The Great Star Trek TAS Rewatch: The Magicks of Megas-Tu

Lucien, appearing as a satyr

The Enterprise heads to the centre of the galaxy to find the theorised point where matter is being created. While there, the ship is sucked into another dimension where the normal rules of space and time do not apply, and a power akin to magic is very real.The stripy planet Megas-Tu appears on the viewscreen

The Magicks of Megas-Tu doesn’t feel like a great episode. It’s so dull that its twenty-two minutes pass extremely slowly. That being said, it’s not like the pace is slow – rather it flits from one place to another. First, the Enterprise is looking for a matter creation point at the centre of the galaxy. Then, they get sucked into another dimension and rescued by a devilish-looking fellow named Lucien. Lucien is friendly and welcoming towards the crew, but he seems reluctant to let them meet with the other denizens of his planet, all of whom seem well-versed in the ways of magic.

Since they’re unable to chat with the locals, Spock leads the crew in figuring out how to use magic for themselves. Unfortunately, this draws the attention of Lucien’s peers, who capture the Enterprise crew and put them on trial. It turns out that, like so many alien races before them, the people of Megas-Tu visited Earth, where they were persecuted for their command on magic. Only Lucien, who, surprise surprise, was known as “Lucifer” back on Earth, remained kindly disposed towards humanity. Cue a scene in which Spock and Kirk have to hurriedly convince the people of Megas-Tu that humans are no longer warlike savages bent on persecuting outsiders

.The Megans, in blue and white robes

To be fair, a plot like this would not be out of place in an episode of TOS – in fact, it would nestle quite snugly against the likes of Plato’s Stepchildren. I’m not saying I would have enjoyed such an episode, but at least with a 45 minute runtime, the plot wouldn’t feel so rushed and disjointed.

Kirk shoots a beam of magic from his hands

Other notes

  • Apparently the original story for this episode concerned finding God at the centre of the galaxy, but had to be toned down for broadcast standards. Of course, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier would later be about finding “God” at the centre of the galaxy.
  • The Megans seem to have adopted Earth gender stereotypes. Apart from one old crone, all of the women are apparently obsessed with beauty and love potions in order to ensnare men. Meanwhile, the ‘serious’ sorcerers (i.e. those not selling love potions) are all male.

Summary – The Magicks of Megas-Tu: In which the Enterprise wasn’t allowed to find God, but could happily down a few beers with the Devil.

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