Star Trek

Season 3 Episode 12

The Empath

Aired Unknown Dec 06, 1968 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (8)

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out of 10
155 votes
  • Kirk, Spock, and McCoy are on a planet to study its sun's coming nova, when they are abducted by sadistic aliens attempting to teach compassion to a mute.

    While this episode isn't as dreadful as some have made it out to be, it's also a long way from being one of Star Trek's elite stories. For a race trying to teach compassion, the Vians are extremely short on it themselves. While it's possible to successfully create duplicitous characters who preach one thing, but do something else, that doesn't happen very well here. The Vians have absolutely no depth that make you believe them to be real people. They're nothing more than a clumsy plot vehicle. There is some suspense when Kirk, Spock, and McCoy vie over who will sacrifice himself to protect the others, but there's little else that's interesting coming from our main three characters. Kirk's preaching at the end seems forced. The episode is saved by the performance as Kathryn Hays as Gem. She makes the most of the weak material she's given to work with. I did feel her inner struggle was genuine. Gem was a character I identified with and felt for. The episode is worth watching on that basis. Kays' performance saves this episode from belonging on the trash heap of poor Star Trek Episodes like The Way to Eden.
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