Search
Mobile Site Caption Comp Monthly Poll Sudden Death Book Reviews Game Reviews Colour Key Statistics Cookie Usage
Federation Ships Other Ships A-K Fleets Weaponry Species Standard People Timelines Calculators Photo Galleries Temporal
Space Stations Other Ships L-Z Design Lineage Size Charts Battles Alternate People Science / Tech Styling Maps / Politics Temporal Ships
Articles Reviews Lists Recreation Search Site Guide What's New eMail Author Links / Awards Shops Forum
Standard
People
Jonathan
Archer
Reginald
Barclay
Julian
Bashir

Chakotay
Christine
Chapel
Pavel A.
Chekov
Zefram
Cochrane
Beverly
Crusher
Wesley
Crusher

Damar

Daniels

Data

Dax
Richard
Daystrom

Degra
Gul
Dukat
Michael
Eddington
Emergency
Medical Hologram
Admiral
Forrest
Elim
Garak

Gowron

Guinan
Kathryn
Janeway
Kahless the
Unforgettable

Kes
Harry
Kim
Kira
Nerys
James
T. Kirk
Geordi
LaForge

Leeta

Lore
General
Martok
Travis
Mayweather
Leonard
H. McCoy

Morn
Admiral Alynna
Nechayev

Neelix

Nog
Keiko
O'Brien
Miles Edward
O'Brien

Odo
Tomas
Eugene Paris

Phlox
Jean-Luc
Picard
Dr. Katherine
Pulaski

Q

Quark
Janice
Rand
Malcolm
Reed
William
T. Riker
Ro
Laren

Rom
Alexander
Rozhenko
Worf
Rozhenko

Sarek
Hoshi
Sato
Montgomery
Scott

Seska
Seven
of Nine

Shran

Silik
Benjamin
Lafayette Sisko
Jake
Sisko
Dr. Noonien
Soong
Ambassador
Soval

Spock
Hikaru
Sulu

Surak
B'Elanna
Torres

T'Pau

T'Pol
Deanna
Troi
Lwaxana
Troi
Charles
Tucker III

Tuvok
Nyota
Uhura

Weyoun
Winn
Adami
Natasha
Yar
Additional
People
Crew
Manifests
The Original
Series
The Next
Generation
Deep
Space Nine

Voyager

Enterprise
PreviousNextTimeline
ReviewImagesDatapoints

The Empath

Series : The Original Series Rating : 2
Disc No : 3.3 Episode : 64
First Aired : 6 Dec 1968 Stardate : 5121
Director : John Erman Year : 2268
Writers : Joyce Muskat Season : 3
Guest Cast :
Alan Bergmann as Lal
Davis Roberts as Dr. Ozaba
Jason Wingreen as Dr. Linke
Kathryn Hays as Gem
Willard Sage as Thann
Stunts :
Jay Jones as Kirk's stunt doublePaul Baxley as McCoy's stunt double
Moral :
Self Sacrifice : Self sacrifice can save an entire species
Guest Reviews :
Rating : No reviews availableView existing reviewsAdd your own review
YATI : When the Vians torture Kirk they remove his uniform top, only to put it back on him when they send him back. Obviously they didn't want to get it all bloody or anything. Considerate torturers, these Vians.
Body Count : One, the empath herself.
Factoid : The name Lal is Hindi for "Beloved", and will be used again in TNG as the name of Data's daughter.

This episode was written by fan Joyce Muskat, and was one of only three such scripts which made it to production for TOS.

This was DeForest Kelley's favorite TOS episode.

Quote : "I'm a doctor, not a coal miner!" - McCoy to Spock

"Your actions were spontaneous. Everything that is truest and best in all species of beings has been revealed by you. Those are the qualities that make a civilization worthy to survive." - Lal


Plotline

The Enterprise arrives at the star Minaria, due to go nova in a short time, to evacuate a Federation research outpost which has been monitoring the system. On arrival Kirk, Spock and McCoy beam down to find the facility deserted. They choose to remain on the planet when a giant solar flare forces the Enterprise to leave the system for several days, confident that the atmosphere will protect them from any radiation. No sooner has the ship left than the landing party is beamed to a chamber deep underground where they encounter Gem, a mysterious alien woman with empathic powers but no language capability. A pair of aliens called Vians appear and explain that they are testing Gem to see if her species is worth of salvaging from the effects of the nova. Gem is capable of using her mental abilities to absorb the pain and injuries of others into herself; the Vians intend to torture the Enterprise officers in order to find out whether Gem will cure them despite the suffering it will cause her. If she is ultimately willing to sacrifice herself for others, the Vians will take this as a sign that her life is worth saving.

The Vians put the Enterprise officers through a series of ordeals, with the three practically fighting amongst themselves to be the one who will be tortured in place of their friends. Ultimately Gem does indeed take all of their suffering upon herself, ending her own life. Declaring themselves satisfied, the Vians return the Enterprise officers to their ship and the Enterprise continues on its way.

Analysis

A good episode in theory, this one is essentially a lesson on the importance of self sacrifice. However, though I buy into the message and I think the setup is quite an interesting one, there's just something about this that doesn't gel for me. I can't quite put my finger on it... the acting is good, and this is one episode where we get to see just how much the "big three" TOS characters really do care about one another. Gem is an interesting character who is very well played, the Vians are one of the better done alien species we've seen in TOS... but somehow the whole is less than the sum of the parts.


Copyright Graham Kennedy Page views : 1,668 Last updated : 23 Apr 2010