#677 – The City on the Edge of Forever



I’m making my way through the original Star Trek and recently watched “The City on the Edge of Forever”. “The City on the Edge of Forever” is generally believed to be one of the best episodes of the original series. I haven’t watched every episode yet but it definitely is one of the best I have seen.

Star Trek, in all of its iterations, is at its best when exploring the human condition. I love battles in space between Starfleet and the Romulans, but my favorite episodes are those that explore the crewmembers, their characters and their relationships. “The City on the Edge of Forever” tells a great human story within the context of great science fiction.

My favorite part about the episode was Edith Keeler. Not only did she have her own action figure, which I randomly came across last year, but she’s also a great example that one person’s life can make a difference. Granted, had she lived, Keeler’s influence would have kept the United States from entering World War II, which would have led to the Nazi’s victory.

There’s a good chance, though, that our lives won’t lead to a fascist upheaval around the world. However, we can all have a tremendous impact on the lives of those around us. We don’t have to make a big difference in order to make a difference.

We can sponsor a World Vision child.

We can teach Sunday school.

We can volunteer to serve the homeless.

We can pay for a child to go to summer camp.

Small acts of service like those won’t grab any headlines but they’ll be big in the lives of those we serve. Even Edith Keeler, who was hit and killed by a car, made a difference in the lives of those she accepted into her mission. Her life didn’t lead to any worldwide headlines but she still impacted those that she could.

And whether or not we run into Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock, we can do the same thing.

What do you like about “The City on the Edge of Forever”?


2 comments on “#677 – The City on the Edge of Forever”

  1. You hit that nerdy, faith-y sweet spot with this one, Scott! Great post! A model of economy and insight.

    What do I like best about the episode? It’s not politically correct, but I really do enjoy the “head caught in a mechanical rice picker” bit. Sorry, but it’s funny, right up with there some of the best fish out of water humor of ST IV. But my favorite part is actually Edith’s speech in the mission about “the days worth living for.” It’s a strange speech for a supposed nun to be giving (per how Joan Collins is billed in the credits, “Sister Edith Keeler,” though this may just be vestigal from earlier drafts), but I like how it sums up the Trek ethos.

    I wrote about Edith and who I suspect her real-life inspiration was, Dorothy Day, for the SFC back in 2011, if you are interested – http://thescifichristian.com/2011/11/was-edith-keeler-the-dorothy-day-of-star-trek/.

    This is definitely one of your best posts, Scott. Thanks for it!

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