Wikipedia article on the episode. It is clear to me that the Lazarus from the normal universe wanted to meet the Lazarus from the anti-matter universe, and if that would happen both universes would be destroyed. The good Lazarus (from the anti-matter universe) asked Kirk to help him trap Lazarus in the corridor with him. Under what circumstances would both universes be obliterated? Is it if both Lazaruses were in the same universe outside of the corridor? I don't understand why they needed to be locked in the corridor forever. Why couldn't one be destroyed or the bad one be imprisoned so he could never go to the other universe? I also don't understand how both doors were destroyed: the Enterprise only shot at Lazarus' ship in one universe, isn't there still the other one?

Also towards the end Captain Kirk says to Lazarus "You'll be trapped inside that corridor with him forever. At each other's throats throughout time". Can't one kill the other in the corridor?

3 Answers 3


This is one of the worst TOS episodes.

A good reason why simply killing one Lazarus and then allowing the doorway to remain open is unfeasible is that it is implied that any of the same matter from either universe being in the same universe as its counterpart outside of the corridor would cause the destruction of both universes.

In other words, despite the seeming possibility of the 'good' Lazarus simply committing suicide to prevent the 'evil' Lazarus from destroying both universes, the 'evil' Lazarus could simply take through a stick which still has an undestroyed counterpart stick in the anti-matter universe, and BOOM! Goodbye both universes.

As such, the only option is to close the doorway, and Lazarus has shown himself capable of building a doorway. As such, he must be eliminated, and closing the doorway on both ends - the 'good' Lazarus stated he would shut his doorway, likely by self-destructing his ship - is a good way of taking care of two birds with one stone.

The corridor likely prevents either Lazarus from killing or seriously harming one another while inside. After all, there is no oxygen in it, yet neither man dies of asphyxiation. As such, they can fight forever. Trapping them may also prevent anyone else from building a similar doorway; the corridor is already occupied.

The episode is not very good and does not make very much sense. It doesn't explain itself very well, and much of this is therefore open to interpretation.

  • Interesting interpretation. Have any idea why it would not be enough just to kill the bad Lazarus, and maybe destroy one of the ships? For example why didn't Kirk just shoot the bad Lazarus and then destroy his ship?
    – Celeritas
    Dec 20, 2013 at 9:08
  • 2
    My theory, and this is just a theory, since the episode doesn't explain this very well, is that having the corridor occupied by identical matter from both universes prevents the creation of another trans-universal bridge. Just killing the 'evil' Lazarus wouldn't prevent somebody else from repeating his work. It's not a very good explanation, but it's also not a very good episode. Dec 20, 2013 at 10:54
  • I wonder why the Lazaruses were exempt from dying from old age. Feb 11, 2016 at 18:21
  • 1
    I recommend Marc Cushman's "These Are the Voyages: Season 1" book that covers each episode's production in great detail. "The Alternative Factor" story had great potential at the beginning but script changes forced by NBC and subsequent casting changes, along with limited budget and an overwhelmed effects house sabotaged the episode into what we know it as today. amazon.com/gp/product/0989238105
    – NKCampbell
    Feb 11, 2016 at 18:44

Logically there should have been several solutions to the problem that didn't involve trapping Lazarus with a madman at his throat forever. Destroying either ship and getting the mentally distrubed Lazarus medical attention/confinement would solve the problem. Putting an ankle bracelet on him which would notify authorities if he came within 100 feet of dylithium crystals would also work.

What bothers me is that the mentally disturbed Lazarus is treated so badly/poorly. He falls off a cliff at least twice, once warning Kirk away from falling rocks, and is the first character I've seen in the series to have blood on him. He explains how he is trying to save the universe from a monster, but is called a liar by Spock. No room for "you are mistaken", "you are in error", but simply "A Liar". After saving Captain Kirk's life, he is grabbed and thrown into an eternal hell by Kirk with no explanation or apology. The script beats up this character, as does the crew, verbally and physically. I felt sorry for him before he was thrown into hell. Captain Kirk only seems to have sympathy for the other Lazarus, who didn't seem like a sympathetic character at all.

  • 1
    Your points are all valid, but it didn't exactly answer the question: why was he locked there?
    – CHEESE
    Feb 11, 2016 at 18:24

According to my limited understanding of this very peculiar episode of TOS (in my opinion, it was very strange episode and the plot was hard to grasp). The antimatter doppelganger of Lazarus cannot even cross to our universe to walk around and come in contact with matter. Everything he comes in contact with (air, ground, people etc) would annihilate at that very moment. Of course, same goes for the enterprise and its people, too.

  • 1
    That's already been covered in the accepted answer. Sep 26, 2017 at 17:04

This site is temporarily in read-only mode and not accepting new answers.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .