Welcome to a new video series on my channel in which we are going to take a look at every Star Trek episode that ever existed and rate it from 1 to 10 with one being the lowest score and 10 the highest. This series is not supposed to bash against any Trek show in any way, instead, I want to recap Star Trek and maybe inspire people to rewatch some of the best-rated episodes.
It’s obviously only my opinion, therefore, I would like you to give the episode your rating and some of your opinions in the comment section below. Also, there won’t be any chronological order I will either pick an episode or take one that is suggested in the comment section. The rating is based on Story, Plot development and visuals. ‘The Cage‘ was the very first Star Trek episode which aired on the 4th of October 1988 and got a remastered version on 2nd of May 2009. It was written by Gene Roddenberry and directed by Robert Butler.
The Episode is taking place in the year 2254 eleven years before Kirk´s five-year mission, two weeks after the Enterprise had a battle at Rigel 7 with seven crew members injured and three dead. They encounter a space distortion on a collision course which turns out to be an old radio distress signal. Further investigation reveals that the signal was sent eighteen years earlier from the Talos star group and seems to be human-made. However, there were no colonies or vessels that far out eighteen years earlier.
Without the evidence of survivors, Pike declines investigation and instead proceeds with the Enterprises course to the Vega colony in order to care of the crew´s own injuries. Captain Pike calls the chief medical officer Dr Boyce and they have a chat about Pike wanting to leave Starfleet, which is interrupted by science officer Spock who found evidence of eleven survivors on Talos 4. In which Pike orders to use time warp factor seven.
Number one is the ships first officer and J.M. Colt is the captain`s replacement yeoman on which he expresses his discomfort with a woman on the Bridge, obviously excluding number one. This kind of ironic because further on in Trek this becomes a normal thing with even a female Captain and an interracial kiss.
After arriving at Talos 4, Pike leads a landing party to the surface where a group of scientists from the crashed ‘SS Columbia‘ is discovered. They turn out to be an expedition of the American Continent Institute. The crew of the Enterprise and the scientist exchange information about the newest available technologies for Starfleet when a young woman called Vina who was born at the time the ship crash-landed on the planet approaches them.
We then see three aliens with huge, pulsating heads watching the landing party through a viewing screen. Health scans indicate that all the humans on the planet are in perfect health. Actually to good health and the scientist Theodore Haskins offers to show Pike a secret. Vina leads him away from the other officers and disappears suddenly followed by the scientist and their camp. Talosians as we call them from now on render Pike unconscious and take him with them.
After firing the Laser Pistols at the door Spock lets the ship know via communicator that all is a trap and they have lost the captain. When Pike wakes up he finds that his jacket, communicator and laser are gone and that he is in an underground cell with a transparent wall. He sees that other creatures of different species are trapped in nearby cells. Several Talosians approach him and make some scientific observations about him not with sound but telepathy. It is discovered that Pike is more adaptable to new surroundings and that it is time to begin the experiment. The experiments are based on making Pike experience illusions based on his own memories in order to interest him in Vina. Pike, however, is not interested in participating and tells Vina that he is not an animal performing for its supper. Though he is interested in figuring out the parameters of the illusions and his captivity. He manages to survive the illusionary attack from the Kalar at Rigel 7 and is returned by the Talosians back to his cell.
Vina then tells Pike that the Talosians have severely damaged their own World and their own species. They want to use Vina and Pike as breeding stock in order to repopulate the surface of the Planet. After Pike refuses to eat food that is offered to him by his Talosian Keeper he punishes him and threatens that punishment will get harder if he will further disobey. Pike obviously tries to escape and realizes that if he has outbursts of anger the Talosians can`t read his mind.
In a conversation with his Talosian Keeper, he discovers that Vina is the only survivor of the Columbia crash and that what she said earlier about the Talosians is true. In the next illusion, Pike and Vina have a picnic outside Pike`s hometown Mojave. It’s another attempt in order to bring Pike and Vina together however Pike still resists. It is realized by Vina that enticing Pike with to him similar scenarios won’t work so the Talosians create an illusion in which Vina appears as an Orion slave girl.
Meanwhile, the Enterprise still tries to blow away to Pike. Spock, however, manages to locate the Talosian power source and a team consisting out of only Females is dispatched to the surface. Number One discovers that Vina isn’t as young as she appears. With all rescue, attempts failed Spock decides that the Enterprise leaves orbit which turns out to not be possible since the Talosians have immobilized it. Pike figures that any strong emotions would keep the Talosians from controlling him.
When the Talosian magistrate tries to recover the lasers brought on the surface by the rescue team Pike manages to apprehend him and discovers that the malfunctioning lasers were only an illusion and that they, in fact, had destroyed the wall of the Cage and of the door. He and the rescue team manages to escape but realizes that the communicators still don’t work. The Talosians manage to intercept them and Pike offers that he will stay so the others can leave.
Number one begins to overload her laser threatening that she will blow up everyone. However, by this point the Talosians probed the Enterprises systems and it is discovered that humans have a “unique hatred of captivity” which made them dangerous for the Talosians requirements. The away team gets back to the Enterprise but before Pike goes the Talosians show him how Vina actually looks. Deformed by the crash of the Columbia. They take care of Vina and even give her an illusory Captain Pike. After Pike returns on the ship he tells Dr Boyce that he is fully refreshed for work and weaves off questions about whom he actually had chosen even calling Dr Boyce a dirty old man for inquiring into the meaning of something that Colt said.
Given the fact that this episode is the very first Star Trek episode ever, it is very hard to rate it in an appropriate way since I´m rating each episode in comparison to others. In my opinion, this episode kicked off Star Trek in a very interesting way giving us a unique story which if I am not mistaken gave some other shows and even Star Trek episodes ideas. It not only introduces us to some iconic characters but also shows some character development for Pike who at the beginning of this episode doesn’t even want women on his bridge but at the end indicates that asking who he had chosen as a mate is wrong. Even calling his medical Officer a dirty man for his remark. The episode is also the first appearance of the Talosians who appear in TOS another time and then also in Discovery. Also, I like the Talosians and think that they are a very interesting species. The story of the episode itself does not feel too boring in fact it is interesting and fun to watch. With the 2009 remastered edition of the episode, it looks visually very good.
I would definitely put this episode as one of the best pilot episodes Star Trek had and would give it a stand-alone rating of 9.5/10 but since we are comparing the whole show and I know what will come it drops down to 8/10 since it is a great start but later episodes simply outshine it and still it has the problem that it is quite clear that at this point they did not know what they want to do with Star Trek.
So final rating
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