Star Trek: The Menagerie Part 2   Rewatch 
October 11, 2014 11:46 AM - Season 1, Episode 13 - Subscribe

At Spock's court martial, he defends himself with mysterious footage which retells an ailing Capt. Pike's kidnapping by powerful illusion casting aliens thirteen years prior.

Incorporating "The Cage" into the two-part episode, "The Menagerie", was actually a solution to a large and growing problem with the show's production. Its special effects, unprecedented for a weekly television production, were causing delays in the completion of each episode. The problem was cumulative, with shows getting delivered to NBC later and later. At its worst, episodes (filmed in Los Angeles) were being delivered to NBC (in New York) only three days before their scheduled Thursday airing. Sensing impending disaster, Roddenberry solved the problem by writing a two-part episode that needed only one week of production.

He did this by writing an entirely new bookend story, so that "The Cage" would serve as a backstory for the Starship Enterprise's early history. New footage would be combined with the old and placed into the continuity of the overall Star Trek storyline.

Memory Alpha Link

The Episode can be viewed on CBS, Hulu, and Netflix.
posted by Benway (2 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I skipped over the The Cage segments for part two, and I think this episode ended up running something like 15 minutes max. Whereas part one involved a lot more setup to lead to the situation, this episode definitely fell heavily into using the older footage. I can imagine the original audience likely enjoyed this older "history" they were watching and weren't handicapped by having watched the episode only about a month and a half ago.

I definitely believe my feeling that Spock finally seemed like Spock, even the manner in which he spoke to Kirk.

The twist that the admiral was never present showcased the extreme power of the Talos IV inhabitants - they're extending their mind powers over a distance that required something like five to six days of travel by the Enterprise. Frightening! Likewise, the convenient, "We're waiving the death penalty application in this instance!" was a little too neat of a bow on the package. It would not have been entirely out of place if Kirk had just turned to the camera, shrugged, grinned, and walked out of sight. Though, apparently the transporters were located immediately outside the door to the court martial room as the doors had only closed before the Talosians beeped Kirk and showed him that Pike was already on the planet.
posted by Atreides at 11:55 AM on October 12, 2014

When I saw this episode as a teenager, I was receptive to anything you wanted to show me on TV. I had not yet read "Gilagamesh" or "The Odyssey", "The Mabinogion", "Njal's Saga", "Tale of Genji", etc., etc. I had not yet learned to sort things into categories or worry about point-of-view. I just watched things.

Seeing this today I was impatient, muttering that the plot and motivations made no sense and the flashbacks were poorly integrated, and why couldn't the Commodore have come along since he was just going to acquit Spock anyway? How did this whole thing get set up? Did the Talusians email Spock and Pike? Except how did they find out Pike was maimed? Did Spock email *them* and set this up? And if the Talusians can project illusions light years away, why not just set up an illusion to get pizza delivered once a month and not worry about the soil fertility on Talus? I can't even get indignant because it's not worth it.

Yet I don't get cranky at improbable Gilgamesh plot twists or spend time quibbling about Enkidu's personality; I just accept the story as wonderful and symbolically meaningful. And as a teenager, that's what I did with this episode: accepted the telepathic aliens and their sacrifice and marveled at how awesome Spock was. This episode was an innocent pleasure and I didn't give Orion slave girls a second thought. [They're like *animals*? What does that mean, interplanetarily speaking? What did Gene Roddenberry think it meant?]
posted by acrasis at 3:55 PM on November 3, 2020 [1 favorite]

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