The episode where Kirk and crew watch a Star Trek episode. Originally Broadcast on November 17th and 24th this is The Menagerie.
Captain’s Log Stardate 3012.4
After the famed Captain Christopher Pike is confined to a wheelchair due to an accident aboard a cadet vessel, Enterprise respond to a message to return to Earth. It is soon revealed that Spock has decided to return Pike to the planet he and Spock visited years before giving his former Captain a second chance on life. Stealing the Enterprise and informing the crew that Kirk is under a medical leave, Spock heads toward the forbidden Talos IV with Pike in tow.
Kirk manages to get back aboard Enterprise but discovers that the ship has been locked on to it’s destination. He and Commodore Mendez begin a formal court-martial against Spock for stealing the ship, kidnapping Pike and lying to his commanding officer. There they view the incidents that took place thirteen years prior, learning that the Talosians could in fact help Pike. Upon reaching the planet the Talosians eventually agree with Spock and Pike willingly goes to the planet to live with Vina, whom he lost years before.
Kirk drops charges against Spock indicating that he hopes that he would do the same for him one day if the need should arise. However, Kirk reminds Spock that his Vulcan first officer should have come to him, as they are friends and Kirk would have helped him in his mission.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
Starting this two parter you have to keep in mind that, at the time of when this was aired, the original pilot had not been aired so all of the events covered in this episode were vastly unknown to viewers. From Spock’s connection to Pike to even the existence of the Talosians, most of this episode was shrouded in mystery leaving viewers to wonder why Spock would betray the Enterprise in such a fashion. With this lack of knowledge, viewers could only imagine how important Pike was to Spock for him to commit mutiny against Kirk and when they found out, I am sure it was quite the surprise.
The thing I love about this episode, outside of the story itself, is that this episode was developed to make use of the unreleased footage from The Cage. This in and of itself is a rather genius move on the part of the production team although there is literally a moment where the crew watch the original Pilot from Star Trek. In fact, there is even a moment where Kirk questions how they have this footage indicating that it was odd for them to have film like records of the past like this. Turns out it was transmissions from Talos IV but the fact that this was even mentioned as being a strange thing was very clever writing.
Overall, this is a very cool look at the character of Spock and his past with both The Enterprise and his former commander Captain Pike. What really makes this episode and it’s originator The Cage so much better now is that we finally got a chance to see some of Spock and Pike’s relationship on Discovery Season 2 and will get to see even more once Strange New Worlds begins giving this episode that much more weight than it had previously.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
- We never find out the fate of Pike after this episode and, for some reason, the Talosians are never mentioned again in the future.
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: Shore Leave
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Late To The Game 1/5/2022
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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