Star Trek : The Menagerie, part 1

December 22, 2014 in Guest Blogs, Star Trek by GuestBlogs

A Guest Blog by Mindless-Droid

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This week’s classic Star Trek episode is The Menagerie part one. The Enterprise is summoned to Starbase 11 by its former captain Christopher Pike. Upon arriving at the base Kirk and McCoy find out that Pike had been injured and incapacitated to such an extent that he is confined to and dependent on an electronic wheelchair. Pike’s brain has also been damaged and he can only communicate through the light on his wheelchair one flash for yes two for no so it was impossible for him to send or even request a message be sent. Kirk and Commodore Mendez of the Starbase begin to investigate who had sent the message diverting the Enterprise there. It is then that we discover it was Spock who faked the message. He has a plan for Pike and kidnaps him and tricks the ships crew into believing that they are on a secret mission with the computers controlling the ship. Mendez shows Kirk a file from 11 years ago. It shows the only earth ship to visit planet Talos IV was the Enterprise with Pike in command and Spock as his second officer. Visiting Talos IV is the only death penalty left on the books.


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Kirk is informed that the Enterprise is warping out of orbit leaving him behind. Spock with Pike aboard ship has the computers in control of the ship he tells McCoy that he is to take care of Pike on this mission. Kirk and Mendez peruse the Enterprise in a shuttle craft. Hansen the helmsman tells Spock that they are being followed by a Starbase shuttle craft. Spock orders Hansen not to slow the ship or contact the shuttle. Kirk tries contacting the Enterprise and decides to keep following even though their fuel is running low. Kirk reasons that Spock is headed to Talos IV. Spock scans the shuttle and the computer tells him that it has past the point of safe return. Spock initiates new orders through the computer. The Enterprise stops. Spock orders the transporter to beam Kirk and Mendez on board then tells McCoy that he has committed mutiny and never received orders to take command security takes Spock away. Kirk beams aboard and the Enterprise under computer control resumes its course to Talos IV any attempt to override is unsuccessful.

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A hearing is ordered into Spock’s mutiny but Spock waves his right to a hearing and requests a court martial. Kirk refuses stating that there are only two of the required three command officers aboard but Spock points out that Pike is still on the active duty list. A court martial is begun. Mendez asks why Spock would want to go to Talos IV. Spock given the opening by that question requests that the view screen be turned on to show the events of eleven years ago. The records shown are too detailed. Kirk immediately realizes this and asks Spock what they are watching. Spock refuses to answer but Pike confirms that it is exactly what happened. The view screen shows the events of eleven years ago and the Enterprise’s first visit to Talos IV. After watching some of the records Mendez questions the authenticity of the broadcast and again Pike confirms that it is exactly how it happened. During the playback of the records a signal is received that Starflleet has monitored that the Enterprise has been receiving transmissions from Talos IV and Mendez is ordered to take command from Kirk and disable the ship if necessary to avoid further contact with Talos IV. Mendez orders the hearing adjourned. Spock is led away with Kirk wondering about his first officer. End part one.

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The Menagerie is the only two part story arc of the original series. During the first season the show had run out of scripts and would have had to shut down production so Robert Justman convinced Rodenberry to write a story around the unused pilot The Cage. Roddenberry wrote the episode in three to four days and called it “the envelope”. This was also a way to use the footage from The Cage and save some money for the show. Actually Roddenberry wanted to release The Cage in theaters he even planned to film the crash of the S.S. Columbia to fill out the time needed to make it a feature film as this wouldn’t have required any of the original actors but the idea was abandoned.

The story is quite riveting. How could Spock be guilty of mutiny and why would he want to take Pike to Talos IV. As McCoy says he or Kirk could do something illogical as what Spock was doing but not Spock. The court martial proceedings are very dramatic. Spock’s plan was incredibly detailed and well thought out. Quite logical. I like how they had Kirk immediately question the authenticity of the recording on the view screen. Having it be just a ships recording would have really stretched believability. The reveal at the end of the episode that the ship was receiving transmissions from Talos IV added another level of tension especially with Starfleet ordering Mendez to relieve kirk and take command of the ship. This is Star Trek’s first cliffhanger as the episode ends there with Kirk relieved of duty Spock under arrest facing the death penalty and the ship headed to the forbidden world of Talos IV. Although it doesn’t match up with the awesome Borg Next Generation cliffhanger it does come close and it still holds up well. Putting yourself back when it first aired it made for some serious questions especially since the show was still relatively new. Would Spock be found guilty would Kirk regain his command and what was the secret of Talos IV. Stay tuned for next week. Almost forgot no red shirts were harmed in this episode.