Episode: The Man Trap
Episode number: 1st episode aired, 6th episode produced
Written by: George Clayton Johnson, who co-wrote Logan’s Run and who
wrote the original story upon which Ocean’s Eleven was based
Directed by: Marc Daniels, who directed 15 episodes of Star Trek: The
Original Series, one episode of the Animated Series and the first 38
episodes of I Love Lucy
Captain’s Log: The Enterprise visits some shitty backwater planet to do medical check-ups on the apparently only two people there. It turns out that one of them is an old flame from Dr. McCoy’s past, and she’s now married. What’s weird is that Bones sees her as she was at 25 while Kirk sees her as she would be now. And Random Crewman sees her like the hooker he Bonesed on Wrigley’s Pleasure Planet (yes, there are space prostitutes in the original Star Trek). Things go rapidly downhill when Random Crewman turns up dead with suction cup marks all over his face.
Kirk’s suspicious and an examination of the body reveals that all the salt in the guy has been sucked right out. Things get doubly suspicious when everybody remembers that Bones’ ex and her husband have asked the Enterprise to bring one Denebian Shit Ton of salt to the planet. Meanwhile, it turns out that Bones’ babe is an alien monster (surprise!) that can take project any image of itself that it wants into you, and so it has snuck aboard the Enterprise and has begun attacking crew for that delightful salt.
Kirk and Spock beam back down to the planet to interrogate Mr. Bones’ Ex, and after a terrible phaser battle they stun him and he goes into the K-hole. While slowed down like a toy without batteries, the husband reveals that his wife actually died two years ago. The salt vampire killed her and took her appearance. He decided not to kill it because it’s the last of its kind, but that doesn’t explain why he would keep it around and fuck it (while he doesn’t come out and say that he delivers salty liquid injections to the space vampire, Kirk totally accuses him of doing it). The guy keeps comparing the salt vampire to buffalo on Earth, a comparison that would piss your human wife off to no end.
They take him back on the ship but he refuses to rat out the monster, even when it’s looking like Bones (the dude can tell). The monster tries to suck the salt from Spock, but since he has alien blood the monster doesn’t like his salt (quite convenient that a spaceship full of people who do have the right salt showed up, huh? What if a Vulcan vessel had been assigned to that planet? This episode would have been much faster). Everything reaches a head in McCoy’s quarters. The vampire beats up Spock and starts sucking the salt from a sissy screaming Kirk. McCoy refuses to shoot what looks like his old flame (even though it is totally obviously a fucking monster) but when he sees what the alien looks like (hint: AWESOME), he phases it to death.
Review: Any episode where Bones shows tenderness or love, or when there’s a hint that he has sex, makes me uncomfortable. Beyond that, though, this is a moderate episode redeemed by the excellent salt vampire and its trademark suction cup fingers. Who would have thought the only physical symptom of having all the salt sucked from you would be red rings on your face? One thing that bugs the shit out of me is why does the alien keep attacking people on the Enterprise when there’s a galley that’s as full of salt as Antarctica is full of snow? This dumb beast could have avoided getting killed (and killing its husband) by simply waiting for the ship to deliver some goddamn salt!
Kirkin’ Out: While I have
a fondness for Kirk on all fours scrambling across a sandbox on a
soundstage while engaged in a phaser battle with an old man, the real
best Kirk moment of the episode has to be his deep from the diaphram
screams as the Salt Monster tries to drain him.
Spock giving Uhura shit is pretty great (Uhura’s all lonely and horny
and the Vulcan just doesn’t get it), but his episode highlight is
doublefist punching Dr. McCoy’s old girlfriend in the face like six
Redshirt: There’s a high body count this episode – four
crewmen die at the hands (literally) of the salt vampire, but none of
them are wearing red.
Dilithium Bullshit: There’s no real
technobabble in this episode. The Enterprise is shown as being able to
monitor individual life signs on a planetary surface, but that seems
pretty reasonable. The salt vampire itself is kind of a science-fantasy
monster: it can read minds, project an image of itself into your brain,
be tender with Dr. McCoy and survives apparently only on salt. Except for Spock salt, which I guess is like the pot pourri of the salt world: it looks tasty, but is not edible.
Staff of the Week: There’s a lot of good supporting crewman activity
this episode, but Sulu tending a Little Shop of Horrors plant while
pondering why we call inanimate objects ‘she’ should have let us all
know on which side of the Prop 8 debate he would eventually fall.
Spock reveals that Vulcan has no moon. Sulu uses the phrase ‘Great bird
of the galaxy!,’ an inside joke referring to show creator Gene
Rodenberry’s nickname. Bones actually says ‘He’s dead, Jim’ in this
episode. We also learn about one of the only romances in poor Dr.
McCoy’s bitter, lonely, life.
Set Phasers to Quote: “Tell Jose
he’ll get his chili peppers when we get there. Tell him they’re prime
Mexican reds, I hand-picked them myself, but he won’t die if he goes a
few more days without them.” – Kirk
Two and a half Positive Baby Clint Howards Out of Five