Star Trek: “The Ultimate Computer”


Stories that examine automation vs. people have always been a fascination of mine and this one delivers on two levels.

First, Kirk and the crew facing the end of their usefulness is almost a retroactive look at the NASA program of today where the agency is perfectly fine to “play it safe”, keep astronauts on the ground, and send probes to explore the heavens. Where car makers, supermarket checkers, and phone operators are being replaced more and more by computers who don’t need to be paid and never have to take a break. It’s nice to see that “The Ultimate Computer” has only become more relevant in today’s society.

Once the M5 goes whacky, the episode take another satisfying turn into horror and a character study of the obsession of Daystrom. Although I do believe that the confrontation between Kirk and Daystrom is overplayed, the story is still everything Star Trek should be: compelling, intelligent, and fun.


Interesting Fact: Richard Daystrom need not fear about his reputation. In the Next Generation era, characters make frequent references to The Daystrom Institute which appears to be the leading scientific and technological research lab in the galaxy.

“Did you see the love light in Spock’s eyes? The right computer finally came along.”
– McCoy

About the author

Jason Donner

Jason Donner devoured the universe and you are all living inside him.