Here we go again… this seventh episode of the second season of Star Trek entitled Catspaw once again recycles old ideas and brings nothing new to the series and its mythology, unfortunately. A landing party formed by Scott, Sulu, and an ensign whose name we can forget (yes, you guessed right, here’s another redshirt…) gets lost on planet Pyris VII. Thus, Kirk, Spock and McCoy go down to look for them. In practice, all the highest-ranking officers leave the ship, something a bit far-fetched and not allowed in any of the series following the original one (basically from The Next Generation onwards). In fact, Lieutenant DeSalle (Michael Barrier), previously seen in only one other episode (The Squire of Gothos), remains in command of the USS Enterprise. But let’s skip over this incredible behavior by our Starfleet heroes and go on with the plot.
Once on the planet, Kirk and company find themselves at the mercy of two strange characters: Sylvia (Antoinette Bower) and Korob (Theo Marcuse) who, using almost magical powers, manage to keep our heroes prisoners for an amount of time which seems huge. Why? Because we’ve already seen this story! Trelane was the first powerful being to imprison Kirk and his colleagues in The Squire of Gothos. Then it was Apollo’s turn in Who Mourns for Adonais?. And now we have Sylvia and Korob! We already know how this is going to end, as the solution once again lies in breaking the source of the power of Kirk’s jailers: it was a mirror in the case of Trelane, the temple in the case of Apollo, and here it’s a magic wand. And, exactly like Apollo, these beings also visited Earth in the past and were mistaken for magical beings (the wizards of our mythology).
In short, there’s nothing new under the sun, and here I find it particularly unacceptable because the previous similar episodes are quite recent, one at the end of the first season and one at the beginning of this second one! There’s even puppet-Sulu as in The Return of the Archons! I must admit that it was hard for me to finish watching this episode even though William Shatner provides yet another splendid performance as Captain Kirk (he was the perfect actor for the part!) and despite the excellent soundtrack and well-made sets and costumes. The icing on the cake are the adorable puppets (and their strings) that reveal the true appearance of the two magicians. Even the black cat that goes around the castle is really cute, although I understand that it should be scary instead.
But it’s not enough to make me enjoy this much too repetitive episode. I really don’t think that I will rewatch it ever again and in my memory I suppose I’ll merge it with the others that develop the same idea in exactly the same way. Ciao!
Previous episode: The Doomsday Machine
Next episode: I, Mudd
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