Star Trek: The Original Series – The City on the Edge of Forever
Time travel…it wouldn’t be a science fiction show or movie if there wasn’t time travel involved. Whether it’s a slingshot around the sun or a large malformed donut sticking out of the ground, Star Trek surely covers it.
I wonder if it gets cable?
“City on the Edge of Forever” was one such Star Trek episode that featured time travel. Some critics considered it the best episode of the entire series and for once the critics may be right. It won the Hugo award in 1968 for Best Dramatic Presentation.
We start off with the Enterprise approaching a planet emitting high temporal disturbances. For you non-technobabble people, let’s call it turbulence. Panels and consoles all over the bridge start beeping, buttons and klaxons flash, and Kirk passes his phone number to a low ranking redheaded yeoman…all in all, a normal day.
This happens often.
Sulu, the helmsman, goes down after the fireworks they keep inside of his console for special effects go off. Shortly after, McCoy comes to save the day with cordrazine, a highly potent stimulant. He revives Sulu but in an unfortunate twist, the turbulence hits the Enterprise again and causes the doctor to fall on the hypospray and accidentally inject himself with a lethal dose of the dangeous drug. He becomes violent and paranoid, eventually escaping security long enough to beam down to the planet below.
Kirk and company beam down after him and in the midst of searching for McCoy find a device that allows the user to go back in time. While the “Gateway” is active, McCoy comes out of hiding and jumps through the portal, traveling backwards in time. The Enterprise is no longer in orbit and history has been changed. Their close proximity to the Gateway’s temporal disturbances kept the away team from being swept under by the same changes in time. Now Kirk and Spock have to go back to the 1930s during the Great Depression to find McCoy and stop him from changing history.
Due to how out-of-place both time travelers are, they quickly run into trouble with the authorities. Their chase ends after they hide in the basement of the 21st Street Mission (similar to a soup kitchen) and are confronted by Edith Keeler (Joan Collins) who takes them in. Kirk in typical Romeo fashion ends up falling in love with her. Spock, putting MacGyver to shame by building a computer out of “stone knives and bear skins”, discovers that Edith is the focal point of the change in time.
Is it supposed to be smoking like that?
I won’t spoil it further, you’ll just have to watch it.
I particularly enjoyed this episode as it was simple, dramatic, and kept the viewer engaged in many different ways. It was simple in the way that you didn’t have to be knee-deep in science fiction to understand what was going on in the episode even if it did involve time travel. It also wouldn’t be a Star Trek episode if there weren’t morals in there somewhere.
Give this particular episode a whirl, you won’t be disappointed.