Star Trek (1967): S02E07 – Catspaw


Introduction

“Catspaw” is the seventh episode of the second season of the American science fiction television series Star Trek.

Written by Robert Bloch and directed by Joseph Pevney, it was first broadcast 27 October 1967.

The crew of the Enterprise encounter two aliens from another galaxy with magical-like powers.

This episode was the first filmed to include series regular Pavel Chekov (Walter Koenig), although it was broadcast after several other episodes with the character had already been aired; the airing was delayed to coincide with Halloween.

Outline

The Federation starship Enterprise, under the command of Captain Kirk, orbits the apparently lifeless planet Pyris VII. Contact has been lost with the landing party, consisting of Chief Engineer Scott, Lt. Sulu, and Crewman Jackson. Jackson calls for transport back to the ship, but falls from the platform dead. His open mouth emits an eerie voice, telling Captain Kirk that the Enterprise is cursed and must leave the planet immediately, or death will follow.

Kirk beams down with First Officer Spock and Chief Medical Officer Dr. McCoy to search for the missing crewmen, leaving DeSalle in charge of the Enterprise. The landing party comes upon three apparitions that appear as witches, who warn the landing team not to proceed any further. The team ignores the warnings and discovers what appears to be a medieval castle.

Entering the castle, the landing party comes upon a black cat wearing a diamond pendant. As they follow the cat, the floor collapses, and the fall knocks them unconscious. When they awaken, they find themselves held in a dungeon. Scott and Sulu soon appear, walking as if in a trance, and unlock their restraints.

Kirk and the others attempt to overpower them but suddenly find themselves in another part of the castle, with a robed man, Korob, and the black cat, whom he appears to consult for advice. Spock remarks that no life is known to exist on the planet, and Korob admits that he is not a native.

The cat leaves the room, and Korob’s beautiful colleague Sylvia enters, wearing a pendant identical to the cat’s. As a demonstration of her power, by which she claims to have killed Jackson, Sylvia dangles a miniature model of the Enterprise over a lit candle, after which the crew of the real Enterprise reports a rapid rise in hull temperature.

Kirk reluctantly surrenders and offers to cooperate. Korob then surrounds the model of the ship with a crystal prism, informing them that the Enterprise has been encased in an impenetrable force field. Kirk and Spock are then led back to the dungeon.

After a while McCoy appears, in a trance, and leads Kirk back to Sylvia. Sylvia wants to experience human sensations, and appears in various feminine forms to stimulate Kirk’s interest. Kirk plays along as he tries to get information.

Sylvia tells Kirk that she and Korob are explorers from another galaxy, who wield their power through a device called a transmuter, which gives them control over matter. Sylvia then realises Kirk is using her, and angrily sends him back to the dungeon.

Korob comes to free Kirk and Spock, telling them that he has released their ship, and urges them to leave immediately, as he can no longer keep Sylvia under control. Sylvia, in the form of a giant cat, attacks him. Korob releases his sceptre and Kirk picks it up, guessing it to be the transmuter.

Kirk tells Sylvia that he has the transmuter, and then destroys it when Sylvia threatens him with a phaser. The castle disappears and Sulu, Scotty, and McCoy return to normal. Looking down, Kirk sees two tiny blue and yellow creatures, apparently Korob’s and Sylvia’s true forms. Unable to survive without the transmuter, the two creatures die and disintegrate.

Star Trek TV Series

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Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s): Joseph Pevney.
  • Writer(s): Robert Bloch.
  • 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: 27 October 1967.
  • Running Time: 50 minutes.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

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