June 25, 2014: Let’s Kick Off Our Star Trek Tos Re-watch With The Man Trap!

Hello and welcome to our Star Trek: The Original Series re-watch.  Cookie Monster and I will be your co-hosts.  We’ll open the casual discussion on the show’s first five episodes, then ask you to weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section.

THE MAN TRAP

Me: A rocky start for the Enterprise and its crew in an episode that is at turns silly and confounding, yet enjoyable for the many classic elements established.  It’s an interesting premise with a nice emotional hook involving Dr. McCoy and his former love, but there are logic bumps throughout that make this one a little tough to watch.  For instance, the salt monster seems highly intelligent, yet can’t resist snacking on the unwary members of the away team, opening itself up to all sorts of trouble.  Presumably it wasn’t starving since the scientist shows Kirk his salt stores have yet to be depleted, yet it simply can’t help itself.

Cookie Monster: Me empathize.  If Enterprise crew bodies contain traces of cookie element, dey be VERY hard to resist.

Me: Still….

Cooke Monster:  Mebbe salt monster tink Kirk not bother to stick around since he have emergency pepper shipment to deliver to other planet!

Me:  Doubtful.  But you bring up a great point.  Throughout this episode Kirk demonstrates a wide variety of impressive abilities, from carefully hand picking peppers for delivery to some interesting evasive maneuvers –

But what I found most surprising about the episode was that a secondary character, McCoy, drives the heart of the story.

Cookie Monster: Who?

Me: Dr. McCoy.  Bones.

Cookie Monster: You mean Plum?

Me: Yes, Plum.

Cookie Monster: Plum on receiving end of best line in episode: “Stop tinking wit your glands!”

Me: Yeah, that horn dog!

Cookie Monster: And what about scientist on planet?  What kind of “arrangement” he have wit salt creature?  It be his planet wife?

June 25, 2014: Let’s Kick Off Our Star Trek Tos Re-watch With The Man Trap!

Me: Possibly.  He did seem unusually attached and at one point all but says the creature requires salt…and love!  On the one hand, it’s a hideous alien creature that killed his wife.  On the other hand, it’s probably a great spooner.

Cookie Monster: Speaking of killing, it interesting to note dat original red shirt aktually wear blue shirt.

Me: Yes, the costume choices in the first few episodes are interesting.  It’s almost disconcerting to see Spock walking around in that beige turtleneck uniform instead of his science blues.

June 25, 2014: Let’s Kick Off Our Star Trek Tos Re-watch With The Man Trap!

Cookie Monster: And dat guy in beekeeper uniform.  What de deal wit dat? Enterprise have its own bee colony?  Me bet Kirk gather his own honey too!  Dere be nothing dis guy can’t do!

Me: Except use common sense to contact a fellow crew member.  Kirk and McCoy discover the second body, then walk around shouting for Green.  Is there any particular reason they couldn’t just use their communicators to contact him?

Cookie Monster: Could be Green not on Friends and Ship and Family plan.

Me: Can I just say that one of the high points of this episode is the introduction of Sulu.  George Takei is terrific and his character is an interesting and integral member of the crew from the get-go.

Cookie Monster: Gertrude, not so much.

Me: Gertrude being the alien plant.

June 25, 2014: Let’s Kick Off Our Star Trek Tos Re-watch With The Man Trap!Cookie Monster: Alien planet?  Sure.  But more likely just Chekov hiding under table wearing big pink glove.  He notorious practikal joker!  Anyway, it be very weird.

Me: Sure, but not as weird as Kirk on the bridge snacking on crudités before heading down to the planet’s surface.  I mean, really?  Couldn’t he have just swung by the mess hall?

Cookie Monster: Mebbe he be hypoglycemik!  Or he really need to carb up before big showdown wit salt creature!

Me: Actually, if anyone needed to carb up before the showdown, it would’ve been Spock.  Look at him deliver those two-fisted wallops!

“If she were Nancy, could she take THIS?!”  The ancient Vulcan alien-identification test?

Cookie Monster: And big twist come at de end when it revealed Nancy really…

June 25, 2014: Let’s Kick Off Our Star Trek Tos Re-watch With The Man Trap! …De Abominable Snowman from de Land of Misfit Toys!!!

Me: Yeah, didn’t see that one coming.

Cookie Monster: Also, while we on de subjekt of toys…dose shots of de Enterprise in space!  Hooboy.

Me: Okay, yes, scifi television has certainly come a long way, but I nevertheless find those less-polished visual effects somehow endearing.  Which is how I feel about this episode in general.  A little rough around the edges –

Cookie Monster: And center!

Me: But nevertheless entertaining for its nostalgic elements.

So, what did you all think of The Man Trap?

We continue our Stargate TOS re-watch tomorrow when we’ll reconvene to discuss Charlie X!

Also, one week from today, we’ll begin discussion on the next five episodes on our viewing schedule: Mudd’s Women, What Are Little Girls Made Of?, Miri, Dagger of the Mind, and The Corbomite Maneuver.

18 thoughts on “June 25, 2014: Let’s kick off our Star Trek TOS re-watch with The Man Trap!

