This episode was brilliant. Sure, the story was great as was the original episode, “The Cage,” but “The Menagerie (Part one and part two) was an incredible budget-saving episode that not only brought the fascinating lost pilot to the screen, but incorporated it into the purchased series AND made it look like Star Trek spent oodles of money redressing the sets and actors when, in fact, this was probably one of the cheapest episodes they ever did.
I’ve already talked about “The Cage,” so if you want my insights into the Christopher Pike story, you need to go there. What keeps “The Menagerie” from becoming a simple flashback episode is the inclusion of a very strong B-Plot involving Spock stealing the Enterprise and the conflicts that arise not only between Kirk and Spock but also between Kirk and McCoy when they consider the unthinkable that Spock might have lied.
This is an episode where Spock acts decidedly unVulcan deciding that the needs of the one outweigh the needs of the few, something revisited many years later when the favor is returned to him in kind.
A great episode that not only presented “The Cage” to the viewing public, but enhanced the entire experience of it, making it not only a story about facing the unknown, but also about the loyalty that true friendship brings.
Interesting Fact: Majel Barrett is credited under the name M. Leigh Hudec. This was probably due to the fact that she played both Nurse Chapel in the series and Number One in “The Cage” and Roddenberry didn’t want to clue the execs in that he rehired an actor he was told to fire.
“Blast medicine anyway. We’ve learned to tie into every human organ in the body except one–the brain. The brain is what life is all about. That man can think any thought that we can, and love, hope, dream as much as we can, but he can’t reach out, and no one can reach in.”