Tue
Apr 7 2009 4:55pm

Star Trek Re-watch: “The Man Trap”

The Man Trap
Written by George Clayton Johnson
Directed by Marc Daniels

Season 1, Episode 1
Production Episode: 1x05
Original air date: September 8, 1966
Star date: 1531.1


Mission summary
The Enterprise is in orbit around M-113, a planet so boring they didn’t bother naming it. Dr. McCoy is making a house call on his old flame Nancy Crater and her husband, who have been studying ruins on the surface for five years. Captain Kirk joins McCoy, seemingly for no reason, along with “Crewman Darnell.” Three beam down, two will beam up—you know the drill.

It turns out that Nancy is not what she seems, and she seems to be a lot of things: McCoy sees the woman he loved, exactly the way she appeared twelve years before; Kirk sees a woman of advancing years (which is why he doesn’t immediately call dibs); and the crewman sees a blond and busty woman from Rigley’s Pleasure Planet (truthfully, she seems more to Kirk’s taste). The blond lures the crewman away, and the next thing we know, the guy is dead with some mysterious splotches on his face, almost like...suction cups. The sucker has been sucked—of salt!

Kirk hates mysteries—they give him a bellyache and his important delivery of chili peppers is being delayed—but things don’t add up. They beam down with two more crewmembers, Sturgeon and Green. Neither of those guys make it, but the creature assumes Green’s shape and returns to the Enterprise. It bumbles around the ship, attacking innocent salt shakers and crewmembers alike, while assuming pleasing forms with soft lighting. Meanwhile, the Professor comes clean and reveals that his wife, Nancy, died one or two years before. He’s been living with the creature ever since, protecting and feeding it a steady supply of salt tablets. Surprisingly, Kirk is disgusted by the man’s defense of his perfect life—or perhaps he’s jealous and wondering why the creature only appears to him as an old woman. Eventually they corner the creature in McCoy’s quarters and the doctor has to kill something that looks like the woman he loved, the last of its kind.

Analysis
This episode isn’t a bad choice for the first of the series, except that it drops viewers into the middle of things. Who’s the guy with the pointy ears sitting in the captain’s chair? What’s this “beaming” thing? Space, thing, what? “The Man Trap,” featuring what fans call “the salt vampire,” was actually the sixth episode to be produced. The network, in its infinite wisdom, decided to go with an action-oriented episode for the premiere rather than the more contemplative (dare I say “cerebral”?) pilot, “Where No Man Has Gone Before.”

It still does a fair job of introducing the characters, particularly Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy, who is the focus of this one even though DeForest Kelley won’t be added to the opening credits until Season 2. I was surprised by how many of the Star Trek cliches were firmly in place this early: Kirk calling McCoy “Bones” (a holdover from the rejected pilot “The Cage,” used for an entirely different doctor), flipping open the communicator, the first variation on “He’s dead, Jim,” setting a phaser to stun, Saurian brandy, those weird-colored food cubes, and of course random expendable crewmembers dying on the away mission.

But some things are noticeably different—the dead crewmembers wear blue and gold (denoting science and command), while the hapless red shirts are safe on board the ship! Spock is unusually emotionless even for a Vulcan. In fact, he’s kind of a jerk, and we don’t see his “special relationship” with Kirk even though Uhura mentions it. She chides him, “He’s the closest thing you have to a friend,” immediately after uncharacteristically fishing for a compliment. We also learn some details about Spock and his background: Vulcan has no moons (later on, it does), and we even see some green bloodlike stuff coming out of his forehead (which kind of looks like Palmolive). Kirk calls for a “General Quarter 3” intruder alert and the more serious “General Quarter 4” alert, which later evolve into the less clunky yellow and red alerts.

Yet, even while watching this episode in 2009, it’s obvious that Star Trek is something special. The special effects must have been eye-opening at the time, and the salt vampire’s costume was simple but effective—much more convincing than some aliens given more screen time later in the series (such as the Gorn and the apelike Mugatu). For everything that would be frowned upon today, such as sexual harassment of the female crewmembers (hard to avoid in those miniskirts), there’s something else that immediately sets it above a mere science fiction adventure series. I was surprised and pleased that Uhura speaks Swahili to the salt vampire when it takes the form of a hunky black man to seduce her. And Sulu isn’t the only Asian on board—I saw some other guy running around in the corridors. It’s unfortunate that a show from 1966 is still more culturally diverse than much of television today.

