Thursday, June 12, 2014

Trek Thursday: The City on the Edge of Forever

#64. The City on the Edge of Forever

In case you forgot: McCoy accidentally travels back to the 1930s and messes up the timeline. Kirk and Spock have to go retrieve him.

Yeah, that's right: The City on the Edge of Forever is a crappy Star Trek episode. Come at me, Trekkies.

There might be a small contingent of fans who agree with me out of a die-hard devotion to Harlan Ellison; his spite over script changes and disdain for the resulting episode is legendary. Unfortunately, that's not my beef with this episode. Everything wrong with it is something that Harlan (as far as I know) penned himself.

The red-hot passion!

This episode is often billed as Kirk's encounter with "the one woman" and the defenses of City's greatness are based on this same assertion, but I don't buy it. The romance between Kirk and Edith falls flat when you consider that before, and after, Kirk romanced every green-skinned space babe the Enterprise encountered.

Not to mention: how can any kind of great love bloom between them over the course of a week? It would be a stretch in most cases, but Kirk has not once indicated that he is capable of forming a meaningful romantic bond with a woman outside of the little in-and-out. Honestly, I could swallow Kirk and Miramanee as a couple more easily than I could swallow Kirk and Edith. At least he got the courtesy of a couple of months with Miramanee, even knocking her up.

Okay, well, then the tragedy is that a good woman has to die for things to be set aright! How sad. But that happens in other episodes, too. Nothing in this episode is unique and never done before (or again), or done particularly well. How it won awards—a Hugo, a Writers Guild of America teleplay award—will always be beyond my understanding.

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