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Star Trek - Original Series The one that started it all...

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Old February 24 2014, 03:54 AM   #76
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Location: Northern California...
Re: Joel Revisits TOS....

The Conscience of the King

The Enterprise is diverted to Sigma Minor to see about a new synthetic food substance to end famine, but in reality it is a warning from Captain Kirk's acquaintance, Dr. Thomas Layton. A member of a traveling Shakespearean troupe named Anton Karidian is actually the Kodos the Executioner, a brutal man who oversaw an Earth colony named Tarsus 4 that both Kirk and Layton were apart of.

Villainous men can try to escape their horrific past, but karma will always catch up with them.

Plot holes/Plot Issues:
Why does McCoy yell loudly in the vicinity of Riley who is just in the next room when he – McCoy – is talking about Anton Karidian aka Kodos? McCoy is obviously aware that Riley was part of the same colony Kirk and Layton, so shouldn't he have shown some restraint and common sense?

Also, when Riley is alone in Engineering, how is it he doesn't notice the hand that sprays poison in his milk? Or, is it that Lenore was that smooth despite being in clear peripheral vision? Also, in the 23rd century, they still use spray bottles?

Miscellaneous Thoughts:
Anton Karidian, as Kodos the governor of the Earth colony Tarsus 4, slaughtered over 50 percent of the Earth colony in order to have food supplies last a bit longer. It is an interesting twist that while Kodos really tries to leave his past behind, there are people who want closure - like Layton or Riley - and it is not Anton who kills to quiet those who might 'out' is his daughter.

The fictional character Xena, the 'warrior princess' was actually a character who was initially a despicable villain, but turned out to be a lead character who helped people. Occasionally, her past would haunt her, and she would have to answer for her previous actions. Of course, she was a fictional/fantasy character.

What if someone like Adolf Hitler had a change of heart and decided to live his life and help people of various races or beliefs? Would he be able to escape his past? (How about someone like George Zimmerman, or O.J. Simpson?) Reality is a bit harsher than fiction. Usually for these nonfictional characters like Hitler, Zimmerman, or Simpson....'reality' doesn't hit until they get caught.

I personally found it kinda obvious that Anton Karidian can be Kodos, but to be fair to the episode there are people who do resemble one another such as the two actresses Michelle Williams and Adalaide Clemens. Also, the three people who could possibly identify Anton Karidian haven't really seen Anton as Kodos for some time which throws off people who are questioning if Anton is the same person....hence, the initial investigation by Kirk until he immediately falls under Lenore's seductive spell, throwing off said investigation.

I noticed that Anton speaks in very over-dramatic tones throughout the episode. While it creates a bit of hammyness(a word?) this is probably due to the fact that the episode is one big Shakespearean play anyhow. The episode's title even shares a line from 'Hamlet' and hints where the resolution of the episode would take place (i.e the culprit Lenore is found out during a production of Hamlet, and the former 'king' Anton aka Kodos has a conscience and feels that he must atone for his sins) . In true Shakespeare fashion, while trying to kill the one man who may give her away (Kirk) she kills the man she loves (her father, Anton).

Speaking of Lenore Karidian, I think Barbara Anderson mixes just enough innocence and subtle sexiness to sell the character. Barbara Anderson is one of the main reasons I watch the seventh season of Mission: Impossible - even though I'm still hovering around the third season - the original Ironside, and her one episode in Night Gallery.

The quick looks between Yeoman Janice Rand and Lenore are on the Enterprise bridge is pretty funny, and I can't help thinking the 'inner monologue' going on between both women, something that the online critic sfdebris lampooned in his own review of this episode. There is almost a sense of competitiveness between the two women even though they haven't officially met one another, at least onscreen.

Spock also notices the relationship between Kirk and Lenore, and we almost get a sense of Spock being jealous himself. Spock is continually asking questions of Kirk , questions that could come off as someone who is not worried about duty..but someone who has a crush. Indeed, something for Kirk/Spock slash fans.

