Please feel free to comment on my review.
This is a classic ‘Star Trek’ episode that I remember seeing when I was very young! I remember Captain Kirk fighting against the lizard Gorn on a desolate planet and I was terrified from watching it.
I wondered whether Kirk would survive and how he was going to defeat the Gorn without the Enterprise to help him. Fortunately Kirk finds some weapons and learns some harsh lessons in this.
The episode begins with the Enterprise visiting the Earth colony of Cestus III, only to find it destroyed. Kirk and his away team come under attack by aggressive aliens, wanting to destroy them.
The opening section of the episode where Kirk with Spock, Bones and others are on Cestus III and under attack was very gripping to watch. There were explosions everywhere wherever they went.
Eventually, angered by the Gorn’s callous attack on Cestus III, Kirk decides to pursue their enemy across space and into the farthest reaches of the galaxy. Nothing is going to stop Kirk in this mission.
The chase provides a tense atmosphere aboard the Enterprise. Kirk insists they increase their speed to catch up with the Gorn ship. Sulu reluctantly responds, “Aye, aye sir” when they increase speed.
But on the way, both the Enterprise and the Gorn ship get stopped in their tracks by god-like entities called the Metrons. The Metrons are not happy with the way the Enterprise is chasing the Gorn ship.
They decide to intervene and put a stop to this violence between the Enterprise and the Gorn. They transport Captain Kirk and the captain of the Gorn to a desolate planet where they fight to the end.
The fight scenes between Captain Kirk and the Gorn monster are pretty intense to watch. The Gorn’s rather primitive in terms of the costume, but I was anxious about how Kirk would defeat his enemy.
The Gorn’s look is of course that of a man-sized lizard. For me, lizard-like aliens are pretty frightening in sci-fi. It’s such a shame that the Gorn’s look and costume isn’t as convincing as it could have been.
The Gorn was played by two stuntmen consecutively, including Bobby Clark and Gary Combs. It must have been really hard for the guys to have each played the Gorn, when they couldn’t see anything.
The voice for the Gorn is provided by Ted Cassidy, who had voiced for Balok in ‘The Corbomite Manuever’. The Gorn sounds very menacing and angry whenever Kirk talks to him by communicator.
The reason of the Gorn’s attack on Cestus III is explained in this episode. It turns out that Cestus III once belonged to the Gorn, so they justify the attack by destroying the Earth people as the invaders.
I liked how Kirk solves his dilemma by using chemical substances like coal; sulphur; diamonds, etc to create weapons to defeat the Gorn. It gets intense when the Gorn is nearly upon Kirk near the end.
The episode ends with Kirk refusing to kill the Gorn captain and shouting up at the Metrons to end this. The scene between Kirk and the boy-like Metron was very interesting and thought-provoking.
‘Arena’ is a fine example of a classic ‘Star Trek’ episode. It’s one of the best made in the series and is one that is fondly remembered for the fight between Captan Kirk and the Gorn on the alien planet.
The DVD special features for this episode are as follows. On Disc 5 of both the original and re-mastered DVDs of ‘Star Trek: The Original Series – Season 1’, there is a preview trailer for this episode.
‘Arena’ (TOS) rating – 10/10
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