Hm seems it's been almost a year since the last review thread of Original Series episodes, and I finally shelled out the money for a season one blu-ray so I figured why the hell not. I'll just put all the things I thought of out here; not sure how much of a "review" these will be as I am just typing what's in my brain a day after I watched it. (Yes I am watching these in Blu-Ray/airdate order because it's easy.)
The Man Trap
(by George Clayton Johnson)
(And because I'm a credits-geek I will note these:
Music - Alexander Courage
Effects - Howard Anderson Co.)
On ABCD scale I would give this an A
. I enjoyed it quite a bit.
I think this is a pretty good introductory episode personally, because it establishes the characters' names and personalities fairly effectively. Watching this as if I've never seen it before --
It is actually an interesting look at preserving intelligent life - there's a scene where Spock and "McCoy" (actually the creature) have a discussion on what to do about it - and Spock says something along the lines (from memory here) "your attitude is commendable but inadvisable." The creature tries to argue its case and Professor Crater mentions it's the last of its kind, and says it just needs love and salt - but I guess it needed more than love because Crater gets killed next. Spock goes a little crazy punching the creature in the face in the end.
The shapechanging was interesting - I get the impression from the episode that the creature could read someone's thoughts and then change according to that - with the crewman mentioning "Rigley's Pleasure Planet" and on the ship with Uhura where he seduces her in the hallway and almost has his salt snack.
The final scene is a nice callback to show that even though the danger is over, the moral implications are still important when Kirk says "just thinking about the buffalo."
I like the way the ship is established as "checking up" on colony worlds - they go to make sure the professor and his wife pass their physicals etc. Also they way they show everyone working to prove whether the plant killed the crewman or not is effective if a bit repetitive - it feels like the ship is a real workplace.
I think the characters are introduced pretty well here. Dr. McCoy comes off as pretty likable, and gets most of the good scenes in this episode. At one point I felt like Captain Kirk was being a dick to him, and thought the Captain isn't too sympathetic, but Kirk did apologize to McCoy for his behavior later. The Captain did come off as a good combination of being above it all to get the job done, and being a friend when needed.
Spock had some good scenes with Uhura early on - I am guessing this episode influenced the current Trek movies' idea for a Spock/Uhura relationship.
So apparently the extra crewmen have never worked professionally with a woman before? They are a little pushy with Rand - (hey, is that lunch for me?
I was a little confused on just what Sulu does - he's introduced working on plants in what's clearly marked as Life Sciences. Later he seems to be coordinating security. And only in the final scene do we see him at the helm. I guess he just works any job he feels like that day.
edit: oh also I like the way the planet set was done. The filming of it makes it look bigger than it really is. They must have trucked in a lot of sand for that one!