• This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn more.

Wacky Reviews: Star Trek

CaptainWacky

I want to smell dark matter
#1
Here wo go, all six series (yes The Animated Series too!) reviewed by me. I'll be watching them a series at a time. In other words, when I get to DS9 I won't be alternating episodes between it and TNG (and later it and Voyager) because I don't really see any point in doing that! But that's years away so let's start with...

Star Trek

The Man Trap - As you probably know, the original pilot named 'The Cage' starred Jeffrey Hunter as Christopher Pike and was rejected by NBC. A second pilot, 'Where No Man Has Gone Before', starring William Shatner as James Kirk was made, with only Leonard Nimoy's alien character Spock surviving from the original pilot. You'd think it would make sense to air 'Where No Man Has Gone Before' first, but NBC went with this one instead. It's an okay introduction to what Star Trek is all about, yes. It has an alien planet and a strange new shapeshifting alien lifeform. But it's not a very good episode!

The first thing I noticed is that Kirk sounds bored iin his opening Captain's log. He and McCoy are on a planet where an old girlfriend of McCoy's is living with her new husband. They want salt for some reason! Right away we see that Kirk, McCoy and an doomed redshirt (he's actually wearing blue. In fact none of he officers who died in the episode are wearing red shirts!) each see Nancy differently. To be frank it's not a good episode for McCoy. He seems pretty incompetent most of the way through due to being clouded by his feelings for Nancy. Kirk even tells him to stop "thinking with his glands" at one point. Ouch.

The creature kills a crewman to get on the Enterprise and changes shape and kills several more crewmen until it becomes McCoy himself. Nancy's husband knew she was a salt vampire all along but helped her because of love and that's a fairly nice plot development. It's a fine plot, really, the problem is that it's slow and dreary. The only excitement comes in the last few minutes where McCoy refuses to shoot the creature in Nancy's shape even when it's REALLY OBVIOUS that it's not Nancy and it's about to suck all of Kirk's salt. Spock beats the shit out of Nancy (which is pretty funny!), we see the creature's true form at last (and it looks pretty good considering) and McCoy finally kills it. There's a hint of a deeper story where Kirk feels bad that they've killed the last creature of its kind, but the episode isn't interested in expanding on that.

The first time we see Spock he's telling off Uhura and failing to understand how those emotional humans talk to each other! He shows no emotion on learning that an officer has died and Uhura is outraged. It's a pretty good introduction and he's automatically the most interesting character. And when he bleeds he has GREEN BLOOD! I hope we see more of this Spock guy.

I also enjoyed the scene where Janice Rand goes to see Sulu and his weird living plants. It has some personality to it. (And Sulu doesn't get unreasonably horny around Rand like other crewmembers, BECAUSE HE WAS GAY ALL ALONG?)

So yeah, it's a pretty simplistic episode. Not terrible, not enough to make me think "I'm giving up on this Star Trek thing right now!" if I was in the sixties, but nothing really to recommend it.

SCORE(just for fun, don't take seriously!): 5.5/10
 
Last edited:

Fuddlemiff

Is this real life?
#2
The salt vampire scared the crap out of me as a child. Didn't help that they kept showing over the end credits of other episodes either!
 

CaptainWacky

I want to smell dark matter
#3
Charlie X - Seventeen year old Charlie Evans has been alone on a planet for fourteen years after a transport ship crashed. Naturally he acts a bit weird around people. Especially around Janice (though to be fair we saw adult men acting weird around Janice Rand last episode.) He slaps her bum! But he also makes perfume appear from nowhere and pictures of her appear on playing cards? Turns out he's got some weird powers! Charlie's former ship disappears and Spock starts to suspect there's something not right about him. Charlie makes some chess pieces melt and continues to act rapey around Rand (Kirk just smiles when he tells her, which is funny and a bit scary!) Kirk does give him a talking about the importance of consent then serves as a mentor to Charlie, teaching him self defence. We get shirtless Kirk for the first time! Charlie makes a guy who laughs at him disappear and finally the crew know about his powers (it took quite a long time to get here. You'd think more people would have questioned his ability to make photos of Janice Rand appear on playing cards.)

Kirk, Spock and McCoy debate what to do with Charlie, in a good scene. I like how Kirk makes Charlie respect him so Charlie won't just kill them all. Charlie gets increasingly out of control, turns a girl into a lizard and makes Rand disappear(!) Charlie basically takes control of the ship and walks around the place fucking people up (including making a woman's face disappear!) You'd think Kirk would have warned the crew to avoid him by now! Charlie ends up reaching the limits of his powers and Kirk forces him to go over the limit. Rand reappears (and everyone else, but we don't see them) and a SCARY GREEN FACE appears on the bridge. Scary Green Face explains that they gave Charlie powers to he could survive on the planet, but it isn't safe for him to be around humans anymore. Kirk tries to argue to let Charlie stay but really you can't aruge with a scary green face. Charlie is taken away by the aliens and it's a pretty sad ending. So much for that optimistic future!

