Star Trek: City on the Edge of Forever—A Doomed Love

City On The Edge Of Forever

Time travel has fascinated humans since the beginning when they began to ask, “What if…” Since the genre began, Science Fiction has wrestled with this concept of time travel and the ethics of time line alteration.

Perhaps, the most famous Time Traveller is the one from H. G. Wells’ 1895 Time Machine.  The Time Traveller finds his destiny in the future where life is plagued with a race of mutants which feed on the simple humans in an edenic paradise.

April 6, 1967: NBC aired the Star Trek episode City on the Edge of Forever.

This episode became the most talked-about episode of the television season.  It touched a chord in the thinking viewers.

Kirk and Spock must allow the Guardian of Forever to send them back in time to find a drugged-crazed McCoy who somehow altered earth history.  Like two fish out of water, Kirk and Spock find themselves in New York City circa the Great Depression.

They meet Edith Keeler who runs a mission and has some strange ideas about mankind traveling to the stars, world peace, and other crazy notions for the 1930s.

As fate would have it, Kirk falls in love in Edith.  Edith is truly an earth angel.

Spock makes a fateful discovery that Edith kept Franklin Roosevelt from entering the war, and thereby, history was changed since the Nazis won the war.  The ultimate solution is obvious—Edith Keeler must die.

James Kirk & Edith Keeler

Kirk faced the decision—does he save the universe that he knows or does he save the woman that he loves?  The consequences of saving Edith are what his heart says.  Allowing her to die is what his duty says. 

What choice would we make?  If we could traverse time like crossing the street, would we be tempted to alter what happened? 

Life on this planet can be cruel for so many people, especially in saying good-bye.  Is good-bye forever?  Are you prepared to say adieu to your true love if fate decreed it?

Have included the 1931 Goodnight, Sweetheart which was playing as part of the original broadcast as Kirk and Edith walked by a radio repair shop.

Ponderings on this 8th day of February…

G. D. Williams       © 2011


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