This episode also succeeds in showing us the three main characters and how they interact and support each other: McCoy, the doctor who feels too much; Spock, the half-Vulcan who hides his feelings, favoring logic over emotion; and Kirk, a balance of the two who knows when to let passion and instinct influence his decisions. Here we see his dedication to the ship and its crew; the only time Kirk loses his temper is when his people start dying. And though it’s a small notion, not explored as deeply as it would in other episodes, Kirk and McCoy show genuine regret that they killed the salt vampire (despite the fact that they did nothing to avoid it). The case is made that it’s simply following its nature, and surely it’s meant to be shown as sympathetic; the professor says it needs love to survive as much as it needs salt, and when we finally see its true form, its face is frozen in sadness and loneliness. This episode doesn’t end with a joke and a laugh on the bridge as so many do, but with a quiet reflection on Earth’s extinct buffalo, and the realization that this time at least, Enterprise has failed in its mission “to seek out new life.”

Even though I think this episode is pretty solid, I groaned when Kirk called for McCoy to use a truth serum to get the professor to talk—fortunately they didn’t resort to this weak solution. And I don’t know how to confirm this, but I assume this is the first show in which someone withholds vital information for dramatic effect: when McCoy calls up to the bridge, “Found something. I’d rather not put it on the speaker.” What, you can’t trust the rest of the crew?

Eugene’s Rating: Warp Factor 4 (on a possible scale of 1 to 6)

Torie Atkinson: I wasn’t expecting to have so much to say, but as it’s the pilot first episode to air, I’m going to go a little long here in my response. Like Eugene said, this is a fairly unusual choice for a pilot, with no setup or context. You don’t even see the inside of the Enterprise for ten minutes! But right off the bat, from the first minute, I was struck by the strong friendship between Kirk and McCoy (and to a lesser extent in this particular episode, Spock). Their banter, their actions, and their knowing looks speak volumes about their intimacy as friends right from the start. Before entering the research center on the planet Kirk asks McCoy if he wants to bring some flowers for his old flame, and McCoy responds: “Is that how you got girls to like you? By bribing them?” We know immediately that these people aren’t just colleagues. When Nancy refers to McCoy as “Plum” (required pause for snicker), Kirk goes right on and teases him about it. It’s also significant that the moment in which Kirk and McCoy realize something is wrong (or at least, the music cue seems to think so) is when Kirk tells Bones ever so gently that there is no way that woman looked twenty-five. They exchange a meaningful, puzzled look, and that’s all it takes for us to know that they both know something is very wrong. The trust is unmistakeable and unshakeable, and felt entirely natural.

That said, I was really disappointed by the treatment of women in this episode. It’s hard to miss the overt images and motifs (it is called “The Man Trap” after all, and it is about a salt-vampire who only seems to attack men), but it characterizes a whole host of undesirable traits as innately feminine. Here, women are lonely, swooning, clingy, well—vampires. Vampires who need love and companionship, no less. When Kirk is speaking to Mr. Crater in the opening scene, the professor says of his life on the desolate planet: “It’s different for me, I enjoy solitude. Bot for a woman...you understand, of course.” Um, no, I don’t, sorry.

The next scene features an unusually pathetic Uhura, trying to start up a conversation with Spock because she’s feeling lonely over at communications. When Spock doesn’t take the bait and claims not to have an answer regarding her behavior, she replies: “I’m an illogical woman who’s beginning to feel too much a part of that communications console. Why don’t you tell me I’m an attractive young lady, or ask me if I’ve ever been in love? Tell me how your planet Vulcan looks on a lazy evening when the moon is full.” What the hell? No! Stop that! She’s clearly being set up as a foil to Spock, who is quite comfortable alone in the captain’s chair, without conversation or companionship. This scene and the previous, where Professor Carter discusses his relationship with his wife, have obvious parallels—clingy, lonely women, who try to attach themselves to strong, solitary, confident men.

