Star Trek: The Animated Series: The Survivor   Rewatch 
May 19, 2020 9:58 PM - Season 1, Episode 6 - Subscribe

The Enterprise encounters the ship of a noted Federation philanthropist, missing for nearly five years, near the Romulan Neutral Zone.

Memory Alpha has a few things to say.

Background Information
Story and production
  • This is the only episode in which Dr. McCoy's daughter, Joanna, is mentioned. She was in the writer's guide in TOS, but was ultimately never featured in or even referred to in that series. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 16, p. 68; et al.) The character was featured, however, in D.C. Fontana's original draft of "The Way to Eden", which was originally titled "Joanna" and had McCoy's daughter as one of the "space hippies," before that female character instead became Irina Galliulin. Fontana's frustration with Joanna McCoy being completely excluded from "The Way To Eden" led to her replacing her name with the by-line "Michael Richards" on its script.
Continuity
  • Although Uhura appears in the background throughout this entire episode, when Kirk requests a Yellow Alert, he addresses M'Ress.
  • This episode featured the first appearances of M'Ress, Gabler and the Romulans in the series. The Romulans, however, are shown as being likely to take captives, and they do not employ their cloaking technology in this installment. Also, they are shown to still be using a type of battle cruiser which was introduced as a Klingon ship in TOS: "Elaan of Troyius" but was later established as a Romulan vessel in TOS: "The Enterprise Incident".
  • After TOS: "The Man Trap", this is the second time that Dr. McCoy has been incapacitated and impersonated by a shapeshifter. It is also the third time that a crewmember of the Enterprise learned that someone who claimed to be their past lover was in fact, not. (The Man Trap [McCoy] and TOS: "What Are Little Girls Made Of?" (Christine Chapel) are the other two.)
Poster’s Log:

There are a surprising number of shapeshifting species in the Star Trek universe.

In my memory, this was just a rehash of “What Are Little Girls Made Of?”, but it’s deeper than that, in a good way. Anne Nored is as strong a female character as we’ve seen, and her decisions make sense in a not-damsel-in-distress way.

Our second non-humanoid crew member (M’Ress, a Caitian) made her debut in this episode. We’ll see, later in the series, that the Federation is aware of at least one other feline species.

Carter Winston was voiced, with no credit, by Ted Knight. At the time, he was probably best known for his role on The Mary Tyler Moore show, but he’d also been doing voice work for a while, most notably on the various DC Comics / Super Friends TV shows (“Meanwhile, at the Hall of Justice...”). On rewatching, if you had told me that was Shatner doing a Ted Knight impression, I would have believed you.

Reusing the transporter sound for the Vendorian’s transformation was in character for Filmation but jarringly incongruous in context.
posted by hanov3r (9 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Carter Winston is a major consideration for anyone foolhardy enough to attempt to sort out the way economics in Star Trek works (particularly in this era, where it's less clear than in the 24th century). I remember reading recaps of this episode and worrying that the existence of a "Federation philanthropist" was another example of a TAS writer shoving something into the Trekiverse that didn't belong there. Having finally seen this episode now, and having looked into all this a lot more lately, perhaps not.

IIRC, the TOS era* referenced wealth as a good thing (blanking on specifics, other than Kirk's swank-ass pad in TWOK) just enough that, combined with Winston's whole deal, I'd guess that the TNG-style "Wealth actually doesn't matter" philosophy (cf. Picard to Offenhouse in the TNG season 1 finale, "The Neutral Zone") isn't fully formed yet, though they must be on their way, given that by the time of "The Survivor" they very likely don't use money (cf. Kirk in TVH). Which in turn suggests that the timeframe of TAS/TMP-TUC is significantly less far along on the way to true "post-scarcity" as the TNG-VOY era is (and that's supported by some noncanon details on when replicator technology matured to the TNG level: around the 2340s IIRC, which is the time period I'm concerning myself with lately for RPG purposes).

So if they don't use money as of 2269 (the year this episode takes place), yet they still have a cultural concept of (using the word as broadly as possible) capitalism, it may not be too great a logical leap to suggest that many/most Federation citizens, or at least Earth citizens, have something akin to a UBI by 2269. If we accept all that extrapolation, Winston may be perceived by his contemporaries as something of a charming throwback—which might help explain his sartorial choices.

