2/21/12

Star Trek: Asterisk "The Menagerie part 1"

Vital Information
Series: The Original Series
Episode: S01E11
Air Date: Novemeber 17, 1966
Written by: Gene Roddenberry
Directed by: Marc Daniels

Premise
Spock invites Captain Pike over and leaves Kirk behind on Starbase 11. But then Kirk crashes the party and they all watch "The Cage" together.

Review
When Kirk arrives at Starbase 11, he tells Commodore Mendez that Spock as received a message from Captain Pike, who you might remember from "The Cage", the unaired pilot. Except he's not as much the young, strapping specimen of a human being anymore. Mendez swears that it's impossible for him to have sent a message because he'd been severely crippled in the line of duty. The only thing he's able to do anymore is control a light with his brain.

Kirk swears up and down that there's no way Spock could have lied to him. Someone sent a message to the Enterprise under Captain Christopher Pike's name. So when they leave Pike alone with Spock, it's rather a surprise tot he audience when Spock speaks secretively to him saying that the "plan" is underway. So then, while Kirk and Mendez try to figure out who sent the message, Spock runs amok in the Starbase and sets his plan into motion. By knocking people out in the IT department.
Leave the espionage to the Romulans.
He sends some false messages that sound like they're from Starfleet and from Kirk to make the Enterprise think that they have new orders to take Pike on board and go to an "unknown destination." So Spock kidnaps Pike, leaves Kirk behind on the starbase and takes the Enterprise to Talos IV.

This is after, mind you, Kirk was just made aware of the report from Captain Pike and Spock about their visit to this same planet and all the horrible things that happened there. Apparently it's punishable by death to visit Talos IV. Because, as we all know from watching "The Cage", the Talosians are... like... killers? I guess?
M**** better get my latinum.
So then Kirk chases after Spock on a shuttle along with Mendez, Spock sees them on sensors and, knowing they'll soon run out of gas, stops the ship so they can catch up. Then he asks Bones to take him away and put him under arrest for treason.

What follows is court martial proceedings for Spock. On trail for deliberately breaking General Order 7, Spock requests to show "The Cage" for his defense. So they turn on the TV and and everyone is amazed at the quality of the log. They even got shots from the outside of the ship! I'm not gonna go into what they watch, because you can go back and read about it with the above link. Suffice it to say, it chronicles Captain Pike's initial visit to Talos IV and how he thought he was going to save a colony, but ended up trapped inside a cage forced to live illusions.

Mendez thinks it's ridiculous that Spock is making them watch Star Trek instead of going on with the court case, but Kirk turns to Pike who beeps "yes" and that makes a majority, so they continue watching. In the middle, however, they find out that "The Cage" is being transmitted from Talos IV which is totally illegal and now that Kirk is in command of the ship, it's his responsibility to take. Spock has successfully endangered not only his own life, but the life of his beloved captain.

They take a short recess... and then...

To be continued...

Overall Thoughts
This is absolutely a classic episode of Star Trek: The Original Series... however, I just can't get past how in the world the death penalty is warranted for visiting a planet. I can understand a less severe penalty, but death? Aside from that, this is a very good episode to showcase exactly how Spock works; his loyalty, his logical method of carrying out a plan, his strong sense of friendship despite his Vulcan nature. "The Menagerie", however, is in two episodes because it is, quite literally, two separate episodes. It's "The Cage" contained within this story of how Spock risked his life for the sake of Pike. So... we'll continue this later.