Jammer's Review

Star Trek: The Original Series

"Catspaw"

**1/2

Air date: 10/27/1967
Written by Robert Bloch
Directed by Joseph Pevney

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

Kirk, Spock, and Bones beam down to a planet to investigate the death of a crewman scout who beamed up from the planet, well, dead. What they find is literally a Halloween setting, complete with a ghostly greeting that seems to be straight out of a haunted house parody. Kirk & Co. subsequently locate the missing men from the first landing party—Scotty and Sulu in a catatonic state, under the command of two aliens with a great power of illusion, who have created the whole Halloween setting as a way of learning about humans.

The aliens, Korob (Theo Marcuse) and Sylvia (Antoinette Bower), slowly become at odds with each other, as Sylvia finds herself attracted to the sensations and experiences of humans—manifested, of course, through her physical attraction to Kirk. Meanwhile, the most wooden lieutenant in Starfleet (Michael Barrier) has command of the Enterprise, preventing the ship scenes from being particularly interesting.

"Catspaw" is a primarily gag-driven episode, with a hit-and-miss track record. Kirk's encounters with Sylvia are moderately interesting. But the episode is fundamentally formulaic, and lives and dies on each piece of its fragmented puzzle. As a lightweight adventure, it's okay; just don't look for much substance.

Previous episode: The Doomsday Machine
Next episode: I, Mudd

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3 comments on this review

Strider - Fri, Jun 1, 2012 - 1:06am (USA Central)
I grew up watching TOS, but I haven't watched all the episodes all the way through before like I'm doing now. I'm finding the whole second season to be kind of hit and miss--or, rather, swinging back and forth between brilliant and "meh." Sometimes they are just trying too hard, but when it all comes together, like in The Doomsday Machine, it's amazing. Thanks for your reviews!
redshirt28 - Wed, Apr 9, 2014 - 9:28pm (USA Central)
I havent watched this episode in quite some time and there is a reason; I dont want to.

I rate 1 star only because im still high from watching doomsday mach week before.
William B - Sat, Jun 14, 2014 - 11:09am (USA Central)
I just watched this. I found the first half to be almost intolerably dull -- maybe not "And the Children Shall Lead" or anything, but still pretty awful and airy and lifeless. It picks up a bit in its second half, but even then it's mostly just a series of Trek cliches. Korob's coming around is a little interesting, and it's interesting watching Kirk play Sylvia. The reveal of Korob and Sylvia's true form is a bit of a hoot as well. Still, I think this episode overall is hardly better than TNG's "Devil's Due," which has some similar elements (seductive master of illusion playing on people's fears, ship in jeopardy from below) or "The Squire of Gothos" (...master of illusion misrepresenting human society due to inaccurate info), and I'd put it below both of those. 1.5 stars, I guess.

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