Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
"The Menagerie" is the first and only two-part episode of the Star Trek: The Original Series. Part one of the episode was broadcast on November 17, 1966 with the second part broadcast a week later on November 24, 1966. It is episode #16, with the screen play written by Gene Roddenberry, and directed by Marc Daniels .
Since the true 1964 pilot episode, "The Cage", was never shown on television until 1988, and The Original Series began with a second pilot, "Where No Man Has Gone Before", Desilu, the show's production company, made a decision on what should be done with the wasted footage from the unused pilot movie.
Gene Roddenberry declared that in order to utilize "The Cage" footage, he would write an entirely new bookending story, so that "The Cage" would serve as a backstory for the Starship Enterprise's early history. New footage would be combined with the old and placed into the continuity of the overall Star Trek storyline.
Quick Overview: Spock helps his former Captain, Christopher Pike, return to Talos IV.
Part I of the episode takes place on stardate 3012.4 as the USS Enterprise diverts to Starbase 11 when Mr. Spock receives a subspace call from the former captain of the Enterprise, Christopher Pike (whom Spock served under for 11 years). When the ship arrives, the commander of the starbase, Commodore Mendez, informs that communication with Pike is impossible, since he has been severely burned and paralyzed by exposure to delta rays during an maintenance accident aboard another starship. He couldn't have possibly sent the message. In fact, it is revealed that Pike is confined to a wheelchair operated by brainwaves. He cannot speak, and only communicates with a flashing light: one flash means "yes", two flashes means "no".
Pike is at the station, and refuses to talk to either Captain Kirk or Dr. McCoy and only allows his old friend and former officer, Mr. Spock, to talk with him in private. Spock partially explains his appearance by intending to take Captain Pike against Starfleet regulations.
Back in Mendez's office, Kirk discovers that the communication logs reveal that Spock had not received any messages from Pike at all, and can't understand his deception. On the Enterprise, Spock sneaks into the station's computer center, nerve pinches the technician, and proceeds to override the computer system, sending the Enterprise fake orders to go to the quarantine planet, Talos IV. He informs the navigation chief on the bridge that the navigation data will automatically pilot the ship. He overrides the voice authorization protocols with bogus recordings of Kirk's voice. The bewildered navigator accepts the strange authorization and Spock uploads the data. Meanwhile, another station technician enters the computer room and confronts what Spock is doing, but Spock easily subdues him with another nerve pinch.
Dr. McCoy is tricked into returning to the Enterprise by a request for medical assistance, after which Mendez shows Kirk a secret file on the fate of Talos IV, a file that cannot explain why unauthorized passage to Talos is grounds for the death penalty under General Order 7, of Federation Law. Spock then transports himself and the disabled Captain Pike aboard. By the time a duty nurse notices Pike is missing, the Enterprise leaves the orbit of Starbase 11 and warped away to Talos IV.
Kirk and Commodore Mendez head out and follow the Enterprise with one of the station's shuttlecraft. Spock detects the pursuing craft, which is burning its fuel reserves just to keep up, and surrenders himself to the Enterprise crew for arrest, confessing he mutinied the ship and that he never received command orders. The Vulcan is taken away. Commander Scott beams the aggravated Captain Kirk and Commodore Mendez aboard. They demand that the system's computer explain Spock's actions and return control of the ship to the navigator. The computer informs them that any attempt to override the navigation computer will disable ship's life support, and that the system cannot disengage until the Enterprise has reached Talos.
Repulsed, Commodore Mendez orders a preliminary hearing on Spock, who requests immediate court martial, which requires a tribunal board of three command officers. Spock points out there are three already there--Kirk, Mendez, and Pike, who is still listed as "active duty". Spock begins showing video footage of the recorded events that took place during "The Cage" to explain how this "story" begins.
The video recounts how 13 years earlier the Enterprise, commanded by Captain Pike, received an weak distress signal from the SS Columbia, a survey ship reported lost 18 years before. The Columbia reportedly crashed landed on Talos IV.
A landing party beams down and a few remaining survivors are located, including a young woman, Vena, who was born shortly before the Columbia's crash, and whose parents had died. Pike immediately takes an interest in her. Little do Pike and the others know, is that they are being monitored by the planet's native inhabitants, the Talosians , who can create very realistic illusions and wish to study the humans that have come to their planet.
Dr. Boyce, Pike's chief medical officer, monitors the survivors but finds them in remarkable health, far better off than he expected and becomes suspicious that something isn't right. Before he can inform his Captain, Pike is lured away into a Talosian trap by Vena. Pike disappears behind a stone door and the survivors, except for Vena, all disappear, having been only illusions.