On that same note, aside from Spock's and his questions about Kirk's relationship with Lenore, both he and McCoy really work to put Kirk in his place since Kirk doesn't really seem to be thinking with his 'big' head in this episode. It's very interesting and far-fetched how quickly Kirk falls for Lenore. This has many similarities with the later “Requiem for Methuselah” where Kirk also falls in love with a teenager – Lenore is 19, and the girl in “Requiem” is 17 - and he is blinded by his 'love' or infatuation that he doesn't really pay attention to his duty. Interestingly, Miri was also '17' (or at least she looked it) but in reality she was around 300 years old. However, Lenore (and the girl in the later episode, “Requiem”) are both blondes, and both mysterious in a way, both exotic. Although, due to my bias, I would say the gorgeous Barbara Anderson is a bit more exotic that the girl from “Requiem.”

When Kirk spends too much time focusing on a woman, you know something bad is going to happen (e.g. not only this episode, but the aforementioned “Requiem” as well as the later episode “The Paradise Syndrome”).

Spock/Uhura fans get some relationship (or 'shipping') hints in this episode too. For example, Uhura is seen playing Spock's lute. (Literally, not figuratively). When Riley hears the lute playing over the speaker from Engineering, he somehow assumes it's Uhura. Granted he - Riley - may know Spock is on duty on the bridge, and Uhura is usually the one who plays the lute if it isn't Spock.

However, we still have more questions. Did Spock let Uhura borrow the lute from a previous meeting? Or, does Uhura have permission to enter Spock's quarters whenever she chooses to get the lute on her own? Did she demonstrate 'exceptional oral sensitivity' to get that permission?

With all that said, I'd noticed some random things. For instance, during one of the scenes when Kirk beams back down to get more information on Kodos and meets Lenore for the first time, there is the Star Trek muzak theme playing on the soundtrack. Mr. Leslie makes an appearance and even has a quick line. And, Dr. Thomas Layton, in certain angles, looks like Shatner from the TOS film/T.J. Hooker era. In a weird way, Kirk is sitting next to his future self...

Another passable episode, and one – at least for me – who has an interesting villain in Lenore Karidian who is smart and uses her beauty to trap Kirk (extremely quickly!) But, she does fail and turns a bit crazy in the end. Because this episode primarily holds my interest because I'm a fan of Barbara Anderson, I don't see myself frequently returning to this episode for any other reason. Therefore, I give 'The Conscience of the King' a 3.5 out of 5.

Up next is:

Galileo 7
(aka Spock and the Shuttlecrew from Hell!)
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Old February 24 2014, 04:38 AM   #77
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Re: Joel Revisits TOS....

Re: Barbara Anderson-- I love her big breakdown scene at the end. I got Season 1 a couple of weeks ago after not having access to the episode for 20 years, and that scene still has chills.
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Old February 24 2014, 06:40 AM   #78
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Re: Joel Revisits TOS....

That's "aural sensitivity".
* * *
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Old February 26 2014, 05:53 AM   #79
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Re: Joel Revisits TOS....

Melakon wrote: View Post
Re: Barbara Anderson-- I love her big breakdown scene at the end. I got Season 1 a couple of weeks ago after not having access to the episode for 20 years, and that scene still has chills.
Yes, that was Anderson's moment.

Maurice wrote: View Post
That's "aural sensitivity".
Spock has Ferengi lobe attributes?
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Old March 17 2014, 02:36 AM   #80
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Re: Joel Revisits TOS....

Galileo 7

Story: The Enterprise is on route to Makus III to deliver supplies to ‘New Paris,’ with the annoying Federation representative, Commissioner Ferris onboard to monitor this delivery. Coming across the Murasaki 312 quasar, Kirk orders a shuttlecraft crew of seven (including Spock, who is in command of this mission) to attain scientific information. Unfortunately, the quasar causes mechanical issues for both the Enterprise and the shuttlecraft Galileo - transporters inoperative, communications inoperative - and the shuttlecraft is forced to land on Taurus 2, dead center of the quasar, where the marooned shuttlecraft crew has to not only survive against hostile locals, find a way back to the Enterprise before it continues on its course.

