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Requiem for Methuselah (episode)

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"Requiem for Methuselah"
TOS, Episode 3x21
Production number: 60043-76
First aired: 14 February 1969
Remastered version aired: 21 June 2008
77th of 80 produced in TOS
74th of 80 released in TOS
74th of 80 released in TOS Remastered
74th of 728 released in all
Rayna Kapec
Written By
Jerome Bixby

Directed By
Murray Golden
5843.7 (2269)
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While the Enterprise searches for the rare cure to a deadly disease, the landing party is confronted by a reclusive man who is willing to kill to preserve his privacy.

Summary

Teaser

Its crew suffering from the deadly Rigelian fever, the USS Enterprise pays an emergency call on a supposedly barren planet, Holberg 917G, to gather ryetalyn, a rare element that is the key ingredient of the antidote. Beaming down to the planet, Kirk, McCoy, and Spock are attacked by a hovering robot. An old man, Flint, arrives to halt the robot's attack, but insists that the landing party leave at once.

Act One

Holberg 917G fortress, remastered

Flint's impressive home

Kirk asks Flint to reconsider but Flint still refuses. As a result, Kirk orders the Enterprise to lock phasers onto their coordinates. When the situation seems completely hopeless, Flint gives Kirk two hours to obtain the ryetalyn. Flint orders M-4, the robot, to gather the ryetalyn. In the meantime, Flint invites the landing party to his impressive home.

At Flint's home, the landing party find what appears to be authentic but undiscovered specimens of Earth art, such as a score by Brahms and paintings by Leonardo da Vinci. They also come across a Gutenberg Bible and several works of Reginald Pollack. When M-4 returns with the ryetalyn, Kirk prepares to beam back up to the ship but ultimately accepts Flint's offer to process the rare element. It was at this time that Flint introduces his beautiful, highly intelligent, but ultimately enigmatic ward named Rayna.

Act Two

Flint seems to encourage encounters between Kirk and Rayna but exhibits sufficient jealousy to lead him to nearly kill Kirk.

As Kirk (who is falling in love with Rayna) and Spock ponder the paradox, McCoy comes back with the report that the ryetalyn contains irillium in quantities sufficient to render the antidote useless.

Act Three

As more ryetalyn is gathered, Kirk and Spock realize Flint wishes them to linger for reasons unknown, to the point of hiding the processed ryetalyn. In their search for the antidote, they enter a room containing earlier versions of Rayna; she is an android.

Act Four

Flint then arrives and reveals his other secret; he is an ancient immortal, born more than three millennia before Christ. Over the course of his long lifetime, Flint has taken on many names, such as Brahms and da Vinci. Eventually, he acquired enough wealth to purchase Holberg 917G and work on a perfect, ultimate – and equally immortal – woman. Kirk had provided the final step in her creation, stirring her emotions to life. Now, Flint prepares to put Kirk and the Enterprise in suspension for a thousand years or more, as Rayna's emotions turn to him. Despite Flint's intent to keep her creation a secret, Rayna enters the room and learns the truth, forcing Flint to release the ship.

Flint and Kirk fight over Rayna, stopped only by the emergence of Rayna's emotions. However, her new feelings and suddenly having to choose between Flint and Kirk overwhelm her, and she shuts down. Back aboard ship, the plague is stopped and Kirk finally falls asleep after ruefully reflecting on what had happened. McCoy enters and informs Spock that the full tricorder readings on Flint indicate he is aging and will eventually die. By leaving Earth, he had sacrificed his immortality. After commenting about love and Spock's eschewing of that emotion, the doctor looks at Kirk and wishes he could forget Rayna. As McCoy leaves, Spock moves over to his sleeping captain, places one hand on Kirk's temple, and whispers, "Forget".

Log entries

  • "Captain's log, stardate 5843.7. The Enterprise is in the grip of a raging epidemic. Three crewmen have died and twenty-three others have been struck down by Rigelian fever. In order to combat the illness, Dr. McCoy needs large quantities of ryetalyn, which is the only known antidote for the fever. Our sensors have picked up sufficient quantities of pure ryetalyn on a small planet in the Omega system. We are beaming down to secure this urgently needed material."
  • "Captain's log, stardate 5843.75. Have I committed a grave error in accepting Flint's word that he would deliver the antidote to us? The precious time I have let pass may result in disaster for the Enterprise and her crew."
  • "Captain's log, stardate 5843.8. We have accomplished our mission and have the ryetalyn ready to combat the epidemic aboard the Enterprise. But we have also discovered our benefactor's secret. He has created the perfect woman. Her only flaw... she's not Human."