It's a much, much better episode than the previous one. The boy playing Charlie (okay, I looked it up and he was actually a 26 year old playing 17 but he was still good) does a great job of making him creepy as fuck but also somewhat sympathetic and pitiable. Kirk comes across as an intelligenct and capable Captain. A bit slow to start, but once Charlie goes full out crazy is very entertaining.

It's also the episode where Spock is playing a Vulcan lute and Uhura starts singing! Spock smiles(!?) and I like seeing the kind of flirtatious relationship between them continue. I think I found her singing quite cringey when I was young and first saw this, but really the only problem is it goes on too long. I was relieved when Charlie gave her a sore throat.

SCORE: 8/10


Where No Man Has Gone Before
- So we're back to the pilot and everything looks a bit different. Spock looks yellow? We've got two new crewmembers who seem important, Gary Mitchell ane Elizabeth Dehner. Sulu's a physicist not a botanist? There's a new docotr? Spock shouts a lot? This must have been a bit confusing in 1966. The Enterprise has found a beacon from a ship missing for two hundred years and leaves the galaxy to investigate. There's a wierd barrier at the edge of the galaxy, apparently! (Gary Mitchell holds a Yeoman's hand while they're flyling through, which is kind of adorable.) Gary Mitchell's eyes glow silver after flying through the barrier so that's kind of ominous! The missing ship was investigating ESP (which seems to be an accepted medical phenomenom in the 23rd century?) Mitchell develops ESP and quickly gets all scary. He comes on to Dehner and she's into it. She speaks up for Mitchell when everyone else is already thinking of killing him.

Dehner ends up betraying the crew (because she's got the horn) and it turns out she has powers too. Kirk manages to reason with her because she's not as far gone and she uses her powers to weaken Mitchell so Kirk can punch him. Mitchell ends up crushed under a huge, unconvincing rock. Dehner just dies.

I'm kind of surprised to say this, but I actually liked Charlie X more than this one? I'm sure I remembered this one being the better of that two. Maybe it's because there isn't really much depth to Mitchell. He just instantly goes evil as soon as he develops his powers and doesn't seem conflicted at all. Okay, to be fair Kirk and Spock are already planning to kill him but it's hard to feel sorry for him when he's all "I AM A GOD YOU ARE INSECTS." What I do like about it is the feeling of them exploring deep in space and finding strange things that they weren't expecting. The concept of Star Trek is what I like about it, basically.

We see Scotty for the first time and appropriately enough he's beaming something up!

I love the matte painting on the mining planet.

Yeah it says "James R. Kirk" on the tombstone Mitchell makes. Maybe it was a private joke between them!

SCORE: 7/10
 

CaptainWacky

I want to smell dark matter
#4
The Naked Time - A strange alien virus causes the crew to start losing self-control. It starts with a crewmember seemingly going SPACE MAD and threatening to stab himself, but things soon get pretty goofy. Riley starts acting stereotypically Irish because, umm, that's what he's like when he's drunk? Sulu starts running around shirtless and oiled up (hello!) with a rapier. Riley takes over engineering and gets increasingly annoying. He sings and talks about ice cream. A lot. It's pretty bad and goes on too long. It's the kind of thing that would make you be embarrassed to be a Star Trek fan if someone walked in on you watching it.

What saves the episode a bit is when Chapel gets infected and starts coming on to Spock. He's infected too and starts to break down with his buried emotions coming out. Spock being "part human" was previously mentioned in Where No Man Has Gone Before but it wasn't clear if it was a joke or not there. It's confirmed now and it makes the most interesting character even more interesting! Nimoy's acting here is...well, he'll do better acting later. But the contrast with how he normally acts is pretty effective. The scene with him confessing his feelings to Kirk is by far the best part of the episode. Kirk comes down with the virus and admits he's in love with the Enterprise.

Spock and Scotty come up with some technobabble way to save the Enterprise and they...end up travelling back in time. Somehow. It makes no sense and feels completely random and out of place. I know it's there because this episode was originally going to be a two-parter with the second part focusing on the time travel, but that didn't end up happening so it's all a bit weird!

So yeah, this episode is a mix of terrible (anything with Riley), really good (Spock and Kirk) and completely bizarre (the ending.)