Theme: Taking the metaphorical high road means taking the harder, but respectable route. A theme that we see with the two characters - Kirk and Spock - who are in leadership roles. Both individuals have to deal with pushy individuals while keeping a professional and mature demeanor.

Plot Points/Plot holes:
Nothing that stood out to me.

Pacing of the plotline is good, and all story points are hit.

Miscellaneous thoughts:
When the shuttle crew is down on Taurus 2 trying to find ways to return to the Enterprise while protecting themselves against the hostiles on said planet, the writers try to depict Spock as being the one who is out of touch with his six shuttlecraft colleagues - Yeoman Mears, Latimer, McCoy, Scotty, Gaetano, and Boma. Granted Spock is the half-alien out of the bunch, but that still shouldn’t be a factor. He is actually the one who is most level-headed and the most likable.

I personally felt sorry for Spock for having to deal with such….assholes.

Spock’s shuttlecraft colleagues continually contradict themselves and react irrationally.

For example, Boma and McCoy get upset when they realize that Spock may command one of them to stay since there is a weight issue to get their downed shuttlecraft pass the planet’s atmosphere. Their attitudes are unwarranted since they do not know who Spock will choose. For all they know, Spock may choose to stay himself!

Furthermore, there is a contradiction when Boma and Gaetano want to attack the locals on Taurus 2. Gaetano says Spock should listen to majority of the votes, but - at the same time - he wants Spock to take the initiative because he is the commanding officer. This is just one time when the shuttlecraft crewmembers bitch and moan when Spock delegates and voices that command isn’t his thing, but at other times wants him to take command depending on the situation. (You would think that Spock’s chances with the tribal locals are better than with the whiny Galileo crewmembers!)

Contradictions and bad attitudes are in abundance when the Galileo crew deal with the burials of fallen crew. Boma is the more vocal one continually talking about giving the crewmembers ‘decent burials’ even though it is apparent the crew need to protect themselves from an unseen enemy. Or, at least an enemy that knows how to use the terrain to pick them off. Logic dictates keeping protected while trying to find a way off the planet, or a way to contact the Enterprise before worrying about burials. However, common sense is not so common with these crewmembers that Spock has to deal with, including McCoy who is very unlikable. Scotty even is on the bandwagon with the whiny, pessimistic crewmembers even though he spends majority of the episode inside the Galileo trying to get power throughout the shuttle. Scotty is ready to give up, and states at one point, ‘What alternatives?’ to which Spock replies, ‘There are always alternatives.’ (Note: In the IDW comics remake of this episode with the J.J. Abramsverse, Boma gets a change: He is more sympathetic and likable, where in the live-action episode, he is just plain mean like the other ‘human’ shuttlecraft crewmembers).

Another example is when Spock examines the spear that killed Latimer. Spock is shot down by his shuttle colleagues as well even though examining the spear would give them an idea of the people they are going against.

Kirk, at the same time, is dealing with an annoyance of his own. A bureaucrat aboard the Enterprise named Commissioner Ferris, who only cares about making the delivery to New Paris, and not so much caring about retrieving the lost crew. Ferris’ screentime pretty much is making a quip on the bridge the delay of the delivery, his legal rights in handling said delivery, then exiting. (It is interesting to note that John Crawford’s likeness - the guy who portrayed Commissioner Ferris - is used for the IDW comics ‘remake’ of this episode. I also remember seeing John Crawford as ‘Chief Engineer Joe’ on Irwin Allen’s The Poseidon Adventure).

There are some good things about Galileo 7. This episode has some of my favorite incidental music playing throughout. It’s sort of a ‘best of’ compilation.

The episode also has some good dialogue:
Mr. Spock, I’m sick to death of your logic.

That’s a very illogical attitude.

And, when some of the Galileo crewmembers are thinking about options in attacking the locals on Taurus 2:
I say we hit them dead on.

Yes, I know. Fortunately, I’m the one giving the orders.

