Star Trek The Unique Collection Revisited: “The Man Lure”

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star trek is usually regarded as an optimistic, utopian sequence, impressed by creator Gene Rodenberry’s imaginative and prescient of a peaceable human race that has transcended human prejudice and violence. In actual fact, although, the unique sequence was shot by way of with brooding nervousness and a decidedly uneasy view of what awaits us on the market the place no man has gone earlier than.

No episode illustrates that higher than the sequence’ first. “The Man Lure” is a bizarre, misogynist, xenophobic fever dream, drenched in horror tropes and Chilly Struggle paranoia. Written by George Clayton Johnson, who primarily based it on half on a Twilight Zone Episode he’d scripted, “The Man Lure” retains a sinister cost even some 55 years after it first aired on September 6, 1966.

the Enterprise is on a routine mission to offer a medical check-up to Professor Robert Crater (Alfred Ryder) and his spouse Nancy (Jeanne Bell), who’re doing analysis on a desolate planet. Nancy was an outdated flame of ship’s physician McCoy (DeForest Kelley) and he is shocked to find she does not appear to have aged a day in 10 years.

It seems that is as a result of she’s not who she seems to be. A salt vampire, the final of its sort, murdered Nancy a 12 months earlier than the Enterprise arrived. Like simply outdated common blood-drinking vampires, it has hypnotic and psychic powers. In contrast to these outdated common blood-drinking vampires, the salt vampire can change its look primarily based on others’ expectations and needs. “Nancy” makes use of its powers to start out sucking salt out of varied crewmembers, first on the floor after which on the ship.

The plot remembers Communist infiltration allegories like Invasion of the Physique Snatchers or Robert Heinlein’s The Puppet Grasp, during which pals turn into enemies, and anybody will be the horrific alien different. It additionally leans on the custom of femme fatale seductresses. “Nancy” turns into each man’s dream the higher to (actually) suck the life out of them. Crewman Darnelle (Michael Zaslow) sees her as a curvaceous blonde (Francine Pyne) he met on a pleasure planet. She tosses her hair and struts off—and shortly thereafter Captain Kirk (William Shatner) is puzzling over the man’s mottled corpse.

The episode climaxes with the creature hypnotizing Captain Kirk and getting ready to feed. McCoy, wanting on in horror, has to decide on between his loyalty to his captain and his affection for his outdated flame. He lastly realizes her iniquity, and chooses the uniform, ending the vampire’s female wiles in a phaser-blast of demise.

The episode could not be way more express in its equation of empathy with weak spot. The mini-skirted Lt. Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) engages in some moderately breathtaking flirting with an emotionless Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy). “Why do not you inform me I am a beautiful younger girl,” she tempts. Spock, the unemotional Vulcan science officer, stays, effectively, unemotional, a lot to Uhura’s exasperation. The scene is gently mocking the Vulcan—however in a while, Uhura’s romantic streak nearly will get her eaten by the salt vampire, whereas Spock, because of his Vulcan blood (and implicitly because of his dour refusal to flirt) is immune. “You possibly can be taught one thing from Mr. Spock. Cease pondering together with your glands!” an indignant Kirk snaps at McCoy. Delicate feelings like love don’t have any place on this dog-eat-dog, salt-vampire-eat-human universe. Everybody must toughen up.

Equally, Crater, who argues for compassion, is totally discredited. It seems that he is aware of that his “Nancy” is not actually Nancy. Quite than embracing vengeance, although, he has lived with the creature companionably, feeding it salt from his shops. The creature is the final of its sort, just like the buffalo, and Crater, together with the creature itself (within the type of Dr. McCoy) plead with Kirk to easily give it some salt and depart it alone. Kirk does not critically think about this path, although. Positive sufficient, the salt vampire callously kills Crater, justifying Kirk’s argument for no quarter.

The salt vampire is not the one alien on the ship. Sulu (George Takei) retains a purple muppet semi-sentient plant as a pet. It’s lovely—and fully domesticated to human functions. So, you may argue, is Spock. Pluralism is ok when alien others are subordinated and dealing for people. But when the aliens are competing for sources, or even when they only beg to be left alone—the one response is escalation.

Once more, this (salt?) cocktail of imperialist concern and apocalyptic violence shouldn’t be usually regarded as Star Trek’s model. However the mixture of hatred, concern, and xenophobia provides the episode a queasy energy. Director Marc Daniels’ climactic scene is a small masterpiece. Spock hammers away on the slight Nancy with these foolish patented double-fisted Star Trek punches. Besides, on this case, the stiffness of the choreography provides to the uncanny impact. Nancy, tiny and amused, does not even flinch beneath the assault, after which waves a hand casually, knocking Spock throughout the room. She then seductively locations her palms on the immobilized Kirk’s face—solely to disclose her true kind.

The costume, designed by Wah Chang, is a cumbersome monstrosity with a face like a fuel masks and suckers on the ends of its fingers. William Shatner screams as if his soul is being sucked out of him. The girl and alien merge collectively right into a single, predatory risk to the Enterprise‘s integrity and bodily fluids. The one doable response to such a risk, the episode insists, is genocide.

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Picture Credit score: CBS Tv Archives.

Star Trek: The Unique Collection (“The Man Lure”)

“The Man Lure” is a bizarre, misogynist, xenophobic fever dream, drenched in horror tropes and Chilly Struggle paranoia.


8.0/10



Noah Berlatsky is a contract author primarily based in Chicago. His e-book, Marvel Girl: Bondage and Feminism within the Marston/Peter Comics was printed by Rutgers College Press. He thinks the Adam West Batman is the most effective Batman, darn it.


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