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Kirk implores the Companion to permit their departure, but she is adamant; to her, the safety and health of Cochrane is the only important goal. And to ensure that, she intends to keep the shuttlecraft crew here, forever. Cochrane is dismayed to discover the apparent sexual dynamic between himself and the Companion.

He finds it repulsive, disgusting even, and feels used. Kirk, Spock and McCoy do not understand his parochial attitude. For her part, the Commissioner — who is now barely conscious and close to death, but has regained some level of lucidity — is baffled by someone who, offered love, rejects it.

The great regret of her life, as it draws near its end, is that she has never been loved. The Enterprise continues its search. Sulu has discovered an asteroid field containing 7, bodies in sizes ranging from A to M. Thirty percent of them have atmospheres in types ranging from H to M. The search will be a long one, but Scott remains convinced by the lack of evidence that the shuttlecraft landed safely somewhere , and he is prepared to search every asteroid if necessary.

Star Trek TOS music ~ Metamorphosis

Kirk tries new tactics. First, he tries to convince the Companion that without obstacles to overcome, the Humans will weaken and die. When that fails, he tries to convince the Companion that there can never be real love, because it and Cochrane are too different. The Companion considers this, and then disappears. Kirk's hope is that the Companion will release Cochrane and his party — love expressing itself as sacrifice — but this is not her choice. Instead, moments later, an apparently healthy Nancy Hedford appears in the door of Cochrane's small home, her voice now gently echoing.

The Companion has joined with Hedford, sacrificing her powers and immortality to become Human, and experience life with Zefram Cochrane as a Human woman would. Cochrane is reluctant, but becomes enthusiastic, promising to show her the galaxy now that he can. Sadly, she tells him that she cannot leave; her life emanates from this small planetoid. Just as he must eat, so she must remain here or perish in a short march of days. Cochrane cannot bring himself to leave her, and elects to remain behind. He asks Kirk to keep his existence a secret, a request Kirk grants.

Spock observes that Cochrane and Hedford will now live out a normal life span without immortality — a condition that both of them accept as inevitable and uniquely Human. Why not try a carrot instead of a stick? What kind of life is that? Not to be loved, never to have shown love?

And he runs away from love. I love her.

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Is that surprising? You are, after all, essentially irrational. The remastered version of this episode premiered in syndication the weekend of 3 November It featured new shots of the Galileo and the Companion in space, replaced a foreground rock with a shot of the sky in Cochrane's initial appearance, and included the shuttle returning to the Enterprise in the closing shot. Curiously, the remastered version of the planetoid matches the purple sky of the sound stage less than the original.

But that's undercut by the fact that Zefram doesn't back down until the Companion merges with the near-death Hedford. It's only when the alien has a human form—a form that Zefram has admired earlier—that he starts to appreciate all that's been done for him. Basically, it's only when he gets everything he wants that he stops sulking. It's about a tree that loves a boy, and how that tree gives its shade, its fruit, and ultimately its body to keep the boy happy. I knew someone years ago how absolutely despised the book—said it was all about a woman who sacrifices everything she has without getting anything in return—and while I didn't agree with her at the time, there's something about "Metamorphosis" that reminds me of that story.

The lesson here is subtle, and you can argue I'm reading too much in, but notice how the Companion is stereotypically "feminine," nuturing, sacrificing, to the point where she is willing to give up immortality in order to make her man happy.

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And notice how Hedford, snipey twerp that she is, confesses in her final moments as a single entity that she regrets never knowing love. As though the whole peace treaty wasn't nearly as important as hooking up and making babies. Kirk even dismisses the importance of Hedford to the treaty in the episode's last line; you have to wonder what kind of story he's going to tell Starfleet to explain losing one of its officers during critical negotiations.

It's enough to take some of the fun out of a reasonably entertaining storyline.


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As things end, the Companion merges with Hedford's body, Zefram finally sees the error of his ways, and since the new Hedford can't leave the planet without dying, he decides to stay where he is, because hey, he's got something he can actually fuck now. Kirk and the others, having seen the beauty of true whatchamacallit, leave with strict orders to never tell another living soul what happened.

I dunno. That's just how things get done. And as always, we're left with questions. Like, we only have the new Hedford's word that the merging was a peaceful process—which is kind of creepy, isn't it? And how long are the newlyweds going to stay happy once Zefram realizes that the Companion sacrificed her powers to become physical?

Better hope that the planet's 72 degree atmosphere is a naturally occurring phenomenon… "Journey to Babel" moves away from high concept to settle into what was always my least favorite kind of episode growing up: old-fashioned melodrama. There are sci-fi trappings, of course—we're still in a space ship after all—but instead of focusing its attentions on some new world or scary alien, "Babel" gives us feelings and people and relationships and stuff.

