothing about him and he seems a bit nutty.

    The effects aren't great or horrible and are essentially just film negatives superimposed with other pieces of film. It may have been neat in the 60s, but I suspect even then it wasn't exciting enough spend so much episode time on it when they could have been doing something more interesting like filling plot holes or developing characters.

    This is one of the weakest episodes in the first season.moreless
  • Falling off mountains 101 (Instructor: Lazarus A/B)

    I haven't the slightest idea why I like this episode so much. The confusion between the Lazurus' are irritating and poorly explained. And I never understood why they just couldn't kill "Lazurus A" before he went into the time corridor and have poor "Lazurus B" trapped with that madman at his throat until time itself stopped. Kirk does not press "Lazurus A" nearly enough to get the facts he needed about the crystals, yet I still love watching this one over and over again. I agree, it is one of the poorest and hardest plot lines to follow, but those scenes in the time corridor fascinated me for some strange reason.moreless
Al Wyatt

Al Wyatt

Anti-Matter Lazarus Being #1 (uncredited)

Guest Star

Bill Catching

Bill Catching

Anti-Matter Lazarus Being #2 (uncredited)

Guest Star

Tom Lupo

Tom Lupo

Security Guard #2 (uncredited)

Guest Star

Nichelle Nichols

Nichelle Nichols

Lt. Nyota Uhura

Recurring Role

Eddie Paskey

Eddie Paskey

Lt. Leslie

Recurring Role

William Blackburn

William Blackburn

Security Guard #4 (uncredited)

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (7)

    • Lt. Charlene Masters does not wear her Lt. stripe.

    • In a shot of the viewscreen near the end of the episode you can see the planet but there's no stars in the background.

    • When Kirk escorts Lazarus to the bridge, there's a shot of McCoy as they leave and two Red Alert panels - one is flashing while the other one is burnt out.

    • The commodore says the distortion was felt in every quadrant of the galaxy and beyond. How does he know this? It takes weeks for messages to get back and forth (see "Balance of Terror") and how would he know what's going on outside the galaxy?

    • Despite the fact there's a warning of an alien invasion and Lazarus is at the center of things, not to mention kind of wacko, he wanders freely around the Enterprise.

    • Starfleet sends out a code factor 1 command - everyone is to go on alert status because of a possible alien invasion. Then the commodore asks Kirk's opinion on what's going on and Kirk says it's an alien invasion - duh!

    • The Lazarus beards keep getting thicker and thinner.

  • QUOTES (4)

  • NOTES (2)

    • Originally John Drew Barrymore was supposed to play Lazarus but he quit abruptly so Robert Brown was chosen to replace him.

    • The astronomical background shown when Lazarus is jumping between the parallel universes is the Trifid Nebula (also known as M20 and NGC 6514). From Earth, it is found in the region of the constellation Sagittarius.