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Botany Bay February 13 2014 05:31 AM

Episode of the Week : The Man Trap
Each week we're having a look at a TOS episode, going through the series in production order. Please rate the episode out of ten, and have your say below. As usual, I'll record the scores each week and save them so we can rank TOS in order of popularity.

If you're new to TOS, please watch along with us and ask anything you like about the episodes. TOS veterans, feel free to add any bits of trivia, or stories about the production of the episode as well. Some nice resources to fire up the discussion :

Memory Alpha
Episode transcripts
Unseen elements of the Original Series
Star Trek Fact Check

This week : Break out the Salt shakers, Plum, it's The Man Trap

CrazyMatt February 13 2014 05:54 AM

Re: Episode of the Week : The Man Trap
Perfectly mediocre episode. What terrible luck this should be the premier....

Runetouch February 13 2014 12:12 PM

Re: Episode of the Week : The Man Trap
Nice episode, it was. 8 out of 10 from me.

BillJ February 13 2014 01:10 PM

Re: Episode of the Week : The Man Trap

Pretty good for a fairly basic "bug-eyed monster" episode.

mach7 February 13 2014 01:16 PM

Re: Episode of the Week : The Man Trap
Middle of the road. I give it a 6.

Not the best to premier the show.

A typical monster show, without Star Trek's flavor.
No compassion or quest to understand, just a monster

Compare it to The Devil in the Dark, basically the same story.
TDITD is much better.

Great shots of the black & white phasers

Nice direction by Marc Daniels.

The Old Mixer February 13 2014 03:30 PM

Re: Episode of the Week : The Man Trap
It has a decent atmosphere, but is a bit of a snoozer surrounded by much more interesting episodes (in production order).

Use of Time February 13 2014 04:20 PM

Re: Episode of the Week : The Man Trap
Story seemed to drag once the creature got loose on the Enterprise.

Redfern February 14 2014 03:48 PM

Re: Episode of the Week : The Man Trap
But it presented the "day players" to great effect, likely contributing to misconception that it was an "ensemble" show once it hit syndication in the early 70s. For that reason, I rather like this episode. Plus, I liked the Therimen styled violen chords adding to the creepy atmosphere.



Ssosmcin February 14 2014 04:33 PM

Re: Episode of the Week : The Man Trap
I always loved this one, even though it is pretty far away from what they were going for with the series. Kirk feels more like Christopher Pike, Spock repeatedly double-fisting Nancy in the face is hysterical, and nobody thinks to actually reason with this obviously intelligent creature.

As for it being a “typical monster episode,” I completely disagree. There’s a lot more going on to make the alien sympathetic. It’s a pitiable creature, not a monster and only the reveal at the end makes it one. You want to see “typical monster episodes,” pop on an average Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea from the same year. Monster comes aboard, roars, kills the same stuntmen-characters over and over and is finally destroyed at the end. That’s it. The Man Trap did much more with its “monster” than most other shows of the day. The creature design is great and very sad while still being very creepy.

The rush to get this episode on the air probably accounts for the inconsistent sound effects (Communicators beep, don’t beep, chirp, don’t chirp, etc.) and use of stock footage from other episodes (common to the early episodes – not counting the ship shots) is peppered throughout. The music is barren and lonely, much like the creature itself. I also loved the electric violin employed liberally throughout the score. The opening theme was recorded at the same sessions and not used in the Blu-Ray release, where they plug in the cello theme recorded by Fred Steiner a little later on. The DVDs are still the only place to see the accurate opening title music and credits. God, I'd love for CBS/Paramount to release the series correctly. Just fricking once. But I digress...

This may not have been the ideal episode to kick off the series, but it is none the less an under appreciated story. The creature at the end is what seems to throw it off, but until those few moments of screen time, it’s a tense, somber and dark early take on the Star Trek universe.

It gets an 8 from me.

Warped9 February 15 2014 12:28 AM

Re: Episode of the Week : The Man Trap
An 8 out of 10.

Before Jaws, before Alien, before Odo and the various shape changing lifeforms found throughout Trek there was Star Trek's Salt Vampire. TOS took the hoary old story of the alien monster killing everyone and turns it on its head. They make an effort to get us to try to understand and even feel a measure of sympathy for the creature. And it's a decently told story.

The biggest question here is: what ability did the creature actually have? The evidence onscreen doesn't suggest an actual shape-changing being because it's able to appear differently to different people at the same time. So it must be something hypnotic as well as the ability to create convincing illusion.

I also liked seeing the secondary characters getting something extra to do beyond their usual routines. I liked Uhura's somewhat flirtatious exchange with Spock. I liked seeing other little crew interactions besides those of the main crew. I liked seeing the life and movement of other people aboard. It was these little brief details, particularly early on, that allowed Star Trek to convey a convincing setting. We also saw Uhura at Navigation in the opening scene.

This isn't an awesome effort, but I think it's better than average.

Botany Bay February 15 2014 08:23 AM

Re: Episode of the Week : The Man Trap

The creature speaks Swahili to Uhura. Translated, it tells her :
"How are you, friend? I think of you beautiful lady. You should never know loneliness."

Harvey February 15 2014 07:03 PM

Re: Episode of the Week : The Man Trap

(a phrase in Swahili) – “Hali Ganza, mzenzi”, which means “How are you, friend?”, or “Nina ku dhania mwanamke mzuri”, which means “I think you are beautiful lady”, or “Usijue upekee kamwe”, which means “You should never know loneliness”.
Speaking of trivia, those are the options that de Forest Research provided when the script requested a phrase in Swahili. Amusingly, it seems that the writer (either Johnson or Roddenberry) decided to use all three rather than pick one.

Botany Bay February 16 2014 02:16 AM

Re: Episode of the Week : The Man Trap
Thank god for de Forest research, keeping things accurate as always :)

From reading Cushman's book it seems as though there was a bit of friction developing between John Black and Roddenberry over GR's changes to Johnson's script. Black felt GR should have left Johnson's work pretty much alone.

Cushman blames late Gene's revisions for lines like "go chase an asteroid" and "do you suppose he's gone space happy?", but credits him with adding this chilling line from Crater :


KIRK: Where's your wife? Where is she now?
CRATER: Dead. Buried up on the hill. It killed her.
KIRK: When?
CRATER: Oh, a year, or was it two?

T'Girl February 16 2014 03:45 AM

Re: Episode of the Week : The Man Trap

Botany Bay wrote: (Post 9252475)
KIRK: Where's your wife? Where is she now?
CRATER: Dead. Buried up on the hill. It killed her.
KIRK: When?
CRATER: Oh, a year, or was it two?

Kirk: "All research personnel on alien planets are required to have their health certified by a starship surgeon at one year intervals.

Apparently the creature was able to fool one starship surgeon, and maybe two.


You know, if you think about it "Mantrap" would have been a perfect title for the episode Mudd's Women.


Warped9 February 16 2014 03:50 AM

Re: Episode of the Week : The Man Trap
It might have gotten away with it again if it hadn't killed Green.

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