Star Trek Episode 38: Metamorphosis

Technical Specs

Director: Ralph Senensky

Writer: Gene L. Coon

Cast: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, Glenn Corbett, Elinor Donahue, James Doohan, George Takei, and Nichelle Nichols

Composer: George Duning

Air Date: 11/10/1967

Stardate: 3219.8

Production #: 60331



While transporting the gravely ill Commissioner Nancy Hedford (Elinor Donahue) back to the Enterprise, the Galileo is pulled to the planetoid Gamma Canaris N by a cloud-like phenomenon. After exiting the shuttlecraft, Captain Kirk and his crew are greeted by the legendary Zephram Cochrane (Glenn Corbett), who star-trek-metamorphosisclaims to have survived the past hundred and fifty years thanks to the rejuvenating efforts of an alien known simply as “The Companion.”

Arguably the most emotionally stirring episode in the original series, “Metamorphosis” explores the concept of immortality as it relates to human beings. In addition to its insightful commentary on the above topic, this entry benefits from a touching, albeit unorthodox, love story.



star-trek-metamorphosisA nobler character than his intoxicated counterpart from Star Trek: First Contact, Glenn Corbett’s portrayal of Cochrane embodies the spirit of a true visionary. After a fluke event renders Cochrane a mere anachronism in the 23rd century, the inventor of warp drive is forced to choose between a solitary existence with only a disembodied alien at his side, and living out his days as a relic of an era long past. George Duning’s poignant score accentuates Cochrane’s personal conflict quite beautifully, thus making this fantastic situation more relatable to audiences of a sensitive inclination.



(Spoilers beyond this point)

When the Companion merges with Nancy Hedford, no indication is given as to whether the commissioner will retain the essence of her personality following this transformation. Though star-trek-metamorphosisNancy’s existence prior to joining with the alien was clearly a miserable one, certain viewers might find the apparent replacement of her original consciousness to be disturbing.

It should be noted that a general lack of action allows the romance narrative to maintain central focus from start to finish. That being said, the pacing tends to progress sluggishly at times due to a near absence of physical conflict.



Like many Star Trek episodes, “Metamorphosis” suggests that respect for the unknown is an essential aspect of scientific progress. Whereas Spock views the Companion as star-trek-metamorphosislittle more than a phenomenon to be studied, Kirk attempts to understand the motivations and desires that drive this bizarre lifeform to act as it does. In the end, the captain’s nuanced approach allows him to establish communication with the alien, who turns out to be just as sentient as her human companion.


Concluding Comments

One of season two’s more delicate offerings, “Metamorphosis” will appeal to fans of the romance and science fiction genres alike. Also, those who would prefer a respectable Cochrane over James Cromwell’s oafish take on the character are advised to view this episode for its subtle qualities.


Overall Quality: 9/10


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One thought on “Star Trek Episode 38: Metamorphosis

  1. Jon, I should be commenting on all these all along. However, unlike LOST IN SPACE, I have not seen these nearly as much and it has been several years for the great majority, so I mainly go on memory. However, I like and enjoy classic STAR TREK just fine.

    I remember this one being one of my ‘least’ liked of the season. I know this one is a delicate love story. I do not remember much. The actress looks pretty though. Your nine out of ten score will have me rethinking this one as I view it sometime anew.. :-]

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