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Podcast Enterprise: S1E28 The city on the edge of forever


Space, the final frontier. These are the podcasts of the Podcast Enterprise. Its only mission: to explore story structures, to analyze our favorite characters and plotlines, to boldly talk what everyone has seen before

We will analyze all episodes of Star Trek: The Original Series or TOS for short using the following guiding structure:

  1. Synopsis or summary of the episode
  2. Story structure
  3. Character analysis
  4. Our likes and dislikes

The synopsis:  The Enterprise is orbiting a planet they know nothing about and it’s on red alert because there are these time distortions that are causing all sorts of issues for the Enterprise.

And the ship was shaking this way and that. So what happens is something happens to the navigation board the helm console, and it shorts. And because it shorts, there’s some sort of electrical shock on Sulu, he falls over and Captain Kirk, he decides to send for McCoy. So when Dr. McCoy comes to the bridge, there’s still these time distortions and Captain Kirk and Spock, they’re trying to figure out what this is, and Sulu is lying on the ground. So Dr. McCoy injects him with something called Cordrazine. You’re supposed to give very little of it because it sort of stabilizes the body and brings down the heart flutter or something like that, he says.

And so that’s what he does. He injects Sulu, who then wakes up with a silly smile on his face, but he seems okay. And then while this goes on, after he injects, Sulu with the Cordrazine, McCoy comes forward, there’s another time distortion. And this time it’s pretty violent. And so what happens is McCoy falls forward, injects himself with a huge dose of Cordrazine, and that’s it.

He goes insane, completely insane. He starts screaming about killers and assassins. He doesn’t want Kirk or Spock to come anywhere near him. He doesn’t trust them. His face goes the shade of red. And then screaming, he runs out of the bridge and he somehow goes into the teleportation room.

He knocks out the operator, he teleports himself to that planet. And apparently all of these time distortions as Kirk and Spock figure out by then are coming from that planet. And there’s a particular spot in that planet that is causing all of these time distortions. And McCoy has gone there on his own.

So what happens is now that they have lost the doctor and the time distortions are causing other issues for the ship, a small landing party including Kirk and Spock, they decide to teleport down to the planet wherever McCoy went to so they can try and figure out what’s going on here.

So when they go down there, they find some extraordinarily old ruins that are, I don’t know, millions of years old, I think. And there’s an arch like creation that’s looks like a stone arch and it looks vaguely like plastic also in my head. And they find that this thing, it talks and it calls itself the Guardian of Forever.

It’s some sort of an ageless computerized, but not computerized being that can play and replay time and you can use it as some sort of a time travel portal. And by this time, McCoy has also reappeared. He comes back, and this is a in perfect timing. The Guardian of Forever decides to show them a history of Earth and McCoy jumps into the visuals of that, and he has transported himself into the past.

And then Kirk and the landing party realized that the Enterprise has disappeared because apparently McCoy has gone back into Earth’s past. He’s changed something and now history is different and the only way to bring it back to normal is for Kirk and Spock to go there themselves to whichever time period McCoy went to and try and fix things.

They figure out where McCoy disappeared to. They transport themselves through that Guardian of Forever, back to Earth’s past. They find themselves in a mission run by a very intriguing woman called Edith Keeler. And they try to blend in and sort of do work for her and take advantage of her hospitality until McCoy appears, and so that they can prevent him from doing whatever it is he’s doing that changes its past and so that the Enterprise can also come back. Kirk also gives Spock the orders to create a computer out of nothing, which he has to do with all the primitive tools. And like he says, stone knives and bear skins. He has to use all of that to somehow create a mnemonic computer.

He does that and then they find that the event that actually causes a change in earth’s history is the death of Edith Keeler herself. So either she lives or she dies. If she lives. Earth’s history is altered forever, and we can talk about it, Bala, because if she lives, for some reason, Nazi Germany wins World War II.

Now if she dies, that event can be prevented. So McCoy is a catalyst here because he is the individual who somehow prevents her from being killed. What happens basically is that she must die, and Kirk has been growing close to her. He doesn’t want her to die, but he comes to realize that if he allows her to live, all sorts of things are going to happen.

And as it is observed in this episode, if Edith Keeler lives millions would die where they didn’t die before. So they have to let things play out. They find McCoy and after a while, McCoy comes back to normal. Kirk decides to take Edith Keeler out for a movie. He leaves her there. When he realizes McCoy is back and he’s normal, he goes to talk to McCoy, and then Edith Keeler decides to follow Kirk and the car hits her and Kirk has to allow that car to hit her because otherwise history is pretty much destroyed and they have to go.

And that event, her death allows them to come back to their own time.

That brings us to the end of this episode. Thank you for listening to the Podcast Enterprise. Please do share your reviews with us and please share this podcast with any of your writing friends or trekkies. Live long and prosper!

Stay tuned in for our next episode! Enjoy!

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  1. Intro music: Music from
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