"The Man Trap"
Production Number: 06
Air Order: 1
Original Air Date: September 8, 1966
Stardates crack me up. It wasn't until the Next Generation series that people actually sat down and did the math to come up with stardates that made sense - with TOS the general rule of thumb was that the stardate should be a four-digit number with a number following a point and that they should be going up a bit. It appears that sometimes the writers lost track. "Where No Man has Gone Before" takes place on stardate 1312.4, with the next adventure, "The Corbomite Maneuver" taking place on 1512.2. However, we skip backward for the next episode "Mudd's Women", which takes place on 1329.1. Just for funsies, I pulled up a stardate converter and plugged some of those original stardates in. (Shut up, it was totally fun.) It produced some amusing results. Episodes 10 and 12 ("What Are Little Girls Made Of?" and "Miri") take place on the same day, September 18, 2325, 10 hours apart. Episode 11, "Dagger of the Mind", takes place the next day on September 19th.
The writers probably assumed that no one was paying attention, which is rather funny, as Star Trek produced one of the shrewdest fandoms out there. Trek fans know it all. However, they appear to be forgiving and/or loyal enough to overlook some of these gaffes. The writers got clever by Next Gen, though. Somebody figured out the stardate system, and linguists were hired to create alien languages. This is how we ended up with Klingon Boggle.
In case you desperately wanted to know, "The Man Trap" takes place on July 6, 2324, at 7:04 pm.
The episode opens with the ship orbiting planet M113. Kirk, McCoy and a Blue Shirt medical guy have beamed down to the surface to do a medical exam on archaeologist Robert Crater and his wife Nancy. Nancy, it seems, is McCoy's "one that got away", and because of their bromance, Kirk proceeds to give him some shit about it. He suggests that McCoy bring Nancy some flowers. The good doctor remarks that girls only like Kirk because he bribes them. Suck eggs, Kirk. Bones wins that round.
An aside here - maybe I've been watching too much Next Gen, and maybe that rule hadn't been created yet, but I thought that the captain was not allowed to head up away teams because of the level of personal danger. I recall there being some contention over that rule between Picard and Riker at their first meeting. Maybe Kirk just wanted a look at the weird-ass scenery, which features the desert and some architectural ruins.
The away team goes inside the temple-thing where the Craters are, and McCoy greets Nancy, exclaiming that she hasn't aged a day. But when Kirk greets her, he sees a much older woman with graying hair. Blue Shirt Medical Guy (Crewman Darnell) sees her as a totally different girl - a blonde. Darnell blurts out that she looks just like a girl that he left on Wrigley's Pleasure Planet. Wow, centuries into the future and strip clubs still have stupid names. Though maybe that one has good gum. McCoy barks at Darnell to STFU. Blue Shirt stumbles through an apology and goes outside.
Nancy follows on the excuse of fetching her husband, but then as the blonde, flirts with Darnell outside. She tosses him her shawl. Or I think it's a shawl. It's a part of the neckline of her dress that I didn't think was removable, but there you are: this Nancy has it going on. Darnell follows her like a dumbshit.
Captain's Log: Nobody suspects that each crew member is seeing a different Nancy. Based on past experience, they should be checking her for intergalactic fruit snacks. She's clearly on Venus drugs or something.
Robert Crater enters the temple-thing and bitches about having to have yearly exams while he's out working in the field. On a side note, why has the Enterprise drawn this assignment? Wouldn't it make more sense to have a medical ship go from planet to planet doing that job?
Dr Crater submits to the shortest medical exam ever, then demands more salt tables and tells them to GTFO. He hears Kirk call Bones "McCoy", and realizing that McCoy was the McCoy that probably did his wife all those years ago, he's suddenly pleasant and cooperative. Bones remarks that Nancy hasn't aged a day past 25, and Kirk tells him to take off the beer goggles. Dr Crater says that he's glad McCoy still feels genuine affection for her... because that makes sense. Nancy screams from outside and they all run to her, ending the weird suggestion by Crater that Bones should lust after his wife.
The Nancy outside is gray-haired again, and her dress is longer, with a higher neckline. (Actually, it's not a dress, it's a shorts-jumper thing. Ugh.) She's sobbing over the body of Darnell, whose lifeless face seems to suggest an accident while filming tentacle porn. Bones utters his famous "He's dead, Jim" while Kirk pulls a piece of plant from Darnell's mouth. Well, whaddaya know - the red shirt in this episode turned out to be blue.
Dr Crater angrily insists that Kirk employs idiots. Nancy cries that she'd gone after Darnell to tell him that she wasn't offended by his calling her a high-priced whore, but that she was too late to keep him from eating the plant. Dr Crater tells them to leave again, and Nancy stops crying long enough to remind him that they need more fucking salt tablets. "Booohoohoohoo, that poor young man. SALT. BRING US SALT." This woman switches emotions so quickly, she should join a reality show.