It doesn’t help that aside from her the only other woman I saw was Janice, Kirk’s yeoman (whose role seems restricted to serving food), and some other young blonde woman in a miniskirt—who serves food, too. Additionally, this episode earned the unseemly distinction of actually portraying sexual harassment! Two crewmembers flirt with Yeoman Rand (who’s never even referred to by title—she’s just “Janice”), and after she’s out of earshot the one says: “How about that...” to which his friend says, “ How would you like to have her as your own personal yeoman?” Ew. She tells Sulu later that she keeps expecting one of the plants to grab her; I’d be more worried about one of the crewmembers!

Lastly, the final confrontation between the salt vampire and the Kirk/Spock/McCoy trio was much harsher than I expected. McCoy, trying to save Kirk, wounds the creature. She then begs him to live, and Bones says “Lord forgive me” before shooting the final phaser burst. His invocation of god was a clear sign to me that he knew what he was doing was wrong—that it was a sin, even. The creature was wounded, and they may have been able to capture or save it somehow, right? Was that final blow necessary? Or perhaps he knew that she would always and forever be that last buffalo, alone on the plain—and which is really the worse fate?

Torie’s Rating: Warp Factor 4 (on a possible scale of 1 to 6)

Trivia: Apparently during production this episode was going to be titled “The Unreal McCoy,” a title that James Blish used for the novelization. I kind of love that.

Syndication Edits: The Nitpicker’s Guide doesn’t list any, so chime in if you’re aware of anything.


Next episode: Season 1, Episode 2 - “Charlie X.” US residents can watch it for free at the CBS website.

Check the Star Trek Re-Watch Index for a complete list of posts in this series.

37 comments
Jason Henninger
1. jasonhenninger
Sorry to say haven't re-watched yet. But I definitely remember this one! I had no idea though that it was the first to air, since I only ever saw it as a re-run or part of a marathon.

I'm sure I'll have more to say later after I watch the episode again. Thanks for the post. Well done!
C.D. Thomas
2. cdthomas
Hold it, Torie, this wasn't either of the pilots shot for ST.

Like DOLLHOUSE, it was a full production episode pushed forward cause the suits wanted Action, Action, Action, not talk. Also, it was a BESM episode, similar to OUTER LIMITS' fare, so it would attract the kids and those appreciative of sex-minded vamps.
Torie Atkinson
3. Torie
@ 2

Oops, poor word choice on my part. I simply meant first to air.
warreno
4. warreno
I was surprised by how many of the Star Trek cliches were firmly in place this early: Kirk calling McCoy “Bones” (a holdover from the rejected pilot “The Cage,” used for an entirely different doctor)


"Bones" is a natural nickname for a ship's physician, not a cliche, in much the same way that a radio operator is often called "Sparks".
Eugene Myers
5. ecmyers
@ 4

Thanks for pointing that out! From what I can tell, it's derived from "sawbones," which is perhaps less natural for a 23rd century physician. :) But they often reference old naval traditions on the series, so it makes sense. I didn't know about "Sparks" either.
warreno
6. trekkiechick
Ooh, Star Trek! My favorite! (Duh.) This is a great idea, yet another way to waste time on Tor.com.

I don't really have much to say about this particular episode, it not being one of my most loved/most hated epsiodes, but great recap, and I like the insightful commentary. Keep it up, Eugene and Torie!

For those who were commenting about the new movie on the last post, I saw the perfect shirt on Jinx.com, which I fully intend to buy and wear to the theatre. It is called the "Fanboy Opening Night" shirt, and it says, simply "This better not suck." My sentiments exactly!

Can't wait for the next post! Gonna have to pull out my DVDs and watch along.
C C
7. Hatgirl
I'm watching them in production order. I win at Nerd ;-)

I know it's called The Man Trap, but I wouldn't put it in the Delilah Plot category because the creature goes after Uhuru. It's an equal opportunities Salt Vampire. And although Uhuru looks irritatingly like a stunned rabbit when the cute guy chats her up, Kirk is affected the same way in the final confrontation. Uhuru isn't an weak-willed female, the creature has some kind of hypnotic power. It's a 60s TV show, that counts as progressive!

