In this episode of Trekking Through Compliance, we consider the episode The Menagerie (Part One) which aired on November 17, 1966, Star Date 3012.4.

Story Synopsis

This episode and the sequel are derived from the original pilot for the Star Trek series, The Cage. The Enterprise diverts to Starbase 11 after Spock reports receiving a sub-space message from former Captain of the Enterprise Christopher Pike. However, the Commodore on the Starbase tells them that Pike has been injured from exposure to delta rays  and could not have sent the message. This is confirmed as Pike is confined to a wheelchair which is operated by brain waves. The only communication of which Pike is still capable is signaling yes or no. Pike refuses to speak to Bones or Kirk but agrees to speak to Spock in private.

Spock, who had served under Pike for 11 years, 4 months, and 5 days, prepares to mutiny in order to take Pike to Talos 4, despite Pike’s protests. Meanwhile, an investigation of the tapes reveals that Spock received no transmission, but Kirk refuses to believe it possible that Spock could have been responsible for a deception. Spock nerve pinches Chief Humboldt at the computer center and sends the Enterprise bogus instructions using tapes he has made of Kirk’s voice. Another technician discovers Spock cross-circuiting the communications panel and attempts to stop him, but is nerve pinched for his efforts. Spock informs Mr. Hansen that the coded transmissions he has sent will navigate the ship automatically. McCoy is tricked into returning to the Enterprise by a request for medical assistance. Spock then transports himself and Pike aboard.

The Enterprise warps out of orbit towards Talos 4. Kirk and Mendez pursue Spock and the Enterprise Spock stops the Enterprise and beams aboard Kirk and Mendez. Spock then informs them that has set up the ship’s computer so that it cannot be disengaged without terminating life support systems until the Enterprise reaches Talos 4.

Spock is then put on trial. Not only is mutiny a court martial offense but visiting Talos 4 is an offense punishable by death. The hearing proceeds because Pike is still listed as on active duty, so three command officers are present as required by regulations. During the hearing, Spock introduces a recording of the experiences of the original crew of the Enterprise on Talos 4 as evidence.

The tape recounts how 13 years previously the Enterprise, commanded by Pike, received a distress signal from the survey vessel Columbia, lost 18 years earlier. Unbeknownst to the landing party, their actions are being monitored by native Talosians. The doctor notices that the condition of the survivors is better than could be reasonably expected and becomes suspicious. Before he can find out what is going on, Vena leads Pike into a Talosian trap. As soon as Pike is drugged and captured by the Talosians, the survivors, who were illusionary, vanish. In a desperate attempt to rescue Pike, the landing party tries to blast through the rock into which Pike was spirited away, but their phasers have no effect.

At this juncture, Uhura reports that the Enterprise has been receiving transmissions from Talos 4 and Kirk is relieved from duty by order of the Starfleet Command Consul.

 Fun Fact

Robert Justman convinced Roddenberry to write a two-part episode utilizing the first pilot because they ran out of scripts in the middle of the first season and had to shut down production otherwise.

Compliance Takeaways:

  1. A leader must take care of themselves as well as their crew.
  2. What does it mean if a deal is too good to be true?
  3. Trust but verify.


Excruciatingly Detailed Plot Summary by Eric W. Weisstein for The Menagerie (Part One) Menagerie (Parts 1 & 2)