Captain Kirk (William Shatner), Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy), and Dr.McCoy (DeForest Kelley) accompany a Federation ambassador (Elinor Donahue of Father Knows Best
) aboard a shuttle bound for a rendezvous with the Enterprise
. The ambassador, Commissioner Nancy Hedford, needs to be treated for possible contact with an alien disease, and she haughtily insists her escorts get through this interruption in her work as quickly as possible. But a vaporous, translucent life form called "the Companion" has other ideas, traveling across space in search of humans who can ease the loneliness of a pilot (Glenn Corbett) marooned on a barren planet for more than a century. Kirk, however, offers the stranded man an alternative: a return to civilization. Whether he wants it or not is another matter--he and the Companion share an extraordinary intimacy of the mind and heart. A kind of chamber drama largely set in a single locale, "Metamorphosis" was written by series producer Gene L. Coon and directed by frequent Trek
helmsman Ralph Senensky. Guest stars Corbett and Donahue are a bit monotonous in their performances, a little under par for a guest shot on the series. But Coon's story compensates with another fascinating application of one of his pet themes: empathy shared between different species. Kirk and Spock's knowing looks, as they begin to understand the Companion's true feelings for her captive man, alone make this episode worth watching. (Trivia note: An earlier incarnation of Corbett's character, warp-drive inventor Zefram Cochrane, was played by James Cromwell in Star Trek: First Contact
.) --Tom Keogh
Our favorite Starfleet trio, Captain Kirk (William Shatner), Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy), and Dr. McCoy (DeForest Kelley) beam down to Capella IV to convince the resident warrior race to sign up with the Federation. Unfortunately, a Klingon agent named Kras (Tige Andrews) has preceded them and set enough doubt into play that the take-no-prisoners Capellans decide to give Kirk and company a hostile reception. Written by story editor D.C. (Dorothy) Fontana, "Friday's Child" has the broad outlines of a Western, with the good guys getting rebuffed by hostile Indians and a final showdown with crude weapons set up in the barren hills. Julie Newmar's guest role as Eleen, wife of a former ruler and a pawn in the barbed politics between Kirk, Kras, and the Capellans, even has something of the frightened native princess about it. Viewers hoping to catch Newmar in a Capellan catsuit, however (an extension of her iconic, sleek presence as Catwoman in the old Batman television series), will be sorely disappointed: Eleen is quite pregnant, fit to burst, and placed in McCoy's capable hands. Trek stalwart Joseph Pevney directed this action-adventure piece, which contains one of the good doctor's most memorable utterances, spoken when Eleen expects McCoy to carry her up a steep hill: "I'm a doctor, not an escalator!" --Tom Keogh
"Metamorphosis," Ep. 31 - Kirk and his landing party are held prisoner by an alien on a planet whose only human inhabitant had reportedly died over a century before! "Friday's Child," Ep. 32 - A heroic deed by Kirk on Capella IV proves to be his undoing when the Capellan natives and an interfering Klingon agent turn against him.