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Rediscovering Star Trek: TOS S01E06 : The Man Trap

With Discovery on mid-season hiatus, time to star back on classic Star Trek.  Once DSC returns, I’ll hopefully have a few extra of these backlogged so I can do both.   I decided to start with TOS and do it in air-date order, to try to keep the feel of watching it originally.

I realize I am treading in the path on many others, and likely will have little new to add, but I will be trying to look at things with the context of what Discovery has added to the canon.

First up, The Man Trap

Wikipedia description:

The Enterprise visits planet M-113 for a routine medical inspection of the husband-wife archaeological team stationed there, but the crew finds that the wife has been replaced by a deadly, shape-shifting creature

Thoughts while watching:

  • Kirk and McCoy feel familiar with each other from the start
  • Darnell is very undisciplined for a starfleet officer, following her off like that.
  • I think this is one of, if not the only times the captians log is past tense, recounting the episode we are watching.
  • Uhura flirting like crazy with Spock.
  • Kirk is very snippy with McCoy to snap him out of his romantic haze.
  • The USS Enterprise is actually transporting peppers and other supplies.
  • Yes, while investigating a mysterious death of a crewman, I too pop pills of an uncertain substance into my mouth to test it.
  • The creature has very interesting appetites if salt pills can keep it satisfied but three bodies leave it hungry for more.
  • Crewmen openly leering and sexual comments about Yeoman Rand.
  • Seems very annoying to have a light shining right in your face when you are trying to sleep.
  • You would be given to believe that transporters should be able to tell that someone is a psychic salt vampire and not a human when beaming up, but this is far from the last time that someone makes it thru a transporter without being discovered.
  • Spock is very emotional
  • On one level, I think the creature wanted to die.  It dropped the illusion so Bones could see it wasn’t Nancy and could fire.
  • Death count: 2 blue, 1 yellow, 1 unknown, Dr Crater, the creature


This was the first episode to actually air.  They started off on a strong note, and it’s easy to see why the show was a hit.

But, despite what our memories tell us, and despite the bright color pattern – it was not light hearted.  Instead, it was as dark as DSC in its own way.

In this episode, we have 4 innocent crew die what appears to be a rather painful death.  Dr Crater as well.  Finally, the creature, the last of it’s species dies.    Kirk never stops to offer negotiations with the creature, or a quarantine option.   There is no celebration at the end, but a sadness that despite it’s danger, the universe is just a little smaller.

In the words of Q, “It’s not safe out here. It’s wondrous, with treasures to satiate desires both subtle and gross. But it’s not for the timid.

This is Gene Roddenberry’s original vision, a wagon train to the stars after all.  The frontier is dark and rough, but worth exploring. “Danger is our business.” after all.