May 14 2009 4:06pm

Star Trek Re-watch: “The Menagerie” Part II

“The Menagerie” Part II
Written by Gene Roddenberry
Directed by Robert Butler

Season 1, Episode 12
Production episode: 1x16
Original air date: November 24, 1966
Star date: 3013.1

Mission summary
The episode begins with an unusually lengthy Captain’s Log entry, recapping the incredible events of the previous episode. Then we dive back into Spock’s court-martial, now in closed session with just Kirk, Spock, Commodore Mendez, and Captain Pike in attendance. Just like Heroes, there’s no way to block the Talosian images, and no one thinks to just turn off the monitor.

Onscreen, the younger Captain Pike awakens in an episode of The Twilight Zone, inside a glass cage with hypercephalic beings studying him. They speak about him telepathically, analyzing his thoughts and predicting his actions. They say he will throw himself against the “transparency” in a “display of physical prowess,” just before he does. Pike speaks to them, insisting he’ll find a way to escape, but they ignore him as though he were a dumb creature and begin planning some experiments on him.

Through the rather astute observations of Pike’s crew, we learn that the Talosians have the ability to make people see any illusion they wish, drawing on their dreams, memories, and desires. Pike’s captors then make him think he’s back on Rigel VII, with “something more interesting to protect” than just his own life: Vina in the role of a damsel in distress. Pike swiftly twigs to the fact that the battle at the castle isn’t real and refuses to perform like an animal, but fights the dentally-challenged Kaylars anyway when Vina seems to be in danger. Pike and the girl reappear in his cell, where she has slipped into something more comfortable.

The Talosians abruptly cut off the transmission when they realize Pike has been dozing off in the courtroom (he’s seen this episode before, of course), and Kirk realizes that they actually care about his well-being. When they finally continue the court proceedings, with the planet Talos IV now only an hour away, the images resume. Pike questions Vina:

PIKE: Why are you here?
VINA: To please you.
PIKE: Are you real?
VINA: As real as you wish.

Well, that doesn’t sound too bad. But Pike has his mind on other things at the moment: “Yes. Yes, you can please me. You can tell me about them. Is there any way I can keep them from probing my mind, from using my thoughts against me?” Vina is too frightened to tell him the obvious solution—to wrap his head in tinfoil. And where would he get the aluminum anyway, transparent or otherwise?

Up on the planet’s surface, Number One tries to blast through the door in the knoll with a phaser cannon, but it doesn’t have any effect. Dr. Boyce speculates that “(t)heir power of illusion is so great, we can’t be sure of anything we do, anything we see.”

While they chew on that, Vina reveals more about the Talosians, warning Pike that they can’t control him but they can punish him.

PIKE: So the Talosians who came underground found life limited here and they concentrated on developing their mental power.
VINA: But they found it’s a trap, like a narcotic, because when dreams become more important than reality, you give up travel, building, creating. You even forget how to repair the machines left behind by your ancestors. You just sit, living and reliving other lives left behind in the thought record.
PIKE: Or sit probing minds of zoo specimens like me.
VINA: You’re better than a theater to them. They create the illusion for you, they watch you react, feel your emotions. They have a whole collection of specimens, descendants of life brought back long ago from all over this part of the galaxy.
PIKE: Which means they had to have more than one of each animal.

Pike understands now that he’s meant to be the Adam to Vina’s Eve, breeding stock for Talosian slaves to rebuild their dead world. The Talosians take Vina off for punishment, leaving only her clothes behind, and try to feed Pike a delicious “protein complex” in a vial. He refuses and they torture him with images of hellfire, called up from some fable he heard as a child. (Parents, reading to your children is terrific, but don’t start with Dante’s Inferno.)

Pike and his Keeper engage in a mismatched conversation, with him questioning their abilities while the Keeper keeps trying to sell Vina; it even deigns to use its mouth to speak this time. He learns that Vina is the only survivor of the Columbia’s crash-landing, and that the Talosians repaired her severe injuries before searching for a suitable mate. Pike also finds he is able to surprise the Keeper when he lunges at the transparency, as though it couldn’t read his thoughts for a moment. Vina confirms this when she’s reunited with him in his dream of a picnic on Earth: they can’t read through “primitive emotions” like hate. This apparently doesn’t include lust, because the next stop on Pike’s magical mystery tour is an Orion slave house, where a green-skinned Vina dances sensuously for him.

