Director: Robert Butler
Writer: Gene Roddenberry
Cast: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Jeffrey Hunter, Susan Oliver, Malachi Throne, Majel Barrett, Peter Duryea, John Hoyt, Laurel Goodwin, Adam Roarke, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, Nichelle Nichols, Sean Kenney, Hagan Beggs, and Meg Wyllie
Composer: Alexander Courage
Air Date: 11/24/1966
Production #: 6149-16B
As Spock is court martialed for his actions in “The Menagerie Part I,” a mysterious video transmission displays the events surrounding Captain Pike’s captivity thirteen years ago. Although Captain Kirk and Commodore Mendez fail to establish a connection between Pike’s past predicament and present circumstances, Spock insists that the potentially exonerating footage will explain his intentions in full detail.
“The Menagerie Part II” answers many of the questions raised in the previous episode and offers a touching conclusion to Captain Pike’s story arc. Star Trek enthusiasts who are unfamiliar with “The Cage” should enjoy this piece for its brilliant use of Robert Butler’s subject matter, while fans of Nimoy’s character will wish to view this entry to discover the motive behind Spock’s bizarre behavior in “The Menagerie Part I.”
Those who have seen “The Cage” in its entirety prior to watching “The Menagerie Part II” might find certain aspects of Rodenberry’s narrative somewhat uninteresting simply because the outcome of Captain Pike’s imprisonment will be known in advance. However, because this installment combines two distinct storylines into one feature, audiences can easily relate to the court martial situation even if the Talos IV saga seems like a rehash of old material.
Some critics have condemned this episode’s conclusion on the basis that the Talosians would likely not embrace Captain Pike after his defiance cost them their future. That being said, one overlooked possibility is that these cerebral caretakers decided to assist the crippled captain upon realizing that he would no longer be able or willing to resist their plans given his impaired condition. Certain ethical questions remain unanswered, such as whether the descendants of Captain Pike and Vina would be forced to rebuild the Talosians’ society; however, context clues within the episode indicate that these luminous beings have adopted more benevolent attitudes since their initial encounter with the Enterprise crew.
Much like its predecessor, “The Menagerie Part II” incorporates elements from the first Star Trek pilot into a fresh story, resulting in an exciting mystery/adventure tale that both newcomers and diehard fans are sure to appreciate. Additionally, Jeffrey Hunter’s compelling performance conveys the ingenuity that Pike possessed before losing his humanity, which allows the audience to draw parallels between the original Enterprise captain and William Shatner’s portrayal of Kirk.
Overall Quality: 10/10
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