Star Trek

Season 1 Episode 12

The Menagerie - Part II

Aired Unknown Nov 24, 1966 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (8)

Write A Review
out of 10
212 votes
  • Spock, facing a court martial, invents the television show Lost by incorporating flashbacks into the narrative.

    Mostly made up of footage from the original pilot, which at a cost of more than $600,000 was the most expensive thing the original series ever did, The Menagerie Part II is probably the most amazing looking original series episode ever, and the story itself is mezmorizing. This time, the focus is primarily on Pike's adventure on Talos IV in the past with only a little bit of Kirk and company from the present. (In fact, most of the Star Trek regulars, apart from Kirk and Spock, don't appear). That puts the episode firmly on Jeffrey Hunter's shoulders, and the actor (through the archival footage) delivers, dominating the screen with a cerebral but tough captain that's quite different than Captain Kirk.

    Pike's adventures, of course, are all foreshadowed by his conversation in his quarters Dr. Boyce, the first scene to be shot in Star Trek history. Unfortunately, this conversation, which was originally supposed to appear near the beginning of the story, instead appears three quarters of the way through "The Menagerie Part I', where it can easily be forgotten by the time it begins to pay off in Part II. But with Star Trek fans watching the episodes over and over again, viewers probably enjoy the conversation all the more the second time around for knowing what it leads to.

    The pilot footage also includes Susan Oliver's splendid performance as Vina, and she works particularly well with Hunter; their onscreen chemistry is evident and builds with each subsequent scene. Meanwhile, Malichi Throne pulls double duty, playing Commodore Mendez as well as the voice of the alien leader, though the latter has been electronically modified to set it apart.

    It all adds up to must-see Star Trek, a perennial top ten episode and (with Part I) winner of the 1967 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation.

    Remastered Version: With so much money spent the first time around, there's not much to fix here. CBS Digital, of course touches up the matte paintings, upgrades the Enterprise, and gives us a more realistic planet; but beyond that the only notable change is Vina's transformation at the end, which has been touched up to look a little smoother.
  • In part two of a two part episode, Spock's court martial continues as Enterprise heads to the forbidden world of Talos IV.

    As with part one I found this episode to be quite entertaining. Seeing the rejected pilot episode play out makes this episode all the more worth while. However that does not mean this episode is perfect. Having seen "The Cage" and having that to compare this with, "The Cage" has the advantage in the fact that it contains a number of scenes that were cut to fit time constraints. Those scenes help to make "The Cage" great. Though it's understandable why they were removed, they were essential scenes and not just filler. Finally, when it was revealed at the end the Commodore Mendez was an illusion, I had trouble buying the fact that the Talosians could project their mental powers over trillions of kilometers through space. Come on. That aside, this is a very good conclusion to a strong episode.
  • 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.
  • Spock's court martial continues. Pretty much the same as Part I...

    Not much more to say than on Part I; the episode was designed so that the original 1964 pilot, "The Cage", could be shown as part of the regular series.

    This part relies much more on old footage from "The Cage". That is both good and bad; Good in that "The Cage" was a great story, but bad in that there is relatively little new material, and does very much have the feel of a recycled episode.

    Without giving anything away, I did feel that the conclusion of the story, with the revelations about Spock's trial, to be slightly questionable, and causing a couple of plot contradictions from earlier scenes.

    This is by no means bottom-of-the-barrel material, but there are episodes that I enjoy far more than this one.
  • I see no reason to insult me, sir

    What a shame, I now remember why I didn't favour this part as much as the first. You see, where part 1 managed to balance the plot of Spock and Pike with the footage from the Cage to a interesting and thought-provoking level, part 2 just seems to be 'The Cage' with about 10 minutes of unimportant filler. In fact, if it wasn't for The Cage's well told story, 'The Menagerie' would have surely fallen flat on its face.