Kirk perks up a bit and checks to make sure the computer is recording the images for later. Before things get too awkward in the courtroom, a landing party onscreen prepares to beam into the Talosians’ underground compound. But only Number One and Yeoman Colt are transported to Pike’s location, seriously pissing off Vina. The Talosians are offering Pike his choice of the three women: Vina, Number One with her superior intellect, or Colt with her “unusually strong female drives.” Pike resists, filling his mind with violent intentions toward the Keeper, and the Keeper calmly replies with the Orwellian statement: “Wrong thinking is punishable. Right thinking will be as quickly rewarded. You will find it an effective combination.”

Pike makes the only clear choice: he sleeps with all three of the women, or at least pretends to. While the Keeper thinks they’re unconscious, it sneaks in to steal their laser guns and Pike grabs it. It tries to shake him by transforming into a beast but he holds on and eventually subdues it. The Keeper threatens to destroy the Enterprise, but for some reason Pike decides it’s too smart to kill needlessly. Pike’s pretty smart too; he fires a laser gun at the transparency and assumes that it’s blasted a hole even though he can’t see it. He threatens the Keeper until it shows him that he’s right.

Perhaps embarrassed at revealing what is hardly their finest hour, the Talosians temporarily cease the transmission and in the courtroom, Kirk, Mendez, and Pike unanimously declare Spock is guilty as charged. The bridge informs them that the ship has arrived at Talos, and Spock says its now under the aliens’ control. The images continue, showing Pike and his harem on the surface of Talos IV. Number One threatens to blow them all up with an overloaded laser gun rather than submit to slavery. The Talosians check the Enterprise’s databanks and discover to their complete shock that humans don’t like to be imprisoned! If only they had, you know, actually listened to Pike when he repeatedly told them he would like to be set free, please.

KEEPER: We had not believed this possible. The customs and history of your race show a unique hatred of captivity. Even when it’s pleasant and benevolent, you prefer death. This makes you too violent and dangerous a species for our needs.

The Keeper’s really bummed because they liked Pike best of all their specimens and without him their own race is doomed, but they send Number One and Colt back to the ship. As a final parting gift, they show Pike what he’s giving up: Vina’s true, horribly misshapen form. She’s old, too.

VINA: They found me in the wreckage, dying, a lump of flesh. They rebuilt me. Everything works, but they had never seen a human. They had no guide for putting me back together.

Onscreen, Pike returns to the Enterprise and they get the hell out of there. In the courtroom, Commodore Mendez suddenly vanishes while Kirk is speaking to him. The Keeper appears on the monitor and explains everything:

What you now seem to hear, Captain Kirk, are my thought transmissions. The Commodore was never aboard your vessel. His presence there and in the shuttlecraft was an illusion. Mister Spock had related to us your strength of will. It was thought the fiction of a court-martial would divert you from too soon regaining control of your vessel. Captain Pike is welcome to spend the rest of his life with us, unfettered by his physical body. The decision is yours and his.

Kirk suggests that Spock should have talked to him before setting up this elaborate ruse, but Spock insists he didn’t want Kirk to risk the death penalty—the same death penalty that a moment later Mendez revokes via subspace transmission from Starbase 11.

Kirk asks Pike if he wants to go to Talos IV and he beeps yes. Kirk tells Spock to take Pike to the transporter room to begin his new life, adding that they’ll have to discuss the Vulcan’s “flagrant emotionalism.” Onscreen, Kirk immediately sees Pike—young again—walking hand-in-hand with Vina on the planet. The Keeper bids him farewell with a typically misguided comment: “Captain Pike has an illusion, and you have reality. May you find your way as pleasant.”

This is a fairly strong conclusion of the two-part episode, with quite a few surprises and some solid storytelling. That’s mainly because the bulk of this half lies in “The Cage,” which generally holds up as a good episode in its own right.

Pike’s reasoning ability and capable mind is impressive, especially under the conditions in which we see him. It’s the “adaptability” the Talosians admire in him that makes him an unsuitable zoo specimen/slave, not the violence of humanity (or at least, not “just” the danger humans pose to themselves and others). But what is it that drives him? It isn’t even his desire for freedom that lets him hold out so long against the Talosians’ temptations—his responsibility to his ship and crew overrides all. Before Number One pulls her clever but drastic stunt with the overloading laser gun, Pike offers to stay with Vina after all, as long as his crew is kept safe. After the Talosians dismiss him, he even suggests they trade and cooperate with each other, but the pessimistic Talosians say “Your race would learn our power of illusion and destroy itself, too.” This is unexpected compassion on both their parts, given the circumstances. Considering the care they later show to the injured Pike, their hearts are as soft as their big squishy heads.

