Star Trek : The Menagerie, part 2

December 29, 2014 in Guest Blogs, Star Trek by GuestBlogs

A Guest Blog by Mindless-Droid


This week’s classic Star Trek episode is The Menagerie part 2. This is the second of two episodes that used footage from the rejected pilot episode the Cage. We rejoin Spock’s court martial with Spock pleading guilty to all counts. Mendez reminds Spock that all contact with Talos IV is forbidden but Spock tells him that he has no choice and he tells Pike that the Keeper has taken control of the screen. Pike flashes that he understands. The images resume. The images reveal that the Talosians using their great mental power of illusion had captured Pike and had begun an experiment to see if they could use humans to reclaim their barren planet.

After a time the images from Talos IV stop. Mendez asks why. Spock tells him that the Talosians know that Captain Pike is fatigued and will resume the transmissions later. This prompts Kirk to say that The Talosians care about Pike. To which Spock says that they want him back alive. Mendez asks why? Spock says that he’ll see why as the rest of the story unfolds. The trial is reconvened and the transmissions resume. Kirk’s log entry states. “Strange evidence from the past… how the Talosians, planning to breed a society of Human slaves, tempted Pike with the Earth woman they held in captivity… and as she appeared to him in many forms, each more exciting than the last, Pike was beginning to weaken.” Once again the transmission ends. Spock asks for more time but Mendez asks Pike for his verdict. Spock pleads with Pike saying that it is his life and his chance for life. Kirk says he would just be a zoo specimen. To which Spock says there is more. Pike Mendez and finally
Kirk find Spock guilty as charged.


The Enterprise enters orbit over Talos IV and Spock tells kirk and Mendez that the Talosians control the ship now just like they did thirteen years ago and that all their questions will be answered. The transmission resumes. In the past on Talos IV Pike and several of his crew have escaped to the surface but this is what the Talosians wanted they wish Pike to start building a human colony. Pike bargains with the Talosians say he will stay if the others are freed. Number one Pikes second in command initiates a phaser overload threatening to kill all of them rather than become slaves. As the weapon builds up an overload more Talosians arrive on the surface they impart the records they had obtained to the keeper and they realize that humans abhor captivity even when it is kind and benevolent. They release Pike and the others saying that they can’t use the humans for their needs. Without the humans the Talosians will be condemned to death as a race. Pike offers to help them but the Keeper refuses and states that they would learn the Talosian power of illusion and destroy themselves too. Vina refuses to leave with the rest of them and the Talosians reveal that her beauty was an illusion and that she is horribly disfigured. Pike understands and returns to the Enterprise leaving Vina and Talos IV behind.


Back on the present day Enterprise Kirk realizes what Spock had planned and turns to Mendez to ask him to wave the charges but Mendez disappears. The Keeper appears on the view screen and tells Kirk that Spock had relayed to them his strength of will so the illusion of a court martial would divert him from regaining control of the Enterprise. The Keeper then invites Pike to stay with them to live out his life unfettered by his physical body. Kirk asks Spock why he didn’t come to him with an explanation. Spock says one of them facing the death penalty was enough. Just then the Enterprise receives a message from Mendez back on the Starbase he had seen the Talosian transmissions and waves the death penalty is this case. Kirk asks Pike if he wants to go to the planet. Pike signals yes. Spock escorts Pike to the transporter room but as he leaves Kirk wants to see him about his emotionalism to which Spock responds that he has been completely logical about the whole affair. The Keeper calls to Kirk. On the view screen Pike and Vina appear as they did before walking off hand in hand. The Keeper tells Kirk “Captain Pike has an illusion and you have reality may you find your way as pleasant.”


I hadn’t watched these two episodes in a while and had forgotten how good a story this was. In fact they won a Hugo award for Best Dramatic Presentation in 1967. It was an ingenious way to use the rejected pilot and recover some of the cost associated with it. Spock’s character really shines in this episode. Spock risked his career and his life for his former captain and although you could say it was an emotional decision he did accomplish his goal in a quite logical way and if you think about it he does have a point about it being a logical decision to take Pike back to Talos IV where he could live his life without the confinement of his disfigured body. This episode is one of the best happy endings in all of Star Trek seeing Pike and Vina walk off together. It also redeems the Talosians who were the villains in the original pilot here they are shown having realized the error in there ways and showing great compassion for Captain Pike and Vina.

One bit of trivia the scene at the end in which Kirk watches Pike and Vina walk off hand in hand was altered from the original episode. In the original pilot episode it is Pike still on Talos who after the Talosians reveal Vina’s disfigurement asks them to give her back her illusion of beauty. After they do he watches Vina and an illusion of himself walk off together. Once again there were no red shirts harmed in this episode.