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The Alternative Factor, TOS 1

Jordan | The Star Trek Project | Wednesday, September 27th, 2006



Oy. This episode pretty much sucks. It makes no sense (if matter + antimatter make the universe go boom, why can Kirk run between universes with no problem? And how exactly are the two Lazaruses switching places? And which one is evil? And. . .oh, never mind. . . ) The saving grace are the endless scenes of far out psychedelic special effects shots. Some of them look straight out of Stan Brakhage. It’s just so relentless that they achieve some sort of poetry. This plus the addition of Lt. Masters, a second African-American woman in a high rank. (Turns out part of the reason this episode sucks is because they had to add filler to make up for the love story that was yanked at the last minute between white Lazarus and black Masters. Plus, John Drew Barrymore forgot to come to set that day and they had to get a last minute replacement for the guest shot. D’oh!)


  1. A man commits to spending eternity with a raving mad man at his throat to save 2 universes. A sacrifice like none other except for Christ himself.
    THAT makes this more interesting and the debate as to why and where they come from and if they are one or 2 beings. Yes, somewhat badly written but none the less a very cool idea.
    You missed it on this one.

    Comment by Sven Golly — December 21, 2011 @ 12:17 pm

  2. The writing may not entirely be to blame here. This actually contains one of Trek’s best and most engaging teasers. It’s just a shame that what followed became such a waste.

    There is generally lazy direction and bad acting all around. Gerd Oswald has made some amazing TV and cinema in his day, but this episode has to be one of his worst misfires. Robert Brown as the choice to play Lazarus was bad out of the gate, and the sloppy makeup appliances (namely Lazarus’ fu-beard) was horrible.

    Plot holes abound: how many times can Enterprise crew simply let a strange alien into restricted areas without even batting an eye? How many times can the writer arrange it so that poor Lazarus can fall off of cliffs at Vasquez Rocks? Was the stunt-performers’ union clamoring for more screen time?

    As a concept, this could have been a really good story, but it ended up being one of Trek’s worst outings, second only to “Spock’s Brain” and not far above “And The Children Shall Lead.”

    Comment by Troy J. Martin — January 13, 2012 @ 12:49 pm

  3. Troy,

    I disagree with you on this one. I DO agree it was badly done but to place it as bad as Spocks Brain is harsh dude!

    I simply don’t think bad direction can totally fault a good story. The acting is suspect too I agree and even the actors chosen. But the story when really listened to is very good. Just handled badly.

    Comment by Sven Golly — March 26, 2012 @ 2:43 pm

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