The Cage
Directed by

Robert Butler

Original air date

(USA) 24 December 1988
(UK) 19 August 1992
(Germany) 25 October 1993



Capt. Christopher Pike and the crew of the USS Enterprise travel through the far reaches of space. When they receive a distress signal from the distant planet Talos IV, they proceed to investigate. What they find are the survivors of a Federation expedition that disappeared 18 years earlier. Most of the survivors are now quite elderly except for one, the beautiful Vina, who they claim was born at the time of the crash. It's all an illusion, however, and the planet's super-intelligent inhabitants take the Captain prisoner. While the ship's First Officer, Number One, and the Science Officer, Mr. Spock, try to locate and rescue their commander, Pike is alternately subjected to temptation and torture for reasons that his captors will not explain to him. Written by garykmcd. (Although produced as the original pilot for Star Trek in the early 1960s, this episode was not shown in the US until 1988, when it was used as a filler episode, in place of Star Trek The Next Generation during a writers strike.)

Errors and ExplanationsEdit

Nitpickers Guide for Classic TrekkersEdit

Plot OversightsEdit

  • Vina being deformed due to the Talosians not using their own form as a guide for rebuilding her. The Talosians' internal physiology could be far too dissimilar to humans to be useful.
  • The Talosians not using Vina's memories of her own appearance as a guide. Vina's memories could have been too jumbled to be of use, due to the pain of her injuries.

Equipment OdditiesEdit

  • Kirk's Enterprise lacking the ability to change viewscreen setting with a wave of the hand. This could be due to a change of operating procedure, to allow greater control of viewer settings.

Internet Movie DatabaseEdit

Errors made by characters
(possibly deliberate errors by the filmmakers)

  • For all their intelligence and telepathic ability, the Talosians seem to have difficulty with the English language. When Pike is given a vial of liquid nourishment, the Keeper says, "If the form and the color is not appealing, it can appear as any food you wish to visualize." Shouldn't that be "...ARE not appealing"? The Keeper is referring to form and colour as separate concepts.
  • After Pike's first awkward moment with Colt, he tells Number One that he "just can't get used to having a woman on the bridge"--with the backhanded compliment that she is "different, of course." Yet, in the scene before this one, a woman is seated at the station where Garrison reads Pike the follow-up message from Talos, and Pike doesn't seem particularly fazed by or upset about it. Yeoman Colt’s femininity is more apparent than that of Number One and the woman seated at the bridge station.


  • The sound of The Keeper's voice constantly changes. This is because the video was put together from footage used in "The Menagerie" using Vic Perrin's voice, and 'rediscovered' footage with Malachi Throne's voice. Vic Perrin was used to dub the keeper in "The Menagerie" because Malachi Throne appeared in the episode in person as Commodore Mendez. Originally, the whole pilot episode used Malachi Throne's voice for the keeper. This could be part of the Keeper’s testing procedure.

Revealing mistakesEdit

  • Wooden batons, nailed to the rock outcrop on the barren planet to allow the actors to walk up the slope are clearly visible. These could have been left by the Talosian’s ancestors.


IMDB entry

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