Star Trek (1966): S01E11 – The Menagerie, Part 01


Introduction

The Menagerie, Parts I and II, are the eleventh and twelfth episodes of the first season of the American science fiction television series, Star Trek.

It is the only two-part story in the original series.

In the episode, Spock abducts his former commander Christopher Pike, locks the Enterprise on a course to the forbidden planet Talos IV and turns himself in for court-martial where he presents an elaborate story explaining his actions.

The complexity of Star Trek’s production had steadily increased the show’s production time, leading to concerns that Desilu Productions would not be able to deliver episodes to NBC in time to meet their series commitments

“The Menagerie” was created as a means to reuse footage from “The Cage” – the unaired 1965 pilot episode of Star Trek – within a frame story as the early history of the starship Enterprise. As such, the two-part episode only required a week of production time.

“The Menagerie” was positively received, and won a Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation.

Outline

On stardate 3012.4, the Federation starship USS Enterprise arrives at Starbase 11 in response to a subspace call First Officer Spock (Leonard Nimoy) reported receiving from the former captain of the Enterprise, Christopher Pike (Sean Kenney), under whom Spock had served. Captain Kirk (William Shatner) and Spock meet the starbase commander, Commodore Mendez (Malachi Throne). Mendez informs them that Pike could not have sent any message, as he is unable to move or communicate other than answering yes/no questions with the aid of a device operated by his brainwaves. Pike refuses to communicate with anyone except Spock. After Kirk and Mendez leave to discuss the situation, Spock reveals, over Pike’s repeated “no” signals, that he intends to carry out a plan that he has made.

Meanwhile, Mendez confirms that there is no record of any message sent to the Enterprise. Mendez provides Kirk with classified information on the planet Talos IV, which was visited by the Enterprise previously under Pike’s command, and is now under a strict quarantine. Spock, meanwhile, commandeers the Enterprise by means of falsified recordings of Kirk’s voice, places Pike under McCoy’s care, and orders the ship to depart under the computer’s control. Kirk and Mendez give chase in a Starbase shuttlecraft. After several hours, upon learning from the computer that the shuttlecraft doesn’t have enough fuel to return to the starbase, Spock has them brought aboard and then gives himself up, confessing to mutiny. The crew find they are unable to change the current course of the Enterprise, which Spock affirms is heading towards Talos IV. Mendez convenes a hearing, at which Spock requests immediate court-martial, which requires three command officers. Kirk objects that only he and Mendez are available, but Spock notes that Pike is still listed for active duty. The tribunal begins, and Spock offers as his testimony what seems to be video footage of the Enterprise’s earlier visit to Talos IV.

On the screen, the Enterprise arrives at Talos IV in response to a distress call from the survey ship Columbia, lost 18 years previously. Pike (Jeffrey Hunter), Spock, and a landing party beam down to the planet, and find a number of survivors including a young woman named Vina (Susan Oliver), who was born shortly after the crash of Columbia. Dr. Boyce (John Hoyt), Pike’s chief medical officer, establishes that the survivors are all in perfect health, despite the circumstances. Vina promises to show Pike the secret of their health, and leads him to a rocky knoll. Two aliens emerge from a hidden door, stun Pike, and carry him through the door. Vina, the other survivors, and their camp suddenly disappear. Pike has been abducted by the Talosians, humanoid aliens with the power to create illusions indistinguishable from reality (Reality distortion fields).

The scene is interrupted by a message from Starfleet Command, which reveals that the images they have been viewing are being transmitted from Talos IV. Mendez is placed in command of the Enterprise, but Spock begs Kirk to see the rest of the transmission.

Star Trek TV Series

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Star Trek TV Series, Films, and Documentaries

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Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s): Marc Daniels.
  • Production: Desilu Productions (1966-1967) and Paramount Television (1968-1969).
  • Distributor(s): Paramount Pictures (1966-2006), CBS Paramount Television (2006-2007), and CBS Television Distribution (2007-Present).
  • Original Network: NBC.
  • Release Date: 17 November 1966.
  • Running Time: 50 minutes.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

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