The City on the Edge of Forever - episode #28

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The City on the Edge of Forever - episode #28

Post  BoG on Mon Mar 15, 2010 11:02 pm


THE CITY ON THE EDGE OF FOREVER (1st season; episode #28) Like a Star @ heaven Air Date: 04/06/67
Directed by Joseph Pevney // writer: Harlan Ellison
Here were the dire consequences and tragic side-effects of time travel, before that time-travel concept came to dominate the later series and even some films (the Enterprise show was all about time travel, basically). Famed writer Harlan Ellison wrote the original script, which was re-written by other hands to make it fit better within the framework of the Trek universe. This caused controversy to this day and Ellison even had a book published a few years ago with his original script, to show everyone that his initial version was superior. Be that as it may, the resulting episode was still perhaps the most literate, evocative story of its day - and winner of the Hugo Award.
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So what is this greatness here? What is it exactly that inspires me, impresses me and saddens me? The story weaves together a stunning mixture of cosmic dilemma and the very human condition. The dilemma: McCoy enters, unplanned, a gateway known as The Guardian of Forever, a time portal; he changes Earth's history somehow. I still remember the chill I felt when the landing party on this gloomy planet finds out that the Federation has been wiped away. All that, in a few seconds, showing nothing, yet revealing everything - Kirk, Spock and a few others are totally alone in the universe, with no past and no future. Kirk & Spock follow McCoy into Earth's past in an attempt to correct things.
Here is where this becomes more than just another episode. Kirk & Spock are forced to live another existence in New York City during the Depression, out of their time, for about a week. Here is the human condition: during this period, Kirk gradually falls in love. Yes, I said, gradually. The weakness to many episodic series, not all their own fault, is that things happen too fast, out of necessity - time is short in telling the tale. On other Trek episodes, Kirk falls in love in the span of a couple of hours or so. But, I believed it in this episode; I believed Kirk really was there for about a week - and Joan Collins' character is easy to fall in love with.
So now the mixture of the elements reaches a dire conclusion. You might note, watching any of the other episodes, that Kirk is there to solve a problem and he always does - no matter how outlandish the situation, he's always able to grasp it and mold it in his own persuasive manner. Well, not here. Here, he becomes helpless, caught in the undertow of perhaps that most powerful of human emotions. There is no solution for him here. Now, some of the controversy - in Ellison's original view, Kirk veered towards the human choice; cosmic problems are placed aside; someone like Spock would have to solve it for him. In the final teleplay, Kirk forces himself into duty at the last second. It's a stunning, tragic conclusion, quite grim - and stays with you, even if Kirk & crew are back to business in the next episode. But, I always think, that episode is always in the back of Kirk's mind, haunting him.
 
Extra Trek Trivia: the original script by Ellison involved a drug-dealing crewman named Beckwith going back in time instead of Dr. McCoy; Roddenberry misremembered the details and later stated that Ellison's script had Scotty dealing drugs. In either case, drug-dealing was a no-no for Roddenberry's more enlightened future Trek universe. In addition, the script had to be rewritten to conform to the constraints and budget of such a sixties TV show. Still... BoG's Score: 10


Last edited by BoG on Sat May 02, 2015 11:55 pm; edited 4 times in total
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City of the Edge of full episode

Post  BoG on Mon Mar 29, 2010 4:56 pm

CLASSIC TREK QUOTES:
The Guardian: "A question. Since before your sun burned hot in space, and before your race was born, I have awaited
_____________ ... a question
."



Kirk: "Let's get the hell out of here."

And in Death... what Dreams may also Die...
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