Star Trek TOS S2E3: The Changeling
Are fascists unfeeling logic machines? Star Trek is confused.
See the Star Trek TOS Rewatch Index page for links to all the episodes covered so far.
“THE CHANGELING:” Rating: 7.3/10
“The Changeling” is an episode with a hybrid threat; it fuses a Cold War fear of high-tech apocalypse with a WW II fear of fascist eugenics.
Smooshing those anxieties together creates a vivid sense of dread. Writer John Meredyth Lucas and director Marc Daniels recapture a bit of the horror vibe of the first two Star Trek episodes, “The Man Trap” and “Charlie X”.
The dual metaphors also create thematic confusion though. You can’t really by-your-own-logic fascism to death, and suggesting you can seems dangerously glib. Scrappy imperfection triumphing over cold logic is supposed to be empowering. But, in our current historical moment at least, it just feels kind of silly.
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