Star Trek S1E11 – The Menagerie: Part 1

This is the most unusual episode I’ve done. There was an issue in the production schedule, and they had to figure out a way to fill out a couple weeks. So, they brought back the episode “The Cage” and did it as a couple clips episodes! Of course, there’s new footage, but much of it is from the original pilot. Not only am I reviewing this episode, but also the pilot. Well, at least half of it. This is a two-parter!

Season 1, Episode 11: The Menagerie: Part 1

Original Air Date: November 17, 1966

Stardate 3012.4

Planet: Starbase 11 and Talos IV

Featured Alien: Talosians

Main Cast: Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Uhura, Scott

Main Guest Characters: Captain Christopher Pike (Jeffrey Hunter), Commodore Jose I. Mendez (Malachi Throne), Fleet Captain Pike (Sean Kenney), Lt. Piper (Julie Parrish), Lt. Hansen (Hagan Beggs), Number One (Majel Barrett), Dr. Philip Boyce (John Hoyt), Vina (Susan Oliver), The Keeper (Meg Wyllie)

Things I Noticed

First of all, this may be a minor thing, but I always imagined Starbases being in space. They go to Starbase 11, but it’s on a planet? Actually, I shouldn’t say a planet, because it appears it’s more likely a large moon orbiting a ringed planet. An M-class moon. This is also the first time that a Starbase is mentioned in Star Trek.

Captain Pike’s wheelchair is something I wouldn’t expect in the 22nd century. With the advances they’d have, there would be a more efficient way for him to communicate other than having the chair’s light flash once for yes and twice for no. Even early 21st century neural interface technology is more advanced.

Spock committing mutiny? Not expected from someone like him.

This is Malachi Throne’s first on-screen appearance in a Star Trek episode. He also appeared in The Next Generation. However, in the original pilot episode, he was the voice of The Keeper, though that had been replaced for this episode.

Spock creates a fake transmission from Starbase Operations. How he does it is by opening a front panel and manipulate something inside. I’d think there’d be an easier way to create a voice file. Later, he used colourful tapes with recorded messages.

McCoy says they can’t tap into the brain, but with current science, we can. We’ve advanced farther today than they imagined we could by the 22nd century back in the 1960s. But then, I said that about Pike’s chair.

Death penalty for approaching Talos IV? I find that hard to believe. Kind of odd that this is the only case for a death penalty, and I’d be more inclined to believe that the death penalty had been abolished at this time.

The top secret file has a few interesting things (thank you pause button!): They refer to Spock as Half-Vulcan Science Officer Spock (why so specific about his species?), the location of Talos IV is the third quadrant of vernal galaxy (there are 4 quadrants in the galaxy, and it’s later established that they are quadrants Alpha to Delta), and what’s the the all caps? Also, the top secret file is a hard copy.

Starbase 11 only has one shuttlecraft? You’d think they’d have a warp-capable ship available. The ship’s library says it has ion engine power (a later episode said ion engines are beyond Starfleet capabilities), but shuttlecraft should have impulse engines, if I remember my Star Trek Technical Manual correctly. And I’m surprised that the shuttlecraft has such a small supply of oxygen. It should have the ability to extract O2 from CO2.

Spock’s rank is revealed to be Lt. Commander. I’d always thought he was a full Commander.

In the recording from the pilot, the computer printed a message on paper. Paper!

After beaming down to the surface, you can notice Spock limping. Leonard Nimoy must have injured his ankle or leg. Shortly after, Spock smiled when they found a singing plant. This was long before his emotionless persona was established.

Vina is wearing makeup. They have makeup on Talos IV? There are no other women on the planet, so how does she know how to put it on?

My Impressions

This is the reason I didn’t review the pilot. Should I go back and review it? For the longest time, this was the only way to see the pilot episode, although that is available to watch now.

Overall, this was a very strong episode. The courtroom drama, seriousness, and acting were very well done. The performance by Leonard Nimoy is excellent. William Shatner and DeForest Kelley do a great job, as well. Jeffrey Hunter did well as the original Captain Pike, but I found him to be dry and too serious. He didn’t have enough personality. I prefer the crew with Kirk far more than Pike’s crew. William Shatner may have some acting shortcomings, but I actually enjoy watching Kirk. It wouldn’t be Star Trek without him.

What I found interesting is how Number One (Majel Barrett) was never given a name. She’s supposed to be the second in command, but we don’t have a name. It was a remarkable thing for a show in the mid 60s to have a woman as second in command. It’s too bad the final episode of the series says a woman cannot be a Captain of a starship. Of course, that’s a load of bull. But it reflects the time it was made, not the actual future.

As I said, this was a strong episode. I thought it was one of the best in The Original Series. It was full of drama and extremely series. Great stuff! Part 2 will be coming soon.

Verdict

★★★★★

Your Voice

What did you think of this episode? How would you compare the two Enterprise crews? Did you find Pike as dull as I did? And what did you think of the acting in this episode? Let me know in the comments section!

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3 thoughts on “Star Trek S1E11 – The Menagerie: Part 1”

  1. My takeaway from this episode was the pitiable condition of Captain Pike. The wheelchair looks like a horrible prison. The revelation that Pike’s mind is as active as ever is heart-wrenching. Whatever Spock was up to, I was for it.

    1. Yeah, it seemed like he was in a prison. In The Cage, he was put into a prison where he could live any way he desired, yet he despised it, because he was in captivity. Now, he wants to escape his own prison and go back to that prison so he can have the freedom to live how he likes.

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