The Rewatch 62: The Empath

Series: Star Trek (The Original Series)
Episode: 3.12 The Empath  (12-6-68)
Rating: 5/5
Redshirt Status: 0/3/49

Notable Guest Stars:
Kayhryn Hays –Gem.  She played Kim Hughes on As The World Turns.
Davis Roberts- Dr. Ozaba.  Character actor who appeared in television episodes for over five decades.

Review:

The adventure today starts on a science observation station which has not responded to hails. The planet is going to uninhabitable and they need to evacuate.  Kirk brings down Spock and McCoy to explore and find out why.

 They awake to find themselves in a cave. This episode does an interesting style.  The set is all black with stage lighting, bringing more direct light on characters.

I wonder if the Vians and Vidians are any relation? They look a little alike or at least sound similar.

Kirk makes the observation on how she could understand them if she’s mute.  I have to wonder at that because being mute-unable to speak, does not mean you lack hearing.  You can lack both, of course, but in her case she simply has no vocal chords.  There is no reason to suspect she can’t understand you. 

He seems to understand that after his initial comment, as he makes no other sign that he doesn’t thing she understands them.

The Vians are doing science experiments on the three men, testing their abilities, and testing Gem’s as well.  I have to wonder if the direction of Gem having move like she is doing some dance is a actor choice or not.

McCoy seems a bit cold about Gem’s sacrifices and makes a lot of assumptions. He is usually the heart of the team, the most empathic himself. It’s a bit out of character for him, but he is more in character when he sacrifices himself for Kirk and Spock. 

This episode, at the end, still makes me wonder if the Vians are an offshoot of the Vidiians of Voyager.

Interesting Notes:

  • Directed by John Erman
  • Written by Joyce Muskat
  • I think at this point I can stop pointing out the new female writers, as Joyce is the fifth.
  • Joyce Muskat was a fan of the show, and this was her first script.
  • Banned by the BBC for Torture till mid 90s
  • The main three actors both had some issues with the script. There was a bit of difficulties between the director and the cast over directing decisions.
  • They are really re-using some sets and I think costumes as well.

Pros:

  •  Interesting set for the cave.
  • Representation of a deaf character. Season 3 has had the first examples of those with disabilities such as blindness and hearing loss.
  • All four of the main characters in this episode did a good job, although there were moments of OOC ness for the main three.  I do not know if that was direction or the actors trying to direct the director and having issues.
  • This is a particularly good McCoy episode.

Cons:

  •  Nothing stands out

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