Star Trek: The Animated Series: The Time Trap   Rewatch 
June 30, 2020 5:38 PM - Season 1, Episode 12 - Subscribe

The Enterprise becomes trapped in the Delta Triangle, an area of space where many starships have gone missing. To make matters worse, the ship also has to defend itself from the Klothos, a Klingon vessel commanded by Commander Kor.

Memory Alpha has collected a lot of information on this episode over the years:

Background information
Story and script
  • Writer Joyce Perry remembered how she came up with the story for this episode; "I had this idea that a Klingon ship and the Enterprise would get trapped in a Sargasso Sea of space and be forced to cooperate to escape." Evidently, Perry embellished the episode with references to her real-life inspiration of the Sargasso Sea; not only is the area mentioned in this installment but the name of the region where the episode's anomaly occurs is an obvious reference (albeit, a less direct one) to the Bermuda Triangle.
  • Telling Gene Roddenberry of her idea for the Enterprise's means of escape was challenging for Joyce Perry. "I remember telling Gene this bizarre notion that two ships could combine engines and became more powerful as one than they were separately," stated Perry. "I explained it with a straight face, but was afraid he might laugh me out of his office. Instead, he was quiet for about 30 seconds, then said, 'That's pretty good, do it!'"
  • Although the character of Klingon Commander Kor was most frequently played by John Colicos (in both Star Trek: The Original Series and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine), the role was voiced by James Doohan in animated form.
  • This is one of two TAS episodes that feature the most characters voiced by Nichelle Nichols (the other installment being "The Lorelei Signal" for which, in common with this episode, Nichols provided the voices for a total of four different roles).
  • Many of the vessels in this episode's graveyard of ships were unapproved early designs for the insectoid ship from TAS: "Beyond the Farthest Star". (Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek: The Original Cast Adventures, p. 156)
Continuity and trivia
  • The council of Elysia includes an Orion woman, a Vulcan, a Klingon, a creature that has bat-wing ears and looks like a prototype Kzinti (pre-empting TAS: "The Slaver Weapon"), an Andorian, an unknown insectoid race, a Phylosian (from TAS: "The Infinite Vulcan"), two unidentified humanoid races, a Tellarite, a Human, and a Gorn.
  • This is the second of five appearances of Klingon Commander Kor. He was originally seen in TOS: "Errand of Mercy" and later featured in DS9: "Blood Oath", "The Sword of Kahless", and "Once More Unto the Breach".
  • The fact that Kor commanded the IKS Klothos is one of several facts from TAS that later became official "canon" because it was later mentioned on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
Poster's Log:

Before the Klothos disappears, we get a look at Sulu's tactical display. In what is, for TAS, an astonishing level of continuity, there's a very clearly delineated triangle of space devoid of stars.

The level of detail on the Klingon ship art still makes my heart skip a beat. Firing photon torpedos from the nose port (instead of the more-commonly seen firing of disruptor bolts from the engine nacelles) returns in the opening sequence of "The Motion Picture".

Kor, as portrayed by John Colicos, has always been my favorite Klingon. The urbaneness with which he confronted Kirk in TOS: "Errand of Mercy" was a joy. This version of Kor is a little too rough, but a good lead-up to the drunk Kor of the DS9 days.

The Bonaventure is fun. That name was appropriated later for the Star Trek Spaceflight Chronology as a "Cochrane" class ship that looks nothing like what appears on-screen in this episode. And, of course, "First Contact" reconned Zefram Cochrane and the invention of warp drive in a way that invalidates that book, this episode, and TAS: "Metamorphosis".
posted by hanov3r (9 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I liked a lot here—the plausible and interesting Elysian council, the reveal that Vulcans are I guess touch-empaths?—but the pacing and editing felt like a step back here, particularly in light of the ending, which is abrupt even for this show.

Amusingly, Mrs. CoB (who has been dutifully joining me in this, our first watch of TAS) went into this one complaining about how sick she was of the totally inexpressive faces of the characters, yet in this episode they seemed a lot more expressive than they had been: more eyebrow movement and frowns and such.

This version of Kor is a little too rough, but a good lead-up to the drunk Kor of the DS9 days.

