Star Trek : Charlie X

October 21, 2014 in Guest Blogs, Star Trek by GuestBlogs

A Guest Blog by Mindless-Droid


This week’s classic Star trek episode is Charlie X. The Enterprise picks up a unique passenger from the cargo ship Antares. Charlie Evans is the sole survivor of a ship crash on the planet Thasus. Charlie’s ship had crashed when he was just three years old. Now an adolescent Charlie tries to adjust to life around other people. At first Charlie seems like just another teenager trying to fit in but strange things begin to happen including the destruction of the Antares. The Enterprise crew soon learn that Charlie has extraordinary powers that allow him to do whatever his mind wishes.


This episode is pretty much an absolute power corrupts absolutely story. Then you throw in the fact that Charlie is a teenager and he has been alone for most of his life compounds his issues. I like the subtle way they show Charlie’s powers when he comes aboard the Enterprise as the Antares crew are both eager to leave and are then saying how wonderful a boy Charlie is. Then we have the hint that he knew something happened to the other ship before Spock scanned it and found nothing but debris.


Charlie is inability to control his power gets the best of him whether it is being laughed at in the gym, people not being “nice” or when Yeoman Rand rejects his advances. Charlie becomes embolden by his power but Kirk who is something of a father figure to the boy theorizes that Charlie’s power may have limits and he may be over taxing himself when he takes control of the ship. As Kirk confronts him and an alien ship appears it is the Thasians from the planet Charlie crashed on, The Thasians gave Charlie the power so he could survive and had not realized he had gone. They were unable to help the Antares but have restore the ship and crew of the Enterprise. The Thasians say they will take Charlie home with them. Charlie pleads with Kirk to let him stay as he does not want to live with the alien Thasians but the Thasians fearing he will be unable to control his power take him from the Enterprise Bridge.


Robert Walker who played Charlie did an excellent job of making Charlie out to be menacing and at the same time innocent and in the end you even feel for him as he pleads to stay on the Enterprise. You feel sorry for him as the Thasians take him from the bridge as his pleas to stay fade away.

Some bits of trivia. This episode is one of six that take place entirely on the Enterprise. This is the only episode that features the ships gymnasium. In the re-mastered episode the Antares is modeled after the grain ships from the animated series episode More Tribbles, More Troubles. There were several red shirts harmed in this episode but they were made whole by the Thasians in the end.

Doctor Who: Initial Reactions to Flatline

October 19, 2014 in Dr Who, Guest Blogs by GuestBlogs

A Guest Blog by Hevy782


Clara Who? The fans ongoing joke this series that the show’s focusing more on Clara than it is on the Doctor. It seems this was anticipated by the writers as we have been given an episode in which Clara become the Doctor, in a manner of speaking. The episode in question is Flatline, written by Jamie Mathieson who also wrote last weeks episode, Mummy on the Orient Express, which I praised as the best episode we’d had in a long time. Do I still stand by that opinion? Yes. Is Flatline just as good? No, but it doesn’t miss that mark by much. I think it’s safe for me to say that I think Jamie Mathieson is one of the most exceptional writers the show’s had in a long time and I hope he comes back for series nine because the show needs talented writers like him. Also, apologies in advance for comparing this one to Mummy on the Orient Express but given the circumstances it’s hard not to. So then, the ideas in this story, like in the previous one, are rather unique and intriguing. To me the ideas in this one are even stronger but the execution of them was better in Mummy on the Orient Express, which is ultimately what made that one better.

The Boneless are the monsters for this story and they are incredibly creepy. The effects used to create them are good and the idea behind them, creatures from a two-dimensional dimension breaking into our three-dimensional one, is great also. It reminded me of a recent Big Finish release titled Iterations of I which used mathematics instead of dimensions but nevertheless the idea of them breaking through from one dimension to another is the same. I think this is a coincidence in the writing given the timing and not Jamie Mathieson stealing ideas from Big Finish. But I think the idea works better in Flatline and here’s why. Part of the way through both stories there’s the idea that the aliens are peaceful and don’t know that they’re killing people. Thankfully, this idea is not gone through with in Flatline and we’re given a set of monsters who are out there to kill with no clear motive. This makes them all the more scary. To be honest there are loads more aspects of the Boneless which I could talk about but I suspect most of you will fall asleep if I keep going on about them so let’s move onto the Doctor’s role in this story. On the face of it this is a Doctor-lite story but when you look at it more closely the Doctor does actually play a fairly substantial role in this story, just not necessarily and active one. Peter Capaldi is given some nice lines to say, some funny and some serious, but the speech at the end is ultimately his moment of glory for the episode and is probably the best speech he’s done so far.

