1.06 : The Man Trap.

Dave

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1.6 : The Man Trap.

The 6th episode made, but usually the first shown, because of it's more typical Sci-Fi 'Monster of the Week' storyline satisfied the TV executives who didn't understand Star Trek. If every epiosde had been like this it would have been a completely different series.

Shatner really does scream well in this! A reviewer dubbed him 'the male Fay Wray'.

When McCoy does the autopsy, the dead man has a heartbeat!

Communicators must be pretty new equipment, no one seems to be able to flip them open. Kirk opens his up manually.

Tricorders must be new too, even though McCoy has one, Kirk wants to return to the ship to use it's infra-red sensors to scan for life-signs. These are the same sensors that cannot detect the crewmens bodies lying nearby.
 

Extollager

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I'm pretty sure that I was there, a kid of eleven, for the first broadcast of this first-shown teleplay. "NBC Week" trailers had led up to this premiere. I was keen to see the show.
 

Extollager

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Saw this again on April 8. This is, in a sense, Star Trek's only Monster Story. There are other episodes with "monsters," but none, I think, where the whole story centers around a series of horrifying events and bizarre clues that culminates in the exposure of the hideous thing (or "bear," in Outer Limits terminology). The design of the monster is excellent for the time, its face alien, ugly -- and mournful. The repeated ambiguous clue of the skin mottling that turns out to be the marks of the creature's suckers is clever.

The bit in which Kirk reproaches Crater (perhaps not a good name-choice) for his relationship with the thing, which can appear in various pleasing forms including that of mistress, adds a layer of horror. It reminds me of Charles Williams's powerful novel Descent into Hell, one of the principal characters in which is, like Crater, a scholar possessed of meticulous knowledge of a bygone culture, but who is in an erotic relationship with a foul creature, in fact a succubus conjured from his own lust and frustration, and appearing in the form of a woman who (like Crater's dead wife) is unattainable to him.

Any teleplay is likely to have continuity and logic problems that become apparent with repeated viewings. In this case, I find myself puzzled about the creature's salt-craving. It seems to want more very soon after feeding. Perhaps there could have been found a way to convey that it was excited not simply by hunger but by opportunity. This could help to bring out even a little more the possibly ambiguous nature of the thing -- that it's an "animal" -- and yet Crater believes it also possesses the human capacity to need and even to give love. However, that notion seems adequately accounted for by Crater's own fuddled state of mind.

One notes, in this first-to-be-broadcast teleplay, the aliens-casting-illusions idea. Star Trek was to use this idea too often, along with the beings-with-godlike-powers idea and the parallel-to-historical-epochs-of-Earth idea. (Spock must have wondered why they never seemed to stumble across planets whose cultures had an uncanny resemblance to bygone periods of Vulcan's history, etc.) The illusion-casting aliens thing must be one of the characteristic differences between Star Trek and the Star Wars milieu (I write that subject to correction, since it's only the first couple of Star Wars theatrical releases that I know well, and there are three or so installments that I haven't seen at all, though I liked the first two).
 
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BAYLOR

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Ive seen this episode many time and I never felt much in the ways empathy for the creature . But the last couple of time I've seen it , I actually felt a bit sorry for the creature. Last of its kind trying to survive. Seeing McCoy phaser it and kill it made me ask the question of why did have McCoy have to shot to kill? Yes the creature killed Nancy Crater and her husband and the crew members and was killing the captain. Why couldn't he have simply stunned it?
 
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Droflet

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Lucky me. The first episode screened in this country was the superb Corbomite Maneuver. Been a fan ever since.
 

Extollager

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Hmm -- curious point I hadn't thought of before: the creature is killed, but doesn't vanish as those killed by phaser usually do. Shouldn't the creature have had the same fate as the mugatu?

One can imagine various explanations, e.g. the phaser was set on stun, but that was enough to kill this type of creature when it was hungry, etc. However, no explanation is given in the teleplay, so far as I know.
 

Ursa major

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Setting aside that I'm not convinced that continuity was strictly enforced in ST:TOS....

