The Rewatch 15: Arena

Series: Star Trek (The Original Series)
Episode: 1.18 The Arena (1-19-67)
Rating: 5/5
Redshirt Status: 2/22

Notable Guest Stars:
Carolyne Barry (as Carole Shelyne) – TheMetron.  Oddly enough she would also appear in the 18th episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation
Vic Perrin –
First Metron.  He was probably best known for his work on the Outer Limits

Review:

I had to watch this episode twice because as it turns out, I must have skipped this the first time I watched this series all the way through. So while I had seen scenes from this episode, somehow I had never seen the full episode.

The episode starts out with a literal bang, as Kirk and his away crew find themselves under attack when they visit Cestus III.  The base is destroyed, and they have no recognition of their enemies.  Meanwhile Sulu, on the Enterprise, is leading a fight against an enemy in space as well.  They both manage to ‘win’ their battles, and Kirk pursues the enemy into space.

 I think this is the first episode Spock and Kirk have a real disagreement about how to deal with the situation.

After chasing the alien for awhile and testing the Enterprise’s engines, both ships are stopped by the Metron, a species with superior technology who decide to intervein.  They put the two captains on a planet/asteroid and have them duke it out, thinking that they are too primitive for any other solution.

The last half of the episode is an ongoing battle between the Gorn Captain and Kirk.

Interesting Notes:

  • Directed Joseph Pevney  (debut)
  • Written by Fredric Brown (Story) and Gene L. Coon (Teleplay)
  • Introduction of several species, a planet that would be referenced in other series, and the Federation.
  • Both William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy had tinnitus caused by filming near prop explosions in this episode.
  • The Gorn Captain was played by three people:  Bobby Clark, Gary Combs and Bill Blackburn.  The voice was done by Ted Cassidy (who’s appeared in several episodes)
  • The Gorn never physically appear in another live action episode till ENT
  • On a fun note, Kirk gets climbing boots but has the regular boots on when he get back to the ship. 

Pros:

  •  A good storyline to introduce two new species, The Gorn and the Metrons.
  • Sulu in command.
  • I feel this episode they are starting to get more comfortable with the universe, and more of the standards we know as Trek fact are being used.
  • McCoy/Spock/Kirk friendship moments

Cons:

  • I feel that the fight scene at the end was a bit too much of the episode.
  • Some science let down.

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