Saturday, February 16, 2019

The Empath

TOS Season 3 Episode 12
Air Date: December 6th, 1968


The Enterprise is tasked to check up on a research outpost. The Outpost is on a planet who's sun is close to going supernova. The two researchers have not reported in over 3 months. When Kirk, Spock and McCoy beam down they find nobody in the research facility and everything is coated in a layer of dust. While they are investigating Scotty messages down saying that the sun just let out a solar flare. Kirk told Scotty to take the Enterprise to a safe distance and they would be ok because of the planets atmosphere.

They run the last log entry and see that the two researchers just disappeared into thin air. Shortly after, the same thing happens to them. They wake up under ground, no walls of doors anywhere, just dark as far as they can see. Spock detects a life form which they discover as a women asleep on a bed. When she awakens they have a hard time communicating with her, which McCoy attributes to her being mute and has no vocal cords. He concludes that it is something specific to her species and she is probably an empath.

Two aliens then appear and start talking as if the away team is a science experiment. They even let them escape at one point to see how it plays out. Kirk does get a minor injury at one point, a scratch on the forehead. This is used to learn that this women that they call Gem, named by McCoy, is an empath and her powers include the ability to take on other people's injuries. She takes Kirk's scratch, healing Kirk but leaving on on her forehead. It heals itself very quickly though.

We learn that the other two researchers had died due to the aliens experiments and at one point they give Kirk a choice. Either they experiment on McCoy which has an 87% chance of death, or they experiment on Spock where he would survive but suffer a 93% chance of permanent insanity. Spock claims he is the logical choice even if the odds are worse, but McCoy uses a tranquilizer on him since he figured Spock would be needed to get out.

They torture McCoy to the point where he is on the brink of death. Gem is given the opportunity to save McCoy but is afraid of taking on all of his wounds as it would surely kill her too. It is now that we learn the reason for this experimentation is these aliens are trying to determine if Gem's people are worth saving from the supernova. If she sacrificed herself to save McCoy then she would be worthy. Kirk pleads to the aliens saying that she tried and showed courage and empathy and that they should finish healing McCoy. The aliens have a moment of compassion and agree saving McCoy and eventually Gem's people.


The episode introduces us to empaths in Star Trek lore. In TNG, Dianna Troi is half Betazoid who is an empath. While most Betazoids are full telepaths and if they wanted could even push thoughts onto people which was against the rules, empaths were consider only able to sense emotions instead of thoughts.


"Men weren't intended to live this far underground. It's just not natural." - McCoy
"And space travel is?" - Kirk
"Some men spend the majority of their lives in mines beneath the surface." - Spock
"I'm a doctor, not a coal miner." - McCoy

"Well, I don't know about you, but I'm going to call her Gem." - McCoy
"Gem, Doctor?" - Spock
"Well, that's better than Hey You." - McCoy

"If my death is to have any meaning, at least tell me what I'm dying for." - Kirk
"If you live, you will have your answer." - Thann

"The best defense is a strong offense, and I intend to start offending right now." - Kirk

"Well, personally, I find it fascinating that with all their scientific knowledge and advances, that it was good old-fashioned human emotion that they valued the most." - McCoy
"Perhaps the Vulcans should hear about this." - Scotty
"Mr. Spock, can you be prevailed upon to bring them the news?" - Kirk
"Possibly, Captain. I shall certainly give the thought all the consideration it is due." - Spock

No comments:

Post a Comment