Part one ends when Kirk discovers that the images Spock is showing are actually being transmitted to the Enterprise from Talos IV, and Starfleet orders a stop to the transmission. The court stands in recess as the final credits roll.
Part II continues with the trial, even though Starfleet has denied the Enterprise further access to the Talosian transmission. Kirk wants the event recordings to proceed. The recordings show Pike in a cage, and he learns that the Talosians wish for he and Vena to mate and produce offspring. These offspring will be genetically modified, so that the Talosian captors, who are the last of their kind, can rebuild their destroyed civilization. Meanwhile, Pike's crew frantically try to rescue him, still trying to get past the first hurdle, a seemingly indestructible door that even the ship's weapons can't penetrate.
The aliens send Pike through numerous virtual realities with Vena, hoping that the settings will move his interest with the girl into passionate love for her, and the two will copulate. Pike however resists their mind games and demands to be set free. Pike and Vena eventually escape and return to the surface, where a second landing party from the Enterprise awaits them. They are all however, rounded up and captured again. Pike demands his crew be freed, but the Talosians claim the others will be bred as slaves for the new population of Human-Talosian hybrids they wish to create.
Pike acquires a phaser and goes to capture one of the Talosians shooting his weapon at the wall as a warning. His weapon however appears to have no effect. Instead, Pike believes his weapon did work, but the Talosian is using an illusion against him. Pike threatens to kill himself if the aliens don't show him the truth. The aliens give in and show him the freshly blasted hole. Pike knows his weapon works and holds the Talosians at bay with it while the others escape. The Talosians then decide that humans are far too dangerous and violent for their needs, and are willing to release them.
Before Pike leaves, he goes to Vena and discovers the girl is hideously deformed, the results of the injuries she sustained in the crash of the Columbia. Her beauty was only maintained by a Talosian illusion.
Suddenly the video transmission ends and Kirk understands what Pike has been planning. He was in love with a disfigured and disabled woman, kept beautiful through illusion. Now Pike, having suffered the same disfiguring fate, wishes to return to her, where the Talosian's power can revive him.
To Kirk's surprise, Commodore Mendez suddenly disappears, having been a Talosian illusion, created so he could force Kirk to watch Pike's story, and delay regaining control of the ship and diverting away from Talos IV. Starfleet command, who had been watching the trial footage from Starbase 11, gives Kirk official permission to finish the journey to Talos IV and beam Captain Pike to the planet. Since Pike couldn't communicate his desire to be with Vena on Talos IV, the Talosians themselves responded, and communicated Pike's desire for him.
Spock is cleared of all charges against him. Kirk, however, is concerned about Spock's mental state, but the Vulcan maintains that he has been "logical about the whole affair". Spock sees Pike out, and once Pike is beamed to Talos, the Talosians return the former captain to his normal state (via illusion), thus Pike is reunited with Vena. The Talosians final message to Kirk is "Captain Pike has an illusion, and you have reality. May you find your way as pleasant." The Enterprise then leaves Talos and returns to Starfleet.
Since actor Jeffrey Hunter was unavailable to reprise his role as Captain Pike, a lookalike actor Sean Kenney played the injured captain in the new scenes, although Hunter was represented in the "Cage" flashback footage and credited accordingly (along with the original "Cage" cast). Also in the new scenes, Malachi Throne (who played the Keeper in the original "Cage") portrayed Commodore Joe Mendez, while Julie Parrish played personal assistant Miss Piper. Because Throne played a second role in "The Menagerie", another actor dubbed in The Keeper's original lines (which had been voiced in "The Cage" by Throne).
The footage from "The Cage" that was edited into the final master negative of "The Menagerie" was taken from what was thought to be the only color print of the original pilot. Years later, a full-color print of the complete "Cage" was discovered in Paramount's archives.
"The Menagerie" won a Hugo Award for Best Television Sci-Fi Program.
The original episode, "The Cage", ended with the Talosians creating an illusion of Captain Pike to keep Vina happy, while the real Captain Pike set off with the Enterprise. When that footage was edited to create "The Menagerie", the same shot is used to show that Pike has returned to Talos IV, and that the Talosians have used their abilities to create the illusion that Pike is young and healthy once more. "The Menagerie" does not reveal what actually happened to Vina after Pike left her (and "The Cage" itself is not considered part of official canon).
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