I actually like the scene between Uhuru and Spock. She's bored, bored, bored, and decides to tweak the nose of her straight-laced colleague. I know, I'm wearing rose-tinted glasses. But the scene still makes me laugh. "If I hear the word frequency one more time..." "As a communications officer, your dislike of that word would be illogical."

And I adore the fact that Sulu's interest in botany is brought up. And in later episodes he is also interested in botany! Braga, this is called continuity. You might want to look into it.
Torie Atkinson
8. Torie
@ 6

Awesome shirt! If only I'd had one when I saw the latest X-Files movie...*shudder*

@ 7

The creature goes after Uhura but it doesn't actually kill her. She/it definitely has some kind of hypnotic power. It's also at least partially telepathic, in that it can shapeshift into an image the person had in their mind, from memories. But I think because that hypnotism specifically manifests itself as sexual magnetism, it's supposed to be an overtly feminine trait. The show is progressive in a lot of ways, but regressive in a lot of the tropes it uses.

I do love that interaction, though--I just can't help but see how that scene serves the greater thematic elements. Nonetheless, I've marked it on my mental index of cute moments.

Re: Sulu--it's great, right? Hobbies and interests like that tell us so much about the reasons why the person would be on that ship.
C C
9. Hatgirl
@8

The show is progressive in a lot of ways, but regressive in a lot of the tropes it uses.

I have found a lot of old SF requires a certain amount of "mental editing" in order to enjoy it. For example, of course there are female captains in Starfleet, we just didn't happen to see any, like we never met any called, um, Anatole. Just a freaky statistical fluke. U-huh :-D

It's the “It’s different for me, I enjoy solitude. But for a woman...you understand, of course.” comment that irritates me. No amount of mental ju-jitsu will work on that. No, wait... Crater is an idiot (as proved by being convinced it was OK for the alien to eat people). And McCoy and Kirk were being polite but mentally seething. Yes, that'll do.
Melissa Ann Singer
10. masinger
WPIX in NYC is airing original Trek at midnight on Saturdays, completely out of order . . . so I have been rewatching the series for about a year with my about-to-be-13-yo daughter. Once she'd seen a few, I started ordering Next Gen episodes from Netflix. While dd is firmly in the Picard-is-the-better-captain camp, she enjoys the Kirk-Spock-McCoy byplay just as much as I did when I was her age. Spock is her favorite of the Big Three, and I think Sulu and Uhura are in a dead heat for favorite supporting player.

She's aware of the sexist elements--she rants about costuming and how Uhura almost never gets to do anything and what was the point of the yeoman anyhow?--but because, for her, these were made "in the old days," they're "historical documents" and she doesn't take those parts seriously.

We agree that plot-wise, this is a very weak episode, but we have great fondness for the salt vampire. DD loved that it looked like a different person to everyone who saw it. We agree with Torie that they should not have killed it--that was wrong for many reasons, including the fact that it had in a way been forced into killing by the actions of the Starfleet personnel and that it was a sentient being and deserved a trial.

BTW, the actual salt vampire is used as set decoration in a later episode . . . .
Eugene Myers
11. ecmyers
@ 10

BTW, the actual salt vampire is used as set decoration in a later episode

Good eye!

Is WPIX airing the remastered episodes? NBC was running them at 3am on Monday mornings for a while.
Melissa Ann Singer
12. masinger
@11:

I can't tell if these are the remastered episodes or not. They started a month or two after NBC stopped, but with announcement of any kind. I tape a lot of late-nite stuff off PBS, so I noticed the listings, but plenty of people seem unaware of them (and it's not shown every week, though it is most weeks).