Scotty gets named now (and points out that he can't change the laws of physics, in case you were confused!), and he, Sulu and Uhara all appear (along with Kirk, Spock and McCoy of course...and Chapel and Rand even!) so it feels like the gang's all here! Sulu is flying the ship now and it's suggested that botany was just a hobby. Uhura saying "sorry, neither!" after Sulu calls her a "fair maiden" is a great line.

I like it when Kirk writes on his big pad with his big pen. It's cute.

SCORE: 7/10
 

CaptainWacky

I want to smell dark matter
#5
The Enemy Within - Yep, it's the one where Kirk is split into two Kirk's by a transporter accident: one good, one evil. And HOLY SHIT right from the first time we see Evil Kirk this episode is William Shatner at his most William Shatner. If you can't tolerate him when he goes super hammy then you're going to hate this episode, but I thought he was pretty amazing! He's not boring anyway, you've got to give him that.

What's interesting is that they discover Evil Kirk almost immediately after the same thing happens to a space dog (with horns!) Evil Kirk goes to have his way with Rand and Shatner is terrifying in this scene. Evil Kirk goes on the run and Good Kirk struggles with command. It's not that Evil Kirk is just an evil clone of Kirk, he's all of Kirk's aggression and passion split off and Good Kirk can't function without him. Then we get the "I'M CAPTAIN KIRK SCENE!" that someone edited footage of Chris Pine into!

Meanwhile Sulu is cold on a planet and they can't send a shuttle to save him because they haven't been thought of yet.

Evil Kirk and Good Kirk have a faceoff in Engineering about halfway through and really great, tense stuff, then it gets even better as Spock does the Vulcan Nerve Pinch for the first time to take out Evil Kirk. Spock and McCoy debate the implications of Kirk being unable to function without his evil side and it's also great stuff! Spock and McCoy clashing feels so right. I like how the episode has some completely over the top campy fun and philosophying about the nature of man. That's Star Trek!

We do get a few too many scenes of Sulu shivering. I mean, we get it already. He's cold.

McCoy says "he's dead, Jim" about the Space Dog and it's great. They fail to combine the two space dogs and Spock talks about how has two halves clashing within him (Nimoy's acting seemed weirdly off in some of the early scenes and MAYBE he was trying to show that? Or he just hasn't gotten Spock down yet.) We then get A LOT MORE of Sulu being cold and it's too much and he says something ridiculous about it being 117 degress below zero? Evil Kirk fools Good Kirk and escapes and they have another showdown on the bridge and sadly the effects hurt it a bit this time. It's no Orphan Black. They get merged again and I guess that means it's fine to beam up Sulu and the others now? Okay!

There is a lot to like about this episode! It really is classic Star Trek, with an unforgettable Shatner performance. It does drag a tad, but the worst part is the very end when Spock suggests to Rand that she was turned on by being almost raped by Evil Kirk with a wry smile and cheeky comedy music? I don't know what they were thinking with this. I know it was the sixties but in Charlie X they actually did a pretty good job explaining why what Charlie did to Rand was wrong. This just makes Spock seem like some deviant sicko.

But otherwise very good!

SCORE: 8/10
 

CaptainWacky

I want to smell dark matter
#6
Mudd's Women - Let's just get this out of the way first: this episode isn't very good. The Man Trap was a bit dull but it wasn't terrible...this kind of is. The Enteprise rescues a scoundrel named Harry Mudd (he uses a fake name at first.) He's kind of Irish! He wears a hat! The actor playing Mudd is quite funny and I can see why they brought him back for a (much better) episode later. By far the best scene of the episode is his trial where the computer keeps saying "INCORRECT" to everything he says. The computer is quite the deadpan comedy actor!

Sadly the main plot is what's terrible as Harry is transporting three beautiful women to be wives to miners. The women have an intoxicating effect on the men of the Enterprise so we get countless shots of guys (including Sulu, but maybe he's just trying to fit in!) leering at them. It's not funny. It's not interesting. It's just...urgh. After half an hour of tediousness we find out that the women are actually ugly and Harry has them hooked on SPACE DRUGS to make them hot. The miners won't give the Enterprise the "lithium crystals" the ship needs (for some reason) and one of the women runs out in a dust storm because she's sick of this awful episode. The miner finds her and he's nasty to her. The episoe kind of tries to say something a bit here with the woman standing up to the miner and explaining that simple home cooking is more important that beauty. Or something? Then she turns beautiful WITHOUT taking the drug just out of the power of believing in herself.

...

It's shit.

"A most annoying, emotional episode." Thanks Spcok.

There's a weird bit where Kirk snaps at Scotty?

The direction seems a lot different from previous episodes with lots of close-ups. That doesn't make it better or worse, it's just a thing. Uhura's wearing gold!?

