Sunday, 26 October 2014

My Random Journey Through Trek #17

Star Trek

S1 The Man Trap

In The Man Trap we have the Enterprise visiting the planet M-113 to provide the annual medicals to the research team, in a twist the wife of Professor Robert Crater is an old flame of Dr McCoy's maybe even the one that got away so a little gentle ribbing is called for when the Captain grabs some weeds and offers them to McCoy as flowers for Nancy. Nancy turns up at their camp and the three members of the landing party which comprises Kirk, McCoy and Darnell unbeknownst to them all see her differently, McCoy sees her as she was when he last knew her, Kirk as a middle aged woman and Darnell as a young piece of ass, sorry but that was the intent from his words and actions and no doubt if this episode was produced later she would have been wearing much less as well. Darnell is excused and is later joined by "his" version of Nancy who lures him away to his death which doesn't say a lot for the discipline of Starfleet junior officers and crew when on duty. Professor Crater arrives and it's obvious he is not happy about Starfleet being here, he would be delighted if they resupplied him and went on their way but after learning that they have met Nancy and that McCoy is the man she has spoken of he calms down probably realising that at this point playing the game out is the less suspicious option but then a scream and Darnell is found dead the remains of a plant in his mouth.
Spock examines the Borgia root and confirms that it's poisonous but it's revealed that Darnell died due to all the salt being removed from his body, faced with this threat which had never been documented Kirk returns to the planet with two more crewman but Crater flees and one of the crewman is found dead. 
DeForest was excellent in this scene
They return to the ship but now "Nancy" is disguised as crewman Green and is drawn towards the salt on the food tray Rand is taking to Sulu, when that fails she changes again and talks to Uhura in a new form and is able to speak fluent swahili but she escapes before he can suck her dry.  Nancy then visits McCoy and winds him around her finger and once asleep she takes his form and actually sits in on staff briefings and while acts a little "off" no one really seems to notice but as the noose tightens she flees to McCoy and when confronted by Kirk she attacks and McCoy seems helpless to act until Spock strikes her repeatedly and is then thrown across the room, McCoy realising his Nancy is gone asks for forgiveness and fires his phaser twice killing the creature, the last of it's race.

The Man Trap is a very good early episode of Star Trek, yes everyone is still finding their place but the story is solid and has some emotional and ethical quandaries embedded within it's well monster of the week format, Trek could have gone that way but for the strength of Roddenberry. The act of killing the last surviving member of an alien race despite it's action asks some serious questions, given "Nancy" had lived peacefully when a reliable supply of salt was offered it left the door open for the Federation to hold out the olive branch out regardless of the deaths caused but when you get right down to it the selfish desires of the Professor who kept the secrets of this world to himself.
Ok we have to mention the rather animated Gertrude aka Beauregard which thankfully didn't become a regular of the show but it was good to see Sulu as something other than a fly boy and there was certainly some chemistry between Spock and Sulu, granted his reaction could be taken as logical but that little bit of spark was certainly there which begrudgingly allows for the 2009 movie to make use of that element even if they did go a little over the top which TOS never did.... 
Rating 8


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