But there’s one thing that really didn’t work for me about this episode and that is the resolution. While I still like the Doctor’s speech I just don’t like what he’s doing while he’s saying said speech. It was basically a big green light coming out of the TARDIS and then a wave of the sonic and the Boneless were gone. It was too easy and far too rushed. And it was going so well up to that point. It felt like a cheap resolution straight out of Matt Smith’s era and it was just as poorly handled. The idea of tricking the Boneless into charging the TARDIS on the other hand was a good one and while it’s not something I’m going to be praising for the next five minutes it’s still good enough and far better than what follows. Moving on from that let’s get onto something slightly more positive, the supporting characters. Now while these are not as good as those from Mummy on the Orient Express that were some of the most well rounded supporting characters we’d had in a long time these are still fairly good. There are only two that are really worthy of note and those are Rigsy and Fenton. Rigsy was basically Clara’s companion in this episode and was enjoyable for that. While he wasn’t the most (if you’ll excuse the pun) three-dimensional character I’d put that more down to the time limit than the writer. Then there’s Fenton who is basically Rigsy’s opposite in a lot of ways. His comment on the end about the ”right” people making it out alive lead to quite a dark line from the Doctor and one that you’d never imagine Matt Smith’s or David Tenant’s incarnations getting away with. What it all boils down to is the idea that the Doctor is changing Clara and making her more like him, which may keep her alive longer but isn’t necessary good for her. We then get a rather creepy final scene with Missy watching Clara and it seems to confirm that she’s the woman in the shop, but only time will tell and we’re now very close to the end.

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Overall, a great episode focusing on Clara but in a different way to which the other episodes have done. It’s only because of the poor resolution that it misses out on being my favourite episode of the series so far and instead sits comfortably in second place with a score of nine-out-of-ten. Next week we have In the Forest of the Night written by another writer new to the show, Frank Cottrell Boyce. It’s the last episode before the two-part finale and looks quite interesting to me as well as very engaging visually. But why on Earth is there a Doctor Who poster on the side of that bus in the trailer? But anyway, be sure to sound off your thoughts on the episode in the comments below.

Farscape : Infinite Possibilities Part II: Icarus Abides

October 15, 2014 in Farscape by Firebird


After disposing of the Scorpius Clone, the Ancient ‘Jack’ unlocks the secrets to wormhole technology in Crichton’s mind allowing them to build a Displacement Engine, the ‘ultimate weapon’ that will allow them to destroy the Scarran Dreadnought before it escapes with Furlow’s data. Seeing the value of the weapon, Furlow kills Jack and takes off with it. In the ensuing chase, Crichton is fatally exposed to the highly reactive Partanium that fuels the engine. With nothing left to lose, Crichton volunteers to launch the weapon at the Dreadnought, experiencing first hand the terrifying power of the wormhole technology.


Kicking off where the previous episode ended Aeyrn is faced with a Crichton who seems to have been taken over by the Scorpius Clone. But it’s Harvey’s last dying gasp.

Things don’t go so well on Talyn when he’s boarded by a Scarran but, jumping ahead a little, Stark and Crais manage to get the better of him before the others return.

Down on the planet Furlow kills Jack but tells an inspecting Crichton and Aeyrn that a Charrid did it, so Crichton keeps working on the device.


Once it’s finished however she pulls a gun on Crichton and makes off in a land vehicle. Crichton is joined by Aeryn and they give chase, finally stopping Furlow and retrieving the device.