SCORE: 2.5/10
 
Last edited:

CaptainWacky

I want to smell dark matter
#8
What Are Little Girls Made Of? - The Enterprise heads to a planet where the legendary Dr. Roger Corby was last seen before losing all contract five years ago. He is the ex fiancee of Nurse Chapel and she and Kirk beam down to see him. When Corby doesn't show up, Kirk has two security men in RED SHIRTS beam down and oh boy it's about to happen! Within a minute of beaming down one of them has already fallen to his death. The other is smothered by a huge bald scary guy! It's pretty great. A woman named Andrea in a RIDICULOUSLY GREAT DRESS shows up. Corby and Chapel make out right in front of Kirk and he's cool with it. Things get out of control fast and Kirk shoots Corby's assistant (who turns out to be a FUCKING ROBOT!) and the big blad guy picks up Kirk like a baby. The in the next Ruk (the big guy) talks in Kirk's voice to fool the Enterprise! It's all pretty awesome. Ruk is an alien robot left behind by "the ancient ones" and Corby has replicated their work to create Andrea and his dead assistant. Corby makes Andrea kiss Kirk and slap him. And things are going to get even crazier!

Corby makes an android Kirk by spinning the real Kirk and an android round really fast and I am in love with this episode. Shatner gets to play another version of Kirk again, this time an android, and he's pretty good at it! Corby claims that he could transfer human souls into android bodies by spinning them around fast enough(!?) and Kirk compares him to Hitler. Corby wants to do away with death but all create programmable people with no real free will. It's a classic Star Trek plot! Kirk grabs Corby in a choke and uses him as a hostage to escape. Kirk pulls an unconvincing styrofoam rock SHAPED LIKE A PENIS from the roof of the cave (as if this episode couldn't get any better!) but Ruk overpowers him. Ruk saves Kirk's life for some reason and meanwhile android Kirk is on the Enterprise and calls Spoack a "half breed." Kirk, rather brilliantly, implanted this phrase into the android when it was being created. Kirk is a smart captain!

Kirk then defeats Andrea BY KISSING HER and yet another Trek cliche is born. It's glorious. Ruk explains that the machines killed their masters and that idea probably didn't originate here but it surely influenced a lot of science fiction writers who were watching. Kirk turns Ruk on Corby with LOGIC and Corby kills Ruk realy quickly. He didn't even give him a chance! Big twist: Corby's a robot too! Android Kirk won't kiss Andrea because it's illogical so she instantly murders him! All this killing means that the androids aren't perfect being so Corby gives up and he and Andrea suicide pact each other because Kirk's fucked their robot brains up so much.

If I actually tried to analyse this episode I could easily find problems, I'm sure. Corby claims the androids are exact duplicates with the same memories and personalities of the original human, impossible to tell from the original, yet the copies don't have emotions so ithey're not perfect copies at all! If Corby's an android, why does Ruk back away when Kirk's choking him and why is Corby coughing in pain after? Andrea killing android Kirk makes literally no sense. Kirk's "logical" argument to defeat the robots probably doesn't hold up either (it all seems very convenient.) Despite being the episode where Chapel has her largest ever part she's completely passive throughout and just sits there looking worried while Kirk saves the day.

But WHO CARES this episode is great campy fun all the way through with many iconic moments, androids, some good guest stars (Ruk in particular is perfect), a sexy android lady in an amazing dress AND A ROCK SHAPED LIKE A PENIS. The best episode yet.

Kirk's brother George Samuel is mentioned for the first time.

Corby: Do you think I could love a machine?
Chapel: Did you?
(She's asking if he shagged the Andrea android.)

SCORE: 8.5/10
 

CaptainWacky

I want to smell dark matter
#9
Miri - It's another planet that looks exactly like Earth! That seems unlikely. The crew beam down and it looks like Earth from the 1960s. Weird! They meet a zombie looking adult with the mind of a child and he quickly dies. The meet a young girl named Miri who uses some strange language. Kirk manages to charm her (he would!) and the crew find lots of scientific research. It turns out on this planet children get sick, aged super fast and die as soon as they hit puberty. Spock finds out that the children age super slowly. Despite being immensely old they still have the minds of children and there's a gang of feral youths terrifying the crew. The Enterprise crew have contracted the disease and it's a race against time to cure them! In theory. It actually feels pretty slow and boring.