I don't even know if they've bought the whole series, because some episodes have shown up multiple times and others not at all (yet), and they're in absolutely no order. For instance, we just saw the one where Mark Leonard was a Romulan, which confused dd, who only knows him as Sarek, having seen that episode a few months back.
C C
13. Hatgirl
@10
... it had in a way been forced into killing by the actions of the Starfleet personnel...

Gotta disagree with you there. How was it forced into killing? In fact, why did it not just ask for some salt?

"Hello, I eat salt. Do you have any to spare? Oh, lots? Thanks!"

Everybody's happy, end of episode.
Richard Fife
14. R.Fife
I would argue about the creatures sentience. To quote Dune: the difference between a man and an animal is that a man can deny its animal cravings. The creature was lured to the salt pellets like a moth to flame, full well knowing that it would be hurt for going after them. I say: GOM JABBAR!

Anywho, random anger at 50 years ago peeps for doing this odd thurst in. Perhaps if they had a decent enough pre-marketing campaign it wouldn't have been bad, but I can imagine people in a world where Sci-Fi stuff like Star Trek is still radically new and odd being turned off by the somewhat unexplaned-ness of the episode. At least, I would have been (I think).

I agree with the asseration of how quickly we see the strong friendship between the command cadre, and I try to hand wave away the sexist stuff. But... well, I work with the Coast Guard, and I know what a Yeoman is nowadays, so I can only wonder if I tell the administrative/personel secretaries to get me food, will they? Hmmm...
LT Tortora
15. Lucubratrix
I have to say, this was never one of my favorite episodes. (On the other hand, the salt vampire scared the hell out of my little brother, and I used to tell him it lived in my closet to keep him from wandering into my room... good times....)

I actually kind of like it as a pilot episode, though. Sure, the relationships seem a little confusing at first, but one picks it up, and we're spared the awkward introductory stuff and plunged headfirst into the story.

As a general note, it's interesting that Starfleet is clearly descended from naval traditions, and not the Air Force, which is much more involved in space. (Of course, Star Trek is in the tradition of works like C.S. Forester's Hornblower series--Captain Kirk would have been right at home on an early 19th century sailing ship in the thick of the action, back in the days when commanding officers really did take on some amount of personal risk.)

I'll try to refrain from discussing the female uniforms... or from pointing out that a skirt that short is really a safety hazard in the event of a fire/attack/chemical incident... pants and long-sleeved shirts tend to be required in an operational environment like that.... OK, so I couldn't refrain.
warreno
16. sps49
I am glad that this is now called Star Trek. Thank you.

I never thought about it overtly, but Star Trek did use the tropes of the day to more efficiently tell a story- sadly too many of those tropes (i.e., the sexism) do not reflect well on 60s society. They will still pop up (women getting married -> leave the Service), but the show more than makes up for it in immersion details like the diverse crew. And D. C. Fontana probably influenced a lot of scripts later.

Are the comments about Yeoman Rand really sexual harrassment if she doesn't hear them?
warreno
17. sps49
Lucubratrix, thanks for reminding me- I had suppressed the memory of how scary my little self found the creature.

The skirts, though- somewhere (one of Shatner's Star Trek Memories books?) Uhura says that "we" found the skirts empowering. Also that they were skorts, not skirts, but hey.

I like them.
Torie Atkinson
18. Torie
@ 14

I think the salt vampire is unquestionably sentient. Her need for salt overpowers everything else, but I think if we were thirsty in a desert we may do the same thing. Mostly Mr. Crater goes out of his way to emphasize that she needs love, too, and that the two of them came to an understanding--a mutual agreement to not be lonely.

@ 15

I remember reading somewhere that Kirk was intentionally modeled after Horatio Hornblower. It's late now but I'll have to dig that up at some point.

@ 16

Totally agreed--I think it's fascinating the way that the episode was structured to depend on that trope in order to tell its story. Doesn't mean there isn't plenty of awesomeness in there regardless.
Richard Fife
19. R.Fife
@18
I'm sticking to my guns here. I think that if we were thirsty in the desert, we would ask for water before killing people and sucking them dry. Heck, they had salt pellets left on the planet, and she sucked the crewman dry in the first 5 minutes. Also, the creature obviously wants to stay hidden, and yet is blatantly using its chameleon powers in ways that will surely reveal it. I grant, sentience does not imply intellegence, but this is like a gecko going deep green on a length of brown wood. Maybe there's a reason this species died out. And if the species is who build the ruins/artifacts the prof is researching, well, ants make some pretty interesting and complex "cities" too.

