Boldly going into the next five episodes! *cue theme music*
Season 1, Episode 11: “The Menagerie, Part 1”
Original Airdate: 17 November 1966
Directed by: Marc Daniels
Wikipedia synopsis: “Spock hijacks the Enterprise to take his crippled former captain, Christopher Pike, to the forbidden world of Talos IV. He then demands a court martial where he uses the events of “The Cage” to tell the tale of Pike’s captivity on the planet years earlier.”
Favorite quote: “In all the years of my service, this is the most painful moment I’ve ever faced.”
This is a big episode, mostly for the reason that Spock goes off the reservation, big time. I think this is the first time that it happens, ever, so it’s a pretty big deal. Not only does Spock hijack the Enterprise, but he puts everyone’s career on the line and even his life as well! It’s unclear exactly why he’s doing this, but it has something to do with Captain Pike, who is pretty different than in the reboot. I knew he was an original series character, but he’s not in any of the movies, so I’ve never seen him outside of the reboot. Here he’s about the same age as Kirk, but he was in an accident and is now immobile and horribly deformed. The flashback tells about stuff that happened to him when he was the captain of the Enterprise. It’s all told when Spock is getting court martialed (that’s right, this is serious business here), and there is one heck of a cliffhanger both in the flashback and the present day. Lots of Kirk and Spock relationship stuff here, good things all around.
Season 1, Episode 12: “The Menagerie, Part 2”
Original airdate: 24 November 1966
Directed by: Robert Butler
Wikipedia synopsis: “Spock continues detailing the events of “The Cage” to the tribunal. After witnessing the Talosians’ capabilities of mental illusion, Kirk realizes that Spock intends to return Pike to the planet to live a life of illusion, unencumbered by his crippled condition.”
Favorite quote: I guess I was too absorbed in the episode to get a favorite quote…
I watched this immediately after the first one, because that one was such a cliffhanger. Binge television watching for the win! Anyway, this one gets a lot more into the flashback portion of it, and it kind of reminded me of The Matrix, except it was more sinister somehow. Basically the aliens control the minds of humans so they can live vicariously through them, and then somehow they want to make a race of human slaves as well. They turn out to be not so bad in the end, but there’s still the issue of facing reality or retreating into illusion that is interesting to think about. And of course there’s the Kirk and Spock drama! There was also a character in the flashback part that I really liked, Number One. I don’t know if she was supposed to be an android or what, but that was her name anyway. She was really smart and awesome; I was a fan.
Season 1, Episode 13: “The Conscience of the King”
Original airdate: 8 December 1966
Directed by: Gerd Oswald
Wikipedia synopsis: “While visiting an old friend, Kirk suspects a Shakespearean actor may actually be the murderous former governor of Tarsus IV where Kirk grew up. Kirk invites the acting troupe aboard the Enterprise in order to investigate, but soon assassination attempts are made on Kirk and another crewman who was an eyewitness to the murders.”
Favorite Quote: “The captain is acting strangely, I’m wondering if you’ve noticed.”
This one had a lot of Shakespeare references in it; I was a big fan. The only thing I really have a problem with is that I was able to predict who was behind everything that was going on here. I usually can’t predict things so I get even more disappointed when I can. I was also initially feeling that the normal logic vs. emotion stuff was a bit forced here, but it developed really well so that didn’t turn into a problem at all. Also, Spock does some really nice detective work in this episode, always nice to see.
Season 1, Episode 14: “Balance of Terror”
Original airdate: 15 December 1966
Directed by: Vincent McEveety
Wikipedia synopsis: “While investigating a series of destroyed outposts, the Enterprise discovers a lone Romulan vessel with a cloaking device. The Romulans, having never been seen by humans, are revealed to visually resemble Vulcans, casting doubt on Mr. Spock’s loyalty as the two ships become locked in a cat-and-mouse battle through space.”
Favorite quote: “Leave any bigotry in your quarters, there’s no room for it on the bridge.”
Tumblr commentary is sadly absent on this one, blame it on my eating ice cream. It was delicious.
This was really good episode, more action packed than most, but it didn’t suffer from that in any way. It reminded me a lot of Star Trek Into Darkness with its themes of the militarization of Starfleet. Also surprising is the appearance of the Romulans. In Star Trek, Spock says they “share a common ancestry” with Vulcans, but in that film they didn’t look exactly the same as they did in this episode. It was also extremely uncomfortable to have the commander of the Romulan ship be played by the same actor (Mark Leonard) as Sarek in the original movies (at least I think he was the same guy). Very off-putting. Also I really appreciate, and I was made aware of it in this episode when Uhura was made the navigator, that everyone on the Enterprise seems to be able to do everyone else’s jobs at the slightest notice. It’s pretty awesome.
Season 1, Episode 15: “Shore Leave”
Original airdate: 29 December 1966
Directed by: Robert Sparr
Wikipedia synopsis: “Captain Kirk orders shore leave for the Enterprise crew on a seemingly uninhabited planet in the Omicron Delta system. The landing parties begin to see strange sights, such as a White Rabbit a la Alice in Wonderland, Don Juan, and a sword-wielding samurai. Also, Kirk sees (and fights) an image of Finnegan, a rival from his Starfleet Academy days. Spock discovers that the planet seems to be drawing a large amount of energy from the ship’s engines, placing the Enterprise in danger.”
Favorite quote: “After what this ship has been through in the past three months, there’s not a crewman on board not in need of a rest. Myself excepted.”
This was a pretty good episode, but there is an unexpected death that occurs which momentarily made me pretty emotional. It all turns out fine, as I knew it would, but I was pretty worried for a few seconds. Also, it’s pretty interesting to learn that Kirk was the victim of a practical joker back in the Academy. I really wish JJ had figured out how to add this in in the reboot; it could have been hilarious! The annoying thing about this episode, which happens a lot in Star Trek, is that it took everyone forever to catch on to what was going on down on the planet. It was obvious to me after the second freak occurrence, but they were literally almost through the episode when Spock finally figured it out. Ah well, it was still pretty fun. And just for the record, womanizer McCoy is about a million times more entertaining than womanizer Kirk.
These episodes were all really good. I got through them in record time; it only took me four days! They are definitely picking up momentum as they go and I’m really excited to see what they come up with next. Hunter out.
Click here for the next group of episodes (S1, E16-20)