Memorable Quotes

"Are you a student of history, sir?"
"I am."

- Spock and Flint, as Flint recalls the bubonic plague


"What is loneliness?"
"It is thirst. It is a flower dying in the desert."

- Rayna and Flint


"Do you think the two of us can handle a drunk Vulcan?"

- McCoy to Kirk, after pouring some Saurian brandy


"Flint is my teacher. You are the only other men I've ever seen."
"The misfortune of men everywhere. And our privilege."

- Rayna and McCoy, after they meet


"To be human is to be complex. You can't avoid a little ugliness from within and from without."

- Kirk, to Flint


"I have married a hundred times, captain. Selected, loved, cherished. Caressed a smoothness, inhaled a brief fragrance. Then age, death, the taste of dust."

- Flint, on why he created Rayna


"I know death better than any man. I have tossed enemies into his grasp. And I know mercy. Your crew is not dead, but suspended."

- Flint, to Kirk


"Stay out of this! We're fighting over a woman!"
"No, you're not. For she is not."

- Kirk and Spock, during Kirk's fight with Flint


"She's Human. Down to the last blood cell, she's Human. Down to the last thought, hope, aspiration, emotion, she's Human. The Human spirit is free."

- Kirk, after Rayna stops the fight


"I was not Human. Now I love. I love."

- Rayna's last words


"The joys of love made her Human. And the agonies of love destroyed her."

- Spock, on Rayna's death


"A very old and lonely man. And a young and lonely man. We put on a pretty poor show, didn't we?"

- Kirk to Spock, lamenting Rayna's death


"You see, I feel sorrier for you than I do for him because you'll never know the things that love can drive a man to. The ecstasies, the miseries, the broken rules, the desperate chances, the glorious failures, the glorious victories. All of these things you'll never know simply because the word love isn't written into your book."

- McCoy, to Spock


"Forget."

- Spock, using a mind meld to ease Kirk's pain

Background information

Production timeline

Story

  • This episode's title is a dual allusion: first to a ritualistic liturgy of Roman Catholicism (and other related religions), the "Requiem" being a Mass for the dead, and second to Methuselah, son of the Biblical prophet Enoch and paternal grandfather to Noah, who was the longest-lived Human being in the Bible (in Genesis 5:21-27) having lived 969 years; nearly existing for a millennium, Methuselah's lifespan has historically become a proverbial reference for longevity.
  • In a story outline (dated 2 October 1968) the 8,000-year-old Flint was also Johannes Brahms. Spock enabled Kirk to forget Rayna by using mental suggestion from a distance, while Kirk was in his cabin and Spock was on the bridge. In the final scene in the episode, Spock causes Kirk to forget but not from a distance, but by touching his head and telling him to forget.
  • An element from Bixby's story – that of an immortal man who became several of Earth's historical figures – was mirrored in his final screenplay, which became the film The Man from Earth. [1]
  • Flint's statement that he was, among other past historical figures, Lazarus, is evidently an attempt to offer an alternate explanation for what the New Testament records as the resurrection of Lazarus from the dead by Jesus of Nazareth (John 11). Jesus is actually recorded as having performed three resurrections in the New Testament (as well as claim the power for his own future resurrection), but Lazarus is the most famous because it is the longest account and the other two are performed on individuals who are not given specific names.
  • Kirk's second log entry has a stardate with two decimal numbers. This is the only episode in The Original Series that used this stardate format.

Production

  • The Brahms paraphrase that Spock plays was written especially for this episode by Ivan Ditmars.
  • The TOS Season 3 DVD release incorrectly spells Rayna's name "Reena" in the end credits. Her name is shown in the episode very clearly as "Rayna" during the reveal of the multiple versions of the android. The correct spelling could be seen in the end credits on the earlier LaserDisc and VHS releases, and was later restored for the TOS-R Season 3 DVD collection.
  • In the third season blooper reel, there is a shot of the M-4 on its dolly mount, being wheeled toward William Shatner by its operator. There is also a clip of Leonard Nimoy rocking his head sarcastically while "fill-in" elevator music plays during the scene where Spock plays Brahm's waltz for Kirk and Rayna. Ivan Ditmars' performance was dubbed in later.
  • This episode apparently had a scene deleted which contained an appearance by John Buonomo as an orderly.
  • According to clapperboards, the director of photography for at least part of this episode was cameraman John Finger, who was the usual director of photography on fellow Desilu show Gomer Pyle, USMC, and went uncredited for his work here. It is unknown whether Al Francis (whose name appears in the end credits) shot any of the episode, and why Finger had to step in for part of the shoot. [2]

