Series: Star Trek: The Original Series
Season 3, Episode 19
Original Air Date: February 14, 1969
"Requiem for Methuselah" is based on Shakespeare's The Tempest with shades of the mythological Pygmalion. On the planet Holberg 917-G, our heroes encounter Mr. Flint, a being from Earth, 6,000 years old. At various times, he has gone by other names: Da Vinci, Brahms, Alexander the Great and Methuselah among others. His only company on this remote outpost is Rayna, a beautiful young woman who is Flint's protege. We learn in time that she is, in fact, a robot created by Flint for companionship and, he hopes eventually, love.
Our gang's arrival has presented a complication. Rayna, of course, falls in love with Kirk. Flint is also reluctant to let the landing party (Kirk, Spock and McCoy) get away and reveal the secret of his existence to the rest of the galaxy. Rayna, brilliant but a bit of a wet blanket up to this point, suddenly steps up in our friends' defense. Rayna, in turn, is confronted with the dilemma of choosing between her love for Kirk and her devotion to Flint. The dilemma overwhelms and destroys her.
The episode feels a bit labored at times, drawing upon many of what had become Trek's narrative staples: superhuman Earth-beings finding a home in another part of the galaxy, robots in human form, etc. Even the Enterprise being shrunk to miniature is a trick we've seen before. But a lot of the ideas introduced in "Requiem for Methuselah" resurfaced in a much better story, one of The Next Generation's most acclaimed episodes: "The Offspring."
An interesting wrinkle at the end of the episode: Spock, feeling sorry for his heartbroken captain, uses a Vulcan mind meld to make Kirk forget Rayna. It's quite an awesome power to have. One wonders how the Vulcans might have misused it in other instances.
Primarily a stage actor early in his career, Daly found loads of television work from the early '50s onward, including regular roles on Foreign Intrigue and Medical Center. He was also the star of Camel cigarette commercials for seven years. He'd already won an Emmy by the time he appeared on Trek: Supporting Actor in a Drama for his portrayal of Dr. O'Meara on a TV movie entitled Eagle in a Cage. His most famous big screen role was as Honorious in the original Planet of the Apes film.
Two of James Daly's children are also accomplished television actors. Daughter Tyne Daly has won six Emmys - four of them for her work on Cagney & Lacey - and a Tony. Son Tim Daly was the star of the sitcom Wings. Granddaughter Kathryne Dora Brown is also an actress. Daly died of heart failure in 1978.