Miri is "becoming a woman" and has the hots for Kirk. The girl who plays her does a pretty good job portraying her infatuation for him (though really she was 18 at the time and they hid it by putting her in a baggy dress. But she still looks younger than the leader of the evil kids who looks about 30.) Her scenes with Kirk are some of the better parts of the episode, even if him manipulating her is ever so slightly creepy. On the whole this is really dull stuff. Spock and McCoy stand around reading scientific reports for most of the episode. The feral children sing "nah nah nee nah nah!" a lot and it's pretty annoying. There is a bit of creepiness to it, which is good, and it has the feel of a zombie movie at times. But Kirk, Spock and McCoy just kind of stand around in a lab for 90% of the episode so it really could have done with more creepy children stuff. The episode really does nothing to explore how this society of children has survived for so long either. Wouldn't they have all killed each other by now?

Rand freaks out (because she's a woman) and makes Kirk look at her legs(!) and Miri gets jealous. She teams up with the evil children to kidnap Rand but quickly goes back to Kirk's side and Kirk says "NO BLAH BLAH BLAH" to the kids and this is pretty bad stuff. He makes a speech and it's not Shatner's best performance (but he is surrounded by annoying kids.) McCoy comes up with a vaccine and tests it on himself. Kirk contacts "Space Central" to help the kids and makes a joke about not getting involved with "older women." THE END.

I've never liked this episode and still don't. The pace is plodding and outside from a hint of an interesting idea and a good guest performance from Miri's actress there isn't really anything to recommend it.

Oh, and remember that duplicate Earth? It's not mentioned again after the first five minutes. It's almost like it was just to save money or something!

Spock does say "a beaker full of death" at one point so that's good.

Uhura. Scotty and Sulu don't appear at all (there's very little of the Enterprise in the episode.)

SCORE: 5/10
 

CaptainWacky

I want to smell dark matter
#11
Dagger of the Mind - The Enterprise is delivering cargo to the Tantalus penal colony, when a deranged man escapes and is beamed onto the ship. At first we think he's an escaped mental patient, but it turns out he was really a doctor there. Dr. Adams of Tantalus claims the doctor was experimenting with a new brain controlling beam, but McCoy has doubts and voices them to Kirk. McCoy has Dr. Helen Noel beam down to Tantalus with Kirk. It seems Kirk has a history with her and Spock's face on realising this is pretty great. And let's just get this out of the way: Dr Helen Noel is really really good looking. Her skirt is insanely short and she has one of those sixties bras that give women pointy breasts. I like her. The chemistry between her and Kirk is strong and it's fun watching them together.

Dr. Adams seems charming and on the level, but shows Kirk his "neural neutraliser" and Kirk is suspicious. It's a pretty scary circle of flashing lights! Helen Noel thinks it's fine (it's a bit annoying how the so called expert is fool and Kirk gets to look smarter), but Van Gelder (the escaped doctor) is still ranting and raving so Spock decides to do a VULCAN MIND MELD to get to the truth! The mind meld scene is really good with cool mysterious music and good acting from Nimoy and the guy playing Van Gelder (who gives a very strong performance throughout the episode.)

Kirk wants Noel to demonstrate the Neural Neutraliser on him with harmless suggestions. She starts to make him think they really did have sex after the Christmas party, but Van Gelder comes in and makes Kirk believe he's madly in love with her. Shatner gets to do his agony face as Adams tortures him. Kirk gets over his treatment pretty quickly and sends Helen crawling through air ducts (and remember what I said about her short skirt...yeah.) She kicks a guy into a high voltage box (fuck yeah!) Kirk escapes and kisses Helen, just in time for Spock to come in and raise an eyebrow! Adams has his mind emptied and dies. How ironic!

I like this episode. It has a good tense atmosphere and the Van Gelder actor really sells the fear. He looked positively haunted. It's not going to be anyone's favourite episode ever (or maybe it is, I don't know!) but it's definitely on the "very good" list.

South Park once did a remake of this episode but in a planetarium. That crazy South Park!

SCORE: 8.5/10
 

CaptainWacky

I want to smell dark matter
#12
The Corbomite Maneuver - The Enterprise encounters a strange ALIEN CUBE in space while Spock is in command on the Bridge and Shirtless Kirk is pumping some boxes with his feet in Sickbay. It's a good start. Everyone's confused by the cube. Crewman Bailey is a bit jumpy and wants to blow it up. The cube starts flying closer to them and the dramatic music tells us that this is very dramatic. The Enterprise eventually has to destroy the cube due to the radiation it's giving off. Kirk has the crew run drills and Rand brings him some food. Kirk complains about having a female yeoman, which feels weird but this was actually only the second episode made (not counting The Cage) and chronologically Rand's first appearance. Another probe is sent at the Enterprise. This one is big and round! Kirk hails them and calls the Enterprise "The United Earth Ship Enterprise."

