Star Trek TOS S2E12: The Deadly Years
Time will take you on.
(It’s been a while since a Star Trek Rewatch post, but hopefully we’ll get back to it a bit more regularly in the new year.)
See the Star Trek TOS Rewatch Index page for links to all the episodes covered so far.
“THE DEADLY YEARS” RATING: 7.5/10
“The Deadly Years” is not a Star Trek TOS episode that gets a lot of love. Critics have pointed out that it is grossly ageist; it presents getting older as a collapse into incapacity and uselessness. Its structure is odd, with an unnecessary courtroom drama interrupting the action three-quarters of the way through. And once again it makes you ask, “Why does the Federation have all its senior officers beam down on away missions where they could all get killed or injured at once? What the hell, Federation?! Get your act together!”
Okay, that last bit is less critics in general than me in particular. But you get the idea. “The Deadly Years” has some problems with the logic.
I still love it though. Eight-year-old me wanted to hide in a closet after seeing this, and some 40 years later, after much aging, I still appreciate its slow, nightmarish amble from inception towards death. Like early first season episodes “Charlie X” and “The Naked Time,” “The Deadly Years” has a spooky, Twilight Zone sense of reality gone subtly awry. It doesn’t make sense, but the sense it doesn’t make has an uneasy power.