"One Step Beyond" The Promise (TV Episode 1960) Poster

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Shatner Before Captain Kirk
theowinthrop26 September 2006
Warning: Spoilers
People tend to forget that William Shatner was fully active as a performer before he was Captain Kirk of the U.S.S. "Starship" Enterprise in STAR TREK. He was a military aide to Judge Spencer Tracy in JUDGMENT AT NUREMBURG, and was the troubled preacher in the American version of RASHOMON, THE OUTRAGE, opposite Edward G. Robinson and Howard da Silva, and Paul Newman and Lawrence Harvey. He was also in this episode (his only one) of ONE STEP BEYOND.

THE PROMISE has an interesting storyline. Shatner is Carl Bremer, a German soldier who has been taken prisoner in England, and sees the destruction caused by the V-2 rockets on London in 1944-45. Unlike other German prisoners, Shatner is shocked and offers to help the British in disarming these bombs. For frequently the V-2s did not explode immediately, but would crash into the city, and lay dormant until a ticking mechanism would set them off when nobody expected (thus increasing the destruction and death caused by them). He proceeds to do the delicate work of manipulating the timers so that he can disarm their mechanisms, and allow the bombs to be removed safely.

Bremer becomes a familiar site in the London streets, as he really understands how to do this. He has met an English woman, and gets permission to marry her. She is soon pregnant, and she is going to give birth in a short time (in the telescoped time of the episode). But she wants Carl to promise not to continue with his bomb dismantling work. Carl hesitates, and finally says that he will be there when their child is born.

While his wife is giving birth, Carl is asked to help with one last bomb. We watch Shatner try to remove the timer without setting off the explosive. But this time, for a second before it happens, Carl is aware that the bomb is not going to be deactivated. It blows up killing him.

Nobody is willing to tell his wife what occurred. She keeps talking about how happy he will be to see his son. Finally, to her shock, she is told he's dead. Then, at the end of the episode, a nurse comes in and asks if Mr. Bremer has come to see his wife. Dead silence and disbelief as everyone wonders what she is talking about. She explains that Mr. Bremer was just watching his son from behind the glass wall in front of the incubators, and waving at the baby, and told the nurse he would see his wife in a moment! Shatner gave a nice performance, as a man who one could guess would be doomed, but who (according to the show's theme) returned briefly from the dead to see his son. It was an interesting episode, even if hard to swallow. And typical of the work Shatner went through (like his Twilight Zone episode) on the way to his own television stardom.
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