The Displacement Engine works, destroying the Scarran Dreadnought and despite what the summary might suggest Crichton makes it back to Talyn alive. Unfortunately the radiation exposure really was a fatal dose and no treatment they can give him makes any difference and he dies. Of course we all know that there’s another John Crichton on Moya but that’s not really going to be much consolation to Aeyrn, at least not right now.


Moya Crichton still has a Scorpius Clone in his head and now there’s no Jack to help him remove it or unlock the wormhole knowledge that would let him go home.

Star Trek : The Man Trap

October 13, 2014 in Guest Blogs, Star Trek by GuestBlogs

A Guest Blog by Mindless-Droid


This week we go back to the beginning and the first Star trek episode ever aired The Man Trap. Even though it wasn’t the series second pilot it was aired before Were No Man Has Gone Before. The Enterprise is sent to planet M-113 to perform routine medical checkups on Professor Crater and his wife Nancy who are studying the planet. Kirk, McCoy and lieutenant Darnell beam down and encounter Nancy Crater an old flame of McCoy’s but things are not as they seem and each member of the landing party sees a different Nancy Crater. Unknown to the landing party Nancy Crater was killed by a shape shifting creature native to the planet and has assumed her identity.


The creature in need of salt kills several crewman and with its shape shifting ability beams aboard the Enterprise in disguise. It then leads Kirk, Spock and McCoy in a dangerous game of cat and mouse changing shape to avoid capture. Professor Carter eventually confesses to Kirk that the creature had killed Nancy but that he spared its life saying that it was the last of its kind like the buffalo on Earth. After a meeting in which Crater reveals he can identify the creature in whatever form it takes the creature disguised as McCoy and fearing Crater would give it up kills Crater. After the creature kills Crater and attempts to kill Spock it returns to McCoy’s cabin in Nancy’s form and after a dramatic showdown in which McCoy must put aside his feelings for Nancy he kills the creature before it can kill Kirk.


This episode was a good way to start the series you get a lot of good background on some of the main characters especially the big three. There is the mystery aspect of the creature it was a good idea to only see its true form at the end of the episode. The dramatic showdown made for a great ending. One of the things that makes this episode slightly different then say The Horta episode is that the creature is simply the monster of the week. Even though the creature is said to be intelligent there is no attempt to make peace with it. It’s a slight criticism but the creature was shown to be quite aggressive but so was the Horta. We even get a bit of regret from Kirk at the end when he says he was thinking of the buffalo.


We get the first he’s dead Jim when Darnell is killed by the salt creature.

The first death also is oddly enough not a red shirt.

During Spock and Uhura’s chat we get a little background on Spock and his lack of emotion and that Vulcan has no moon.

After Darnels death we also get the first glimpse of Kirk’s devotion to his crew and how he suffers each death.

During the early part of this episode we also see the friendship between Kirk and McCoy and also Spock the big three.

The second crewman and Green are killed next and neither have a red shirt either.

To identify the creature to the audience in whatever form it takes whoever played the part bit on its knuckle as a common characteristic.


Would have liked to have seen more of Sulu’s plants during the rest of the series but they sort of forgot about old Beauregard.

“May the Great Bird of the Galaxy roost on your planet.” Sulu’s comment to Rand when she brought him his tray, the great bird of the galaxy is actually Gene Rodenberry’s nickname.

I really wish they would have kept Rand’s character for the whole series.

It was a nice touch having the creature speak Swahili to Uhura and gave a nice little bit of info on her background.

Crater uses the old hand laser from the original pilot.


The climax of the episode gives us a nice introduction to the friendship between the big three Kirk Spock and McCoy.

The salt creature is one of Trek’s most iconic aliens even though it’s only on screen for a short amount of time.

There were no red shirts harmed in this episode but the blues and yellows didn’t fare so well.

