Star Trek (1966): S01E12 – The Menagerie, Part 02


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

Spock’s trial continues, and the transmitted scene resumes with Pike in a cell with a transparent wall. The Talosians begin their “experiment”, which consists of a number of illusory situations involving Pike and Vina. The Talosians’ hope is that Pike and Vina will mate and found a race of slaves who will reclaim the war-damaged surface of the planet. Meanwhile, the Enterprise crew fails to break into the underground complex with weapons enhanced by the ship’s power. A landing party attempts to beam into the complex, but only the female members arrive, in order, as the Talosian “Keeper” explains, to give Pike more choices for a mate. An attempt to blast through the cell wall with the new captives’ phasers fails as the weapons are apparently non-functional.

That night, Pike is able to capture the Keeper as he attempts to confiscate the weapons. Pike intuits that the phasers still function, and that their escape attempt was thwarted by an illusion. He forces the Talosian to reveal a hole in the cell wall. The humans proceed to the surface, but learn that this was the Talosians’ plan. Number One (Majel Barrett, billed as M. Leigh Hudec) sets her phaser on overload, preferring to die rather than be enslaved, but deactivates the weapon when more Talosians arrive. The aliens have found that humans’ “unique hatred of captivity” makes them unsuitable for the Talosians’ plans, which must therefore be abandoned. Pike desires an apology, but the Talosians point out that this failure spells the death of their species. Pike offers help from the interstellar community, but the Talosians fear that their mental powers would spread and bring other races to ruin. As the rest of the party are beamed back to the ship, Pike is shown that Vina’s appearance up to now has been an illusion. In reality she is much older, and was severely deformed by the crash of Columbia. She elects to stay on the planet, and Pike returns to the ship.

The transmission ends as the Enterprise arrives at Talos IV. Commodore Mendez suddenly fades away, and the Keeper appears on the viewing screen, informing Kirk that Mendez’s presence was an illusion. The court-martial was a ploy to buy time to bring Pike back to Talos IV, where, if willing, he would be able to enjoy the illusion of a normal life. A message from Commodore Mendez then advises that Starfleet has waived the prohibition against contact with the planet for this one occasion, and that Kirk is free to proceed as he thinks best. Pike is transported to the planet, and the rejuvenated Pike and Vina are seen on the viewing screen returning with the Talosians to the underground complex. The Keeper appears one last time to wish Kirk well.

Star Trek TV Series

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Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s): Robert Butler.
  • 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: 24 November 1966.
  • Running Time: 50 minutes.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

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