Cast

  • When cast for this episode, Louise Sorel, a theater actress, did not take Star Trek all that seriously. "They put me in this funny costume – I stood still and they just wrapped fabric around me – and I had an Annette Funicello bouffant and Dusty Springfield eye make-up. James Daly and I thought of ourselves as these two very serious theater actors and we kept looking at each other, 'Why on Earth are we doing this?' Eventually, we just started saying, 'Christmas money, Christmas money, Christmas money.'" Overall, however, Sorel remembered the episode as "really very sweet. I loved working with Shatner. We had played lovers once before. In the story, Flint forgot to give Rayna the tools to survive emotionally, and – when he and Kirk started fighting over her – she couldn't bear the pain. It was really very touching." (Star Trek 30 Years, pg. 77)

Sets and props

Miniature Enterprise, Requiem for Methuselah

The Enterprise three-foot model

  • This episode includes the newest footage of the Enterprise seen since "Mirror, Mirror", utilizing the three-foot model built to demonstrate the Enterprise shape in 1964.
  • Captain Kirk peers into the bridge of the Enterprise through the viewscreen, much like Q does when Quinn shrinks the USS Voyager to the size of a Christmas ornament in VOY: "Death Wish".
  • Some of the furnishings in Flint's castle are recognizably recycled from previous episodes. Spock sits in the ornate chair used by Korob and Sylvia in "Catspaw". In the outer room of Flint's laboratory, just in front of the vertical grill, is the female Romulan commander's "communications box" from "The Enterprise Incident". In the same room, the back walls are lined with the consoles from the Elba II control room in "Whom Gods Destroy".
  • The undercarriage of Flint's robot, M-4, is a reused portion from the upper carriage of Nomad from "The Changeling".

Continuity

  • This episode is referenced in Star Trek: Voyager's fourth season episode "Concerning Flight", in which Captain Kathryn Janeway mentions that Captain Kirk claimed to have met Leonardo da Vinci. This would leave one to conclude that Spock's mind touch at the end of the episode only erased Kirk's memory of Rayna, and not necessarily the whole encounter.
  • Whereas Spock uses the mind meld at the end of the episode and tells Kirk, "Forget", in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan he uses the technique on McCoy and tells him, "Remember".
  • Doctor McCoy states that alcohol easily makes Vulcans drunken. This is contradictory to his reply to Kirk's question about how well Spock would handle whiskey in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, in that instance he predicts alcohol would have little effects on Spock, due to his Vulcan metabolism. It seems yet possible McCoy was merely teasing Spock in this episode, as Spock himself was in the film more concerned about his human half.
  • In TNG: "The Offspring" Lal, the android created by Lt. Cmr. Data, also died after experiencing and being overwhelmed by love.

Video and DVD releases

Links and references

Starring

Also starring

Guest stars

Uncredited co-stars

Stunt doubles

References

1st millennium BC; 2239; 4th millennium BC; Abramson; Alpha Centauri system; Akharin; Alexander the Great; Angel Playing the Violin; Angel with Lute; android; antitoxin; Bible; billiards; "Bones"; Brack; Brahms; bubonic plague; Centauri VII; chess; creation lithograph; Constantinople; Dance in Tehuantepec; Leonardo da Vinci; Earth; Europe; Federation; Federation legal banks; Flint; Galilei, Galileo Gutenberg, Johannes; Holberg 917G; housekeeper; irillium; kilometer; Lazarus; logic; M-4; Marcus II; Merlin; Mesopotamia; Methuselah; Milky Way Galaxy; Moses; Omega system; piano; Rayna 14; Pollack, Reginald; Rigelian fever; robot; ryetalyn; Saurian brandy; screens; Shakespeare, William; Socrates; Solomon; Starfleet Command; Sten; sub-dimensional physics; Taranullus; tricorder; Vulcan mind meld

External links


Previous episode produced:
"The Way to Eden"
Star Trek: The Original Series
Season 3
Next episode produced:
"The Savage Curtain"
Previous episode aired:
"The Lights of Zetar"
Next episode aired:
"The Way to Eden"
Previous remastered episode aired:
"The Way to Eden"
TOS Remastered Next remastered episode aired:
"The Savage Curtain"

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