    On the other hand however, part 2 does have its significant moments, even if most of them occur inside the pilot episode. Possibly most striking is the establishment of the death penalty, which I genuinely thought Roddenberry would have envisioned as out-ruled in his utopian future. However, it is clearly stated here that Spock is indeed in line for such a penalty, and I have to say I was quite disappointed in this rather strange exception to an otherwise functional society. I mean could a utopia really develop in a world that still clinically kills for revenge and justice? Didn't we see in a couple of episodes back, 'hospitals' for criminals? It should be interesting to see where this goes in subsequent series. In other less important but nonetheless culturally significant establishments for Trek is the introduction of the famous Green Orion Slave Girl and the ever intriguing themes on illusion. I particularly enjoyed (and it will probably always stick with me) the scenes where Pike discovers that he had indeed blasted a hole in his cage after threatening a Talosian with the same phaser. I also found the final twist involving the commodore being an illusion to be quite surprising and suitably executed to tie in with the 40 minutes of Cage footage. At least they got something right.

    However, this episode has major plotting problems that I just can't overlook. As I mentioned above, the vast majority of the show is spent observing Pike on the view screen in court. The problem with this is that as a viewer, my attention is slowly brought around fully to the adventures of Pike, rather than caring for what happens with Spock. So, by the time we reach the conclusion of the court case, I have very little interest in what was going on, since it was last developed over an hour ago (or if I had watched it back in the 60's, a week ago!). The one benefit it has is that the footage that we see from 'The Cage' obviously becomes more relevant and engaging to watch, which wasn't the case with part 1. Thankfully it also helps that the story in 'The Cage' that we're forced to watch unfold is actually well written and so at least redeems the episode in some respects. In the end what you essentially end up with is two episodes that separately could have worked fantastically (why didn't they just show 'The Cage' and have Spock introduce it as a kind of memory?) but unfortunately cancel each other out due to terrible pacing and awkward editing that brings both down.

    You may also note that I was hoping for more development of Kirk and his personal feelings on the court case- on his moral indecisiveness and sense of duty. Alas, there's virtually none of it to be seen here and instead we get treated to a shallow, loose tie-up that simply does not work: An unfortunate ending to an otherwise promising premise. Well, that's TV budgeting for you.
  • The trial continues!

    Part two picks up where part one left off. the trial of Mr. spock continues and his reason why the enterprise would want to return to Talos IV. the is a certain connection between Pike and a group of alliens know as the Talisans, who can use illusion to their advanage. Part two in flashback, we see Piuke in a glass-cage, being watched over by the Talisians. Pike is being thrown by one illusion after another. If you haven't saw the two-parter of this episode, I'll spare you the ending. but it's a pretty shocking ending. You won't expect an ending like this.
  • The Menagerie does allow some early insight into Spock\'s character

    (Find my comments about the footage from "The Cage" under "The Menagerie Part 1")

    As the court martial of Spock continues, the Vulcan's single minded pursuit of a logical solution to the plight of the now crippled Capt Pike becomes more and more admirable. It's clear to Spock (and to the viewers) that Pike's only chance for any kind of a life is to return to the telepathically induced fantasies that only the Talosians can provide, a fitting retirement for a fine Starfleet officer and all-round decent human being.

    It says a lot about Spock that he is able to be loyal to two commanding officers simultaneously, he lets his logic dictate his actions rather than Starfleet Regulations and yet he still manages to find the humour to exchange a quip with Kirk at the end of the court martial.

    The Episode is a bit of a square peg forced into a round hole, and it probably only needed to be a two-parter for budgetary (rather than dramatic) reasons, but I have to give credit and say that Roddenberry - who after all enjoyed a long and successful career as a tv screenwriter before he ever became The Great Bird of the Galaxy - and the gang made a pretty good fist of it.
  • One of the worst episodes of the series.

    Wm. Shatner mentions this episode in one of his books in which he says a two parter was made of the original pilot so they could get back on budget as well as have episodes ready in time to air. That's exactly what it looked like to me: a cheap episode, dragged out into two, as a measure of cost cutting. Wouldn't you know it, the fans loved it! And it won some award. Even Shatner was scratching his head. Me, too. The pilot was so god-awful, the NBC team rejected Star Trek the first time around. The next year they were given a second chance to try again, this time with Shatner as captain and the rest of the regulars. The episode "The Man Trap" launched Star Trek as it immediately became greenlighted. This episode with Jeffery Hunter is a knock-down, drag out bore with the less charismatic Hunter, and I can't for the life of me understand how fans could deem it so great.