Star Trek: The Original Series



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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9 comments on this review

Fri, Jun 1, 2012, 1:06am (UTC -5)
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!
Wed, Apr 9, 2014, 9:28pm (UTC -5)
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 (UTC -5)
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.
John TY
Mon, Aug 25, 2014, 8:50am (UTC -5)
Incredibly thin. I wish I could say this is as bad as it gets.
Tue, Sep 9, 2014, 12:05am (UTC -5)
This is another one I liked as a kid but roll my eyes at now. But it was a cool adventure when you're 10.
Tue, Nov 18, 2014, 9:32am (UTC -5)
Ludicrous. How this could follow the brilliance of the Doomsday Machine is beyond me. Somesort of Halloween special? It wasnt very 'special'. I did enjoy the ending though, ive never laughed so much at the actual forms of the fat bald bloke and the cat. What was that all about???
lt. holman
Mon, Feb 2, 2015, 8:25pm (UTC -5)
I gotta say this episode always stood out to me not in so much as the show but the music always stuck in my head in this one so everytime I hear the music played in other episodes I'm just looking for Kirk and spock to come around the corner with a giant black cat chasing them (mrooogh!!!) Always makes me smile :)
Tue, Oct 13, 2015, 12:48am (UTC -5)
"Captain. A little more alacrity, if you please."
Tue, Oct 13, 2015, 12:20pm (UTC -5)
A Star Trek Halloween episode. No more and no less. Scary when I was a kid but pretty dull now. No big questions asked or answered. Just black cats and castles. There was one joke though. Sulu and Scotty were catatonic. Yuk Yuk. About a 1.5.

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