The Menagerie, Part 2
Overall Ep :
First Aired :
24 Nov 1966
Season Ep :
Surely they could have come up with a more sophisticated method of communication for Pike in the 23th century than just flashing a light.
Also, the transporter seems to be making phaser noises, and then Spock has an emotional outburst when only the women are transported.
Great Moment :
Spock's complete out manoeuvring of Kirk and the others at the court marshal, and dare one say Vina as the green Orion slave girl?
Body Count :
When doing makeup tests for Vina as an orion slave girl, the film kept coming back without the green being visible. The makeup people painted the poor woman ever-brighter shades of green in the hope that it would become visible on film - only to discover that the film processing lab was recolourising her because they didn't know she was meant to be green! This two part episode was made by cutting new footage together with footage from the original pilot episode, which made it look like they had spent all kinds of money on new sets when in fact it was quite cheap to make.
Spock's Court martial reconvenes after a break. The images from Talos continue to be displayed, despite all efforts to prevent it. We continue to see scenes from Captain Pike's original mission to the planet; the Talosians, haven taken him prisoner, force him to relive a recent battle with a Rigellian warrior. Pike surmises that the Talosians are using their power of illusion to create a false situation for their own reasons.
Eventually the trial breaks again so that Pike can rest. Spock confirms that the Talosians want Pike back, though he will not say why this is so. After a rest break the trial resumes; the Talosians continue to use their power of illusion to create scenarios for Pike to experience, each time placing Vina into the situation. Pike resists the various temptations on offer, trying to use anger to block his thoughts. Vina, somewhat sympathetic, tells him that such tactics can work, but only for a time - the Talosians are relentless, and in the end no amount of resistance is enough.
The Talosians, thinking that perhaps Pike needs a wider choice of women to tempt him, abduct Number One and Yeoman Colt from the Enterprise. They offer Pike his choice of any of the women; with the female of his choice he will begin a breeding project intended to produce a race of Talosian humans. However, Pike and the others are able to escape to the surface of the planet.
The images stop again, much to Spock's surprise. He asks for a delay in the verdict as there is more to see, but all three officers of the court agree that there is sufficient evidence for a conviction and Spock is found guilty. The ship arrives at Talos IV, and all is revealed; the Talosian mental powers are not just a boon but a curse. After acquiring them, they became so addicted to their love of shared illusions that their ability to provide for themselves was lost. Their entire culture is crumbling away, and they expect to become extinct in the near future. Their breeding program for Pike was intended to create a slave race who would support the Talosians indefinitely. The Humans are repelled by the idea, to the extent that Number One sets her laser pistol to overload in an explosion that will kill every person present, denying the Talosians any further breeding stock. Pike concurrs with the action, informing his stunned Talosian prisoner that he is free to return to safety - Pike sees no benefit in killing him, and will not do so merely for revenge.
Realising that Humans have a uniquely developed hatred of slavery, the Talosians agree to release them rather than see them sacrifice themselves. However, Vina chooses to remain behind. The reality is that the original accident which stranded her on the planet badly injured her, and although the Talosians were able to reverse the damage they had no guide for how a Human being should look. Vina is therefore not the beautiful young woman Pike has seen all this time but rather horribly disfigured.
Pike agrees that she should remain behind, living out her fantasy life, and departs.
Spock reveals that this has been the reason behind the whole situation - now that Pike is similarly disfigured and crippled, the Talosians are offering to provide him with a lifetime living out the illusion that he is healthy and well. As Kirk turns to Mendez, the Commodore vanishes. His presence all along has merely been another Talosian illusion, intended to keep Kirk occupied during the trip.
Starfleet agrees to allow Pike to remain on Talos and drop the charges against Spock, and the ship departs. Kirk is shown one last image as they prepare to leave - Pike and Vina, both fit and healthy and enjoying one another's company again.
The strengths and weaknesses of this episode really mirror those of the first part. Again, the use of past footage makes this look like a lavish, big budget production when it's really just a glorified clip show. My biggest grips with this part comes with the ending. Spock has clearly violated some pretty important regulations - hijacking a Starship, mutiny, violation of the Talos quarantine, probably many others. But because his motivation was to help out a friend, suddenly all the charges simply vanish and all is forgiven? Trek indulges in this kind of snap happy ending far too often, and this is one of the most egregious examples.
The remastered version has the usual goodies, with the CGI Enterprise and a much improved Talos IV planet.