A scary alien voice named Balok says the previous probe was a warning which the Enterprise should not have destroyed. It gives the Enterprise "ten Earth time periods known as minutes" to make preparations before dying. It's a pretty great line. The Enterprise is disabled and we get to see Balok's big scary alien face on screen. Bailey has a freakout because everyone's sitting about being calm when they only have eight minutes to live. I can kind of see his point! Bailey is sent away and the countdown continues. Kirk starts thinking about poker and tells Balok that the ship contains a substance named "Corbomite" which will destroy any vessel which destroys a Federation starship. And also "we grow annoyed at your foolishness." It's a great moment with lots of those close-ups of the crew TOS does so much. Spock reveals his mother was a very fortunate Earth woman! Bailey is allowed to return to his post before the timer runs out, which is nice. Rand brings coffee to the bridge right after the countdown ends which is pretty weird.

Balok sends a ship to bring the Enterprise to a "First Federation" planet to meet with him. Balok's big scary voice becomes a big scary exposition voice and we get even more dramantic music and dramatic close-ups of all the characters. It's a bit much now, frankly. It feels a bit like Airplane. The Enterprise is dragged by tractor beam in a sequence that goes on way too long and has lots of close-ups and shots of crewmembers shaking. The Enterprise shakes out of the tractor beam and I guess this somehow damages Balok's ship because he sends out a distress signal. Kirk, McCoy and Bailey beam over to Balok's ship and it's really small...and the big scary face is just a puppet! Blalok is seven year old Clint Howard speaking with an adult voice and this is a great, Twilight Zone like twist ending to the episode. Bailey stays behind so Balok can learn about humanity.

There's a lot of good stuff here. The final twist is the part everyone remembers, and rightfully so! The Corbomite Maneuver scene itself is also very good and there's plenty of fun interactions between Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Bailey. BUT like I said it DOES get repetitive and drag a bit by the end. Sorry, but it does. I realise that they couldn't do the kind of special effects we'd expect in 2016 at the time. So we get the cube, the sphere and then the tractor beam sequence. They're all pretty similar with all the dramatic music and close-ups of the crew. At first it's good and tense, and the Corbomite part would have made a good climax, but by the time we get to the tractor beam part it's all too much. It does't ruin the episoe or anything, just stops it from being the first one I'd give 9/10 to. SORRY BALOK, PLEASE DON'T KILL ME.

SCORE: 8/10
 

CaptainWacky

I want to smell dark matter
#13
The Menagerie: Part 1 - The Enterprise supposedly receives a transmission telling them to meet with its former Captain Christopher Pike at Starbase 11. But he couldn't possible have sent the message because he's been horribly injured and confined to a scary wheelchair! He can only communicate through a beeping light, one beep for yes, two for no. I'm not sure why they couldn't at least get him Stephen Hawking's voicebox! Spock wants to take Pike somewhere but Pike beeps twice for no. Spock steals the Enterprise in a quite exciting sequence, making much use of the Vulcan Nerve Pinch. Kirk is left behind on the stabase and Spock commans the Enterprise, with a fake message from Kirk to Bones to follow Spock's instructions. Kirk follows in a shuttlecraft with the Commodore of the starbase. Because, apparently, these shuttles can travel as fast as the Enterprise? Why didn't Spock just steal a shuttle then? Anyway, Spock is taking Pike to Talos IV and there's a death sentence for any Starfleet officer who goes there. Spock gives himself up for mutiny but the ship just keeps flying itself to Talos IV anyway. Spock goes on SPACE TRIAL in SPACE COURT and pleads SPACE GUILTY but is SPACE COURT MARTIALED anyway. He has evidence to present, footage of the Enterprise from thirteen years ago...

I forgot how much time the framing device actually takes up in part one. It's quite a while (nearly 30 minutes) before we get the archive footage from 'The Cage'. I'm sure you know that 'The Cage' was the original pilot which starred Jeffrey Hunter as Christopher Pike. We get to see some of it in this episode. And wow, Spock used to shout a lot thirteen years ago! There's a good scene between Pike and Doctor Boyce, as Pike still feels bad about the deaths of several crewmembers on a previous mission. He's thinking of quitting Starfleet. Pike, Spock and others beam down to Talos IV and Pike leaves his most experience officer in charge...a woman! WEARING TROUSERS. Named Number One! That's different! Spock SMILES at some vibrating plants. There's some raggedy old men on the planet and one young woman who everyone stares at because they've never seen a young woman before? Also the time barrier's been broken and maybe Star Trek: Discovery will deal with the implications of the breaking of the time barrier. Pike is captured by some scary aliens with big heads and it turns out the old men were actually illusions.