This episode also has a bunch of cliches that are not only relative to Star Trek, but media in general. For instance, Gaetano follows the horror movie cliche of splitting up and not staying together. Also, transporters and communications doesn’t work, so the landing party/away mission has to fend for themselves until someone on either side - Enterprise crew or Galileo crew - finds some way to contact the other.

Lastly, Sulu is back! He was absent for a couple of episodes.

And it is interesting to see, after the opening credits, females as bridge operators as well as serving coffee. However, a minor detail would have been to have a male yeoman serving coffee to break up the stereotype of the yeoman being primarily a female secretary. Star Trek tends to be good when it isn’t overtly patting itself on the back - because, Trek is usually offensive when it is overt in its depictions - Star Trek is good when it is subtle, or even unconsciously progressive.

Now, I'm going to digress a bit: Can you believe I used to think the shuttlecraft was called ‘Galileo 7?’ I didn’t put it together until this review - after all these years of knowing about the episode and growing up with TOS - that the ‘7’ refers to the people on the shuttlecraft.

3.3 out of 5. The unlikable Galileo crew that Spock has to deal with, and no reflection on how they acted, hurt this episode greatly. It leaves a bad taste. This is supposed to be an evolved future where everyone respects each other’s differences, yet Spock’s difference is lambasted by everyone he works with. He is a pariah. You can chalk it up to his human colleagues being afraid for their safety, but they are supposed to be professionals….and their attitudes show just the opposite. The over-the-top joke scene in the end could have been that big moment of reflection, but alas, that moment is wasted on a very cheesy moment.

I personally think if Spock were human he probably would have had all those surviving crewmembers on report, including McCoy. He would have metaphorically told them to ‘go to hell.’

Of course, if Spock were human.

Star Trek will return
‘Court Martial’
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Old March 17 2014, 09:27 AM   #81
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Re: Joel Revisits TOS....

The racism and lack of professionalism of the crew under pressure is apalling, but it was a running theme in the early season one episodes. It's worse when you consider that the really whiny ones are not youngsters but quite senior officers.

Mears keeps a level head but as is often the case for the poor yeoman, she does almost nothing useful, being required only to record stuff. Rand was originally intended to be in that role. I know her early character draft was to have a sisterly relationship with Spock that we never really saw in any of her episodes. I wonder if she might have been a bit more supportive if she had been featured.
Star Trek/Babylon 5/Alien crossover

Other Worlds Role Playing Game
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Old May 27 2014, 03:16 AM   #82
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Court Martial Review

Court Martial

The Enterprise stops by Starbase 11 for repairs, due to previously encountering an ion storm. It is found out that Kirk lost a crewman – records officer Ben Finney – during said ion storm. Because of this loss, Kirk may possibly lose command due to records showing he jettisoned Finney's section before the red alert sounded prior to the ion storm.

Computers aren't infallible, and computers are just as smart as the users. It's an idea that holds true today - in the 'real world' - as many people debate the eBook versus the traditional print book, or online dating and social media taking over the traditional way of interaction. In the episode, we notice how many of Kirk's acquaintances turn against him at a drop of a hat based on the computer's information before anything was even investigated...yet Samuel Cogley puts his trust in books and keeps records the traditional pen/paper way.

Interestingly, Spock claims he doesn't make an error, which is basically saying that he's better than a computer. However, he does use a computer to test his theories out in his own investigation to help out his captain. Technology is also used to cancel out the heartbeats on the Enterprise, so Finney's heartbeat and eventual location, could be pinpointed.

I couldn't find any plot holes. This was a pretty straightforward episode that fills in the story gaps to get us from A to Z.

However, one possible plot issue would have been: What if Sam Cogley was a man who loved computers? How would they have pushed the ideology that computers will never completely take over traditional records, literature, etc.?

I gather that Spock would still investigate on his own, but I wonder if it would have also been Spock that happens upon a book or 'something' non-computerized that helps him figure out Finney's plans?

The episode definitely would have turned out differently. It would have been a different outcome, and would have either succeeded or failed based on the execution.