The frame narrative, as limited as it is, is weaker in this episode than the last. But it is not without its merits. In addition to the surprise twists of Pike’s experience on Talos IV (especially the reveal of Vina’s actual appearance), we also have the surprise that the Mendez who accompanied Kirk was a long-distance Talosian illusion, meant only to delay him from stopping Spock before the ship could reach their planet. This is a fairly mind-blowing development, but it also seemed somewhat unnecessary. Kirk is right—Spock should have said something. He maintains that his actions were “completely logical,” but I still don’t buy it. I believe that last exchange with Kirk over not insulting him about his emotional response is only meant to show that their friendship is still intact, and there won’t be any official consequences for Spock’s mutiny. They can joke with each other again now that the troubling situation is behind them, but if Kirk does hold onto any lingering doubt over the trustworthiness of his first officer, he’d be perfectly in the right. He might also take some comfort in knowing that if he were ever in Pike’s chair, that Spock would do the same for him. And in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Kirk gets a chance to help his friend instead.

Most frustrating to me is the fact that Spock’s reason for not confiding in Kirk—the death penalty—is invalidated when the punishment is conveniently removed as soon as they regain contact with the starbase. Who knows what might have happened if the situation were explained from the beginning? Kirk and Mendez are not unreasonable men, after all. Even considering these issues with the resolution, it’s great that the episode could pull the rug out from under viewers, without relying on a twist completely out of left field. This is perhaps a matter of perspective though. What do you think of Spock’s approach?

Following up on the horror of Pike the elder’s condition, we see Vina as a kind of Frankenstein monster, the result of the Talosian’s attempts to heal her. If she were damaged enough that they had to physically put her back together, then I think they probably did a decent job given their lack of knowledge. Then again, how hard is it to assume that the bipedal creature they found might bear some similarity to the physiology of their own species? (As horrible as it is to admit, when I saw Vina’s malformed body, I thought “Oh good, now she and Pike are a perfect match for each other.” I know, I’m a bad person.) But since we’re on the topic... I imagine Pike has an easy choice: a miserable life trapped in a useless body, or a life that conforms to his every desire. But such a life would still be only an illusion. Under those conditions, which would you opt for?

On another note, it turns out that as awesome as Pike’s story about Rigel VII sounded, seeing it onscreen demonstrated that it wouldn’t make for a good episode after all.

As much as I like this episode, and especially the two parts of “The Menagerie” as a whole, the ending seemed a little too contrived and pat for my tastes, so I’ve deducted slightly from my rating.

Eugene’s Rating: Warp 5 (on a scale of 1-6)

Torie Atkinson: I, too, was a little disappointed with the reveals of this episode. I’m not clear about why visiting Talos IV has a death penalty: I can see why you shouldn’t go there (you could be captured and put in a cage), but why the death penalty? I guess I was hoping for something a bit more dramatic to actually merit such a harsh punishment. I also didn’t buy the disfigured Vina: they can get into her thoughts and memories but they don’t know what a human looks like? Skeptical Torie is skeptical!

That said, I really love the essence of this episode, which is the importance of freedom to the human spirit and the power of thought and imagination. Nothing is impossible for mankind because we can imagine. Even when it seems hopeless, Pike assures the Talosians: “There’s a way out of any cage, and I’ll find it.” His ingenuity and his ability to outthink the illusory puzzles utterly impressed me (as it must have impressed the Talosians). The Talosians seem to understand that about humans and keep attempting to cage him despite that knowledge. When Vina becomes an Orion slave-girl, one of the hedonists with Pike suggests that this life is “worth a man’s soul.” It’s not, of course, because our souls need to be free. Our imaginations demand more than simply pleasure: we need challenges, new experiences, and the unknown.

Finally: what did you guys think of the show within a show? I still prefer the series we got, but I don’t think I would’ve been disappointed with the alternative! Pike’s determined and he’s confident in his own abilities. That tenacity and enthusiasm are infectious and he makes a great leading man. I loved that neither of the two women were interested in Pike romantically—that would have been so easy and they didn’t go there. And can I just say that Majel Barret kicked ass? She’s smart, she’s confident, and she’s not afraid to die.

Torie’s Rating: Warp 5 (on a scale of 1-6)

Best Line: Pike: “I’m willing to bet you’ve created an illusion this laser is empty. I think it just blasted a hole in that window and you’re keep us from seeing it. You want me to test my theory out on your head?”

