Star Trek

Season 1 Episode 11

The Menagerie - Part I

Aired Unknown Nov 17, 1966 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (9)

out of 10
216 votes
  • In part one of a two part episode, Spock hijacks Enterprise and risks execution to help his former Captain Christopher Pike.

    As silly as this may sound, I am greatful this, the only two-part episode of "Star Trek" was made. The reason why is because it showed us fans the great pilot episode that the late Gene Roddenberry submitted to CBS in hopes of selling the series. We get to see what could have been and see a great piece of television filmmaking. The story surrounding it is good but flawed. For one thing, I had a lot of trouble buying that in a futuristic world with incredible technical advances, Captain Pike had a wheelchair that did not allow him to say more than "Yes" or "No". If he can move his wheelchair with his brainwaves, couldn't there have been away to allow him to speak a la Stephen Hawking? Still this episode is very compelling and does a great job setting us up for part two. See you there!
  • Iconic

    like others I'll post here for both episodes... first saw this when 100% unaware of the previous pilot and thus nothing detracted. PIke's middle-age/fatigue and bartender/medical man consult with Dr Piper is well acted and nicely amplifyies his later agony as circus animal never left alone. The Talosians have their own issues, few surprises if their push to be successful breeders is out of pure boredom... very fitting also that in the end they get nothing (they remain as all-powerful, clueless and sad as before), Kirk and Spock get to go home and Pike and Vina are the only ones to finish up ahead
  • Mr. Spock engineers a plot to take his former captain, Christopher Pike, now a cripple, to the planet of Talos IV, which the Federation has banned anyone from ever visiting again. A notable episode, though I think there are better...

    As any good 'Star Trek' fan will know, "The Menagerie" – the only two-parter of the original 'Trek's run – was largely designed so that the original series pilot, "The Cage", which had a great many differences from the regular series, could be shown as part of a regular 'Star Trek' story. The fact that it was also a cost-cutting measure (using large chunks of material that were already completed) and saved production time, giving other episodes time to be completed, also played their part in it being made.

    I find this episode can be reviewed in two ways, depending whether you've seen the original (and for many years unbroadcast) pilot, "The Cage", or not. If you haven't seen that original pilot, this episode serves as a fascinating glimpse into pre-Kirk and co. Trek. For years when 'The Cage' was unavailable, many people only saw it through this episode, which no doubt helped make it such a popular instalment.

    However, in more recent times, "The Cage" has become widely available, both on television broadcasts and VHS / DVD releases. Having seen "The Cage", I far prefer it in its original form; I do have time for "The Menagerie", but find it very padded out here and there, and with a few debatable moments in the plot.

    Seeing Captain Pike scarred and disfigured in his 'futuristic wheelchair' is a powerful image after seeing him in action in "The Cage" (even if he is played by a different actor).
    On first viewing, you wonder what Mr. Spock is up to, as he gets Kirk out of the picture and sends the Enterprise off on a false mission. Of course, this leads to Spock going on court martial (he insists on it), allowing footage from "The Cage" to be shown during his testimony.

    It makes for an interesting story, and is generally one of original 'Trek's most popular tales. However, as I say, I much prefer "The Cage" in its original form, and this episode (both Parts I and II) doesn't quite make it to my all-time favourite 'Trek' episode list.

    Concluded in Part II...
  • Spock hijacks the Enterprise, and we begin to learn why.

    This is one of those episodes of Star Trek that's more famous for the story behind the story than for the quality of the episode itself. And that's almost a shame, because as fascinating as the behind the scenes stuff is (how Star Trek came to have two pilots and how they incorporated the footage from the first pilot into a pair of episodes with the stars of the second), the greatness of the episode stands independent of it. Guest starring the previous crew of the Enterprise, the Menagerie is like Star Trek the Movie fifteen years before Star Trek began doing movies. For anyone who just wants to spend a night watching the very best of Star Trek, they should definitely be on the queue.
  • …A battery-driven heart

    Hmm, I'm not too sure about this one. While 'The Menagerie' certainly does have its moments and its own sense of style, I feel that it gives away the fact that it's a money saving episode all too easily. The plot is at times static and without direction and for the most part, the 'flashbacks' used to detail the story never really work all that well. Nevertheless I do have to respect its ingenuity and themes that recur throughout Trek lore.

    First things first however, I loved this episodes ambitious and rather artistic set design. From the immediate opening shot (what a backdrop!) of the crew beaming down, to the interiors and the abstract views from the windows at the base, I felt like I always had something interesting and new to look at. It was also great to see the interior of the shuttle craft, and as tacked on as you can it is, it still looks great and at least adds to the episode's fresh feel created through its new sets. Combine this with the fact that the show jumps back to the very first and original pilot episode where everything seems familiar yet strange and you have yourself a fairly original looking outing for Trek.

