My dear readers, that time is once again coming and…. what are those, are those Christmas decorations up in the shops? Oh come on, what they were up there since last month, but that’s September… urg it’s going to be hard getting people in the right mood for this. So anyway, tonight it’s time for a tale of forbidden pleasures, of horrors ancient and… What really a cat is the most vicious animal in our past? Erm… yes witches, wizards and women in black sweaters floating about… that was meant to be floating heads? But you can see the jumpers… I should have done Castlevania bloodlines this week.
Catspaw is an episode of the second season of Star Trek, the first episode with Chekov that was filmed but broadcast after others as to have it released more in line with Halloween.
The episode starts with the Enterprise in orbit around the lifeless planet Pyris VII, an away mission consisting of Scotty (chief engineer), Sulu (Helmsman) and Crewman Jackson (guess who’s not coming back alive) have not reported in, now I could go on and ask why the chief engineer and helmsman were sent on this mission as I doubt either of them had skills that were required for this, but that would require me to pick apart almost every Star Trek episode ever.
Jackson reports in for beam up, then dies immediately after getting there and a voice coming out of his mouth (in an effect that for some reason I find hilarious) warning them to stay away. Leaving some guy we have never heard of before in charge, (because the only named person left is Uhura, and women can’t be allowed in charge of star ships… I wish that was me being silly, but no that was revealed in the final episode written by Roddenberry, Original Star Trek was rather sexist like that) Spock and the two remaining characters that are not nearly as good, aka McCoy and Kirk beam down.
Finding the area covered in fog, it is noted by Spock that fog should not exist as the weather patterns to generate it are missing. As they explore more they are greeted by the aforementioned floating heads (no really you can in many shots see the black jumpers) before finding a Gothic castle. Going inside they follow a black cat and fall into a hole getting chained up in a dungeon (no doubt resulting in a lot of slash fiction)
Scotty and Sulu come in but they are now zombies! (The voodoo kind not the undead kind, this is before the later took over) and are led to the mysterious wizard Korob with his black cat. He tries to bribe them but after finding they can’t greets them openly saying they passed the tests, easily explaining he’s not of this world and is in fact an alien just assuming this form, and then the plot falls apart.
You remember what I said about Star Trek being sexist? Well the cat turns into a woman, who is now completely elated with sensations of this new body and basically turns evil instantly, tries to seduce Kirk and later assumes the form of a giant black cat through a laughable effect (there’s worse but seeing it in shadows or only its head in a door is kind of silly).
So there are many MANY issues with this story. The reason for all the classic horror is given by Spock as being a sort of subconscious human fear… which is dumb given one of the people earlier captured was Sulu and I don’t think he would be afraid of a Gothic EUROPEAN castle and witches ghosts and wizards.. Hmm that would have been interesting, if they drew the fears from Scotty and Sulu so you got ancient fears from Scotland and Japan running around, Japanese Yōkai mixed in with more recognizable western monsters, but alas the writers were being lazy and probably thought even the aboriginals of Australia were afraid of Gothic castles (not my joke).
The story is very much one of your focus on the trinity of Star Trek cast ones, though McCoy is basically removed from the plot for the later sections but it plays out all very dull and samey to be outright stupid if not insulting. Probably the only high point was when Korob and Sylvia’s (the name of the cat lady) true forms are shown at the end and they are as Spock put it, “totally alien” which makes me wonder why everything else was so lazy and uninspired?
Rating: (I watch it for a laugh)