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The Ultimate Computer


Series : The Original Series Rating : 4
Disc No : 2.7 Episode : 54
First Aired : 8 Mar 1968 Stardate : 4729.4
Director : John Meredyth Lucas Year : 2268
Writers : Laurence N. Wolfe Season : 2
Guest Cast :
Barry Russo as Commodore Robert Wesley
Eddie Paskey as Lieutenant Leslie
James Doohan as M-5 computer voice
Sean Morgan as Ensign Harper
William Marshall as Doctor Richard Daystrom
Moral :
Computers : No computer, no matter how advanced, must be allowed to run a starship
YATI : The Woden freighter seen in this episode is a re-use of Khan's DY-100 ship. That was supposed to have been built in the mid 1990s, are these ships still in service 270 years later? This nit is fixed in the remastered episode, which replaces the ship with a copy of the Antares seen in "Charlie X".

Daystrom asks the M-5 what the penalty for murder is, and it replies that the penalty is death. Is that so? We've been told before that Starfleet only uses the death penalty for violation of the quarantine zone around the Talos system. It doesn't punish murder with death. In fairness, Daystrom might believe that murder deserves the death penalty, and the M-5's mind would thus have that same belief.
Great Moment : Kirk's sense of loss and confusion leads to some nice scenes with McCoy in this episode.
Body Count : 53 on the USS Lexington, and the entire crew of the USS Excalibur.
Factoid : James Doohan, Scotty, provides the voice for the M5 computer as well as the unseen Commodore Enwright.

TNG's Daystrom Institute, which this website pretends to be a part of, is named after Dr. Richard Daystrom.

The M-5 is the fourth computer Kirk has talked to death. The others are Nomad from "The Changeling", Landru from "The Return of the Archons", and the Mudd Androids from "I, Mudd".

The "Alpha Carinae" system which the Enterprise visits in this episode is a real star system, also known as Canopus. Located in the southern constellation of Carina, Canopus is much brighter, larger and hotter than our own sun. In fact it is the brightest star within 700 light years of Earth - though Sirius appears brighter, since it is closer to us than Canopus. Canopus is an F-type star, white to the naked eye, 310 light years away from Earth. It is very much younger than our sun, and will have a far shorter life. The planet Dune in the famous series of Frank Herbert novels is the third planet in the Canopus system.

Barry Russo, who played Commodore Wesley in this episode, also played Commander Giotto in "The Devil in the Dark".

Quote : "There are certain things men must do to remain men." - Kirk to Daystrom

"Did you see the love light in Spock's eyes? The right computer finally came along!" - McCoy to Kirk

"Computers make excellent and efficient servants, but I have no wish to serve under them." - Spock to Kirk

Wesley : "Our compliments to the M-5 unit, and regards to Captain Dunsel. Wesley out."
McCoy : "Dunsel? Who the blazes is Captain Dunsel? What does it mean, Jim? Spock? What does it mean?"
Spock : "Dunsel, Doctor, is a term used by Midshipmen at Starfleet Academy. It refers to a part which serves no useful purpose."

"All I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by. You could feel the wind at your back in those days. The sounds of the sea beneath you. And even if you take away the wind and the water, it's still the same. The ship is yours. You can feel her. And the stars are still there, Bones." - Kirk to McCoy; on being a Captain

Spock : "Most illogical. Of all people, he should have known how the computer would perform. Of course, the M-5 itself has not behaved logically."
McCoy : "Please, Spock, do me a favour and don't say it's fascinating."
Spock : "No. But it is... interesting."

"I've developed a method of impressing human engrams upon the computer circuits. The relays are not unlike the synapse of the brain. M-5 thinks, Captain." - Daystrom to Kirk

"All ships damaged in unprovoked attack. Excalibur Captain Harris and First Officer dead. Many casualties. We have damage, but are still able to manoeuvre. The Enterprise refuses to answer, and is continuing attack. I still have an effective battle force and believe the only way to stop the Enterprise is to destroy her. Request permission to proceed." - Wesley; messaging Starfleet

"You are my greatest creation, the unit to save men. You must not destroy men." - Daystrom to M-5

"To kill is a breaking of civil and moral laws we've lived by for thousands of years. You've murdered hundreds of people. We've murdered. How can we repay that?" - Daystrom to M-5

"I am most impressed with the technology, Captain. Doctor Daystrom has created a mirror image of his own mind." - Spock to Kirk

"Destroyed, Kirk? No! We're invincible! Look what we've done! Your mighty starships, four toys, to be crushed as we choose!" - Daystrom to Kirk; cracking up under the strain

"Compassion. That's the one thing no machine ever had. Maybe it's the one thing that keeps men ahead of them." - McCoy to Kirk

"It would be most interesting to impress your memory engrams on a computer, doctor. The resulting torrential flood of illogic would be most entertaining." - Spock to McCoy


Kirk must allow the famed Dr Daystrom to install a computer on the Enterprise which can do the jobs of almost the entire crew - including the Captain.

Copyright Graham Kennedy Page views : 2,889 Last updated : 24 Nov 2014