Syndication Edits: The first discussion between Pike and Vina in Pike’s cage; Pike’s crew setting up the laser cannon (let me repeat: LASER CANNON); a shot of Pike exploring his cell before the nutrient drink appears; chunks of the Vina-as-Orion-girl-dance; Vina jealously remarking on Number One and the other chick; and a second Pike speech on his primitive thoughts.

Trivia: Though the actors playing the Talosians are all female, male voices were dubbed in. Malachi Throne, who plays Commodore Mendez, provided the voice of the Keeper in the original version of “The Cage,” but his voice was replaced by Vic Perrin here.

In the original script, McCoy and Scott have a scene wherein they explain to Kirk how they figured out which computer bank Spock tampered with to lock the ship on course. They took perspiration readings on all banks, and since Spock’s sweat has copper in it, traces of copper were found.

Next episode: Season 1, Episode 13 - “The Conscience of the King.” 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.

eris esoteric
1. eris esoteric
Was I the only one that had the horrible "Dalek meets stairs" thought at the end of the episode where they DON'T show us how they got Pike in his wheel chair into the underground base?

OK, yes, I'm a terrible person.
Eugene Myers
2. ecmyers
@ 1
I'm guessing that while he imagines he's walking in (and Kirk sees what he's imagining on the viewscreen), a couple of low-ranking Talosians carry him up the knoll, with his chair beeping out their curses.
John Cater
3. katre
My reading is that the death penalty is because the Powers That Be agree with the Talosians: anyone who visits might gain their powers of illusion and destroy civilization with the incessant navel-gazing. Seems a bit simplistic from me, but it could be seen as the Prime Directive in reverse.
Kurt Lorey
4. Shimrod
I believe the death penalty thing was to deter Federationites from becoming too interested in the mental powers of the Talosians. Hard to believe that a juicy tidbit like that wouldn't eventually leak out.

As to the plotting. Those writers just can't slip anything by Torie. ;)

And Eugene, I think the usage of the monitors was just to make adjusting easier for the humans. If the Talosians could project their thoughts that far, the monitor itself would likely be unneccessary.
Mitch Wagner
5. MitchWagner
The questions raised in "The Cage" and "The Menagerie" are old ones in science fiction, going back at least to "The Machine Stops" by E.M. Forster. You can read this episode as an allegory about mass media, sitting at home and watching TV versus getting outside and living life.

The Forster story may be the oldest example, written in 1909, just prior to the dawn of contemporary mass media. There was no TV back then, or radio, but Forster describes a world of obese, underground-dwelling peope who live their lives mediated by viewscreens.

60 years later, we had this episode of Trek, and now it's 40 years after that and the allegory is still fresh (and re-iterated again in "Wall-E"). And the problem is more acute. TVs are 8 times bigger, with much better sound and a greater variety of programs. The Internet offers immersive entertaiment like World of Warcraft and Second Life. And obesity is a national epidemic in America, and we have the phrases "couch potato" (and the less popular "mouse potato") to describe what our Talosian-like lifestyles have done to us.
j p
6. sps49
I thought the Federation's death penalty was meant to REALLY deter any incursion into Talosian space. Not just "forbidden" like the Mutara nebula will be later.

Of course, little did the Federation realize that the range of telepathy extends to at least Mendez' Starbase. Scary!
eris esoteric
7. JWezy
My favorite part of this episode is the file folder that Mendez hands Kirk in part 1. First of all, it is a normal-looking paper folder, but the best part is the legend "TOP SECRET - STAR FLEET PERSONNEL ONLY".

I mean, c'mon, if it really was that big of a secret, how come it is apparently available to any random redshirt?
Richard Fife
8. R.Fife
First, random responsy type stuff:

JWezy, I think they mean that no matter how high a rank a, oh say, friendly romulan is, they still aren't allowed to see it. You must meet both qualifications, clearance and be in starfleet, to see it.

Anyway, I had forgotten about the deus ex machina at the end with Mendez being an illusion and the Talosians having let the cat out of the bag for Mendez all the way back at the starbase. To which I agree, kinda unneeded/cop-out.

Now, my thoughts on the episode and its message:

But I think this episode also is resonated in a more modern story we all call "The Matrix." A testament that the human mind will not be kept prisoner. As to the moral of "stop navel-gazing", I have always found it funny when the something preaches against what it is. "Watch my TV show to find out why you should not watch TV shows." I offer a counter argument.