Doctor Who: Initial Reactions to Mummy on the Orient Express

October 12, 2014 in Dr Who, Guest Blogs by GuestBlogs

A Guest Blog by Hevy782


Doctor Who stories that go down as classics are often remembered as the one with the… well whatever type of monster it is. The one with the giant maggots. The one with the little boy who wanted his mummy. The one with the statues that move when you blink. I firmly believe that this one will go down in history as the one with the mummy… potentially followed by: on the train in space. So if you haven’t worked it out yet, I absolutely loved this episode. First off, I was quite shocked to see Clara casually stroll out of the TARDIS at the start off this after the events of last week and all the promotional material suggesting this would be a companion-lite episode. This then got me a bit worried as it initially appeared that they wouldn’t be picking up the events of last week but it didn’t take long to find out what was going on and that whole sub-plot ended up being resolved quite nicely. However, while it definitely wasn’t companion-lite it did feature Clara quite a bit less than previous episodes has and instead shifted most of the focus onto the Doctor which was a nice change from most of the other stories we’ve had so far in series eight. I do like that they split Clara and the Doctor up this time as it’s something that’s not happened recently because of the episode-length but here it’s done well and so allows the story to feel more fleshed out. I think one of the problems we’ve had this series is that they’ve been stuck together too much so one is always in the shadow of the other which is unfortunate.

Now let’s talk about the main threat of this story which is, of course, the mummy. It looks extremely creepy and the way it walks is very nicely done. The idea behind the way it kills people is also very nice and the science behind it doesn’t seem like a cop-out, it still feels like a genuine threat even after it’s revealed what it is, and that’s the way to do a reveal. When it kills people there’s this odd sound which is almost like a balloon deflating. It could’ve been a bit too comical but oddly enough it works very well. However, the most creepy part of the episode would probably have to be when it walked through the Doctor, but the scene with the sarcophagus opening was quite intense too. One thing I wasn’t quite sure about with the mummy was the on-screen clock counting down. On the one hand it made it more intense but at the same time it felt like it was breaking the fourth wall a bit in some way. Then we have Gus who was also quite effective in the story and the fact that we didn’t know who programmed it was nice too and I assume that’s going to tie in with the overarching plot of series eight at some point due to that whole business of whoever it was having the Doctor’s phone number.

This story also had a celebrity cameo in it by Foxes (I’d never heard of her before either) and it was odd how big a deal they made of her appearance given how small it was. As for the song, well oddly enough it fitted in quite well, even if it was only there for a minute a best. Doing a jazz version of it fitted quite well with the juxtaposition of having a nineteen-thirties train in space. Speaking of that, at first I was quite unsure about the idea of having it in space as it felt too much like the Titanic in Voyage of the Damned but unlike that story it didn’t use this idea as a gimmick and instead made everything even more frightening as there’s no way out, nowhere to escape to and even more than that, you actually see a few people jettisoned into space to ensure that the Doctor will obey. Then we have the supporting characters who are, in my opinion, the most well realised of the series. There’s a fair number of them as well but oddly enough most of them get a good amount of development (probably helped but the splitting up of the Doctor and Clara) which is the sign of a good writer in Jamie Mathieson. First off we have Perkins played by Frank Skinner who is quite a funny character but nevertheless he’s one you can take seriously and it’s nice to see a character who the Doctor almost instantly gets along with for once, he even gets an offer to travel in the TARDIS at the end. While he gets to spend most of the episode interacting with the Doctor we have another character interacting with Clara called Massie who is played by Daisy Beaumont. She gets some good characterisation too in this story which once again shows how promising a writer Jamie Mathison is and she also shows us a different side to Clara. There are some other good characters but those are the most well-rounded ones.

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Overall, this episode was breath taking and the best of series eight so far, probably the best since Steven Moffat took over as show runner. Was there ever any doubt that I would be giving it a ten-out-of-ten? And hopefully it won’t be my last of the series. Next week we’ve got another episode written by Jamie Mathieson called Flatline and it looks great so I’ve got high expectations for it. Also, it’s hard to believe that we’re now two thirds of the way through series eight already. On the one hand it feels like Capaldi only debuted as the Doctor a couple of days ago but on the other it feels like he’s been the Doctor for as long as anyone can remember. But anyway, until next week be sure to sound off your thoughts on the episode in the comments below.

