The Rewatch 49: The Ultimate Computer.

Series: Star Trek (The Original Series)
Episode: 2.24 The Ultimate Computer (03-08-68)
Rating: 4/5
Redshirt Status:  1/22/45

Notable Guest Stars:
 William Marshall- Dr. Daystrom.  He was an actor, director and Opera singer. 

Review:

 This episode reminds me of a TNG episode where they are doing war games with strategy and Will Riker wins over the new computer.  Of course, this episode is not the same thing, though they have similar dramatic tension in their episodes.

Dr. Richard Daystrom has developed a multitronic computer system that is supposedly able to control a whole ship, making the necessary crew go from 430 to 20.  Enterprise is chosen by Commodore Wesley to test the computer.  Kirk and McCoy are skeptical, but Kirk agrees.  Meanwhile Spock gets to meet a man he greatly respects and the new computer.

As always, nothing goes to plan and the computer starts to take over more and more of the ship, using more and more of the power.  It ends up declaring an ore ship to be an enemy and blowing it up. The crew can not override it (much to the joy of Daystrom who apparently made the computer match his brain.

Only one person died onboard the Enterprise in this episode, but it was quite deadly for Starfleet overall.  I do think it is interesting that the control panel in the middle of the computer seems like the LCARS system that is used in later series.  Perhaps someone is able to take Daystrom’s research and make the system that the Enterprise D has.

Another episode this reminds me of is the episode about the Transporter in Enterprise.

Interesting Notes:

  • Directed by John Meredyth Lucas
  • Written by DC Fontana and Laurence N. Wolfe
  • Considered groundbreaking for casting an African American as Dr. Richard Draystrom.  Which seems weird to me from today (because it is and should be a normal thing) but this is the late sixties and as the last episode proved, even Star Trek is not without its problems when it comes to racism.

Pros:

  •   This was actually a pretty good story

Cons:

  •  Just how many times does Kirk have to talk a computer into killing itself?

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