The classic salt monster episode and also, the first episode aired in the series! Originally broadcast on September 8, 1966 this is The Man Trap!
Captain’s Log Stardate 1513.1
While on a resupply mission to M-113, Kirk and crew encounter Doctor Crater and his wife Nancy, who McCoy once had a relationship with. Upon arrival all of the crew members see Nancy Crater as someone different, with McCoy noting that she hasn’t changed since they were together several years before. Before long one of the crewmen are lured away by Nancy and, when Nancy is found screaming, it is discovered that crewman Darnell is dead from what Nancy claims is a poisonous plant.
Before long it is discovered that Nancy is actually a Salt Vampire creature who can appear to anyone as an attractive mate in order for it to feed. She and Doctor Crater have been living on the planet for sometime until they ran out of Salt to feed it. The creature, seeing an opportunity to feed, attacks the ships crew, killing Crater in its feeding frenzy only to be taken down by McCoy himself who has been convinced that it is in fact his old lover Nancy. In the end, Enterprise leaves the planet knowing that they may have inadvertently killed the last of a species.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
This was the world’s first experience with Star Trek, introducing everyone to Kirk, McCoy, Spock and the rest of the crew, even though it was not the fist episode produced. While the initial reaction by critics were, less than positive, the series would go on to create one of the most beloved franchises to ever exist.
The Episode Itself plays off as almost a prototype to that of Ridley Scott’s Alien with a dangerous being stalking the ship that was unknowingly picked up by the ships crew. While this being is much less of an insidious being than that of the Xenomorph, the parallels are certainly undeniable. In fact the tone and feel of this episode has a certain intensity that is surprising for a series like this, with a rather impressive focus not on Kirk, but on both the alien and Doctor McCoy himself. Needless to say, Deforest Kelly really owns his role in this episode, giving us a great idea of the character he will become over the course of the series.
Overall, The Man Trap is a phenomenal episode that tells quite a sad story about a lonely scientist who loses his wife and ends up falling for a killer alien who honestly is only trying to survive. The tragedy of this story is that this alien was Professor Crater’s only companion on this planet and, if Enterprise hadn’t stuck around, it and he may have lived for sometime longer. In a way, this all could have been prevented had Enterprise just beamed down the supplies and carried on, as they were originally meant to do.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
- Rigley’s Pleasure Planet is mentioned in this episode, it can be assumed that this is a place similar to Risa in STNG.
- We see the iconic Salt Creature again in Lower Decks.
- Red Shirts killed: 0:0
Thanks for reading the Retro TV Review, I look forward to discussing the rest of the series with you, one episode at a time every Monday, Wednesday and Friday! Next Review: The Naked Time
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Late To The Game 12/13/2021
Special Thanks to Memory Alpha as they are one of the best sources for details on Star Trek information available. Although I have a pretty deep knowledge on the subject, they have proven invaluable as a regular resource.
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