Farscape : Infinite Possibilities Part I: Daedalus Demands

October 8, 2014 in Farscape by Firebird


An Ancient – again taking the form of Crichton’s father Jack – appears on Talyn and accuses Crichton of sharing wormhole stabilising technology with the Charrids, a vicious race who have formed an alliance with the Scarrans. Crichton realizes that Furlow, the mechanic from Dam-Ba-Da depot who once repaired Crichton’s module and had a mercenary interest in wormhole technology, is the real guilty party. With a Scarran Dreadnought heading towards Dam-Ba-Da to collect Furlow’s data, Jack must unlock the wormhole technology in Crichton’s brain in order to build the ultimate weapon – but must first confront the evil Scorpius Clone in Crichton’s mind.



Talyn ignores some violent solar flares trying to rescue the crew on Dam-Ba-Da, leaving himself and Crais blinded. The crew split up with Stark taking Crais back to Talyn and Rygel forced to help fight off the Charrids who have taken Furlow prisoner. It’s easy to underestimate Rygel but he’s got a serious mean streak, torturing one of the Charrids to death with a knife.

When it comes to removing Harvey he isn’t going to go without a fight and at the end of the episode it seems that he’s won and it’s Crichton who has been destroyed.

Star Trek : pilot history and trivia

October 6, 2014 in Guest Blogs, Star Trek by GuestBlogs

A Guest Blog by Mindless-Droid


Last week I reviewed the original Star Trek pilot The Cage as a regular episode. This week I thought I’d take a look at some of the history and trivia surrounding that first attempt to bring Star Trek to television. The story of The Cage is well known to most Trek fans. The network as the story goes deemed it to cerebral and declined the episode but didn’t decline the idea of an outer space series. Roddenberry offered up Where No Man Has Gone Before a more action packed episode and the rest is history.

Looking back to when I was younger and first watching Star Trek in syndication I would always wonder about this other crew of the Enterprise when the two part arc The Menagerie would air. As we know now The Menagerie used most of the original pilot to tell its story of Spock’s devotion to his other captain and his willingness to help him even at the cost of his own life. Back then though there was no internet and many of the technologies we take for granted now. You couldn’t even record your favorite episodes as VCRs where several years away. So you were left wondering about this other crew of the Enterprise. Through time and books and magazines you got to learn the story of the two pilots and how Star Trek came to be the phenomenon it is today.

I thought I’d list some bits of trivia I found interesting while reading up on the episode. I will skip most of what I think is the more well-known aspects of the show like Number One being rejected and Majel Barrett being recast as Nurse Chapel and try to list things I found that I didn’t know or found more compelling.

The Talosians were originally to be crab like creatures (I’m thinking the full Tholian they made for Enterprise) but production costs and the fear that they would resemble the sci-fi monsters of the 50’s so they were changed to the slim bodied large head aliens. The actresses who played the Talosians were cast small as to give the impression that over time they allowed their bodies to atrophy at the expense of advancing their mental powers.

Spock shows more emotion in the original pilot then the series when Number One was dropped he picked up some of her more logical ways. He also uses the term rockets to blast them out of orbit not exactly 23rd century technology. Leonard Nimoy also toned down his portrayal of Spock during the second pilot because of William Shatner’s high energy and exuberance.

During the scene in which the Talosians take control of the Enterprise’s computers and download its information your can see pictures of American presidents Eisenhower Kennedy and Johnson.

Susan Oliver who played Vina was not only an accomplished actress but also a very talented airplane pilot winning the 1970 Powder Puff Derby and was the fourth woman to fly a single engine airplane solo across the Atlantic Ocean. During production of the green Orion slave girl scenes Oliver became ill and a doctor was summoned and well you could imagine what he thought when his patient was green.


The actual film of the episode has an interesting history. The original master color copy had been trimmed and used in The Menagerie. The cut pieces having thought to be lost at the time no color version of the complete episode existed. Gene Roddenberry did however own a full black and white version of the episode. In 1986 the two versions were combined and released as the whole episode on home video giving everyone their first glance at the original pilot. In 1987 the trimmed pieces were found and returned to Paramount but the sound tracks were missing even so the full colored version was restored using some of the soundtrack from the black and white version as well as the soundtracks developed for the Menagerie. The fully restored version on the Blu-Ray collection is very nice and as a bonus you also get the black and white version with Gene Roddenberry’s introduction too. I highly recommend the Blu-ray it has both the re-mastered episodes and the original version plus tons of bonus content.

