Star Trek: The Empath   Rewatch 
November 7, 2015 11:59 AM - Season 3, Episode 12 - Subscribe

The Enterprise is ordered to evacuate a research station on the planet Minara II whose sun, Minara, is about to go supernova. The Kirk, Spock, and Dr. McCoy find themselves transported to an alien research facility where they are subjected to brutal experiments.

"The Empath" is episode #67, production #63, written by Joyce Muskat and directed by John Erman. It was not without controversy and, for many years, was one of a handful of episodes of the series not screened in the United Kingdom by the BBC owing to its perceived disturbing content. It was not broadcast by the BBC until a repeat run in January 1994.

Memory Alpha Link

Tor.com Review

The episode can be viewed on Netflix and Amazon Prime.
posted by Benway (6 comments total)
 
This is another third season episode that I find very unpleasant to watch. I have heard that another actress was originally intended for the part, but something fell through.
posted by wittgenstein at 1:16 PM on November 7, 2015


One of the most disturbing things in TOS, when I was a kid (and a lot of things in TOS kind of disturbed me when I was a kid), was the image of McCoy hanging from the torture rack, staring directly into the camera as if the torture had made him lose his mind. In some ways, McCoy was the Miles O'Brien of TOS--there was this, thinking he was going to die in "For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky", actually dying in "Shore Leave" (or coming close to it, anyway), and even his married ex turning out to be a salt vampire in "The Man Trap". And after all that, what scared him? The transporter.
posted by Halloween Jack at 3:47 PM on November 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think this one was kept out of the local syndication package when I was a kid, because it showed up in reruns when I was 20 or so and I was like, "What the hell IS this?" It's a really effective episode, very stark and with stakes as high as they get. The guys are actually fighting over who gets to be the one to die for the sake of the others, and it gets pretty hardcore. We see just how noble these guys are and how much they care about each other, and it all fits perfectly with everything we know about them. As in Specter of the Gun, I'd argue the reduced budget results in an episode where the minimalism is really eerie. Instead of some big 1969 sci-fi set it's just this big black void that goes on forever. And the makeup on those aliens is pretty amazing for the era. They'd look right at home on TNG, actually.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 8:54 PM on November 7, 2015


I never thought of this as a particularly good episode, but it makes me wonder where the series might have gone in Season 4 or 5 or 7(can you even imagine!) as the 60s turned into the 70s and as the characters deepened even further.
posted by briank at 6:53 AM on November 8, 2015


This was the first episode I ever saw, as a kid. It was kind of a confusing introduction, I have to say.
posted by Naberius at 10:22 PM on November 8, 2015


"where the show would go in Season 7 in the 70s"

That's easy. Star Trek:That 70s Show
posted by wittgenstein at 2:57 AM on November 9, 2015


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