One other plot issue is the ideology that the episode pushes. It isn't exactly sustained. It seems to be a 'quirk' given to Cogley since it's challenged, as aforementioned, later on in the episode when technology is used to save the day. Now, to a casual viewer, this might not even be a big deal...but the writer/director in me has those things lingering.

*The black characters are portrayed pretty good in this episode. For example, Percy Rodriguez as Commodore Stone wears red with pride, and he is the commander of Starbase 11. (Interestingly, for my many observations on how black people are represented in the Star Trek universe, 'we' do okay in red – the aforementioned Commodore Stone, Uhura, that security officer from 'By Any Other Name,' Sisko - with the exception of that one TNG episode, 'Where Silence Has Lease'). Uhura mans the navigation station in this episode, showing that she is not only attractive, but is technologically saavy and a 'jill-of-all-trades.' She previously manned the navigation station in 'Balance of Terror,' and will be seen in a jumpsuit effecting repairs to a console.

*There is also an Asian presence despite Sulu's absence. A records officer portrayed by an Asian female. While it was a small part, it wasn't the typical role Asian females have in Star Trek (i.e. primarily the love interest for a white male character). There is a bit that shows the records officer mouthing 'Sorry, Captain' when she walks by where Kirk is sitting in the court room after giving her testimony. We also see a high-ranking officer of South Asian decent during the proceedings.

*Scotty is also absent from this. I do actually applaud not shoehorning either Sulu or Scotty into the story, which probably would have came off as obvious if it had happened.

*Mr. Hanson makes his first appearance on the show at the helm. He would return in yet another court martial episode – it would be Spock's – 'The Menagerie.'

*Kirk is allowed to walk freely after Finney is found out. While it is a desparate time since the planetary orbit is decaying, it's almost a 'command decision' on Kirk's part to go it alone even though his command rights haven't been given back to him. I realize that Commodore could have easily said “Take Mr. Spock with you” or “Take a security guard” which would have cut the Kirk/Finney brawl scene down. Of course, Kirk had to beat Finney in said brawl to find out how to repair the ship. And, I got the sense that it was a personal matter that had to be put to rest, since it was Finney who held a grudge against Kirk for so long.

*Shatner's Kirk somewhat breaks stereotypes in regards to his character. While Shatner's Kirk is low-key in this episode, it is Finney who is over-the-top. However, it is interesting how Kirlk's shirt gets ripped – character stereotype – and Finney's does not. Too, there are obvious stunt doubles which comes off a bit funny.

*Bartenders at starbases or space stations wear the same outfits. The bartender at Starbase 11 wears the same leather jacket that the bartender in 'Trouble with Tribbles' wears on Space Station K-7. Apparently, it is the outfit for civilian bartenders.

*Jamie Kirk is an ugly person when we meet her, literally and figuratively. She wears a dress that looks to be for a far younger girl and she is shown to be a 'plain jane,' with a shrew-ish attitude. Hence, we immediately hate her. We also understand that she is named after Kirk, so we assume there was some sort of hate from her father towards her...because she – in a way – reminded Finney of what Kirk did.

*On the other hand, Areel Shaw is a beautiful and professional woman. She is also a previous love-interest of Kirk. However, she doesn't let that stop her from carrying out her duty as prosecutor...and she lets him know that. When the trial is over, she goes right back being 'friends' and kisses him goodbye.

*Shaw's initial attitude about Kirk's innocence is a good juxtaposition with the attitude of other Starfleet officers at Starbase 11 who know of Kirk and immediately see him as guilty. As aforementioned with the ideology, evidence hasn't shown Kirk to be neither innocent or guilty. Shaw is prosecution, so she is going to have to support evidence of Kirk's guilt, but the others are basically going off what the computers said before the trial has begun.

*A term that is rarely used in the series shows up in this episode: 'Vulcanian.' Spock refers to himself as such while giving testimony. Since we rarely hear this word, it could be attributed to Spock – in-universe - 'slipping' when he meant to refer to himself as 'Vulcan' since he was 'on the stand'
and wanted to answer questions as quickly and succinctly as possible. (People tend to actually do that in 'real life' when they are in interviews or speaking to large groups of people - grasp for words, and use the first word that comes to mind).

