The Menagerie/The Cage

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

  1. alexianyc

    alexianyc Ensign Red Shirt

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    It does have a lot of holes. Another one is that the Talosians may not be as evil as they first appear, but they are not exactly benevolent. They torture Pike with the illusion that he's burning in hell and "punish" him another time as well. Talos isn't exactly a place I'd leave a completely disabled man.

    But in spite of the weaknesses of the framing story I think it's a compelling, dramatic episode. Pike in that chair is horrifying, particularly when the flashbacks start and you see him as he was before the accident.
     
  2. Kinokima

    Kinokima Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Agreed, the episode isn't perfect but this is really why it works for me.

    It's terrifying because it is something you can actually relate to. When I watch the episode I can actually put myself in the shoes of the characters and wonder what I would want in that situation. I think that is what makes it such a compelling episode.

    However the whole thing about Spock's crimes doesn't really work for me when it is all brushed aside so easily at the end.

    So the stuff with Pike is excellent to me but the stuff with Spock is somewhat of a disappointment.
     
  3. Grant

    Grant Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    A simple game of 20 questions would have worked using the lights---it was in idiotic bit of dialogue from day 1 and amazing that it got by. They could have simply said, "does this have to do with Spock?

    Bingo first guess is right, Spock's plan uncovered.

    second idiotic statement Spock nerve piches Chief Humboldt sends false Kirk message and then says to Enterprise, "We'll be warping out in AN HOUR" !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Realy? an hour---extra hard nerve pinch? or did he then hypo him hide the body and then expect no-one wouk come back within an hour and say, "Where's Humboldt?"

    I guess no one questioned GR's scripts "hey GR--this makes no sense."

    "Hmm, you're fired."

    "Any other input? Okay we're all set."
     
  4. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    It is one of my favorite episodes, and it was the first commercial videotape I bought after getting a VCR in 1984 or so (which I had bought to tape TOS reruns). Given that "The Menagerie" was a rush job because otherwise they would have missed an airdate, it holds together if not looked at too closely. But they didn't expect us to be still analyzing these shows nearly 50 years later.
     
  5. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    It's possible the Enterprise crew were under Talosian influence before they got to starbase. Kirk says Spock received a message from the starbase---but why Spock and not whoever was manning communications? Even if it was a personal message intended specifically for Spock it still comes through the comm board.

    Given this it appears the Talosians were manipulating pretty much everything. There could even have been an illusionary Kirk back on starbase fooling Mendez long enough for the real Kirk (with illusionary Mendez in tow) to attempt chase in the shuttlecraft.

    The attempted chase in the shuttlecraft makes little sense either. Even a warp powered shuttlecraft would have no hope of catching the Enterpriise if the starship really steps on the gas. The starship would have to be pretty much puttering along at maybe Warp 2 or 3 or so and staying teasingly just out of the shuttlecraft's reach. If the plan had been simply to grab Pike and go for Talos 4 then the chase would have been thoroughly pointless. Obviously everything was staged so that in the end Spock is most likely to be exonerated.
     
  6. Metryq

    Metryq Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Then why would Spock have gone to the trouble of using the voice synthesizer to fake Kirk's orders?

    I don't see the Talosians as evil so much as desperate. At the end of "The Cage," Pike suggests working together, but the Keeper declines, asserting that humanity would learn the same powers and destroy itself, too.

    The reason for leaving Pike with the Talosians in "The Menagerie" becomes clear when one sees how the Talosians gave Vina her illusion of health and comfort.

    But what about the race of slaves angle? Pike fought that battle and won -- the Talosians considered humanity too wild and intractable. (On top of that, Pike may have been "damaged" in that regard from his exposure to the delta rays.)
     
  7. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    From the way it was presented Pike's life was essentially over. The Talosians offered him something Federation science apparently couldn't. He and Vina could perhaps enjoy the illusion of a family, but likely never the reality. And the Talosians could experience family through Pike and Vina without the idea of slavery ever being an issue.
     
  8. Shazam!

    Shazam! Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Just caught this on TV part way through and during some of The Cage scenes Spock has a limp... maybe I've just forgotten but can anyone tell me why?
     
  9. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Earlier in the episode Pike makes reference to needing to tend to their own sick and injured first after a prior event on Rigel. Spock might indeed have been limping as an affirmation of Pike's reference.
     
  10. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Like the episode establishes, there's no way to tell whether a given thing is illusion or reality. Quite possibly, the distress call was a perfectly physical radio wave, just like our heroes thought. No need for long range, then.

    Good point, and already sufficient to explain all of "The Menagerie".

    As for details such as how just Kirk came aboard in a supposed beam-for-two event, let's remember just how the Talosian mind control works. It's not a case of them directing their pulsating foreheads at specific people. Rather, the entire area, the entire landing party, the entire starship starts to see things that aren't there (the survivors), not to see things that are there (the elevator), to do things they don't even realize they are doing, despite having already reasoned that they must be doing it themselves (going through the memory banks of the ship)... AND THE AUDIENCE IS AMONG THE VICTIMS!

    That is, we don't see Spock pressing buttons to send Talosians information from the ship's databanks. Instead, we see the illusion of him staring helplessly as the databanks send this information "all by themselves".

    There's no need for details, as the Talosians project entire story arcs that their victims find utterly plausible from start to finish. If something doesn't add up, the victims fix things so that everything makes sense again. And again, this applies to the audience as well. We're supposed to see a happy end, but what we see is probably 100% false. We have no real reason to assume that there ever was a Vina, or that Mendez was an illusion, or that the real Mendez sent any messages, or that Pike is happy down on the planet. It's just a satisfactory wrap-up that allows the heroes and the audience to leave the adventure behind.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  11. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yes, that's why.
     
  12. Grant

    Grant Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    And one guy had a wrap on his wrist and another guy had a bandage on his neck.
     
  13. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I never understood why Mendez needed to be an illusion? It just threw a complication into the believability of the story.
     
  14. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Commodore Commodore

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    I'd say it was two things. They wanted some extra "sci-fi jazz" for wonderment and surprise value, and they wanted to get a superior off Kirk's back, because Kirk makes a more compelling audience representative when he's in charge.
     
  15. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    ...And for that reason, they needed a superior officer to explain why Kirk is so incredibly passive throughout the adventure, essentially content to just watching television!

    If Kirk's superiors force him to sit down (i.e. they convene a hearing), then the use of "The Cage" snippets as audiovisual recordings becomes more plausible. But those superiors have to be removed from the picture eventually, to let Kirk act.

    Timo Saloniemi