Going out and living and playing are all well and good, but "navel-gazing" is at the core of speculative fiction (of which obviously we are all fans) and the core of invention. I have found it odd that "illusion" has typically been so bashed upon, and that there are rarely any morals of equal parts "living" and "pretending". Even TV can inspire the mind. I watch movies and TV shows and am left thinking "Wow!" and with my mind racing of how could something be possible or what-if scenerios, or if there is a cliffhanger, what-will-happen theories.

Granted there is a fair amount of TV (and books and other entertainment) that is mind-numbing (the TV show about the Geico Cavemen comes to mind). But, why cannot the discussion be about how to properly use illusion/imagination instead of a war between "live life" and "imagine greater"? (go ahead and hate on me for that) Even this episode belittles the power of imagination/illusion as the refuge of those you are no longer able to live life (um, basement-dwelling mouth-breathers?)

Meh, I enjoyed the acting and the message of human indominitability, but the anti-dreamer message was annoying. Makes me think of lyric.

Are you there?
Say a prayer for the pretender.
Who started out so young and strong,
Only to surrender.

-Jackson Browne, The Pretender
j p
9. sps49
JWezi @7-

This does parallel real life; the majority of printed material relating to nuclear power in the USN (manuals, training materials) is was classified "Secret- NOFORN", i.e., no foreign nationals. Meaning you had to have:

1) US citizenship
2) "Secret" level clearance
3) the need to know.

3) is apparently observed only in the breach in Washinton, D.C.

MISTER Fife- :)

I detected no anti-dreamer message, unless it was that dreaming cool stuff while someone locks you into a box- and who control the dreams you have- is it.
Richard Fife
10. R.Fife
SPS: it was actually the "fate" of Talosians. They were the ultimate dreamers, and their species was dying and growing dumb (couldn't even fix the machines). And they were, amazingly enough, basement-dwellers with big noggins. I wonder what a game of ADnD is like with them, and if they prefer Jolt or MtDew.
eris esoteric
11. Michael S. Schiffer
The warnings about the seductiveness and danger of perfect illusions to humanity in the very first Trek story are an interesting counterpoint to the prominence of the holodeck in later incarnations of the series.

Torie: In the original "Cage", both of the crew members they grabbed for Pike were romantically interested in him. (Number One "often has fantasies involving you"; the yeoman " has considered you unreachable, but now is realizing this has changed".) From what I can tell, the the line about Number One's fantasies was deleted from "The Menagerie", while the line about the yeoman stayed.

Re: Vina's reconstruction, if she was the only survivor and was unconscious, the Talosians might not have had much in the way of mental images to work with. Especially if the part about her being an infant at the time was true. (Real Vina looked older, but I'm not sure how much that was supposed to be her injuries.)

I figured the death penalty was as much a matter of fearing the Talosians' ability to use illusions to control people as anything. While they've supposedly decided not to enslave humans, they could change their minds, and no one wants to give them a starship to play with. Of course, that's before it became clear that the Talosians could project their illusions instantaneously at light years' distance. Given that and their lack of interest in informed consent, you'd think they could get a steady stream of whatever they needed. (Frightening thought: maybe they are. It's not as if anyone in the Federation would know if ships were regularly, unknowingly, calling at Talos IV, as long as the illusions are kept up...)

The show's message about the handicapped and disfigured is at least uncomfortable. Pike's choice is arguable, but is it *really* better for Vina (who's messed up, but apparently mobile and more or less healthy) to live alone in a fantasy rather than rejoin human society? Starfleet's less than wonderful attempts at disability accommodation (as the comments to Part 1 showed, it doesn't take long to come up with better communications arrangements than they gave Pike even given the limitations we see) doesn't help. Pike might still prefer to live as a healthy young man (with Vina? Is she still alive, or is the one he's walking with an illusion? He'll never know), but as things are the choice is simpler than it might be.
Eugene Myers
12. ecmyers
@ 11
I think the holodecks were used as a diversion for the crew in the way that most of us watch TV, play games, or go to shows in our free time, but possibly "better" because the programs are more interactive and immersive. In TNG, they dealt with the question of holodeck addiction in the episode "Hollow Pursuits," which I believe posits that reality is better than fantasy. There, Barclay's only realworld handicap was his lack of social skills.

Regarding Vina's true age, Number One comments cattily: "Well, shall we do some time computation? There was a Vina listed on that expedition as an adult crewman. Now, adding eighteen years to your age then."
eris esoteric
13. Michael S. Schiffer

Oops, forgot that. :-)

The Talosians, at least, seem to think that mastery of illusions makes their decadence inevitable-- if they're right, the holodeck is a bad sign for the Federation.