It's hard to judge this, really! The framing device is exciting at first but gets increasingly silly. Then we're watching a completely different episode by the second half. I'll say more about The Cage as an episode after Part 2.

SCORE: 7.5/10

The Menagerie: Part 2 - Pike faces off with the Talosians and this is where 'The Cage' really takes off. Hunter is excellent here and the design of the Talosians actually still looks great. He's made to relive memories of past missions but with Vina, the hot girl. We cut back to the increasingly irrelevant framing device a few times for Spock and Kirk to say "let's watch more!" Vina wants to "please" Pike but he just wants to escape. Pike keeps defying the Talosians and cleverly testing their abilities. The Talosians want him to mate with Vina. One of them says "excellent" like Mister Burns. Pike gets to see Vina as a green-skinned Orion animal woman. We of course cut back to show that Kirk finds her hot, because he's Kirk. The Talosians beam Number One and Yeoman Colt down to give Pike more options and Spock says "THE WOMEN!" which is fucking brilliant. I love shouting Spock. Pike figures out that the Talosians can't deal with aggressive human emotions and grabs one around the throat. We finally go back to the Enterprise for a few minutes and Spock is found guilty (even though he already confessed anyway and the whole trial was literally pointless.)

We get the final part of 'The Cage'. Number One sets her phasesr to explode because death would be better than creating a race of slave humans. The Talosians finally let the crew go free but Vina can't go with them. She's actually old and the Talosians couldn't put her back together properly. So stays on the planet and Pike doesn't even try to convince her to leave because she's ugly. He's kind of a dick?

THEN IT FUCKING TURNS OUT THE COMMODORE WAS AN ILLUSION! That whole trial was absolutely pointless! It was just to distract Kirk! Couldn't they have done something more entertaining to distract him? Then the Starbase sends a letter saying "acually forget that whole death penalty thing!" That's what wrapped up then! This is pretty terrible, really. Then we get to see Pike go down to the planet and live an illusion life with Vina. Kirk smiles, but is this really a happy ending? Won't the Talosians just breed their race of slaves now? Would Pike really want to live with them when he really hated them last time he was there?

(Why was there footage of Pike happily going below surface with Vina anyway? I mean, in real life why was that filmed?)

SO anyway, this is on the whole better than part 1 because we get a lot more of 'The Cage' here and despite some flaws 'The Cage' is a really good episode. On the other hand the framing device just completely falls apart here...

I did like Jeffrey Hunter as Pike and of course it makes one wonder what the show would have been like if he'd been the Captain instead of Kirk. He's a lot more serious than Kirk, but we only have one episode to judge him on. Maybe he'd have shown a more lighthearted side in the series. Would we have gotten episodes like 'The Enemy Within' with Hunter though? It's hard to imagine him doing some of the stuff Shatner does. And I do really like Captain Kirk. I don't know if I'd want to live in a world where William Shaternwasn't famous. Would be celebrating Star Trek's 50th birthday if Hunter had come back for the series? I don't know! I'm just typing questions!

LET'S TALK ABOUT WOMEN IN THE ORIGINAL SERIES. We have Number One here, the most experience officer on the ship, Pike's second in command. That's great and super progressive! She even wears trousers were than the (honestly ridiculously) short skirt Uhura and Rand and the like wear. I can understand NBC not wanting Number One in the series just based on her lack of personality and the fact that Majel Barrett isn't really that great of an actress. But I also wonder if NBC told Gene to not have any women in command positions. Because if you look at Uhura, Rand and Chape they're all in roles that are stereotypically female. We haven't seen any female characters like Number One on the proper series yet (the closest was Helen Noel who at least got to kick some ass.) Then again at least Uhura, Rand and Chapel have a bit of personality, whereas Number One was basically a walking computer. And it's not like 'The Cage' was free of sexism: Colt is basically useless and there's that bit where everyone has a perve at Vina (and her staying behind at the end basically because she's ugly.)

ANYWAY, I enjoyed seeing part of 'The Cage' in this two-parter but I would have rather just seen the full episode without the awkward framing story.

SCORE: 8.5/10
 
#14
I love The Cage. I love it. I love Jeffrey Hunter as Pike. I love Captain Pike's Captain's Hat (ON SCREEN FOR LIKE HALF A SECOND). I really like the uniforms (I think the women's uniform here with the cool collar thing is better than the minidress THERE I SAID IT) I like the whole "What if..." vibe it now has, with a totally different Enterprise crew. I like that Yeoman Colt is really really hot.

