The Deadly Years


A couple of days ago, I saw a rerun of the classic Star Trek episode “The Deadly Years”. That’s the episode where the Enterprise crew beams down to a planet where weird radiation has turned the inhabitants of the colony into Mark Twain (see right). As Kirk undergoes accelerated aging, it’s established through dialogue that his chronological age is thirty-four years old.

As I mentioned in a recent post, I just turned thirty four myself. Now I’m having a major career crisis. By the time James Kirk was my age, he was a starship captain. But at the current rate, it’s going to be years before I’m a starship captain.

I was lamenting this over dinner at a Greek restaurant tonight, when I glanced at the menu and noticed a listing for “Horta”. I pointed out that the Horta is the name of the creature that kills the miners in the Star Trek episode “The Devil in the Dark” and said that I didn’t know how the restaurant’s management expected people to eat a silicon-based lifeform. But no one there was familiar with the episode. Now I feel really old.

* * *

Incidentally, today’s episode was “Wolf in the Fold”. That’s the one where they encounter Jack the Ripper in space. My favorite part of this is near the end, when everyone is injected with a powerful space-Valium to keep them from freaking out at the disembodied serial killer who’s threatening to destroy them, and Sulu simpers, “Whoever he is … he sure talks gloomy!” This is, I think, one of the key scenes that hinted at George Takei’s homosexuality. The most obvious other one is in “The Naked Time”, when he runs around shirtless with the fencing foil. After that, it’s probably in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, when he muses, “San Francisco … I was born there.” I guess you could also argue that the rampant heterosexuality of the evil Sulu hitting on Uhura in “Mirror, Mirror” kind of also hints that the regular Sulu might go the other way, but that might be stretching. And he’s revealed to be a tea drinker in the Voyager episode “Flashback”, but that probably just proves he’s Chinese, not gay. Any other gay Sulu moments? This seems like it should be a top five.

4 Responses to “The Deadly Years”

  1. 1 Candace

    “But no one there was familiar with the episode. Now I feel really old.”

    You’re not old. You’re a nerd!

    That’s one! No, that’s like sixteen or something. It’s far too many to count, anyway.

  2. 2 Chuck le Chuck

    What Candace said.

    Plus, I may not know my Star Trek but I know my beloved satellite radio announcers: the man’s not a Chinese – he’s Japanese. And that’s Takei as in “Okay”, chump.

  3. 3 Peter Lynn

    He’s supposed to be some kind of pan-Asian Japanese-Filipino blend. But you can’t even say the name Sulu in Japanese. That’s why they changed his name to Kato for that market.

  4. 4 Matt

    I’m sure you’ve seen this, but I still think it’s great:

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