Welcome to the first of my ongoing series watching and reviewing the Star Trek universe in its entirety prior to Discovery. As that show is under a pay wall, as well as some questionable choices by the writing/production staff I haven’t chosen to watch that or Picard. Maybe one day. For now, let’s start with The Original Series. I am watching this via Prime Video but I believe Star Trek is readily available on various streaming platforms.
Series: Star Trek (TOS)
Episode: 1.01 The Man Trap (9/8/1966)
Notable Guest Cast:
Jeanne Bal – Nancy Crater.
Alfred Ryder – Dr. Crater. He often made appearances in various genre series of the time.
Michael Zaslow – Crewman Darnell. He would later be known for his role as Roger Thorpe on Guiding Light.
Redshirt Count: Episode: 4 Season: 4 Series: 4
This is not, oddly enough, the pilot made for this series. The original plot “The Cage developed in 1964-5 was not recieved well, so a second pilot was created. “Where No Man Has Gone Before”, was eventually aired, but not for a few episodes. According to Wikipedia, The Man Trap was actually the sixth episode up for production, yet it was aired first. So if the first season seems oddly jumbled, this may be why.
However, as we are watching in airdate order, the first episode up for review is “The Man Trap,” which was written by George Clayton Johnson and directed by Marc Daniels.
The episode was a weird one to jump into. Perhaps because of the production order, perhaps not, but I got the feeling that we were expected to know these characters yet if I hadn’t seen the series before I wouldn’t. Captain Kirk, Dr. McCoy and a crewman beam down to do a routine medical checkup on the residents, one of which happens to be McCoy’s former girlfriend.
Things get awkward, as you may expect. There is a salt-imbibing monster who can take on the appearance of any human being. Its main look is Nancy Creter, McCoy’s ex, but it also impersonates several crewman, and McCoy himself.
Overall this episode is alright. However, I do have to wonder about the creepy scene with Uhura where she was with the Monster. To me, it had an element of sexual assault. Uhura clearly expresses her disinterest, and later seems a bit freaked about how this guy is just coming at her.
- Kirk apparently gets insomnia and is treated for it. It’s one of the few character facts in the episode.
- It seems many of the main crew are cross trained for other stations. Uhura can do some piloting, and Sulu runs the botany sciences.
- Borgia Plant- Nightshade family is not completely poisonous, although much of the plant is. However Tomatoes and potatoes come from the same family. Borgia may reference the Borgia family, some of whom were known for possibly poisoning others.
This is not the strongest of episodes, but it is not the worst. I feel it would have been better suited to air after a few of the later episodes.
This episode doesn’t really introduce any of the characters well. Other then knowing that McCoy might be a romantic and Kirk suffers from periodic insomnia we don’t learn much.