But most of all I like how crazily Gene Roddenberry it is. Because Gene was at heart just a big old pervert (this would be the guy who would later give us the concept of "love instructors" in the TMP novelisation) this is really just an episode where aliens kidnap the Captain and are like "FUCK THIS HOT GIRL" and he's all "NO I have free will and will only fuck hot girls when I want to damnit!!" and they're like "YEAH BUT WHAT IF SHE'S GREEN" and "OKAY BUT WHAT ABOUT THE HOT YEOMAN DAMNIT PIKE JUST FUCK SOMETHING" but then at the end they're all "GOOD THING YOU DIDN'T FUCK HER BECAUSE SHE'S ACTUALLY UGLY" and she stays on the planet because she's just so ugly.

I love it. It's go Gene.

(Why was there footage of Pike happily going below surface with Vina anyway? I mean, in real life why was that filmed?)
Soooooo in the original edit of the episode, after Vina reveals that she's ugly and wants to remain on Talos IV, the Talosians not only give her the illusion of her beauty back, but also a fake Captain Pike for her to live with - this is where the footage of them both going below the service comes from. In the original episode, Actual Pike is watching Vina and Fake Pike walk away. When this got turned into The Menagerie this was edited out, so they could reuse the footage.
 

CaptainWacky

I want to smell dark matter
#15
Ah-h-h, that makes sense! So at least Vina got to fuck a fake Pike orginally. And it makes Pike saying he understands why she stays behind make a bit more sense?
 
#16
Yeah basically. Pike didn't want to accept the fake reality of living with a pretend person but Vine was fine with it because she was so ugly it's not like a real man would ever be with her!
 

CaptainWacky

I want to smell dark matter
#19
The Conscience of the King - Kirk and a friend are watching a play when Kirk's friend says of an actor (Koridian) "that man on the stage...is Kodos the Executioner!" It's quite the teaser! Kodos was the governor of an Earth colony who executed four thousand people during a crisis and has long been thought dead. Kirk flirts with the actor's nineteen year old daughter (it's not clear yet if he's doing it to get information on the actor...or just because he's Kirk) but finds his friend murdered. Kirk takes the acting troupe on the Enterprise to investigate further. Turns out that Kirk and Riley (the annoying Irish guy from The Naked Time) are two of only nine people who can identify Kodos. Spock goes to McCoy to talk about Kirk's strange behaviour and I like how Spock trusts McCoy's judgement. Kirk keeps flirting with Lenore and she talks about the surging and throbbing power of the Enterprise. Ooh err! They kiss. Spock figures out what's going on and that the Koridian and his actors have been nearby when seven of the nine people who could identify Koridian as Kodos have died.

Kirk has left Riley along in engineering as bait (pretty brutal!) and Riley has Uhura sing 'Beyond The Stars' to him. Why do episodes with Riley always have to involve singing? Riley is poisoned but McCoy saves his life. Spock and McCoy go to confront Kirk together. I love how McCoy defends Spock to Kirk, the way he earlier defended Kirk to Spock. A phaser is set on overload somewhere in Kirk's quarters (apparently it will take out the WHOLE DECK if it explodes) and Kirk puts the ship on DOUBLE Red Alert which is amazing. Kirk finds the phaser hiding in the red alert light and throws it down a waste disposal tube (I guess the waste disposal part of the ship is heavily blast proofed or something.) It's by far the best part of the episode so far. Kirk finally goes to confront Kodas/Koridian (really I wish this scene had come earlier) and makes him read a speech Kodos once made. They debate the morality of what Kodas did and it's a very good scene. Okay, the guy playing Kodos is very theatrical in his performance but that seems appropriate to this episode. Lenore comes in and says Kirks is a merciless machine like his ship.

Riley goes to kill Kodos but Kirk stops him. Lenore confesses to her father that she killed the seven. Koridian confesses to what he did and Lenore goes full crazy and ends up "accidentally" killing him (really he jumped in the way before she fired the phaser.) Naturally she starts quoting Shakespeare over his body because that's what actors do. McCoy says she'll receive the best of care and his a kind of ambiguous line about her "remembering nothing" that makes you think he might have erased her memory? But it's really not clear!

So yeah, this episode really wants to be a Shakespearan tragedy. Koridian and Lenore talk in an over the top, theatrical way. I'm fine with that, it makes the episode stand out. But I would have liked more of Kirk and Koridian interacting. Their scene was the best part of the episode. Kirk debating a genocidal leader is a lot more interesting than Kirk getting off with a teenager. And even though it's an episode where Kirk kind of goes off the rails he doesn't actually have to face any serious consequences and never really admits he might have gone too far to Spock or McCoy. He doesn't show any regret at nearly getting Riley killed. Then agian, Riley was pretty annoying.

SCORE: 7.5/10