Star Trek TOS S2E7: Catspaw
Happy Halloween kitty invasion.
See the Star Trek TOS Rewatch Index page for links to all the episodes covered so far.
“CATSPAW” Rating: 4.2/10
Catspaw aired around Halloween in 1967, and was meant to celebrate the holiday. A spooky Halloween special written by Robert Bloch—the author of the novel Psycho and a protegé of H.P. Lovecraft—seems like a good idea in theory.
In practice…eh. Bloch doesn’t dig in to either psychological or cosmic horror, but instead opts for a bunch of hoary retro clichés—skeletons, black cats, mysterious castles. It’s neither interesting nor frightening. But it’s not over-the-top enough to be amusing. either.
It doesn’t help that the script defaults yet again to that Star Trek favorite, the all-powerful aliens with seemingly magical powers. We’ve already seen this twice in the first seven episodes of the second season—once in “Who Mourns for Adonais?” and again in “The Apple.” Those are both about Edenic paradises, and the gothic trappings here offer a slightly different vibe. Not different enough though.
Trick or Treat or Tedium
Our adventure into horror-lite starts with the USS Enterprise circling Pyris VII for obscure reasons. The planet is lifeless and of no particular interest. But Captain Kirk (William Shatner) has sent a landing party down to the surface consisting of Chief Engineer Scott (James Doohan), Lt. Sulu (George Takei) and crewman Jackson (Jimmy Jones.)
The landing party fails to check in, making Kirk nervous. Finally, Jackson calls up saying he alone is to beam aboard. Static makes it impossible to learn more details. But when they transport him up, he immediately falls over dead. Then an echoey voice comes from his mouth, intoning, “There is a curse on your ship. Leave this place or you will all die.” Spooky!
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