    The episode's main plotline of Spock stealing the Enterprise and kidnapping Pike I felt was well executed. On the whole, the script dealt with the issue a whole lot more realistically than most writers handle similar hijackings of the ship. Furthermore, when Spock freely admits –without any real questioning- his mutiny, my interest in his motives sharply increased and as a result, so did my willingness to move along with the plot. Unfortunately, this is where things kind of slow down and we have to sit through an otherwise good Trek episode, but which is butchered whilst in the context of 'The Menagerie'. Nevertheless I enjoyed watching Spock throughout and felt Roddenberry allowed him to act mysteriously whilst still being familiar to his personality.

    The use of the surveillance that is shown in evidence of Spock's justification in taking Pike can at first be seen as being ridiculously contrived but by the end of the show, the explanation given at least let me be at peace with it. Aside from this however, I have some big problems with the footage that is actually shown. Not only does it lead to all sorts of questions on technical inconsistencies but I couldn't help but wonder what such scenes as Pike chatting with his doctor had to do with anything going on in 'The Menagerie'. There simply is no relevance at all and of course it readily stinks of fabrication. There's also the fact that 'The Cage' just wasn't up to par when it came to the overall production of the episode. I especially had a lot of trouble with the acting of a few cast members. Don't get me wrong, I actually enjoyed watching 'The Cage' (this first Trek I ever saw) on its own, but felt that when put in context of 'The Menagerie', the faults just stand out like a sore thumb.

    When we're not being forced to watch the footage involving Pike however, we do get a very interesting look into the judicial system present in the Trek universe, which having never gone much further out of TOS, I've never really witnessed. Although seemingly underdeveloped and overly simple, it nonetheless gives groundwork to work on in future series'. Where the real interest lies however is in Kirk's anguish. It lies in his inner conflict, his inability to choose between his friend's wellbeing, and his commitment to Starfleet and the Enterprise. Hopefully (I say hopefully because I cannot rightly remember how this ends!), we'll get to see more of this character analysis, but for what part one gives us, it's an interesting theme that is maybe not explored enough.

    Interestingly enough, we have Spock on the other hand who is completely decided in where his loyalty lies. Spock doesn't care for Starfleet or its rules and regulations; neither does he care for his own safety. Instead he sacrifices all he has in order to seemingly help his former captain and indeed his current captain (by sacrificing his original plan in order to save Kirk in the shuttle). This presents a very interesting metaphor of a logical heart contrasted with a heart guided and at the same time confused by emotion. Indeed I believe what this episode is trying to question is, who is actually the closest to being human here: Kirk or Spock? The officer or the individual? He who follows orders or he who follows the heart?
  • Spock shows old home movies of the Enterprises but gets court martialed for not serving popcorn

    As we all know, this was just an excuse to get "The Cage" aired and part of the series. And I guess it worked although the whole set up of the fake court martial was pretty far fetched just so they could make it work. I'm supposing they had those last few scenes re-shot just for "The Menagerie"? I'm talking about the Keeper talking to Kirk and the shot of Pike walking back with Vena to the elevator? Or perhaps they were taken from footage not used or a combination of both.
  • Trial by fire!

    This is the first of a two part epsiode inwhich Mr. Spock kidnaps a former Starfleet officer christopher Pike and ended up on trail for his life. This is a tense epoisde about Mutiny, kidnapping and holding back the truth. the past epiosdes are sometimes funny. Not this episode. The episode is told what happen to Pike on the planet Talos 4. A planet that was forbidden to the federation. the trial begans and it will continue next week. We will learn then the race that abduce Pike. Seeing Pike in a special chair is a classic. One of the best Trek episodes.
  • Spock reunites with his former captain.

    This is one of the most famous episodes from this series just because we see the return of Pike, except he is now really injured and grotesque. The story is interesting, especially the reunion of Spock and Pike. Pike\'s look and wheel chair in this episode is known very well by all Trek fans. The only problem with this episode is that it is a clip show, showing some scenes from the pilot episode \"The Cage\". Overall, a really enjoyable classic Trek episode, but bogged down because of the reuse of old footage. I still recommend this interesting story to all.
  • Clever re-use of discarded pilot episode

    It's hard to review this episode in isolation from Part 2, so I'll split this review across the two episode entries ... anyway "The Menagerie" tells the story of Spock committing technical mutiny in an effort to help his former commanding officer, Captain Christopher Pike, return to the mysterious planet of Talos IV ...

    The two episodes are constructed around the rejected 48 minute series pilot "The Cage" in which the original Captain of the Enterprise was played by Jeffrey Hunter (who had also played Jesus in "King of Kings" and died in 1969). In a series of "video testimonies" we learn what happened to Capt Pike on Talos IV where telepathic Talosians try to force Pike to live out fantasy existences with a human female, Vina (Susan Oliver), they "acquired" earlier. This gives Oliver the opportunity to appear in many guises - ragged crash survivor, alien princess and most memorably, green slave girl - in an effort to literally seduce Pike into mating with her.

    The whys aren't especially clear, but the Talosians either want to repopulate their planet with Pike and Vina's offspring, or they want to vicariously enjoy the human's passion for life. Or both. Either way, there's much to enjoy in "The Cage" footage.

    Turn to "The Menagerie Part 2" where I'll ramble a little about the court martial sequences ...
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