‘Catspaw’ (TOS) (TV)



Please feel free to comment on my review.

This is a gothic-horror episode of ‘Star Trek’ involving a black cat. Captain Kirk, Spock and Dr. McCoy go to the surface of a planet shrouded in mist and to rescue their missing crewmembers.

They soon find their missing crewmembers Scotty and Sulu, but they turn out to be hypnotised. Scotty and Sulu are under the control of alien beings that can create reality that’s out of thin air.

This includes things like heating up the Enterprise ship in candle flames or creating a gothic dungeon with skeletons. This created to spook and scare the living daylights of Kirk and his men.

This episode guest stars Antoniette Bower as the mysterious cat woman Sylvia. Syliva seems to be someone who is excited by these new sensations inside her and turns out to be pretty selfish.

There’s also Theo Marcuse as Korob, who may or may not be the cat’s owner. Korob owns a powerful staff that might be a key to Sylvia’s power. Soon, Korob helps Kirk and Spock to escape.

There’s also Michael Barrier who returns to the role of DeSalle from Season 1. DeSalle has now become Assistant Chief Engineer and he takes command of the Enterprise during Kirk’s absence.

Walter Koenig as Chekov also appears in this episode, as he and Nichelle Nicholas as Uhura are on the bridge with DeSalle. They try to re-establish contact with Kirk and his party on this planet.

This episode was the first made in the production order of Season 2. One wonders why it wasn’t shown first in the season, considering Chekov’s hair is bigger in this compared to other episodes.

This episode has a Halloween feel to it, especially with the black cat involved and the haunted house. It was pretty creepy when Kirk, Spock and Bones were in the house and following the cat.

The cat becomes ginormous when Sylvia gets angry with people betraying her. This is certainly the case when Korob is helping Kirk and Spock to escape the dungeons and resist her evil power.

There was an interesting moment when Kirk, Spock and Bones are seemingly to be scared off by three witches. This put me in mind of the three witches from ‘Macbeth’ by William Shakespeare.

It was scary when Scotty and Sulu were under hypnotic control and didn’t say anything when coming to Kirk, Spock and Bones in the dungeons. Bones also undergoes hypnotic control in this.

It was unusual when Kirk attempts to seduce Sylvia in order to get his own back on her and she changes her style of dress to press him. It was also really tense when Kirk smashes Korob’s staff.

I was relieved when the illusion is gone and Kirk with Spock, Bones, Scotty and Sulu are back to normal. It was so intriguing to see what Sylvia and Korob truly were as they die and disintegrate.

I don’t consider this ‘Star Trek’ episode to be one of my favourites. I don’t fully grasp the plot entirely, though having re-watched the episode recently it’s become clearer following this story.

‘Catspaw’ is one of those stranger ‘Star Trek’ episodes that would have fitted better for another gothic horror show. It’s one of those episodes I’m happier to forget, considering its subject context.

The DVD special features for this episode are as follows. On Disc 2 of the original DVD and Disc 3 of the re-mastered DVD of ‘Star Trek: The Original Series – Season 2’, there is a preview trailer for this episode.

‘Catspaw’ (TOS) rating – 5/10

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