The plot summary on Wiki states:
The creature reverts to its natural appearance and starts to feed on Kirk. McCoy opens fire with his phaser. The creature changes back into the shape of "Nancy" to plead for its life as McCoy continues firing and kills it.
The phaser was obviously not on its highest setting, so one shouldn't expect the result a phaser on its top setting would deliver.
 

Extollager

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I think there was a continuity problem here. As far as I remember, from watching the original series from the very first NBC broadcast, phasers had three settings: (1) stun, which leaves the target visible but unconscious, (2) kill, which causes the target to vanish, (3) blow up. And I'm not sure about the third, offhand -- something could be set to blow up, but was it maybe a tricorder instead?

So there is a little of a continuity issue with the salt-consuming creature dying, in my mind anyway.

There's also the setting that could be used to fire at a rock in order to heat it, which I'd have guessed was the stun setting, if anyone stopped to think about it.

The wonder is that the series lasted as long as it did -- with such a production schedule and so many "postulates" -- with so few continuity problems. This probably helped to pave the way for series that had real story arcs. The first series that I remember watching that did have a story arc was The Prisoner. That was part of its fascination: that it was meant to end. Wow! But Star Trek did accumulate "world-building" lore, e.g. the Organian peace arrangement with the Klingons and so on.

A quick response here.
 

Ursa major

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(3) blow up. And I'm not sure about the third, offhand -- something could be set to blow up, but was it maybe a tricorder instead?
I think phasers could be set to overload, in which case they eventually blew up.

What this -- setting it to overload -- meant in practice, other then fiddling with the setting and using the magic words, "I'm setting the phaser to overload" (or something like that), I don't know.
 

Dave

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What this -- setting it to overload -- meant in practice, other then fiddling with the setting and using the magic words, "I'm setting the phaser to overload" (or something like that), I don't know.
Yes, it was a bit of a design fault and, I think, a huge health and safety nightmare for Starfleet top brass. Starfleet Command eventually sued the manufacturers, Utopia Planitia Fleetparts Ltd., for damages in 2397. But they lost the case for defective phasers when it was discovered that the Enterprise equipment had been assembled using faulty Romulan-made, cheaper components. :)
 

farntfar

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I have an overload setting on my microwave.
The instruction manual says it can be used when you get really fed up with visiting relatives.

There's also a button on the back marked "Fast overload. Run like hell."
 

Ursa major

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I wouldn't buy any kitchen equipment that had a fast setting...




...and I'd be particularly wary of it if someone had Lent it to me....
 

psikeyhackr

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It is the anniversary of Star Trek:

September 8, 1966

Although this is production number 6 it was in fact the very first episode that was aired. I remember being disappointed. An alien monster story. It really shot down my expectations for the series.
 

Dave

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In the UK, we didn't get them for several more years. I didn't see then in colour for even longer, and I cannot remember the first episode that I ever saw. This episode (and also the second pilot 'Where No man Has Gone Before') always struck me as being different, this one being, as you say, just an alien monster story.
 

BAYLOR

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In the UK, we didn't get them for several more years. I didn't see then in colour for even longer, and I cannot remember the first episode that I ever saw. This episode (and also the second pilot 'Where No man Has Gone Before') always struck me as being different, this one being, as you say, just an alien monster story.
The Man Trap is a bit of a traditional monster in space story but its still a very good story.

Where No Man Has Gone Before is one of my favorite original episodes. It's got a bit of everything .
 

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A classic, boy meets monster, boy falls in love with monster story. It's clearly superior to The Cage in almost every way. They made the right move in recasting and reshooting.

I forgot to say that watching the remastered version is wonderful. The Enterprise looks gorgeous!
 
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BAYLOR

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A classic, boy meets monster, boy falls in love with monster story. It's clearly superior to The Cage in almost every way. They made the right move in recasting and reshooting.

I forgot to say that watching the remastered version is wonderful. The Enterprise looks gorgeous!
I liked Captain Pike and I like Number one. :)
 
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