Of course, it also took a long time for the Talosians to reach their current straits. They were at least active enough in the real world to fight a war "thousands of centuries ago". They've managed to keep going (on a devastated planet!) for those subsequent hundreds of thousands of years, even if they're really on their last legs now. If the Federation's doom is on that time scale, that would probably be a relief to all those starship captains who deal with interstellar crises on a weekly basis.

And, of course, the Talosians may just be overgeneralizing from their own experience. (Given their survival thus far, they may even be underestimating themselves.)
eris esoteric
14. Michael S. Schiffer
(And by "@11", I of course meant "@12". Sigh.)
eris esoteric
15. Rdaggle
they torture him with images of hellfire, called up from some fable he heard as a child. (Parents, reading to your children is terrific, but don’t start with Dante’s Inferno.)

hmm.. I took 'fable' as a reference to the Bible.

Trek was VERY political for its time.
Torie Atkinson
16. Torie
What great points! Fear of humans acquiring that power makes the death penalty a bit more sense, thanks guys! Still extreme, though, don't you think?

@ 5

Great point about the immersive media angle. My favorite example of that kind of moralizing is Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. This episode takes a reasonable, moderate stance: illusion is dangerous if it interferes with the things you would otherwise accomplish in life, but it's acceptable in the case of Pike's physical limitations. I think that's fair, if not ironic, since it's a TV show.

@ 11

The message about disability is a bit squicky, you're right. It seemed clear to me that Vina had no interest in reality at this point--whether that's because the Talosians "broke" her, leaving her uninterested in real pursuits, or because she was worried about how she would be treated considering the way she looks now, I don't know. I didn't get the impression that she felt humanity wouldn't accept her as is, just that she preferred the illusion of beauty. It is indeed problematic either way. I think it's also important to note that given their combined physical disabilities, the illusion provides them the freedom to do a lot of things together they could not do in reality (sexy things, sure, but non-sexy activities, too).

As far as Pike, well, he didn't want to go at first, but I think that by the end (because he re-lived that experience via the broadcast?) he was committed to it. It was his choice, and whether you agreed with it or not it made enough sense for his character that it felt like the appropriate resolution.

@ 15

I agree, I thought it was the Bible, too.
eris esoteric
17. Michael S. Schiffer
Vina's choice is understandable; Pike's "I agreed with her reasons", on the other hand... (No human should live under those conditions. Except for 36-year-old women with scars, apparently. He could at least have tried to talk her into leaving.)

For that matter, Kirk has dragged people out of more pleasant idylls with less reason before. (Or perhaps after.) But it's the end of a two-part episode, so luckily for her he doesn't have time. :-) (And more to the point, the Talosians have learned better than to threaten the Enterprise, the usual proximate cause for those sorts of interventions.)
j p
18. sps49
R.Fife @10- Talosians would be the best DMs.

Torie @16- The death penalty is extreme, by definition.
Nicholas Alcock
19. NullNix
The Talosians also hadn't heard of the menopause, it seems (how old *was* Vina?)

Also, the 'superior officer turns out to not be what he seems' part is repeated in DS9's s3-ending episode. You'd think the Federation would have, you know, a list of the current postings of senior personnel. God knows terrestrial militaries and simple ordinary corporations have that. (Of course you have to realise something is wrong and check it first...)
Torie Atkinson
20. Torie
@ 19

Hahaha, that's the least of the problems with the "repopulate the human race as slaves" idea. They have a ship full of strong, healthy, young working men and women--why not kidnap them and make them work?

The "superior officer turns out to not be what he seems" reminds me of the TNG episode "Conspiracy," which, aside from some stupendously bad special effects, I really enjoyed.
Eugene Myers
21. ecmyers
@ 20

"Conspiracy" is still one of my favorite episodes of TNG. It reminded me of "Ice" from The X-Files. Star Trek rarely gets that creepy.
eris esoteric
22. Dave Palmer
I'm clearly in a very tiny minority, but I thought this whole 2-part episode was a waste of time. It was just an excuse to reuse the footage from "The Cage," which in my opinion, was not such a great episode anyway - the network was right to reject it. The "death penalty" thing just seemed like an artificial way to create more drama. The 23rd century doesn't appear to have a death penalty for murder (or even planetary genocide; see "Whom Gods Destroy"), but they do for visiting the wrong planet? And the whole unnecessary "fake Commodore" bit... it's kind of like the writers rubbing your face in the fact that they were just wasting your time while making you watch their rejected pilot. Sorry, but I'll take most of Season 3 over this episode.

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