The Menagerie/The Cage

Discussion in 'Star Trek - Original Series' started by Melakon, Jul 16, 2013.

  1. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2012
    Location:
    Melakon's grave
    I got a copy of "The Menagerie" recently, have watched it several times, and it's on pause right now to write this post.

    In "The Menagerie" framing story, Kirk and the Talosian illusion of Mendez beam aboard the Enterprise from the shuttlecraft. Wouldn't the transporter only detect Kirk aboard? Were the Talosians already controlling the Enterprise crew to make them think there were two people aboard? And then I wondered about whether injured Captain Pike must be screaming his heart out inside because he needs his nose scratched.

    In "The Cage", Pike learns from Vina that the Talosians can't read through strong emotions. She is later punished and disappears, apparently leaving behind her clothing. Her disappearance looks like the same ripple effect for the mental illusions. Was she, or is she, ever really with Pike in his cell? Or did the Talosians maintain an illusion of her the entire time, even when Number One and Colt were captured? Or do they also have a telekinetic ability or a device we're never told about?
     
  2. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2013
    Location:
    New York State
    The Talosians definitely had to deceive the transporter technician, and they put the whammy on Kirk before he even left Starbase 11. It's a shortcoming in the story's plausibility, because their mental power is stretching across many lightyears of space-- and without a time lag, to boot.

    It's hard to say whether Vina was really in Pike's cell. They could have been in separate cells, with their illusions rigged like a conference call. Or Vina could have really been in Pike's cell and she only seems to disappear from his point of view.
     
  3. Mario de Monti

    Mario de Monti Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2013
    Location:
    Heidelberg, Germany
    Interesting question(s), I never really thought about that. But since, as you pointed out, we know of no telekinetic power and/or transporter technology that the Talosians possess, I´d go with the assumption that whenever someone just disappears, they were merely Talosian illusions.

    As to the question of beaming the illusion of Mendez aboard, the Talosians probably influenced the transporter operator into thinking, the transporter had actually locked on to two people.

    However, to me this whole thing is quite a stretch of believability, that the Talosian influence can actually reach that far.
     
  4. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2012
    Location:
    USS Berlin
    I presume the key to unlock these mysteries is Spock.

    If I remember correctly, the Talosians lured Pike and his Enterprise to their planet with a fake (mind produced) distress call, this already established their capability to have telepathic influence over great distances.

    Apparently, the one who was the most susceptible to go to Talos IV was Spock. Notice his unusual expression of disappointment when Pike tells him they will first take of their injuries (small and insufficient sickbay aboard Pike's ship?).
    This is in line with Spock's capability to establish telepathic mind links over great distances (e.g. V'ger's call in TMP).

    Spock had been on Talos IV (close enough for the Talosians to get a full analysis of his brain patterns) and somehow - through Spock - the Talosians must have learned of Pike's accident, inspiring them to sent Spock an invitation to bring Pike to their planet and let him spend the remainder of his natural life there.

    Thus and during the entire feature-length episode "The Menagerie" Spock was apparently working together with the Talosians who probably used Spock as an "amplifier" to project their images over great distances. :)

    Bob
     
  5. Mario de Monti

    Mario de Monti Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2013
    Location:
    Heidelberg, Germany
    That makes sense to me ... except for the "amplifier" part ;)

    But OTOH, this whole story was just fabricated, so Roddenberry & Co. could put the footage from The Cage to good use and buy themselves some desperately needed extra time in the production schedule. With that in mind I think they did a very good job in creating a more than decent episode (or rather: two episodes) in which I gladly overlook this little stretch of believability :techman:
     
  6. Redfern

    Redfern Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2006
    Location:
    Georgia, USA
    I think as originally written in 1964, the Talosians probably had powers that likely did not reach much beyond high orbit of the fourth planet.

    "But the signal the Enterprise received some 18 light years distant?" you ask.

    I don't think that was originally intended to be a telepathic illusion. The Keeper and the Magistrate later discuss how easy it was to lure them to their planet with the radio signal. I suspect shortly after the SS Columbia crashed and the Talosians retrieved the lone survivor, they probed her mind ans tricked her into sending a distress call using conventional radio traveling at 186 KM per second. 18 years later, the intercepts the signal.

