Star Trek TOS: The First Halloween Episode in Star Trek
Star Trek: The Original Series
Season 2, Episode 7
Scott and Sulu were missing after crewman Jackson nonchalantly announced he was alone in returning to Enterprise.
Jackson was beamed up — and promptly died, leaving his body a vehicle to communicate an eerie warning to Spock. The ship was cursed, according to the dead man talking, and it was time to leave.
Kirk, Spock, and McCoy ignored the spooky warning, teleporting down to a foggy planet in pursuit of Scott and Sulu. The music and atmosphere made the planet feel like a haunted house. Then, the ghoulish screams started, and apparitions appeared. Perhaps this was the Halloween episode. Spock looked more annoyed than scared. This episode even featured the proverbial black cat.
They explored a castle, falling victim to a soft collapsable spot in the floor that sent them to a cellar. The three men passed out upon falling, waking up to imprisonment. Scott and Sulu arrived to save the day, but they were brainwashed. Expressionless, Scott and Sulu unlocked from confinement their friends and walked them to the leader of the castle, Korob.
Korob was actually somewhat hospitable. He offered the group plates of jewels to go away as a bribe, but Kirk and his men declined. His counterpart, a woman named Sylvia, was more ruthless. Her sorcery was also impressive, changing the mass objects for the purposes of deception. She also had a way to sabotage Enterprise from afar with voodoo. Kirk was not pleased.
In the middle, Catspaw dragged for suspense after kicking off with a bang filled with haunted house vibes. Kirk tried to finagle a deal for release with Sylvia and Korob, to no avail. They wound up locked up in chains back in the dungeon once again. Except for McCoy — he was brainwashed like Scott and Sulu.
Thankfully for Kirk’s team, Sylvia and Korob became embroiled in an argument — probably the chink in the armor Kirk sought for escape. Turns out, Sylvia craved power above all else. Kirk manipulated Sylvia with a romantic shoulder massage, seducing her to the lures of power. Sylvia wanted to join Kirk’s mind with her own, plotting a course of intergalactic domination. The two eventually kissed while Korob, the peeping tom, watched from behind a wall. Syliva toyed with Kirk’s tastes in women as she switched outfits like a genie in an instantaneous manner.
Kirk and Sylvia’s romance lasted roughly four minutes. Sylvia sniffed out Kirk’s bluff and threatened him as a retaliatory measure. Soon after, it was revealed Sylvia was the black cat from earlier on. And Korob was finished with Sylvia’s tyrannical ways, offering to help Kirk and the crew vamoose the haunted house.
Syliva possessed a “transmuter,” which was the instrument she used to manipulate power. The episode climaxed with a standoff over the magical scepter. But when the struggle was most intense, Sylvia vanished.
Everything in the episode was an illusion.
Catspaw was strangely lite on the usual parable train in Star Trek. Perhaps don’t believe everything you see — is the closest thematic extraction.
Themes: Halloween, Illusions
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. His odyssey with Star Trek starts from beginning to finish, watching ‘The Original Series,’ all the way to the present day. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).