22005 "The Survivor"

(airdate: October 13, 1973)

Writer: James Schmerer
Director: Hal Sutherland

Carter Winston: Ted Knight

Lt. Anne Nored: Nichelle Nichols

M'Ress: Majel Barrett

Stardate: 5143.3

Captain's Log: The Enterprise encounters the damaged vessel of Carter Winston, a famous space trader who's been missing for five years. Winston is beamed aboard, seemingly in excellent health, but it soon becomes apparent that he's not who he says he is: "Winston" is in fact a Vendorian, a shapeshifting alien. The Vendorian disguises itself as Kirk and orders the Enterprise into the Romulan Neutral Zone, where it is intercepted by a number of Romulan vessels. Kirk, Spock, and McCoy discover the Vendorian's presence and attempt to stall the Romulans while they capture "Winston". The Vendorian sabotages the ship, and the Romulans choose to attack; however, the Enterprise is saved by the sudden appearance of a single deflector shield, and they're able to scare away the Romulans with their weapons. The shield was in fact the Vendorian; he had taken on Carter Winston's appearance for so long that he had begun to take on his beliefs as well, and so he couldn't let the ship with his former fiancée be captured or destroyed. The Enterprise retreats from the Neutral Zone, while the Vendorian surrenders himself into custody.

Whoops!: Lt. Anne Nored gets a couple goofs: the emblem in her assignment patch varies between a sciences double-circle and an operations spiral, and at one point her assignment patch is on the wrong side [the shot having been flipped]. Similarly, M'Ress is shown in a red tunic but with a sciences symbol.
     Why does Spock accept the fact that Winston didn't encounter any Romulans when he passed through the Neutral Zone last week as a good enough indicator that they won't be detected? Even setting aside the fact that a week ago is a long time, particularly for ships that can travel at warp speed and can travel cloaked, long range sensors are already detecting something in the Neutral Zone - so why would Spock agree with this risk?
     Are we certain that it's Ted Knight voicing Carter Winston and not William Shatner? It sure sounds like Shatner pitching his voice up slightly, even down to the inflections and pauses, and there doesn't seem to be independent evidence that Knight voiced Winston - every source claiming he did seems to derive from the Star Trek Concordance, which has been wrong before. Now admittedly, Knight was a very talented vocal artist - but if it is him, why did he choose to use a voice that's so similar to Shatner's?

Library Computer: Carter Winston was a famous Federation space trader and philanthropist. A tall man with brown hair and a full mustache, he wore a yellow jacket with a white ascot and brown slacks. Winston was well-known as someone who constantly used his wealth to aid others; for instance, ten years ago he supplied the colony of Cerberus with enough food and supplies to get them through their crop failures. About five years ago, Winston disappeared, leaving behind his fiancée, Anne Nored. In fact, Winston had crash-landed on the planet Vendor, where one of the native Vendorians tended to him. He lived about a year before he died. That Vendorian was a non-producer among his people, so he made a deal with the Romulans to impersonate Winston and lure a ship into the Neutral Zone; this gave him a purpose in life and a way to be useful to others.
     Winston's ship was shaped like a small grey flattened cylinder with a small trapezoidal prism on the front and two warp nacelles that extended from the rear of the vessel. There was a red keyhole-shaped design on the top of the ship. By the time the Enterprise found the ship on the edge of the Romulan Neutral Zone, it had been very badly damaged by a meteor storm, with Scotty deeming it to be worth little more than scrap value.
     The Vendorians are a race of shapeshifting aliens from the planet Vendor. In their natural form they appear as incredibly thin orange beings, with six spindly tentacle-like appendages extending from the base of their torso, and a bulbous head with several yellow globe-like things forming a ring around the center of the head, on top of a long neck. Vendorians can render a person unconscious by wrapping an appendage around their neck [possibly a sleeper hold?]. They can rearrange their molecular structure to shift their appearance into anything with the same general size and mass. This ability, coupled with the fact that they practice deceit as a way of life, means that the Federation has quarantined their planet Vendor. Consequently, few people have ever seen them (although Spock knows all about them). The longer a Vendorian stays in another's form, the more they take on that person's personality, attitudes, and even memories. [No explanation at all as to how the memory thing works.] The Vendorian assuming the form of Carter Winston thus was willing to save the ship from the Romulans because it's what Winston himself would have done.
     The Romulans are still using Klingon battlecruisers ("The Enterprise Incident"). These appear to have a yellow triangle-like shape on the wings, cut more or less in half, with the front part of the triangle bearing a point with lines radiating out from it and the back part looking like a stylized red wing. The Romulan captain we see here is wearing a green outfit quite unlike any Romulan outfit seen thus far - it looks more like a robe than a uniform.
     The treaty between the Federation and the Romulan Empire states that any ships crossing into the other's territory can be legally seized and impounded by the other side. The crew can be turned over at the nearest Neutral Zone outpost. Use of a Vendorian by either side is also a violation of the treaty.
     Rator III was an inhabited planet near the Romulan Neutral Zone [probably on the Federation side, although that's never made explicit].
     Lt. M'Ress is a Starfleet communications officer, dressed in operations red. She is a feline-like biped [a Caitian, according to Roddenberry's 1974 Lincoln Enterprises catalog (the same source that Arex's background information comes from)] with a long tail, long brown hair on her head, and a tendency to make a purring sound before or after talking.
     Lt. Anne Nored is a security officer aboard the Enterprise, with long dark hair. She was engaged to Carter Winston.
     Dr. McCoy has a daughter. Ten years ago she was attending school on Cerberus. [This is the only canonical reference to date to McCoy's daughter.]
     The Enterprise bridge has surveillance cameras installed that can be used to provide a playback of events that happened on the bridge. [And full props to the sound people for putting in a little "switching" sound every time the shot changes, so even though it's just a replay of the earlier scene it looks like someone in-universe is switching between camera feeds.]
     When beaming aboard a potentially unknown passenger, Starfleet regulations require an immediate identity check and a medical examination.
     Orientine acid is a very powerful acid, capable of burning through almost everything except the crystal container that holds it.

Final Analysis: "All security teams, intruder alert...The intruder is a Vendorian, capable of assuming any shape or identity." An episode that feels like it would have been right at home in the live-action series (realization of Carter Winston's true form excepted), with a well-crafted storyline and a fun concept. While not the most ambitious episode, "The Survivor" is nevertheless entertaining and self-assured.

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Page last updated: April 16, 2017

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