  1. @ Ponytail – Nope, it is ‘beck and call’, beck being a shortened form of beckon. ‘Beckon call’ is a mispronunciation (or misspelling), much like some people today erroneously say ‘doggy dog world’ instead of ‘dog eat dog world’.

    The Man Trap – I am so busy between housework, work-work, and family matters that I just couldn’t watch this, but I will say it’s one of my favorite episodes as I am a bit of a salt monster myself. 😛

    das

  2. How are Cookie and you watching? I found the high points of all the episodes were the updated VFX from the Remastered HD versions available on Netflix.. I too noted the original Red Shirt as wearing Blue… I am not changing my name.. lol. As for the story itself, it was a slog. I am not a fan of the horror genre, and this was pretty much a pull from that. One surprise to me, I didn’t realize just how big Rand played in these early stories..

  3. @whoviantrish {{big hugs}} Cancer has taken members of my family and some friends. It SUCKS and needs to be eradiacted. Now.

  4. I didn’t need to do a rewatch… simply because I have watched it so many times I know it backwards… 😀

    From the sounds of things you are watching the ‘old’ versions not the new up to date viz effects. Which are beautiful! they did them so well unless you had watched the original show you really wouldn’t know they were new.

    The reason that the salt monster kills is because it is being rationed by Professor Crater because he is low. So off it goes to get its own… and when they say intelligent… dogs are intelligent and need love up to a point.

    The other big thing is the stun setting on the phaser the effect changed after this show. Became a lazer effect rather than a bolt effect.

    Kriss 🙂

  5. Freow! There’s a lot to dislike about this episode. It felt like a poor retelling of Forbidden Planet.

    A selection of WTF moments from me:

    Huh. The Redshirt is wearing blue! He didn’t fool me, though. I knew what was coming. And then two more of the fools came down to the same fate!

    Really? The flagship of the Federation with 400-odd crew is visiting remote, barely inhabited planets, just to perform medical checkups on a scientist and his wife? And delivering chillies?

    OMG! It’s a Morlock! No wonder the Morlocks live underground . . . they’re mining salt!

    Wait! Sulu’s a botanist?

    Is it just me or did Spock seem a little too emotional?

    On the other hand, there were some good moments too:

    I like the establishment of Star Trek tropes right from the beginning: The Captain’s log, beaming, Kirk and Bones on first name terms.

    On the third hand . . . Gertrude!

  6. I liked this episode. It has mystery and science. Plus, I love the hokey special effects. It is sad to see the actors so young and to know some of them have passed. 🙁

    How did your trip go? Jelly ok? Have a good time seeing your family!

  7. Also, I did love Cookie’s review along side yours. Very fun but how did you find the time?

  8. I enjoyed this episode simply for the campi-ness of it. A few notes I made:

    While the space effects are really nothing close to what we see now, they made a few mistakes. On the opening sequence, many constellations that are visible from earth are seen when they’re supposedly in other galaxies and universes. I saw the Pleiades star system, and your basic ‘dippers’, for instance.

    Are all planets they visit reddish????

    Something I noticed in this episode and the others – the lighting on the actors is really garish. They do a blast on the eyes for closeups. Maybe it’s a difference in style from then and now, I don’t know. But I found it distracting.

    It looks like, in the first few episodes, they were experimenting with Spock’s skin tone – he was greenish on this but pinkened up on the following.

    The acting seems as if it came from a stage, with a lot of over enunciation and forceful delivery.

    Overall, I enjoyed it just for the nostalgia.

    (And a note – I’m watching the remastered version on Amazon Prime).

  9. I re watched this on Netflix (hoping for the original VFX), but they had the updated effects of the BluRays’s we already had. I was hoping to do some comments on the cheesy (but fun) original effects, but that is not to be. I can however comment on ‘Gertrude’; who saw that scene and immediately thought O’Reilly’s under the table playing a practical joke? I guess muppeteering was not all that advanced in the 60’s?

    On a side note, I always thought the writers put a little tongue-in-cheek into the storyline with the ‘salt’ and (chilli) pepper elements. I’ve never been able to confirm that though.

    Then there’s the whole production back-story on the salt and pepper shakers (finding futuristic S&P shakers that the audience would still recognize). Sometimes it the little details that get you.

    Still a fun romp.

    How are things going in Toronto?

  10. Besides, some little quirky things. Like Plum go to comfort Nancy, instead of help the crewmen on the floor. And Kirk irritated call until Bones deign to let go Nancy and approach the dead crewman with obvious reluctance. (He´s dead Jim you Know)

    And some silly dialogue between Spock and Uhura. Everything else You & Cookie exhaustively sum up.
    So nothing to add for me.

  11. The special effects were terrible, but the abominable snowman scared the hell out of me when I was a child.

    He still creeps me out now. The salt eating monster too.

  12. @whoviantriah:

    I’m sorry to hear of your friend’s fight with cancer. I’m praying for you both. I hope you get some time to recoup in the meantime.

  13. This episode seemed a bit polished and the characters a bit comfortable with one another for a first episode and for later ones not so much. It makes me wonder in what order episodes were recorded.

    Was that Sulu’s quarters?

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