The City on the Edge of Forever
Kirk faces an ethical and moral dilemma: Let the woman he loves die? Or let the Nazis win World War II? It’s a hard knock life in The City on the Edge of Forever.
Tags: Edith Keeler, Guardian of Forever, Harlan Ellison, Joan Collins, morality, Nazis, pacifism, The City on the Edge of Forever, The Original Series, The Original Series Season 1, TOS, World War II
Ok here is my problem with this, “the greatest of all Trek episodes” ever. Now I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.
I hate plot devices. I really hate the ones ( like the one used here) that don’t really work well in reverse. Let me explain. This “Guardian” is a lot like “The Nexus” is “Trek VII: Generations.” Yeah, a Talking Alien Time Machine is way cooler, but it has a little problem. How I see it the problem is this: How do our hero’s come home? This “thing” should work like a Transporter platform, or better yet – A Stargate ! Ok, so It can transport”us” across the galaxy to another planet @ another time – right?
( Assuming that it can create a wormhole and “aim” the “other” “exit end” at that point in space/time. ) However – there is no Stargate at that other end. So once there, where on Earth do our hero’s go to step back into the “Guardian Stargate” once they fix history. ???? “Error”!
They should have been stuck there on/in 1930’s Earth, because a Stargate just wasn’t there for them to step back into to get back. Now, had the Enterprise come back in time to Earth at the end of the episode and simply Transported our hero’s away – that would have fixed the problem.
Below- from the Fotonovel adaptation: Lines of dialog were added that were not in the episode –
I learned early on one should never let lack of scientific fact or plausibility ruin a good story, remember these are works of fiction after all.
How can a story that’s not plausible be a good one?
I admit that suspension of disbelief is not my strong suit.
Next question: How can “forever” have an edge?
But seriously, I hate time travel episodes because they never make any sense once you invest even just one minute of critical thinking into them. I simply cannot wrap my mind around the fact that so many people consider this one the best of the entire original series.
McCoy’s shenanigans in the past make the Enterprise and the entire Federation disappear but Kirk’s team still exists on the planet? Does the planet exist “outside of time”? Then why are there ruins? Why would a civilisation that can put its planet “out of time” fade away and its buildings collapse while the portal doesn’t physically deteriorate? Or is just the portal unaffected by the passage of time and not the entire planet? Why doesn’t Kirk and Spock’s team disappear along with the Enterprise in orbit and the entire Federation then?
How about Edith’s death? She’s only in the right position to get run over because she’s going to the movies with Kirk and runs after him when he crosses the street to get to McCoy and Spock. Kirk’s presence is the ONLY reason she dies in that particular spot at that precise moment in time.
Also, the timeline isn’t “repaired” by the end of the episode, the guy who accidentally killed himself with McCoys phaser is still gone. All of his interactions with other people he would have had never happen. And please don’t try to give me that “he was so insignificant he had no influence on the future” nonsense. Everything anybody does within a time / space system – no matter how big or small – has an influence on the timeline. The future Kirk, McCoy and Spock go back to is not the same as the one they came from.
Did I mention that I hate time travel episodes?
Ever read about black holes, from an outsider perspective, an object (if we had the ability to view it) at the event of horizon, would appear frozen in time, forever. One could say that an event horizon was “on the edge of forever.” 2. Time travel, if possible, may in fact be paradoxical in much the same way quantum mechanics seems to be. The multiverse theory would hold that any alteration to the time line with simply create branch timelines To each his or her own and EVERY other timeline would still exist somewhere. I am content to let “God play dice” and let the craziness fall where it may. In the words of Mystery Science Theater 3000, “…repeat to yourself it’s just a show, I should really just relax…” Have a great day!
I had no idea this episode was so well regarded and was surprised to hear you guys were so positive on this one.
I enjoyed the episode, for sure. It was fun and interesting. But I found myself rolling my eyes at a lot of it. “Oh, you’re in love are you? Of course you are, Kirk, you’re in love all the time.” “McCoy accidentally injected himself. Really?” “Oh look, another super-advanced, patronizing intelligence at play. That’s a new one.” “And the point of the Disintegrating Bum was… what?” And then the ending just sort of… happened. There was no real rising action. It kind of felt like a lot of exposition and then “She has to die and OH LOOK SHE’S DEAD” and then the episode was over. Not only that, but it also felt like the episode took forever to get where it was going. All the nonsense with chasing McCoy on the planet felt interminable, to me.
That being said, I feel like so much was done right in this episode that it has been ripped off by sci-fi so many times since that I can no longer appreciate how unique it was for its time. Alas.
LIstening to you discuss whether a future with “hope” is desirable, I’m reminded once again of the first few verses of Sifu Hotman’s song, “Matches”:
The reason that I’m not a nihilist
Is some day I wanna live like in Star Trek
And I know that we’ll never build starships
Until we tackle poverty, war, and hardship
So we fight overnight and over lifetimes
Organize for that warp drive
And of course I realize
That we’re a long way from it
But what better reason to start runnin’?