11 – The Menagerie: Part 1

Grade: C+

 The Menagerie: Part I
(1966) on IMDb


Mr. Spock claims to have received an urgent message to divert the Enterprise to a starbase where Captain Christopher Pike is being treated for a severe injury. So Kirk takes the Enterprise to the starbase, and Spock takes over the ship. He intends to return the ship to Talos IV, where he and Captain Pike visited 13 years before. Commodore Mendez and Captain Kirk convene a court martial, where Spock is accused of treason and mutiny. His only defense is in showing footage of the former mission.


I have a number of problems with this episode. First, it seems totally unnecessary. I understand loyalty to a former Captain, and I understand why Spock would want to help him. What I don’t understand is why Spock would go through all the trouble of falsifying communications just so he can return the ship to Talos IV. Why can’t he just request to have Captain Pike sent there?

I also don’t understand why simply going to Talos IV would be punishable by death. What’s so bad about being on Talos IV? It seems extreme that this is the only crime that carries the death penalty. I suppose this question will be answered in Part 2, but at least in this first half, it’s just bizarre.

There are several other problems with this episode, but suffice it to say that this is not one of my favorites. The storyline is disjointed, it doesn’t seem to fit with established characters, and the actions of the characters don’t seem to have reasonable motivations behind them. Why couldn’t Spock just tell them what he was doing instead of showing them this pointless footage?

Here’s what this all boils down to. Gene Roddenberry still had this footage from the original pilot episode of the series. He wanted to still tell the story of Captain Pike and how he encountered the big-headed aliens. So they manufactured a reason to show this footage and include it in the new series. But I don’t think the original pilot was that great in the first place, and the story they came up with to contain this footage was weak. I give it a C+.

Of Note

Spock walks with a limp right after they show him beaming down onto Talos IV.

Spock’s actions in this episode provide precedence for when Data commandeered the Enterprise and took it to a planet where he found his creator, Dr. Soong.