Star Trek: The Original Series (1966–1969)

The Man Trap (8 Sep. 1966)

TV Episode   |  TV-PG   |    |  Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

The Man Trap (1966) Poster

Dr. McCoy discovers his old flame is not what she seems after crew members begin dying from a sudden lack of salt in their bodies.


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28 September 2020 | snoozejonc
| Bones thinking with his glands
Enterprise visits a planet to make a routine health check on an archeologist.

It is a compelling story about the crew encountering a life-form on the verge of extinction. They are put in a difficult position of having to defend themselves but in the same breath face the prospect of possibly doing something that equates to genocide. This is handled in a plausible way and with some acknowledgement and reflection placed upon the actions taken.

One of its major strengths is that it properly establishes characters in the way an early episode should. A lot of focus is placed on Kirk's command decisions and we learn about him in these moments. Interestingly, he is portrayed slightly more aggressive in nature than usual, particularly towards Bones, who for the majority of the episode, as Kirk bluntly states, thinks with his glands. The banter between the two is enjoyable from start to finish. Spock has some character defining moments in his interaction with U'Hura and also in a more confrontational scene involving Kirk and Bones towards the end.

This is quite a unique episode in several ways. It focuses on some small character moments that never get the same attention later on in the show. Refreshingly, there is none of the dramatic music that made later episodes louder and feel more dated. Also, Kirk's narration is spoken in past tense, which doesn't make a great deal of difference but does unnecessarily explain the situation a bit too much at the beginning.

When the high drama comes during the episode's conclusion, that's when I feel the age of it. We have over-the-top physical acting, the splendour of a dodgy creature costume and I felt an overall sense of unintentional humour. However, this for me is part of the charm of the original series. It was television made during the 1960s and you have to take the positives out of these moments.

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