Welcome to Trekking Along! A weekly trek through Star Trek’s original series, one episode at a time.
Hello! Let me be your guide through the original series of Star Trek – the one that started it all. This week we’ll start with The Man Trap.
You may have noticed that I’m going to skip Star Trek’s pilot episode – “The Cage”. Well, you’re very astute. I wanted to start with our regularly scheduled team of Kirk et al. Just so we’re all in the loop and you’re not searching for that one missing article.
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My apologies to the Captain Pike purists.
In The Man Trap, we get our first foray into the roguish antics of Captain Kirk. He’s brash, he’s blunt, and just a bit sassy.
Kirk, Dr. McCoy and Crewman
Darnell arrive on planet M-113 to provide medical exams for Professor Crater and his wife, Nancy, a previous paramour of McCoy.
When introduced to Dr. McCoy’s long-lost lady love, each sees a different woman. For McCoy, he sees the same woman he left behind years ago. Darnell sees a left-behind love of his own. Kirk sees Nancy as she is – we imagine. Grey hair and all.
For the record, Kirk continues to make sassy comments about how – essentially – she’s no spring chicken, as McCoy says she is. Kind of a jerk move, Kirk.
Darnell gets a bit hot under the collar and is sent outside to cool his jets. Professor Crater arrives and crankily informs Kirk and McCoy that they don’t need an examination, they just want salt, dagnabbit.
Nancy follows Darnell outside shortly after he takes his leave and – surprise – the crewman is soon found dead. There are strange marks all over his face as – according to Nancy – he has consumed poisonous fruit. The away team beams up to the Enterprise to find out what happened.
Cut to the bridge, where we get a bit of exposition about Spock, courtesy of Uhura, as she attempts to flirt (probably?). This is a cute way to learn about his… unique character traits. We need this exposition, otherwise it would seem like Nimoy is just a flat actor, which he’s not.
Anyways, back to the action. McCoy does a medical exam of Darnell’s body and finds out that no! Twas not poison that killed him! Somehow, all the salt was drained from his body. Most mysterious.
Kirk, McCoy, and two more crewmen – Green and Sturgeon – beam back to the planet to search for Crater. Crater escapes and hopelessly calls for Nancy, who stands over the body of Crewman Green, while Sturgeon lies dead nearby. Kirk and McCoy find Sturgeon and – while looking for Green – we see Nancy transform into his visage, joining Kirk and McCoy as they beam back up to the ship, not knowing who they’re taking with them. Spooky.
Green/Nancy stalks through the ship in search of salt. As his crew are mysteriously attacked, Spock confirms that a scan of the planet only shows one life form. But obviously this doesn’t seem right. Kirk and Spock head back down to the planet, and they’re pretty annoyed by this point – to say the least. They capture Crater who admits that *gasp* that’s not really Nancy at all!
Nancy was killed by a creature a year ago – the last remaining of a civilization of shape-shifters that feed on salt. Crater – for some reason – feeds it salt, and in return it retains the shape of Nancy to keep him company. I mean, that’s weird, right? Just me? Ok.
They transport back to the Enterprise and – after a messy goose chase – Kirk finds the Nancy-shaped-creature in McCoy’s quarters. Kirk tries to apprehend Nancy and loveblind McCoy intervenes. The Nancy creature attacks Kirk – taking her natural form – and almost kills him.
McCoy – upon seeing her natural form – fires with his phaser. The creature transforms back into Nancy to plead for its life, so, McCoy kills it.
Just so we’re all on the same page… that creature was the last of its kind… I mean… I’m pretty sure that’s against the Prime Directive, right?
The episode ends almost immediately afterwards, with a quick explanation from Kirk that the creature probably wasn’t evil per se, just… desperate.
Not helping, Kirk.
You can find more articles from Kelly at 1428Elm.com