*McCoy, who has kinda pissed me off ever since I revisited 'Galileo 7,' is his usual cantankerous self in this episode. He is still seeing things at face-value before using any type of critical thinking. As usual, he is getting all up in Spock's business when the 'Vulcan' is trying to figure things out. In this regards, it is when Spock is testing out the computer through a chess match where we get an interesting bit of dialogue:

Mr. Spock, you're the most cold-blooded man I've ever known.

Why thank you, Doctor.

*Lastly, the remastered version adds a nifty little addition in the early part of the episode. We see the area of the Enterprise that was jettisoned as the ship glides past the screen – our screen! - and into orbit around the planet where Starbase 11 is located.

3.6 out of 5. Stunt doubles, and Finney's over-the-top portrayal adds a certain amount of camp to the episode that lingers and dates the episode. Also, the ideology of computers never really replacing either the traditional forms of record-keeping or interaction isn't sustained throughout the episode.

Although, the episode does get us from A to Z and hits all plot points. It's a straightforward episode and enjoyable for what it is, but not a 'must see' or stand out episode.

Next Up
Spock has his turn to go on court martial in the two-part episode, 'The Menagerie.'
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Old May 27 2014, 03:45 AM   #83
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Re: Joel Revisits TOS....

Joel_Kirk wrote: View Post
Now, I'm going to digress a bit: Can you believe I used to think the shuttlecraft was called ‘Galileo 7?’ I didn’t put it together until this review - after all these years of knowing about the episode and growing up with TOS - that the ‘7’ refers to the people on the shuttlecraft.
It refers to both, actually.

“All the universe or nothingness. Which shall it be, Passworthy? Which shall it be?”
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Old May 27 2014, 03:54 AM   #84
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Re: Joel Revisits TOS....

scotpens wrote: View Post
Joel_Kirk wrote: View Post
Now, I'm going to digress a bit: Can you believe I used to think the shuttlecraft was called ‘Galileo 7?’ I didn’t put it together until this review - after all these years of knowing about the episode and growing up with TOS - that the ‘7’ refers to the people on the shuttlecraft.
It refers to both, actually.

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Old Today, 05:43 PM   #85
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Re: Joel Revisits TOS....

The Menagerie, Part I

Kirk, Spock, and McCoy beam down to Starbase 11 with a claim they received a subspace message telling them to divert to said starbase; he message specifically from former Enterprise commander, Christopher Pike. However, both the commander of Starbase 11 and his assistant -Commodore Mendez and Miss Piper, respectively - claim no message was sent. Especially since Captain Pike is now severely crippled, a paraplegic, due to a prior accident and has to communicate through mechanized ‘beeps’ rather than verbal speech.

“Loyalty to one’s friend is stronger than any ‘duty.’”

Spock decides to to help his former captain get his life back, and feels he needs to kidnap his former captain to achieve this. While there seems to be a friendship between Kirk and Spock, Spock doesn’t feel the need to let anyone outside himself and the Talosians (and eventually Pike)know about his plans.

Spock has shown this compassion - albeit stubborn compassion, at times - later on in the franchise. For example, in The Motion Picture when he ‘feels’ the sadness for V’Ger and cries or in The Wrath of Khan when he sacrifices himself for the crew.

In The Undiscovered Country Spock takes it upon himself to enlist the Enterprise crew to be the pioneers in peace with the Klingon Empire (again, not touching bases with Kirk)....and later on in Star Trek: The Next Generation when he goes undercover on the Romulan homeworld to slowly but surely bring together the Romulans and Vulcans. And lastly, in the 2009 Star Trek, Spock tries to help prevent the destruction of Romulus - he is unsuccessful - and eventually helps rebuild Romulus on another planet.

