Star Trek

Original Television broadcast September 8, 1966

The Man Trap

Actress Jeanne Bal is an alien creature presented in the story as a kind of salt succubus that can project a physical image based upon reading the minds of other people. In this case it's Captain Kirk, Dr. McCoy and crewman Greene (and later Lieutenant Uhuru, and in all these cases the image projected is one of an attractive person from their memory).

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For example, Kirk and McCoy see Jeanne Bal (though the one Kirk sees has grey in her hair), but the soon to be dead crewman Greene see an entirely different, blonde-headed person (actress Francine Pyne).

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Jeanne Bal - Star Trek

The episode doesn't explain why the creature needs salt so badly, but it does show it on a rampage to acquire salt by sucking it out of victims, who promptly die.

Alfred Ryder as Professor Robert Crater protects the creature and interferes against actions to capture or kill it by declaring it is the last of its kind ("It's like the buffalo!") and he thinks the murder rate is of course understandable (in this way Prof Crater comes from a long line of movie scientists who are willing to sacrifice boat loads of other people to keep a rare - and homicidal - alien being alive and happy. Its for science!)

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Obviously, Captain Kirk and Spock do not agree with this line of logic, but they do have to convince Dr. McCoy who can't parse that the beautiful lost love from his past isn't actually the beautiful lost love he thinks it is.

A confrontation in McCoy's state room soon follows and the Doctor has to come to the aid of Kirk who is being held in a painful state of paralysis by the creature who is beginning to extract his body salt.

Summary: This very early episode of the show (listed as episode #1, following after the Captain Pike centered pilot episode) is a bit shaky. Kirk is a bit more abrasive in places than expected and McCoy not too smart. Federation codes and laws are mentioned often, perhaps to get the viewer up to speed on how organized the Star Trek universe is, despite the isolation of the events and the cowboy initiative of Kirk & crew.

The Man Trap is essentially a monster movie married to a sci-fi tale (with the mythological succubus thrown in) it shows direct roots to the 1952 Forbidden Planet motion picture which had a somewhat similar scenario.

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Original Page September 2014