This just seemed like a waste of potential to my ten year-old self. In my defense, I was watching a lot of Next Generation at the time. A lot of the "we're transporting aliens to such and such, and it's tense" episodes on that series were really, really dull. It's sappy and at times muddled, but since this is the original series, even the so-called emotionless characters are on edge.

And hey, if the introduction of Zefram Cochrane in "Metamorphosis" thrilled you, we get a far more important player here: Spock's father, Sarek, played by Mark Lenard last seen here as a Romulan Commander in "Balance of Terror" and Spock mom, Amanda, not being played by Winona Ryder.


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The Enterprise has been charged with transporting a gaggle of ambassadors to an important Federation council meeting, and Sarek is one of those ambassadors. Funny how Spock never bothered to mention that to Kirk until just before the opening titles, huh? One of the original Trek's greatest strengths is Leonard Nimoy as Spock; one of its greatest weaknesses is its shaky at best grasp on the concept of logic. Much the way that Jedi Knights turned from bad-asses with laser swords into muddled, contradictory cultists when Lucas tried to explain their culture in the prequels, the more we see of how Vulcan's put their philosophy into practice, the more Spock's rationality seems like some kind of fluke.

That worked to great purpose in "Amok Time," which gave us a society whose rigid self-control rests as much on arcane ritual as it does on stoicism, but here, the basic message is, "Those wacky Vulcans are just like humans at heart, if only they'd realize it! Thankfully, Lenard is as up to the task as Nimoy. Sarek is basically just a cooler variation on the Romulan from "Balance," but the chemistry between him and Spock is sound.

Jane Wyatt, not so much, although it's hard to know how much of that is the writer's fault; Amanda initially seems as smart and strong as her husband, but as the episode progresses, she turns into the same emotionally spastic, intellectually over-matched woman we get all the freakin' time on the series. Only she's slightly maternal as well. A marriage between a human and a Vulcan is, as far as we can tell, an incredibly rare thing.

You'd expect Amanda to be a singular person, and the connection between her and Sarek to be something more complicated than "He's repressed! She's in touch with her heart! Buried in amidst all this incredibly predictable family drama is something sort of resembling a plot. A pig-headed literally—and good lord, the DVD is not kind to the mask here ambassador named Gav is found dead on ship, his neck broken in a manner similar to certain Vulcan practices of old.

Gav and Sarek were seen fighting earlier, so he falls under suspicion. Finally, at Mark 40, the sensors detect a strong antimatter particle concentration.

Lacking evidence that the shuttlecraft has been destroyed, Scott elects to follow this tenuous course. On Gamma Canaris, Spock has completed modifying the universal translator from the Galileo so Kirk can communicate with the Companion. Kirk begins by saying "We wish to talk to you" and the Companion replies with "How can we communicate?

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My thoughts This is interesting" in a feminine voice. From the voice, Kirk surmises that the Companion is female, casting her relationship with Cochrane in an entirely new light. Kirk implores the Companion to permit their departure, but she is adamant; to her, the safety and health of Cochrane is the only important goal. And to ensure that, she intends to keep the shuttlecraft crew here, forever. Cochrane is dismayed to discover the apparent sexual dynamic between himself and the Companion.

He finds it repulsive, disgusting even, and feels used. Kirk, Spock and McCoy do not understand his parochial attitude. For her part, the Commissioner — who is now barely conscious and close to death, but has regained some level of lucidity — is baffled by someone who, offered love, rejects it. The great regret of her life, as it draws near its end, is that she has never been loved. The Enterprise continues its search. Sulu has discovered an asteroid field containing 7, bodies in sizes ranging from A to M. Thirty percent of them have atmospheres in types ranging from H to M.

The search will be a long one, but Scott remains convinced by the lack of evidence that the shuttlecraft landed safely somewhere , and he is prepared to search every asteroid if necessary. Kirk tries new tactics. First, he tries to convince the Companion that without obstacles to overcome, the Humans will weaken and die.

When that fails, he tries to convince the Companion that there can never be real love, because it and Cochrane are too different. The Companion considers this, and then disappears. Kirk's hope is that the Companion will release Cochrane and his party — love expressing itself as sacrifice — but this is not her choice. Instead, moments later, an apparently healthy Nancy Hedford appears in the door of Cochrane's small home, her voice now gently echoing.

The Companion has joined with Hedford, sacrificing her powers and immortality to become Human, and experience life with Zefram Cochrane as a Human woman would. Cochrane is reluctant, but becomes enthusiastic, promising to show her the galaxy now that he can. Sadly, she tells him that she cannot leave; her life emanates from this small planetoid.

Just as he must eat, so she must remain here or perish in a short march of days. Cochrane cannot bring himself to leave her, and elects to remain behind. He asks Kirk to keep his existence a secret, a request Kirk grants. Spock observes that Cochrane and Hedford will now live out a normal life span without immortality — a condition that both of them accept as inevitable and uniquely Human.

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Why not try a carrot instead of a stick? What kind of life is that? Not to be loved, never to have shown love?