Kirk, on the other hand, shows loyalty to Spock in Star Trek III when he puts his career at risk to go yet another quarantined planet, Genesis. As we know his friendship grows later on in this series since we’ve seen him snap at McCoy when he thought the doctor put the Vulcan at risk (e.g. ‘Operation: Annihilate!’) and when Spock states that Kirk is his friend during the ku-nut-kal-i-fee in ‘Amok Time.’ Even when Kirk takes over command of the [i]Enterprise[i/i] in Star Trek: The Motion Picture - by pulling rank on the current commander, Decker - Kirk wants another Vulcan at the science station since Spock, at that time, is no longer with Starfleet.

Plot Holes/Plot Issues:
*It’s not clear how Pike and Vina getting together will help the Talosian race thrive. Too, was Vina's mate chosen at random? Vina seems very eager to please Pike for just having met him.

*Vina is trying to get Pike to pick a dream to live out with her. At one point, she describes the dream of them together as 'real like Adam & Eve,' and even Mendez says that Pike was 'breeding stock.'

Now, breeding stock for what? A new Talos IV? How does Vina and Pike (or Vina and any other man) getting together fit in with the other species the Talosians have in glass cages?

Why is Pike special? Why not any of the other men on the Enterprise?

*Granted we wouldn’t have a story if this didn’t happen, but why the ‘cloak & dagger’ with Spock trying to get Pike - at first against his wishes - back to Talos IV? Why couldn’t he just ‘ask?’

(Note: If we coming at this episode for the first time, we would expect these questions to be answered in Part 2. So, let’s see if they are in the next review).

Miscellaneous Thoughts:
Miss Piper seems to have a prominent status at Starbase 11. She is never referred to as 'Yeoman' - which tells us she isn’t one, especially since we never do stereotypical duties like getting coffee or waiting on the primarily male officers- and her demeanor, the way she is familiar with Kirk, further hints that she may be at least a Lt. Commander or even a full Commander. She obviously is an assistant, in some regards, to Commodore Mendez - maybe a first officer/second-in-command?

There are a few returning supporting characters in this episode. In addition to Scotty returning, we Mr. Hanson returning as helmsman. He returns from the previous episode, ‘Court Martial,’ and it is interesting how both the episodes he is present in involve Kirk or Spock in court martials.

Lt. Leslie, or his twin in yellow, also returns. He is seen in the corridors as he listens to Spock's announcement about the course change. (Yes, out-universe explanation is stock footage. However, the in-universe explanation is a possible relative or clone, or a change in departments or an ability to work in multiple departments! Which makes it less jarring to figure out what the editors were doing….lol).

Something else that would return, on the big screen, is the quarantined planet - in this case, it would be the Genesis planet of Star Trek II and III - off-limits due to political reasons. A matter that also involves Spock. Here, in ‘The Menagerie,’ While a visit to the Genesis planet hints heavy prosecution by Starfleet if any ship were to go near that area, a visit to Talos IV carries a death penalty if anyone visits it if one is found guilty in a court martial. The difference in these two circumstances, as aforementioned, is Kirk (in ‘The Menagerie’) stands by his rules and belief in Starfleet as he is one of the individuals to judge Spock alleged violation of protocols. Especially since their ‘friendship’ is arguably in the early stages at this time in the franchise. However, in Star Trek III, he breaks rules and risks his career to save Spock.

There are also some differences in the way Kirk and Spock are in ‘control’ of the explanations of their actions. Unlike Kirk in the previous ‘Court Martial,’ Spock is given a bit more free reign to explain the trip to Talos IV; a sort of clip show of ‘The Cage,’ to give an idea what happened 13 years ago. Interestingly, some fans have pointed out that Star Trek IV’s scenes with the Klingon Ambassador - showing the Enterprise from the previous movie blowing up - has many impossible angles from the exterior of the vessel given what was occurring during those action scenes. (Who was filming those scenes? Was there an exterior camera that is released to catch the action before the ship blew?) Well, those angles and scenes shown in ‘The Menagerie’ could be explained away as the Talosians utilizing the memories from Spock as well as Captain Pike to recreate scenes from ‘The Cage.’

It’s just too bad Kirk didn’t have the Talosians to help him in his case during ‘Court Martial!’

