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.
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?
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.
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.
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…
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.