The next shot is of the Enterprise, and there is no possible way for them to hide the fact that it's a model. Still, it's an interesting, sweeping shot. The following scene is one where Uhura tries to engage Spock in conversation. She flirts with him a bit, and tries to get him to describe how Vulcan looks when the moon is full. He answers that Vulcan has no moon. That makes me sad, you guys. I really wanted to see a Vulcan werewolf. I think I'll go sob in a corner, then angrily demand salt.
The transporter room announces the arrival of the landing party, with one dead. Spock acknowledges and Uhura calls him heartless for not responding emotionally. Wrong tree, honey. Your barking will go unheeded.
In sick bay, Spock relays the information that the plant in Darnell's mouth belongs to the nightshade family, but that the marks on his face came from something else. McCoy says that means that Darnell wasn't poisoned. Candlestick in the drawing room, Doctor. It's always the candlestick. McCoy dreamily waxes rhapsodic about Nancy, Kirk yells at him to keep it in his pants, and I shake my head at Kirk's hypocrisy.
Stardate 1513.4 (or 9:42 pm)
Kirk and Spock are on the bridge when Bones pages them back to sick bay and explains that Darnell's body lacks salt. The only clues are those rings on his face. Kirk offers McCoy an apology and they kiss and make up before returning to Sherlocking: isn't it weird that on a hot, arid desert planet that people would ask for salt tablets?
It is a sad, sad day for science, kids.
Kirk and McCoy beam down to the temple-thing to ask why the Craters didn't request pepper, too. A Gold Shirt is dispatched to get Nancy. A Blue Shirt is told to collect more samples of that nightshade plant. I hope you weren't attached to either of them.
|"The body requires sodium, which is lost when you sweat. How did either of you pass any entrance exams in Starfleet without knowing that?"|
Kirk warns Dr Crater that he and Nancy are in danger of "something", and they'll need to hang out with them on the ship for a while. Crater tells them to take a flying leap. When Kirk and McCoy are distracted, Crater slips outside.
He stumbles onto the body of the Blue Shirt first, lying among the ruins with his polka-dot face. Crater then calls to Nancy, who is with the body of the Gold Shirt. The exact line is "Nancy! You! Salt. Smell it." Hey, that's nice. Totally gonna ask my significant other to call me "you" from now on. It can be a pet name. No, we won't get weird looks in public when people think he's calling to a sheep.
I'd like to take this moment to ponder on Nancy's age. Bones says that she still looks 25, and that he hasn't seen her in 10-12 years. Really? She looks to be in her late 40's to early 50's here. I thought arid climates were best for preservation. Then I have to wonder about the ages of Bones and Kirk. If Bones is in his late 40's, and Kirk is supposed to be 10 years younger than him, then Kirk is supposedly pushing 40. Dude does not look 40 to me. Oops, wait - IMDB says that Shat was about 36 here. Damn. He's got a total babyface.
Kirk calls out to Dr Crater, who runs and hides. The captain and McCoy discover the body of Blue Shirt, and call out to Gold Shirt. Nancy hears them calling and morphs into Gold Shirt (like we didn't see that coming). Nancy/Gold Shirt then beams up to the ship with the others.
While Kirk heads to the bridge, Nancy/ Gold Shirt encounters Yeoman Rand and her Texas debutante hair in the corridor. She's eating off a tray that's clearly meant for someone else, but when N/GS reaches for the salt shaker, Rand slaps his hand away and asks who he thinks he is.Then she takes another bite just to prove that she's Head Bitch in Charge. Just eat her, Nancy. I won't mind.
Some crewman flirt with Rand on their way past, and I paused to vomit a little in my mouth.
The tray is for an unsuspecting Sulu, who will now undoubtedly get Rand cooties. While Sulu eats, Rand plays with a plant that's obviously a glove covered in petals. N/GS comes in to stare at the food tray but gets the hell out of Dodge when Sulu's plant freaks out.
Out in the hall, Nancy/Gold Shirt morphs into a handsome Blue Shirt who flirts with Uhura in Swahili. He backs her against a wall, but she's saved when Kirk pages her back to the bridge and she hops into the lift with Yeoman Bitch and Sulu.
McCoy lies down in his quarters to nap, but he can't sleep. I don't blame him. He's got these carved bookends that are heads, and I have to wonder who would want that behind their bed. Who wants to be watched while they sleep? (Okay: Bella Swan. But doormats don't count.) Kirk suggests that he take some red pills to sleep. In The Matrix and Total Recall, a red pill symbolizes waking up to reality. While TOS pre-dates both of these films by 20+ years, I can't help but think, "Take the red pill. Wake up and realize that your ex has been eating your shipmates."