I wonder what would have been had the network accepted the original version of Star Trek would it have become as popular as it is now, would it have been even more successful in its first run and continued on past three seasons or would it have faded into history as just another TV show. It would be nice to imagine a world where we had a five year mission with Captain Pike and a five year mission with Captain Kirk but that’s just wishful thinking but fun to speculate none the less.

Doctor Who: Initial Reactions to Kill the Moon

October 5, 2014 in Dr Who, Guest Blogs by GuestBlogs

A Guest Blog by Hevy782


We are now seven episodes in, more than half-way through Peter Capaldi’s first series as the Doctor. It’s been a rather bumpy ride so far but are we at long last getting back on track? Well I had high hopes for Kill the Moon and, admittedly, that may have been my first mistake. I got so hyped for this one that when I reached the end of it I felt disappointed. Now this is by no means a bad episode, far from it as a matter of fact but I still can’t help but feel that it didn’t live up to its full potential. This story is written by our first new writer of series eight, Peter Harness, and was originally written for the Eleventh Doctor. This is where I think we have our first problem as despite the spider-scares of the first act it still ends up feeling like an Eleventh Doctor story which makes this promise of a raw new direction feel more and more hollow. There’s a general feeling that the plot borrows to much from The Beast Bellow as well as other stories from Matt Smith’s run which is a great shame, especially since we’re this far through the series and still aren’t pushing the boundaries enough.

Now let’s stop being negative for a bit and go on to what I did like about the episode, after all I did say I didn’t find it that bad. There is of course Peter Capaldi (was there ever any doubt) who played that final scene opposite Jenna Coleman perfectly. They were both great in it and what is great about that from a writing stand point is that they both have valid points, it’s not clear to the audience who’s right and who’s wrong and instead leaves them to decide which is what makes quality television, the maturity to let the audience make their own decisions rather than forcing them to think one way or another. Then there’s Courtney Woods who is once again played well by Ellis George. She gets a bit more to do in this one but unfortunately isn’t as well written for as she was in The Caretaker. It almost feels like she was a slightly late addition to the script and Harness didn’t exactly know what to do with her. Then we Lundvik, the only notable supporting character as the others are killed off all to quickly. She is played brilliantly by Hermione Norris and I’m just glad she got one of the more well written supporting roles this series, given that we’ve had some great actors let down by some unfortunate scripting so far, I’m looking at you Mrs Delphox. Now while Lundvik is nothing exceptional she’s certainly a good start when it comes to supporting characters.

We have Paul Wilmshurst directing this time around and he does a good job with this one, I only wish he’d let the shots of the dead bodies linger a bit more as a millisecond glance isn’t enough to scare. This may have been an issue caused by timing though, as there are a few pacing issues with this story too. It feels like some scenes jumped about too quickly as if there had been sections cut from them and there are moments which don’t get the impact they deserve because it’s straight onto the next scene unfortunately. This is also another story which has no real sense of menace in it. You have the spiders in act one but once you get beyond that they don’t really pose much of threat. Then when you get to the third act all plausible science is thrown out of the window and your left with a rather dull climax. I think this part could’ve been more effective with more of a supporting cast so that we could have a proper debate over what they should do. You could also have the spider-creatures trying to break in and go with a base-under-siege approach to add even more pressure. Unfortunately we don’t get any of this and are instead left with something that’s executed well enough but could’ve been so much more. There’s also one musical cue in this (I’m assuming it’s going to be the Twelfth Doctor’s theme) that was so overused it this. It’s slowly becoming as obnoxious as the Eleventh Doctor’s theme which is never a good thing. Finally we have the overall story arc of series eight which, funnily enough, isn’t bought up at all in this episode. I’m quite happy with this as it’s nice to have something completely stand alone and, let’s be honest, there’s only so many variations of the heaven scene.

