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.