Kirk and Spock return to the surface to look for Crater and Nancy. Nancy/Blue Shirt becomes just Nancy again, and enters McCoy's quarters. She flirts with him and offers to get him water for his red reality pills. Meanwhile, Sulu and Rand stumble upon another pock-marked crewman.
1513.8 (July 7, 1:13 am) I think they're trying to use the number beyond the point to mark off the hours, so four hours later than the last time the stardate was noted.
Nancy gets McCoy to take a nap, but then Bones is paged to sick bay. She seems torn between whether or not to eat him. In a cool camera move, the shot goes from sleeping MCoy, sweeps around the room, and ends on Nancy-McCoy next to the door. I love this because it's creative and probably cheaper than time-lapse morphing photography, not to mention better-looking than split-screen. Points to the budget.
On the surface, Kirk and Spock confront an armed Crater, who tells them to GTFO. Spock stumbles upon the body of the Gold Shirt, and they realize that the murderer is on board. Kirk puts the ship on lockdown.
Upstairs, Nancy/Bones shows up on the bridge and overhears Spock, Uhura and Rand talking smack about him/her/it.
While attempting to confront Crater, Kirk and Spock run serpentine through the ruins with phasers out and communicators open. I'm reminded of little boys playing Cowboys and Indians in suburbia. Kirk stuns and disarms Crater, who gives a sort of drunken soliloquy on the buffalo before admitting that his wife has been dead for more than a year. The Nancy-thing is the last of it's kind. Crater seems sad about this. It ate his wife, but he still feels bad for it. I'm struggling to label his feelings here. Is it a kind of Stockholm Syndrome?
Ship-side, there's a staff meeting with Crater. There are Red Shirts patrolling the corridors and salt traps on each deck. Nancy-McCoy suggests offering "the creature" salt without tricks, and he and Crater talk about survival tactics and incisor teeth. Kirk wants Crater to help them hunt the creature, and Crater tells them he won't, because the creature needs love as well as salt, and changes its form to become Nancy for him. Ewwwwwww. Just... ugh. I'd like to think about that as much as I'd like to think about Hagrid's parents.
Nancy/McCoy and Spock go to sick bay with Crater, but the professor attacks Spock. Nancy/McCoy tries to eat Spock, but his Vulcan salts taste funny, so s/he sends the science officer back to the kitchen for re-seasoning.
The facade of the good doctor eats Crater instead (so much for the Good Ship Crater-Creature), then morphs back into Nancy to wake The Real McCoy. (He's been sleeping, remember?) Kirk bursts in armed with a phaser and offers Nancy salt tablets. McCoy refuses to believe that this woman isn't Nancy, and she puts her hands on Kirk's face in preparation for sucking the salt from his body. Spock runs in a demands that McCoy shoot Nancy, but Bones can't do it.The first officer starts a stage fight with Nancy, who knocks him against the wall. While they watch, Nancy changes into her true form, a hairy gray bi-ped with suckers on her fingers, a lovely summer frock composed of kelp, and the saddest eyes ever. Sadder than Willow the Concerned Kitty, which is pretty damn sad.
|"That's soooo sad!"|
Bones shoots the creature, who morphs back into Nancy for one last guilt trip. Another shot and she dies, changing back into her true form for the last time. Good job, y'all. You killed the space buffalo. They kind of laugh about it on the bridge, too.Kirk tells Sulu to put in a new heading, and the viewscreen shows them rapidly reversing away from the planet. Um, it's not a car, you guys. You don't have to back a spaceship from an orbital parking space.
The moral of the story is: Exes suck, but sometimes it's just because they're hangry.
|This Blue Shirt|
|This Blue Shirt|
|This Gold Shirt|
|And this Dude in a Hazmat Suit|
A brief confession: Auntie Archon is a visual artist, and as such, is friends with visual artists who have friends who are also visual artists. As a result, a lot of cool artwork shows up on her Facebook feed. A lot. Like this Spock painting by Scott Scheidly.
It's from his Pink show, where he takes on masculinity and power. The rest of the paintings in this show are not to be missed (pink Chewbacca? Sign me up!). You can check them out here http://www.flounderart.com/ or like his fan page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Scott-Scheidly/237889139606146?ref=hl .
I'm a fan of his Hitler, who is swathed in a pink cape worthy of Dolores Umbridge, which makes me happy inside. Dolores Umbridge had a hell of a lot of power, and while she was not directly involved with Voldemort, she did believe in his ideas; and Voldemort, the Deatheaters, and his view of ethnic cleansing are all based on Hitler and the Nazi regime.
Sorry. Went all Potterhead-artist on you there.
|"I don't always talk about art, but when I do, I make weird |
connections that make no sense to anyone but me."