Yes, not to mention that Kor probably never would have reacted too gracefully at being trapped in space-sargassum. Maybe he became a Dahar Master (whatever that is) between TOS and TAS, and once you become a Dahar Master, you stop worrying about decorum, like when you become a rock star.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 6:35 AM on July 1, 2020 [1 favorite]

To explain why I loved this episode so much, I need to talk a little about Bjo Trimble. Even in today's fandom culture, with so-called Big Name Fans and whatnot, Trimble stands out because she was one of the first fans to be able to claim that she saved a series, at least for another season, when she organized the letter-writing campaign to bring back TOS when it looked to be cancelled after S2. (Whether S3 was worth the effort is another matter.) She also had another impact on this young fan's life: she co-created the Star Trek Concordance, maybe the first real reference book for the series, originally self-published (the first edition only covered the first two seasons) but eventually in a professionally-published version, which was the one that I got, and which had a clever gimmick: the front cover was of the Enterprise's saucer section, and it concealed a wheel that displayed the episode title, stardate, page number, etc. through cut-outs in the cover. It only had entries for TOS and TAS, because at that point that's all there was in canon, and I practically memorized the damn thing.

I bring this up because I remember this episode specifically for the council of Elysia; not only was it a neat idea--being more inclusive than the Federation, if only out of desperation, and therefore maybe where Kirk and Kor got the idea for their escape from--but also because it showed a crewmember from the Bonaventure, wearing something that looked like a recolored Starfleet uniform, and that led me to speculate about early Starfleet. (Not so much the ship itself, which was disappointing--it looks like a badly-drawn Enterprise. I wish that they'd gone with something like the Daedalus-class, which was based on early sketches for the Enterprise in The Making of Star Trek; those sketches would have been around at the time.) Suggesting an era of Starfleet even earlier than the pilots was like catnip to a fan like me. And, if that seems like grasping at straws--spinning a whole era out of a short glimpse at a single crewmember--well, at the time, before The Motion Picture, let alone the unimaginable riches of four Trek series being produced at once--straws were all we had. So, yeah, I really dug this episode. (And that was before I rewatched it, and noticed that, not only was there a female Klingon crew member--AFAIK, only the second such after TOS' Mara, and the only other until STIII--but that she's sporting a sort-of Afro. Interesting.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:59 AM on July 1, 2020 [3 favorites]

The mention of the fan campaign to resurrect Star Trek, and the wildly uneven season that resulted, makes me think about how when shows are brought back due to popular demand, they almost always come back not quite right. Even when they can reassemble the original cast, writing staff, etc., something crucial is missing. Offhand I can't think of a show that came back as good as it used to be. Resurrecting a show is a real Monkey's Paw situation.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 4:27 PM on July 1, 2020 [2 favorites]

Offhand I can't think of a show that came back as good as it used to be.

Doctor Who?
Maybe Arrested Development and, depending on your definition of 'resurrecting', Battlestar Galactica?
posted by hanov3r at 3:14 PM on July 2, 2020

Futurama was one of the shows I was thinking of that came back wrong. These things are subjective of course, but I felt like the characters were really off and it had that late-period Simpsons feel of a writers room desperately straining to come up with ideas. Remember that episode where they were all walruses?

Battlestar Galactica was a full-on reboot. Doctor Who was a special case, a show that was simultaneously a continuation and a reboot. Despite the nods to the old continuity, you could argue it's not really the same show. I never watched Arrested Development, but from what I've heard the new episodes weren't so great.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 2:46 PM on July 3, 2020

Better late than never, I'll do cards of the episode for this one:

Well, there are no official Star Trek CCG cards from the animated series.

However, there is a spinoff game called Tribbles, which is basically an Uno variant. Originally, these used the same cards as the regular CCG, but with alternate game text to play the side game. There are fan made Tribbles cards from this episode for your viewing pleasure from the expansion set, "Big Tribble in Little Qo'noS":
10 Tribbles - Exchange
100 Tribbles - Exchange
Obviously, these are altered images to add piles of tribbles to the scene, which has been a common practice since there are only so many official tribble episodes and they do just get everywhere don't they?

Normally, I don't post on the fan cards because there are a LOT at this point and they don't have the same contextual gravity as the official cards, but I couldn't resist commenting on something this far on the fringe.
posted by StarkRoads at 10:50 AM on July 7, 2020 [2 favorites]

Oh nice, this one's from the VHS board game!
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 3:46 PM on July 7, 2020

The VHS board game and the CCG were originally made by the same company, Decipher. So a couple official cards saw print!
posted by StarkRoads at 4:00 PM on July 7, 2020

posted by RobotHero at 7:58 PM on January 3, 2022 [1 favorite]

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