The Rewatch 35: Metamorphasis

Series: Star Trek (The Original Series)
Episode: 2.09 Metamorphasis (11-3-67)
Rating: 3/5
Redshirt Status: 0/14/37

Notable Guest Stars:
Glenn Corbett- Zephram Cochrane. He was known for his role on the 60s tv series, Route 66.
Elinor Donahue – Commissioner Nancy Hedford. She is best known for her role on the 1950s show Father Knows Best. And apparently she was in 2004’s Princess Diaries 2, along side Chris Pine (who plays Kelvin timeline Kirk)
Elizabeth Rogers – Voice of the Companion. She’s Uhura’s second, previously seen in Doomsday Machine.

Review:

This episode probably generated the most notaking of any episode so far. This review is the opposite of last episode, as it will be long as I have several comments to make.

The general story is not bad. An Enterprise away crew, carrying an Commissioner/Ambassador onboard the shuttle who happens to have a rare disease comes across an anomaly and ends up crashed on a planet.  There they find Zephram Cochrane, who has lived the last 150 years on the planet.  He has been deagged and has been cared for by an enenity he calls the Companion.

The companion has brought Kirk & his team down to be companions of Cochrane, not planning on letting him go.  They have to convince it to let them go.

At this point, most of my issues with this episode begin.  My actual first issue was the Commissioner Nancy Hedford is said to have some rare disease, one that has a vaccination but isn’t given because its so rare.  She has a right to be angry.  I don’t understand however why McCoy is the only medical team on board.  Having Christine Chapel on board would make more sense to me then Spock.  Then again, why were they sent with a shuttle when they could have gotten the ship there faster?  Especially with such a rare disease that they need specialized equipment.

My second problem is that we are expected to believe that Kirk and McCoy, looking at a lighted up blob can sense the Companion is in love with Cochrane.  Especially as it has not shown itself to be any other form before.  It just seems weird.  Of course it sets it up for when they use the universal translator (First mention I believe) and find out it is female.  And of course its romantic love.

It couldn’t possibly be this is the last of a species despriate for companionship.  Or she sees Cochrane as her child, since she took him in and cared for him.  No, it has to be an alien in love with the man.  Cochrane is rightfully offended that what he took for a simple friendship/caretakership was a love affair in the eyes of everyone else.  I got irritated with Kirk and Spock for their inability to understand that there are consent issues through out this episode.  Cochrane’s right not to be used as a love object (He could only communication in small amounts, so was totally unaware).  Nancy Hedford’s consent for her body to be used by the Companion so she could have human form.

No one at all seems alarmed that Nancy Hedford suddenly is one with the Companion.  Not after a whole episode where its basically foretold she would die. The companion couldn’t save her, yet can stay alive in that body together with her? 

I think I would have liked it better if Nancy, despite her illness, convinced McCoy and Kirk to let her talk to the companion.  During their conversation, they come to terms and will share their body. Not only would it use Nancy’s expertise, but it would have allowed it to be consented.

I also found that Cochrane was disgusted by this all until the companion became one with Nancy annoying.  His change of heart is just…weird and suggests his love is based on her looks rather then really the companion.  Also his sudden desire to remain anonymous.  They could have allowed more people to live there, and he could have interaction with other humans too.

This whole episode is full of the weird, and not really in a good way.

Interesting Notes:

  • Directed by Marc Daniels
  • Written by Stephen Kandel, David Gerrold
  • Zephram Cochrane would appear in First Contact and an episode of Enterprise. Both times the role would be played by James Cromwell.

Pros:

  • StarTrek Federation history.
  • A woman featured who holds a higher rank in her profession.
  • Universal Translator!

Cons:

  •  The lack of consent by various characters
  • General sixties sexism leaking into the Federation
  • General Sixties gender ideas leaking into the Federation

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