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Overall, I did enjoy this story a lot but I feel it could’ve easily been so much better. I do feel that I’ve been talking about the negatives more than the positives but nevertheless I will give it another seven-out-of-ten. Hopefully next weeks episode, Mummy on the Orient Express, will not let down like this one did as it looks like it’s going to be incredible, even if the Orient Express being in space feels a bit too much like a cheap gimmick. But anyway, until next week, be sure to sound off your thoughts on the episode in the comments below. Start the clock!

Farscape : Scratch ‘N’ Sniff

October 1, 2014 in Farscape by Firebird


Crichton, D’Argo, Chiana and Jool alight on a pleasure planet, LoMo, for some rest and recreation. When Chiana and Jool go missing, Crichton and D’Argo are approached by Raxil, a wily alien with information on their whereabouts. Hoping for help retrieving her own ‘mate’, Raxil leads them to Fe’tor, a notorious Freslin maker; Freslin being a drug Fe’tor extracts from sentient beings, including his captives, Chiana and Jool.


Back to Moya this week and one of the weird episodes.

The ‘rest and relaxation’ is actually because Moya and Pilot are totally sick of Crichton and D’Argo bickering and want them somewhere else for a minimum of 10 days. When they return after 2 Crichton tells Pilot the story of what happened in hopes of not being sent back. As such the episode jumps about strangely as Pilot keeps interrupting and Crichton is still a little the worse for wear.


Other than that the episode would be a fairly standard, some crew members are in peril, other crew members break into the villain’s base to rescue them, setup. As it is, it’s weird and sometimes funny and Crichton and D’Argo really are that annoying.

The best aliens this week are Raxil, a nasty piece of work who it turns out set the whole thing up for personal profit, and not to rescue anyone as she claimed


and the insect-like Han-jee with its detachable eyeballs with image play-back


Pilot doesn’t believe that Han-jee actually exist, in fact he doesn’t believe a lot of what Crichton tells him, and as viewers we’re left not sure how much of it is real either.

Star Trek : The Cage

September 30, 2014 in Guest Blogs, Star Trek by GuestBlogs

A Guest Blog by Mindless-Droid


This week we go back to the beginning of Star Trek with The Cage or actually before the beginning. The Cage was the original pilot episode that the network rejected. This week I thought I would take a look at the actual episode and next week discuss its amazing history.

After a dangerous mission on Rigel VII the USS Enterprise commanded by Captain Christopher Pike is on its way to the Vega colony to recover when it picks up a distress call from an Earth vessel The SS Columbia that disappeared eighteen years ago. Without proof of survivors Pike decides to ignore the call but a second message indicating survivors changes his mind. On arrival at Talos IV Pike leads a landing party to the surface and discovers the survivor’s camp but it is an illusion placed in the crew’s minds by the native Talosians and Pike is captured and taken underground. As the Enterprise crew tries to figure out a way to rescue their captain Pike learns that he is a specimen in a cage which he may never escape.

A quick little observation if you notice the details several crewman have bandages from the ships encounter on Rigel VII which sets up the discussion between Pike and Boyce. I like how they set up the relationship between Pike and Dr. Boyce. You get a sense that they have served together awhile and that they are good friends. It was also a great way to show Pike’s concern for his crew and how the weight of command falls on him this would be important later in the episode. A nice bit of foreshadowing and when Boyce talks about two kinds of customers the living and the dying it is a nice parallel to the Human civilization and the Talosians. Their discussion also has some nice foreshadowing.


I always liked Number One her character is very interesting and the first in a long line of Roddenberry’s forward thinking and optimistic vision of the future. Arriving at Talos IV we get our first look at the transporter room and a beam down. The idea of beaming down to a planet was actually a cost cutting device it was much cheaper and easier to create the transporter effect then to land the ship on a new planet each week. There is a slight mistake when Tyler talks about the time barrier being broken if faster than light travel was only just discovered then there would be no way the Columbia could have gotten this deep into space but that’s what recons are for and it really is a minor mistake given the time the episode was produced.


