Stardate: 6770.3 (2270)
Original Air Date: October 12, 1974
Writer: John Culver
Director: Bill Reed
“No matter where I’ve traveled in the galaxy, Jim,
this bridge is more like home than anywhere else.”
The Enterprise is en route to Babel (as in the TOS episode “Journey to Babel”) where ambassadors from all Federation planets are waiting to honor a distinguished passenger aboard the Enterprise, Commodore Robert April (James Doohan). He is set to retire after a celebrated career as the first captain of the Enterprise. He was present in the San Francisco Navy Yards when the components of the Enterprise were built. His wife Sarah April was a renowned space doctor and she is carrying a Capellan flower which is soon to die (it is a native plant to Capella IV).
The Enterprise passes by the Beta Niobe nova, a dangerous spacial phenomenon even though the Enterprise is traveling at a safe distance. However, a foreign ship suddenly appears and is headed on a collision course with Beta Niobe –sure to be a suicide mission. Uhura attempts to make contact but instead a backward communication is received from a woman named Karla Five (Nichelle Nichols). Once deciphered using the universal translator, she asks to be released from the Enterprise to continue onward to the nova. In attempting to save the foreign ship, the Enterprise crosses through the Beta Niobe which drops them into a strange dimension where everything begins reversing –Mrs. April’s Capellan flower appears to be getting younger as do all the crewmen aboard the Enterprise.
A party beams over to meet with Karla Five on the planet Arret where they learn that in this alternate universe people are born in old age and grow younger throughout life. The crew devises a plan to briefly unite the two universes by animating a dead star while crossing into their familiar universe using the speed of Karla Five’s ship. However, this is further complicated by the fact that everyone on the ship is rapidly growing younger and thus forgetting their necessary skills –they are all quickly becoming children. Commodore April, now young again, takes command of the Enterprise as they pass into the threshold back into the known universe. The crew uses the transporter to return to their normal state –Commodore Roberts and his wife decide to return to old age again after having lived a wonderful life.
My Thoughts on “The Counter-Clock Incident”
For the final episode, Benjamin Button meets Star Trek as the Enterprise enters an alternative universe where everything is moving in reverse. I thought this was a compelling multiverse episode right up until the wholly contrived ending wherein the transporter once again saves the day by inexplicably reconfiguring the crewmen and preventing further de-aging.
Thus concludes my survey of Star Trek: The Animated Series –quirky but occasionally fun abbreviated saturday morning cartoon version of The Original Series.
John Culver was a pseudonym for Fred Bronson, the NBC publicist assigned to TAS. He used a pseudonym because he worried it might be perceived as improper. He borrowed “Culver” from Culver City, CA.
Star Trek Trivia:
- Kirk mentions there are 430 people aboard the Enterprise in this episode.
- In this episode, the final TAS episode pays homage to the penultimate TOS episode (“All My Yesterdays”) with the mention of the Beta Niobe nova.
- This episode features the only appearance of Commodore Robert April, however he is referenced in the Trek novel-verse as well as in Strange New Worlds. His name was actually taken from Gene Roddenberry’s original Star Trek files, it was initially an alternate name for Captain Pike in “The Cage.”
- Nichelle Nichols voices Sarah April and Karla Five, in addition to Uhura. James Doohan voices Robert April and Karl Four (Karla Five’s son), in addition to Arex and Scotty.
- In the reverse universe, the captain’s log is also listed in reverse.
Great finale for the animated Star Trek. I re-watched this episode on Netflix a few years ago and it brought back some very good memories in even better clarity after so long. Thank you for your review and trivia of all the animated Star Treks.
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