    Obviously, the framing story greatly increases the power of the Talosians, so what Pike's crew some 18 lightyears distant of the Talos system may very well have been a telepathic illusion sent moments earlier. But as originally written, the Talosians sphere of influence was limited to orbital distance and the General Order No. 7 was feasable exercise. But as depicted in the framing narrative, the quarantine is futile. We don't know how far StarBase 11 is from Talos, but I'm getting it's a lot more distant than 18 lightyears. This makes the Talosians a far, FAR greater threat!

    Sincerely,

    Bill
     
  7. alexianyc

    alexianyc Ensign Red Shirt

    Joined:
    May 22, 2013
    I agree that in The Menagerie the Talosians had to be in contact with Spock somehow.

    But in The Cage, I think Pike decides to take care of his own crew before investigating the possibility of survivors on Talos because he's feeling so guilty that they were injured at all. And we were supposed to see that as an unusual decision, out of character, because Number One also looks surprised when Pike says they're heading to the Vega colony.
     
  8. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2012
    Location:
    USS Berlin
    @ alexianyc

    I might be reading more into it than what's there, but still:

    ONE: Then they could still be alive, even after eighteen years.
    PIKE: If they survived the crash.
    SPOCK: We aren't going to go, to be certain?
    PIKE: Not without any indication of survivors, no. Continue to the Vega Colony and take care of our own sick and injured first.

    ...

    SPOCK [on monitor]: Mister Spock here. We're intercepting a follow-up message, sir. There are crash survivors on Talos.

    Spock is not the XO under Captain Pike, that's Number One. Maybe it's still the producers looking for Mr. Spock's identity in this pilot film, but his question is somewhat out of line for somebody who is just a member of the Bridge crew, IMHO.

    Bob
     
  9. Shawnster

    Shawnster Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2008
    Location:
    Clinton, OH
    It appears from this and other episodes that thought is not limited by the speed of light. Consider the following:

    As established, the Talosians had to influence Kirk and the Enterprise crew over a vast distance. Everyone was convinced Mendez was there. I know, I know, this is the framing story. There are other clues from The Cage that support this however.

    Yes, it could be as easy as the Talosians using the radio signal and not telepathy. However, we have this:

    So, after Pike decides to continue to Vega colony, the Enterprise receives a follow-up report that there are, indeed, survivors on Talos. Now, either this is a coincidence and the Talosians planned all along to send the follow-up; or, the Talosians could read Pike's thoughts and determined that they needed to do something else to lure the Enterprise to Talos. Personally, I never believed it was a coincidence and I always took it as the Talosians reacting to Pike's decision.

    You're mileage may vary, of course.

    However, this is not the sole evidence that in the Trek universe thought can travel faster than the speed of light. Consider:

    And also, from Errand of Mercy
    Ayelborne had the mental power to appear simultaneously on Earth and Q'onos while he was still on Organia. Further, he said that he had the ability to immobilize ALL of the Klingon and Federation armed forces wherever they may be. So, his reach extended far beyond Organia.

    Granted, the Organians are not Talosians, but the ability to project and manipulate events via telepathy across light years is inherent to both, it appears.
     
  10. scotpens

    scotpens Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2009
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    It also raises the question of just when and how the real Commodore Mendez was replaced by the illusory Commodore Mendez. You'd assume that Kirk and Mendez went to the shuttlecraft and boarded it together. Did they become momentarily separated at some point? Maybe Mendez said, "Excuse me for a minute, Jim, but I really have to take a leak!"* and the Talosians somehow delayed his return while replacing him with their illusion.

    It's a plot hole that's best dealt with by ignoring it.

    *(The Talosians apparently can't put irresistible hunger into Capt. Pike's mind, but they could be quite capable of inducing an intense need to pee.)
     
