Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Man Trap

**** (4 stars out of 5)

Captain’s Blog: Stardate Non-Existent

Welcome, friends and crew, aliens and stranger things still. Watch along with me now, and don't mind the spoilers: you've had 45 years to see this stuff, and no more missed chances will be tolerated! Ahem. By which I mean, feel free to catch up before you read my unbiased reviews. I'll wait!

What the hey, a plot descriptor for 'The Man Trap' won't go amiss:

The Distant Future: plucky, colorfully dressed space adventurers checking up on an archeological dig in space uncover more than they bargained for when crewmen begin to turn up dead. Could Dr. Plum's ex-girlfriend be involved?

I think overall it's a great episode to start with. Aired out of order for Maximum Network Punch, it's a spooky whodunnit with clever writing and fine characters.

Captain Kirk and Doctor McCoy hit the exact note of their teasing relationship in minute one. Kirk suggests McCoy bring some flowers for Nancy, the girl that got away. "Is that how you get girls to like you," McCoy ribs back. "By bribing them?"

It is a well known fact that girls don't like science fiction. Especially Classic Star Trek. It just can't be confirmed by any known laboratory tests.

In any event, Dead Wheat is the worst bribe ever. Maybe more Spock-Uhura flirting would've helped- I am given to understand that chicks dig The Unattainable Guy. And the emotionless computer mind of Mr. Spock is certainly immune to girlish charms. Speaking of which...

Lured to his death by a stunning blonde the likes of which he last saw on "Wrigley's Pleasure Planet", poor horndog Darnell is the first to die on screen on Trek. Well played, sir.

What a great villain! The Creature, shapeshifting seductive salt-sucking serial killer of M-113. Last of its kind, desperate, never able to fill the void of hunger and longing within itself. Easy to feel sorry for her. Easy to know the need she allows to drive her to extremes.

Aren’t most of us a little lonely and a lot... peckish?

Bravo to our intrepid crew- they meet the unexpected with quick yet careful competence. The mission remains a tragedy for a handful, but does not blossom into an ongoing massacre. In fact, they’re not just competent, but also FRIENDS, doing a dangerous space job side by side.

Here's Janice Rand, flaunting her salty goodness, slapping the boys away and urging them to go chase asteroids. And there's Sulu, chowing down on Rubik's Cube chunks and celery (FUTURE!) while feeding the weepers and a plant that is clearly a glove puppet.

And what of Professor Bob Crater? The Creature killed his Nancy... but then he let it TAKE HER PLACE! Think about that. That’s a whole special new kind of creepy.

First on-screen interspecies couple: and it’s these hinky back road predators! Yeurgh.

"It isn't a bad life to have everyone in the universe at your beck and call." Kirk observes to the greasy Prof. "And you win all the arguments."

I lucked out in the wife department, myself. I may not win all the arguments. I may not win ANY arguments.

But I get to keep my rich, tasty sodium and my life essence. And isn't that the real victory over... The Man Trap?

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