The first look at the Talosians and the eerie music surrounding them really pushes home the idea of an alien culture. The makeup and effects of the Talosians was really well done from their large heads indicating superior mental abilities to their pulsating veins as they used that mental ability really made them alien but not over the top monster of the week alien.

The laser guns were a nice prop and precursor to the hand phaser. The laser canon tied to the ships power was a prop I wish we would have seen again in the series. I like the eerie music as Pike observes the other aliens in the Talosians menagerie.

The briefing on the Enterprise is another good way they showed how powerful the Talosians mental powers could be it set the table for what was to come. The next scene is the first complex illusion the Talosian force on Pike and you get an idea of their real motivation. Vina is the only constant on the planet and the only survivor that wasn’t an illusion. The Talosians were forced underground due to war centuries ago and in the confined space focused on developing their mental abilities but at the cost of everything else. It is the Talosians goal to breed a stock of humans as basically slaves to serve their civilization as they have become too dependent on their illusions and have forgotten the basics of living as Vina explains they can’t even maintain the machines left by their ancestors.


A quick aside Susan Oliver who portrayed Vina was an accomplished pilot in real life with quite an impressive resume. The matte painting of the Rigel VII castle with the large moon behind it is quite impressive and would be seen a lot during the run of the series in the closing credits. During the fight sequence I like how Pike fights the illusion trying to maintain his reality. Those Talosians sure are creepy. I like the contrast between Pike and Vina Pike resisting the lure of illusion and Vina who has succumbed to it. When the laser canon fails Boyce is right about the Talosians making it appear that it failed but would that mean one or more Talosians would have to concentrated constantly to maintain the illusion.

The scene as Vina explains the Talosians history is quite interesting but it gives Pike confirmation of his suspicions. The one thing I don’t get if Vina is real how the Talosians make her disappear in that scene and previously on the surface. I’d have made the vial with the nourishment turn into shrimp and steak but it shows Pike’s determination not to give in to illusion. Next Pike is taken home to Earth as he discussed with Boyce in his cabin earlier by the Talosians and the lure of living an illusion with Vina becomes harder to resist. It’s also one of the only times we see Star Trek era earth in the series.


Pike resists and suspects that emotion of hate and anger block the Talosians mental abilities but as Vina explains it is hard to keep up and that the Talosians wear you down with punishment and temptation as Pike now whisked away to Orion where Vina is now the infamous Orion slave girl and I know that song will be stuck in my head for a couple of days now. Pike has resisted every illusion so the Talosians aware of the Enterprise beaming down a rescue party fool the crew in to only beaming down Number One and the Captains Yeomen so Pike has a selection. Through it all though Pike is shown to be determined to escape.

Back on the Enterprise Spock determines that all is lost and attempts to leave but the Talosian prevent them from doing so. Spock even orders rockets to be used to escape another out of place reference but understandable given it was the pilot.

Pike’s determination pays off and he along with Vina and the others escape to the surface but it is what the Talosians wanted. Pike shows his devotion to his crew as he volunteers to stay as long as the ship is safe. The Talosians having scanned the Enterprise’s memory banks realize that the human need for freedom makes them unsuitable for their needs and frees them. Pike offer diplomatic solution but the Keeper says that humans would learn the Talosians power of illusion and destroy themselves too. Vina decides that she will stay and to prove that her desire is an honest one the Keeper show Pike her true appearance. She was badly injured and deformed to the point of great discomfort in the crash as the Talosians didn’t know how to put her “back together” and the Talosians gave her an illusion of beauty. As Pike prepares to leave the Talosians show him that Vina has the illusion of happiness with him.


I really like this episode. I can understand why the network at the time turned this down as it was something other than what science fiction had become at the time. It was much more then just the monster of the week. The pilot was truly a ground breaking moment even though it was at first rejected it opened the door for the actual series. The Talosians were very interesting aliens and in the end not as evil as you thought they were. I liked this crew of the Enterprise and it’s interesting to think what the series would have been like had the network approve this pilot. Since there are no red shirts in this episode none were harmed actually no one was harmed except the warrior on Rigel VII. Next week a look at the history of Star Trek’s beginnings.