While going back on this episode I also noticed that there was a significant number of people on board Kirk’s ship than Pike’s. It is brought out that there were 203 lives on Pike's ship - not clear if this was before or after losing the 7 lives on a mission prior to the Talos IV incident while on Kirk’s ship, there are more than 400 people. (To paraphrase one of the characters from the Deep Space Nine episode ‘Trials and Tribble-ations,’ “They really packed them in on the older ships.”

There is also some familiar faces I’ve seen elsewhere: Talosian leader, portrayed by Meg Wylie (sp?) was seen in the Hitchcock film Marnie as well as on Night Court, which also featured John Larroquette (Maltz, from Star Trek III) and Brent Spiner in an early role…as well as an extra in the background - one of the officers, a white guy - who I saw on a few Next Generation episodes in the background as a Starfleet officer.

Jon Lormer, who portrays one of the S.S. Columbia crew - or the illusion of one of the ship’s crew - has been seen in other Trek episodes as well as Twilight Zone. And, John Hoyt, for me, was best known as ‘Grandpa’ on the 80s sitcom Gimme a Break! with Nell Carter.

And, on a separate note of the Pike Enterprise crew, speaking and non-speaking: ‘The Cage’ crew is primarily made up white males, albeit one Asian male and one female in charge portrayed by Majel Barrett-Roddenberry. The other female, a yeoman named Colt, has the main job to just stand back and look cute. While the racial and gender aspects have been tweaked since ‘The Cage,’ those aspects - how women and non-whites are depicted in Star Trek overall - are still being talked about and debated today.

Pike’s relationship with the Talosians is interesting. He initially tries to appeal to the Talosian by saying, "Our intentions are peaceful" but always has to show his physical prowess since ‘hate’ is the only way to keep them - temporarily - out of his head.

Pike sees that the Talosians are going out of their way to make her attractive to him. And, I had hilarious Idea - well, at least it was hilarious to me - of making both Pike and Vina happy. For example: Pike is made to have a huge phallus, firm abs and buttocks, and Vina is made with large breasts, firm buttocks, smooth skin, etc.

And lastly, the final sequence as the episode closes is pretty cool: The incidental music turns to a dark, military march - denoting that despite the evidence given in the case, things don’t look good for Spock - as we pan with the yeoman as she shuts off her monitor and cooly exits the briefing room. McCoy and Scotty wheel Pike away, and Spock tells Kirk to see the case through as security officers escort the (maybe) former first officer away. The dark music theme changes to a lighter sound, the Star Trek fanfare, as Kirk stands alone.

No overacting in this particular episode - possibly because this episode is pretty much centered around Spock and not Kirk - but there are plot issues that aren't entirely clear. Plot issues that would hopefully be answered in the next episode. Too, this still comes off as a routine episode of Star Trek. We know Spock is going to get out of this predicament since he is a main character.

With that said, this is an episode one might watch out of interest to get familiar with characters, but there are better episodes out there from TOS; episodes strongly written.
However, I’m getting ahead of myself. Maybe part 2 will explain my questions and build on what the first part has established.

Score: 3.6 out of 5


Joel’s Note
A little recollection for those who are American or lived in America, particularly Southern California:
I remember the television station KTLA, Channel 5, showing ‘The Menagerie’ as a special in the early 80s. I wouldn’t see ‘The Cage’ until around 1986 or 1987 on videotape - around the time Star Trek: The Next Generation was being talked about and around the time I would watch, for the first time, Star Trek IV on videotape.

Also in the early 80s, I recall having a blue Star Trek tunic, short-sleeved like McCoy’s. And, I owned the Mego action figures - particularly Spock and Scotty. I may have had Kirk, also, but I do remember having Spock and Scotty for the longest time. (I think they are in a box somewhere in storage with Star Wars action figures I got in the late 90s during the re-releases). It wasn’t because they - Spock and Scotty - were my favorite characters, since I really didn’t have any faves from that particular series. I just liked the environment, the costumes, the adventure.

Ahhh...when Mr. Joel was innocent.

(Technically, I’m still ‘innocent’....just a lot more world saavy!)

Next up:
‘The Menagerie, Part 2’
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