(* = I wish I could remember any substantive references to wealth and economics in ENT or DISCO. There may well have been basically none.)

Fontana's frustration with Joanna McCoy being completely excluded from "The Way To Eden" led to her replacing her name with the by-line "Michael Richards" on its script.

!!!

On rewatching, if you had told me that was Shatner doing a Ted Knight impression, I would have believed you.

oh my god yes. I was about 90% convinced that that was Shatner until right now. #LOOOOOU
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 5:48 AM on May 20 [1 favorite]


While I would have loved to see Joanna McCoy on TOS (any chance for Bones' backstory is great), I believe part of the initial proposal was to have her in an episode-long relationship with Kirk despite Bones' disapproval, and I cannot stress how much I am glad that we didn't have to see that. Considering "The Way to Eden" isn't one of TOS' high points to begin with, that would have put it into "flip the table" territory.

It is also the third time that a crewmember of the Enterprise learned that someone who claimed to be their past lover was in fact, not. (The Man Trap [McCoy] and TOS: "What Are Little Girls Made Of?" (Christine Chapel) are the other two.) Does Ruth, Kirk's ex, from "Shore Leave" count? Or does it not count because he probably doesn't really believe it's her, but goes along with it anyway?

I feel as though, freed from the restraints of live-action, the TAS writers really leaned hard into the "crew dragged around by tentacles" thing. It seems to happen often.

This episode does have one of my favourite lines:

McCOY: You say I'm a man of curious habits? Jim's talking to a table.
posted by ilana at 9:40 AM on May 20


I don’t remember the episode (possibly one where he’s talking to someone in/from the 20th century), but I’d swear that Kirk told someone that poverty was gone by the 23rd century, not an unrealistic assumption for an optimist like Roddenberry from a country that had declared war on poverty a few years earlier. Money may not have been necessary, but it was definitely still around, as witness the careers of Harry Mudd, Cyrano Jones et al. testify. Maybe a “freemium” arrangement where basic needs were met but fancy stuff was extra? Are loot boxes canon? Hmm.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:26 AM on May 20 [1 favorite]


Also, they are shown to still be using a type of battle cruiser which was introduced as a Klingon ship in TOS: "Elaan of Troyius" but was later established as a Romulan vessel in TOS: "The Enterprise Incident".

"Elaan of Troyius" premiered 3 months after "The Enterprise Incident", because the timeliness of that story in relation to the Pueblo incident was too much to pass up. So, the first time we actually saw a D-7 cruiser was in the hands of the Romulans, while acknowledging that the Romulans were buying ships from the Klingons (an analogy, I suppose, to the Chinese flying license-built MiG-17s and MiG-19s).
posted by hanov3r at 10:27 AM on May 20 [1 favorite]


There are a surprising number of shapeshifting species in the Star Trek universe.

I would imagine that increases the possibilities for writers is the hawter kinds of fanfic.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:34 AM on May 21


About the episode itself: not a bad episode, with the twist that "Winston" finally gets around to admitting that there was a lot to emulate regarding the man whose identity he stole. (I also wonder if, or how many of, the shapeshifters in Trek--most of whom are single-serving aliens--might have actually been some of the hundred infant Founders seeded in the galaxy by the Great Link.) And, IMO, both in his name and general appearance, Carter Winston was a very seventies character.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:42 PM on May 21 [2 favorites]


I totally thought that Winston was voiced by the Shat.

On another note, isn’t Lt. Nored voiced by Nichelle Nichols?

Given that shapeshifting false lovers and changelings are a recurrent Trek theme in the Roddenberry era, and that here, Nichols’ Nored is warned away from the false Winston, mightn’t we acceptably wonder about how Gene’s expansive and challenging sexuality could be reflected in the series’ scripts? Hm.
posted by mwhybark at 2:35 PM on May 23


I feel as though, freed from the restraints of live-action, the TAS writers really leaned hard into the "crew dragged around by tentacles" thing. It seems to happen often.

Same as in Anime, tentacles are relatively easy to animate.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 7:20 AM on May 24


Weirdly, this is an issue in the great off-label not-Trek of the Seventies, Space: 1999. Moreso in the somewhat lackluster season two than season one, but still.
posted by mwhybark at 6:51 PM on May 24


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