There is a feral-ness there that I think calls into question how sentient the creature was. Yes, it could reason and communicate, but so can my cats, to a degree.

Yet, I question its ability to contemplate its own death (one philosophical opinion on what sentience is). It shows a lack of foresight of its actions, being driven the entire episode like a jonsing druggy (whom I question the sentience of as well). As to it needing affection, so do many pack animals. An unloved dog often looks like it just wants to die, after all.

As to the Prof Crater's insistance that the creature is thinking and feeling, I think he's a kook, blinded by his own self-importance and rationalization over why he is keeping his wife's killer alive.

As to McCoy's last line "God forgive me", I think he is more asking forgiveness for killing the image of the woman he loved, not for ending a species. In that respect, he is putting down a feral dog, and I don't think a doctor would show that much emotion over that. But if that feral dog took on the image of love lost, well, that'd be invocation-inspiring enough.

-Random Aside:
Rigley's Pleasure Planet? So its an entire planet that's basically Vegas? I wonder if they have parking-complex planets, or maybe Food-Courtia (Invader Zim, anyone?)
warreno
20. bookworm
I think the creature savored the salts acquired from living beings much more than from compressed tablets. Otherwise, why develop such a complicated mechanism for feeding?

Somehow, I think the writer(s) of this episode just didn't put quite so much thought into making the drama of the situation. Much more tension derived from having the creature "feed" than from just ransacking all the salt shakers on the Enterprise.
Richard Fife
21. R.Fife
Yeah... I've been spending too much time in the WoT rereads...
Torie Atkinson
22. Torie
@ 19

Fascinating! I hadn't thought of it that way, and I think that interpretation makes sense. I still disagree, in that I think you're giving the writers too much credit... whether they did a good job of pulling it off or not, I still think the creature is supposed to be sentient and intelligent and even sophisticated (I mean, they built cities...). But you're right, lots of plot holes. And as @20 says, it's way more fun to watch it suck humans dry than raid Storage Bay 2 (The Salt World).
Richard Fife
23. R.Fife
@20,22
You're right, I am probably giving the writers far too much credit, but my author brain just wants to codify what I'm looking at, despite the obvious flaws, much like Hatgirl @9. It's a fun game to pass my slow workday.

I won't even get into wondering at the biology of a creature that expends salt at the frightful rate the S.V. did. I'll just suspend disbelief for that ^_^
Eugene Myers
24. ecmyers
@19

Kudos for the Zim reference! I bet the pleasure planet is really just an asteroid or something, or it could even be an establishment like Planet Hollywood...
Melissa Ann Singer
25. masinger
I just wanted to add one thing about the killing of the salt vampire . . . in the very similar circumstances of the Devil in the Dark episode, the Horta is allowed to live.
warreno
26. Mercurio Rivera
It's been a few years since I've seen this episode, but I have a distinct recollection of Dr. McCoy being very short with (almost rude to) some redshirted subordinates concerning his "ex." Is my memory failing me again?

On another subject, I would distinguish the Salt Vamp from the Horta in that the latter didn't feed on humans so we could co-exist with them on the same world.
Mitch Wagner
27. MitchWagner
I remember Uhura's interplay with Spock as her flirting with him and tweaking him to pass the time, not any real neediness.

It was still out of character for later Trek. My memory of most of the series is that most people who knew Spock were in awe of him, and wouldn't tease him like that, except for Kirk, McCoy, and a few anti-Vulcan bigots.
Mitch Wagner
28. MitchWagner
masinger - I love it that WPIX in New York is running TOS. That's where I was first exposed to the series as a child, every weekday at 6 pm. And it made quite an impression on me, too -- I still remember the schedule, 35+ years later.
Rajan Khanna
29. rajanyk
I just started rewatching these. All I know is that if I were Kirk, I would be pissed that McCoy took so long to shoot the vampire in the end. You'd think seeing his friend about to die would be all he needed to snap out of it.
Eugene Myers
30. ecmyers
@ 29 rajanyk

Glad to have you on board!

