Utterly Star Trek Review

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Star Trek 1.12 (The Menagerie, part 2)

First Aired: November 24, 1966

Cast:
Jeffrey Hunter (Capt. Christopher Pike)
Susan Oliver (Vina)
Malachi Throne (Commodore Jose I. Mendez)
Peter Duryea (Lt. Jose Tyler)
John Hoyt (Dr. Philip Boyce)
Laurel Goodwin (Yeoman J. M. Colt)
Adam Roarke (C.P.O. Garrison)
Sean Kenney (Disabled Christopher Pike)
Hagan Beggs (Ensign Hansen)
Meg Wyllie (The Keeper)
Julie Parrish (Miss Piper)
Writer: Gene Roddenberry
I won’t go into the background of this episode, as I did that in my comments to part one. Instead, I shall look at the merits of the completed story now that I have seen it.
Less than half of part one was made from material from The Cage and so this episode redresses the balance, with a lot more of the drama coming from the original pilot. Some parts of the pilot are much weaker than the threads from The Menagerie but with the changing of the ending (they use some of the same footage from the end of The Cage but put it here in a different context) makes the whole things seem a lot more worthwhile. It is, again, however, the drama in the courtroom that really grabs your attention, as it is slowly revealed what it going on.
By itself, The Cage is a weak episode. Fleshed out with the extra stuff here, it becomes very very strong, and viewed as one story, this is Star Trek at pretty much it’s best. Episode two is slightly weaker, but as a whole the 95 or so minutes that make up this episode stand together very well – Roddenberry, who wrote both the pilot and this – weaves the elements together very well. The Cage is available as an extra on one of the DVD sets (I will not be reviewing it here, since the end of The Cage contradicts the end of The Menagerie) and somehow without all of the trial stuff it certainly seems incomplete. I love it because it is far more adventurous than TV tended to be then (and even now) – effectively Captain Pike is the star of this show, with Spock, but so much attention is given to non- regular characters. (They do it again, also with much success, almost thirty years later in a ST:TNG episode called Lower Decks).
Watch this, preferably one sitting. You shouldn’t be disappointed.
Crew Deaths: 0
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 19
Score: 8/10
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August 2, 2007 - Posted by | flashbacks |

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