The menagerie… pts 1 and 2
Well folks, what we have here is a pair of episodes that are the pilot episode ‘the cage’ chopped up and repackaged. That’s right- Mr Rodenberry found a way of sticking his fingers up at TV execs and getting this sublime episode broadcast.
This means that all the stuff we discussed in our first post can be now looked at in the light of something that was actually put on TV for viewers to watch. PHEW.
I say phew because, you know what, this is on of the finest things committed to a TV screen. We have that whole ‘ooh sexy green alien woman thing’ to contend with again (a great line added to these episodes is ‘no human male can resist her’ … or words to that effect anyway) and all that great stuff about forgoing reality for an illusion and a life of contentedness despite the notion of being imprisoned. Fucking awesome.. and you know what, these two episodes bring another twist to the table in that line of thinking.
Pike is no longer the strong Starfleet captain he once was; he’s been involved in a terrible accident (in which he was saving some little kiddies GO HEROISM) and can no longer use his legs. Or anything really. He’s confined to a pretty fucking imperious wheelchair thing and, well, to put it bluntly, he’s really fucked. Just look…
That middle orange light thing there. That’s his only means of communication. Once for yes, twice for no.
As I said. Fucked.
So the enterprise goes to the starbase Pikey boy is on, Spock having told Kirk that he’d received a message from Pike. Clearly bullshit. Can it be bullshit though? I mean, Spock’s a vulcan, they can’t lie.
Oh wait. I forgot. HE’S HALF HUMAN.
Yeah, so he’s lying. Why? Well why’d you think?
This is really where these two episodes throw into hyperdrive the notion of who and what Mr Spock really is. He seems impassioned, loyal, emotive and dare I say loving but he also appears a shit load darker than he has previously. Awash in a sea of cold logic that has previously inferred merely a lack of feeling there is something almost twisted, hypnotic, about his actions in this episode. His calculating arises from a deep belief in the fulfilment of life of people he clearly loves, but this doesn’t stop it from being alarming. Guys and Girls, this is the beginning of Spock emerging as a real character I feel, one that has subtlety and nuance.
Nimoy’s portrayal is superb, the writing is on point and, you know what, there are arguments to be had that he was acting entirely logically if you look at his actions from a Telosian point of view. A logic that also encompasses compassion; that’ what makes him shine here. The fact that there is an array of motivation behind his action, combined with the way he carries out these actions, enables us as audience to begin to subjectively unpick him. No more is there a black and white descriptor here; gone is the stock, 2d, character. No folks, what we have here is a Technicolor being bursting from our screens. This isn’t just an incredible thing for Spock and our understanding of him, nor is it just a further point of discussion in an other wise intellectually layered show. No; this helps once more begin the process of developing the entire identity of a race and, when more Vulcans get on the scene, they will be richer and more resplendent for it.
OH right… back to that illusion point I was making before and how these episodes bring something new to the table. Well, as stated before, Pike is now a very different being to who he was when he first encountered the Telosians… what’s his reaction going to be now? Is it the same, is it different AND what role does Spock play in this? Seriously, loads of food for thought here. As always though, no answers or spoilers from meeeeee… instead let’s move on to:
So, this episode, where to start…..the presiding feeling whilst watching this episode is that the writer was really, really, high on LSD whilst forging this one. There’s illusions, swirling misunderstandings, humour, Alice in Wonderland, camp costumes, strange over zealous sterotypes and a shit load more to boot.
The first 15 or so minutes I almost disdained this episode- it picks up so please stick with it. In fact it gains an almost Dicksian (that’s a reference to Philip K Dick) quality that sits really, really, nicely alongside the standard star trek style.
There’s also a nice bit of reference to a lot of those ‘what does it mean to be human’ questions that have been tossed around by the series; the ferality of man, its base desires, all get a look in. Ultimately, though, this seems to be a meditation on play and it’s relationship to the instinctual drives of humanity, particularly those we never seem to get a handle on. A line espouted by Kirk encapsulates something that I’m sure Bif would take as a compliment:
Kirk: “The more complex the mind the greater the need for the simplicity of play”
Thats right Bif me old son, we are waaaaaay advanced complex minds and that’s why we need to play games… I’m sure our better halves absolutely agree with that premise…
what’s that image of? Its kirk with his shirt ripped, exposing one shoulder and the collar remaining around his nexk. What an odd way for a shirt to rip
EXCEPT THEY RIP THAT WAY EVERY TIME ONE RIPS
Although sometimes the collar does go to….. still an off the shoulder look though; BUT WAIT IT’S ALSO A DIFFERENT SHOULDER. So that’s totally different then…
oh, by the way… ITS NOT JUST KIRK!!!!
Seriously, Star Fleet need to get better manufacturers for their uniforms! Space is a rough place and I’m not sure Primarni’s clothes work up there…
On that note I think we’ll call it a day for this instalment of Star Trekkin’
I’m going to watch some more episodes now though, so stay tuned for an update sooner than this one came!!!
BOLDY GO MOTHERFUCKERS!!!!