I think McCoy's delay is understandable. As we see his character develop more over the series, we learn that his biggest "flaw" is his compassion. He is a doctor, after all, and he doesn't like taking a life. Add on the fact that the salt vampire looks like his ex-girlfriend, and it's the last of its kind, and some delay seems only natural. He does snap out of it in the end, and that's what matters. I'll be interested to see your reaction to the episode "Obsession," which shows Kirk in his own rare moment of weakness.
warreno
31. Manuel Alvarado
This must have been the first time that Doc McCoy took a life. That salt vampire tried to make Captain Kirk its next victim. Doc hesitated to shoot.
warreno
32. Melissa Homan
Re. - Treatment of women.
While ST:TOS was forward thinking in its treament of women compared to most of the series of the day, women were clearly not equal to the male crew and were sex objects. It is very hard for any TV series to remove itself from the biases of the time it was created in and ST:TOS is no exception. I'm really glad, however, that we can look at it today and see the sexism and get past it. (At least, also, it allowed for women in a military society. Remember, at the time this was on TV, women were not allowed in any of the military academies - that happened around 1979. In a way, this is prophetic.trycle are)
warreno
33. ka9q
I've always had huge problems with this episode. McCoy, of all people, deliberately destroys the last member of a sentient species even though its murderous behavior had been driven solely by desperate hunger, and despite the lack of any communication barriers.

True, the creature didn't exactly help its own case by repeatedly killing for salt when it could have gotten a lifetime supply by merely asking. But still...

Maybe guilt over this incident prompted our heroes to finally earn that title in "The Devil in the Dark", a similar but vastly superior episode. At considerable personal risk Kirk spares the Horta, who had killed many more humans than the Salt Vampire, even before he overcomes a substantial language barrier and learns that she's also an intelligent creature driven to kill by sheer desperation, not malice. Certainly no one would have seriously questioned Kirk had he immediately fired at the Horta on their second encounter.

But McCoy couldn't even plead self defense as his first shot had already rendered it harmless and helpless. This first episode of Star Trek ever shown didn't exactly put the Federation's best humanistic foot forward.
warreno
34. Capac Amaru
"“It’s different for me, I enjoy solitude. Bot for a woman...you understand, of course.” Um, no, I don’t, sorry."

Really? Its sexist to say that women are more social than men? Not to mention the fact that he understood her true nature and knew exactly how much she needed 'company'?
warreno
35. Jack Off Jill
We all know women are all whores and sluts and vampires. Why should it be different on an alien planet with a different species of female?
warreno
36. feenix219
This episode shows the transition from Sulu the biologist to Sulu the bridge officer, IMO... (keeping in mind this is really episode 6 or so, and in the pilot, he was part of a different department completely.) A few episodes later is the swordplay in the naked time, so showing Sulu's variety of hobbies helps in defining his character early on.

I always took the Uhura/Spock "flirting" as her completely trolling him and teasing him, just trying to get the logical facade to crack, while it seems that Spock takes pleasure in playing things literally, trolling right back. It comes across to me, more as the comfortability the crew has with each other, more then any actual attempt at flirting with him. If you are a fan of the JJ movies, then you can use this as a support for the Uhura/Spock thing, however.

I also didn't see much sexual harassment.... even in todays day and age, guys say things to each other that wouldn't be appropriate in mixed company. As long as they weren't treating Janice like that directly, and saved their comments for themselves after the fact... I don't think this is too different then people today, although it probably wouldn't have been filmed like that due to political correctness.

Final comment, the salt vampire was going for Uhura full throttle... it definitely wasn't just a MAN trap.
warreno
37. feenix219
Although, I will say, I was surprised at how forward the teaser was, with the references to the "Pleasure Planet" and how she seduced the first crewman to follow her at the beginning. That was pretty risque for 60s TV, wasn't it?

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