Saturday, September 08, 2018

Star Trek -- Season 1 Episode 12 (The Menagerie: Part II)

The Menagerie was the first two-part episode for the Star Trek franchise.  As I mentioned in the review of the first part, it was done as a means of getting the show back on schedule.  Spock abducted the former captain, Christopher Pike, so that he might be brought back to Talos IV and live out his days with a happy illusion.  He’s now confined to a wheelchair, but the Talosians could make him believe that he has is old body back.

Part II picks up where Part I left off.  Spock’s trial resumes, as does the transmission from Talos IV.  The transmission being shown is actually footage from the original pilot, The Cage.  Either way, appears that the Talosians’ reach goes far beyond their planetary system, making it seem useless to threaten would-be visitors with the death penalty.

This episode is almost entirely the reused footage from The Cage.  The episode ends with Spock taking Pike to the transporter room to be beamed down to the planet.  The Talosians give Kirk one final message that Pike will be taken care of.  However, I wonder if they’ll be able to do this.  It was established in The Cage that they had never seen a human before and it would stand to reason that they haven’t seen one since.  I’m not sure what they’ll do if Pike needs medical attention.

Either way, the entire trial was an illusion generated by the Talosians.  They knew that Kirk would never just sit back, given the situation.   Starbase 11 contacts the Enterprise and tells them that no charges will be pressed.  I have to wonder, though, why go through all the effort in the first place?  Did the Talosians feel that it was a way of repaying Pike for what they put him through?

Consider that the Talosians wanted Pike to start a population of humans to rebuild their planet.  It would have been bad to keep him captive for this reason.  I suppose Pike is little more than a captive either way, but why is it better for the Talosians to have him now?  Is being able to think he’s healthy again really worth it?  Is their guilt that bad?

Unfortunately, we never hear form Pike or the Talosians again in any of the TV series or movies.  It would have been interesting for The Next Generation to at least mention it.  (I have to wonder what would have happened if the Borg assimilated the Talosians.  That really would have been a threat.)  I always wondered if the Talosians had kept their word.  Their final line, “Captain Pike has an illusion and you have reality.  May you find your way as pleasant,” could just be a way of alleviating any worry or guilt on Kirk’s part.  The Next Generation was a lot better with continuity.  It would have been nice to have even a small throwback.

IMDb page

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