  11. HarryM

    HarryM Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2007
    Location:
    Old Earth
    I think the easiest way to 'fix' the Mendez plot hole might be something like:

    Have the Enterprise threesome arrive in the shuttlecraft, have a line about bringing along some "transporter sensitive cargo", an exotic plant or something as a starbase crewman unloads it. Rest of episode proceeds, then after Spock steals the Enterprise, Kirk takes the shuttle (alone) and goes after it. Since it is the Enterprise's shuttle, he is not stealing it. He ignore's Mendez orders to return, "Spock is my responsibility". After awhile, Kirk is hailed again by Mendez, who is chasing him in some sort of one-man fast shuttle, (courier pod?) but it doesn't have much range, and he is about out of air. Mendez's shuttle has a small emergency transporter that he uses to beam to Kirk's shuttle. Rest of story proceeds as normal.
     
  12. Anwar

    Anwar Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2006
    Location:
    Regina, SK, Canada
    The biggest plot hole in this episode wasn't Mendez, it was how everyone forgot about Morse code and didn't think of getting Pike to communicate that way.
     
  13. Shawnster

    Shawnster Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2008
    Location:
    Clinton, OH
    Or Mendez said "Hell no, we're not going after the Enterprise and that's an order." Which would mean that the real Mendez has an illusion of Kirk around the whole time.
     
  14. Shawnster

    Shawnster Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2008
    Location:
    Clinton, OH
    Except that McCoy's able to quickly rig a remote control for Spock just 2 years later in Spock's Brain.

    Morse Code. Or the computer system Hawking uses. Granted, Hawking's tech wasn't available in the 60s, but Morse Code was. Johnny Got His Gun, anyone?

    Yeah, that gets my vote for biggest plot hole or oversight.
     
  15. Mario de Monti

    Mario de Monti Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2013
    Location:
    Heidelberg, Germany
    OTOH, if Pike had been able to properly communicate - which I think is safe to assume he should be in the 23rd century - there wouldn´t have been much of an episode, now would there ;)
     
  16. Navigator_NCC2120

    Navigator_NCC2120 Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2004
    Location:
    Sol 3
    Actually in "The Cage" Spock was not just a member of the Bridge crew, he was the Second Officer. He was in command of the Enterprise once Pike and Number One were trapped on Talos 4. At that point Spock decided to leave Talos 4, but he waited too long and the Talosians had taken control over the Enterprise.

    Here is a picture of Spock in command of the Enterprise from "The Cage" courtesy of www.trekcore.com .


    Navigator NCC-2120 USS Entente
    /\
     
  17. HarryM

    HarryM Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2007
    Location:
    Old Earth
    Well, it was Pike's body that was deteriorated, not his mind (according to the script), basically the opposite of Spock in "Spock's Brain".
     
  18. Push The Button

    Push The Button Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2013
    Location:
    Smithfield, Rhode Island USA
    My wife is a nurse and works with the disabled. She uses a cardboard chart with the letters of the alphabet arranged in a grid to communicate with her patients that can't speak or move. It is as low tech as it gets, but it works, and would have allowed Pike to communicate to Kirk, McCoy and anyone else much more than just the "yes or no" that his beeping chair light allowed in the episode.

    Of course, Pike's inability to communicate was essential to the plot, so his being able to warn someone about Spock's plan would have ended the story pretty quickly.
     
  19. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2012
    Location:
    USS Berlin
    @ Navigator NCC2120

    Regardless, during the scene I mentioned he was Number Two and out of line questioning the captain's hinted decision (in front of the Bridge personnel) not to go to Talos IV, IMHO.

    @ Push The Button

    An even greater plothole, IMHO, is that Spock is abducting Captain Pike against his will!

    Not only is that a display of disrespect for your former superior, but it also strikes me as something totally incompatible with Vulcan manners and philosophy.
    And was Spock competent to exclude that Pike might not have suffered a stroke or nervous breakdown? After all, Pike's former senior officer was about to commit suicide on Pike's behalf (the Talos death penalty), something he would have never agreed to.

    In a real world, Spock would have probably told Pike about his plan, but this could have deprived the story of some extra (redundant, IMHO) drama. ;)

    Bob
     
  20. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2013
    Location:
    New York State
    Agreed. And I'm not the first to observe that the framing story inverts the moral of "The Cage" by saying that, now, Pike should want to be a captive living in an illusion.