Utterly Star Trek Review

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Star Trek 1.11 (The Menagerie, part 1)

First Aired: November 17, 1966

Cast:
Jeffrey Hunter (Capt. Christopher Pike)
Malachi Throne (Commodore Jose I. Mendez)
Peter Duryea (Lt. Jose Tyler)
Laurel Goodwin (Yeoman J. M. Colt)
John Hoyt (Dr. Philip Boyce)
Adam Roarke (C.P.O. Garrison)
Sean Kenney (Disabled Christopher Pike)
Hagan Beggs (Ensign Hansen)
Julie Parrish (Miss Piper)
For those of you who are not aware, this two part episode (the only two part episode in the run of the original Star Trek series) was actually done as a cost cutting exercise. Before Star Trek was made as a weekly TV series, a pilot episode called The Cage was filmed and ultimately rejected, however another pilot was made and the rest is history.
The Cage was about an hour long, and started Jeffrey Hunter as Captain Pike. It was decided to build some new material around the pilot and create a two part episode that would only cost as much as a single episode. So, half of the story is set in the normal time, and the other part is set some years earlier.
Since I am reviewing part one and not the whole story, I shall try and consider these as separate episodes.
The opening half of this episode is excellent. We have no idea why Spock has stolen the Enterprise, and the look on Kirks face when he hears that the starship has warped out of the starbase is priceless! I also think this is the first time we see a shuttlecraft on the show.
The second half of the episode features the trial of Spock for mutiny. We get to see the dress uniforms, and then as evidence in his defence he shows footage from the pilot. Now, one of the reasons that this works so well is that the uniforms are different (though we have seen them earlier in the second pilot) and also the Enterprise bridge is considerably different. Okay, so the Trekkie knows why this is, but to the casual viewer it really does look like they have made an effort to make everything look older. Heck, even the communicators look retro compared to the ones we are used to!
The Talosians, with their now famous bulbous, veiny heads are also great. The one minor gripe in this episode is the first officer of the Enterprise under Pike – it is Majel Barrett, who also plays Nurse Chapel. It was probably wise for them not to use Chapel in this episode, however they just about get away with it – the characters look very different, and because Number One has a very emotionless voice, she doesn’t sound like Chapel either (though she does sound like the ST:TNG computer voice. But there’s a reason for that – she is!
The episode ends very well, with a dual cliffhanger – Pike has been kidnapped and Spock has almost certainly invited the death penalty for his actions. As a standalone episode, complete with cliffhanger, it works very well indeed. One of my best so far.
Crew Deaths: 0
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 19
Score: 9/10
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August 2, 2007 - Posted by | flashbacks |

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