Star Trek TOS: A Sly Spock Loves It When a Plan Comes Together

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Star Trek: The Original Series

Season 1, Episode 13

The Menagerie Part II

Kirk was flabbergasted by his friend Spock’s apparent mutiny — and perhaps a little jealous of his unconditional loyalty to Pike. A jealous Kirk would be a new angle, but the captain was human [unlike Spock, for the most part]. 

The trial resumed, a further illustration of democracy in space. Was this the first jury trial in outer space? If so, Star Trek pulling it off is, well, was fitting and vintage Star Trek

Spock’s defense for still supporting Pike is rooted in the Talosians imposing mind control on Pike. His fate was no fault of his own — is what Spock attempted to convince his peers, with Vulcan loyalty on full display in the courtroom. Then, a plot twist was unveiled. The Talosians actually wanted Pike back in their “care” because the bigheaded aliens evidently valued him — a bombshell to the viewer and Kirk. 

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The “jury” weighed the varying degrees of lust that Vina portrayed and the gravity of that temptation on Pike. After all, the Talosians wanted to enslave humans, targeting Pike as Adam in their alien Adam and Even internment. It may not be reasonable to blame Pike for the outcome of the Talos IV mission — was the vibe emanating from Spock’s mutinous plan. 

It was also revealed the feed the jurists are viewing — the one that replays Pike’s dealings on Talos IV — was a live-streaming event. Spock didn’t find a way to archive the footage. The Talosians were broadcasting events from 13 years ago, hoping to reclaim “their” man, Pike. Live streaming in the 1960s was slick, to say the least. 

The stalwart voice against Spock, Commodore Mendez, was a plant by the pulsating-brained alien leader from Talos IV. Mendez was a mirage, the same type employed by the Talosians in The Cage.  Kirk was duped, a rarity in the show’s infancy. The trial was a ruse designed by the Talosians to bring Pike back to Talos IV. 

There, he’d live out a mirage with Vina — which the bigheaded aliens believed was preferable to his wretched state of disfiguration. 

Pike agreed with the Talosians, consenting to Kirk he would rather live in fantasyland than exist as a half-man.

The final “see, we told you so” from the pulsator brains was an on-screen stream of Pike and Vina frolicking and presumably in love. Kirk can’t have that — he’s a leader of men who must live in reality sans boyish lust. Pike got the girl; Kirk kept the ship. 

All along in The Cage, Pike yearned an escape from responsibility. Well, he got it, albeit at the price of full-body burns. 

Kirk had his here-and-now life on Enterprise; Pike got semi-eternal, feigned youth. One can’t help but speculate Kirk was a wee bit envious — as captains, he and Pike were cut from the same cloth. 

Needless to say, Spock’s plan worked, keeping his pristine reputation intact. Kirk couldn’t let it go entirely, though. He pleasantly chided Spock for the shenanigans. However, to Spock, the scheme was grounded in logic, so his “blame” was off-limits. And Kirk essentially agreed. 

The friendship will live on. 

Themes: Deception, Envy, Simulated Reality

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).