Hey! So you know Zefram Cochrane, right? The crazy dude from First Contact? Turns out he was slightly less crazy in his debut, which is this episode!
People had a problem with Cochrane in the movie, actually, because it was such a departure from this appearance. Of course, the movie makes a big deal of exploding the myth of the man. If you still want to reconcile the two, you may still consider "Metamorphosis" a memorable episode. As it stands now, it's about halfway to irrelevance.
|via Zefram and Me. Sort of...reaching to the future!|
|via Mr. Comfy Pants. Not the statue.|
The story of the episode is that after his historic accomplishment of creating warp drive for humanity, Cochrane went missing. Basically he turned into something of an Amelia Earhart (who does receive a Star Trek moment in Voyager's "The 37s"). "Metamorphosis," then, is less about what he did and what became of him. Like a lot of characters in the series, wacky alien experiences. It's not completely wacky. The older Cochrane from First Contact is compatible with this one, who in fact was aging when he disappeared, apparently finding a way to de-age (which is how we find him here). One might argue that his interest in being young again is to have the ability to relive his prime years without all the mistakes he once made (which is to say, this is almost a prototype for the Next Generation episode "Tapestry").
Before First Contact, Cochrane was less well-known than another would-be Starfleet luminary introduced in the series, Richard Daystrom ("The Ultimate Computer," fifteen episodes later), founder of the later Daystrom Institute. The existence of this episode becomes problematic for those who come to the franchise more familiar with the movie Cochrane (who later makes a cameo in the Enterprise premiere, "Broken Bow"). That's half of what I'm trying to address in these recaps. Is it possible to approach episodes produced fifty years ago with the same integrity as fans who watched them when they first aired? In some cases, yes. In others, such as this one, probably not. Different times, different expectations, different production values. This is one of the episodes the straddles the line of relevance better than others, though.
four quarter analysis:
franchise * series * essential * character