For bringing hostility into their solar system, a superior alien race brings Captain Kirk in mortal combat against the reptilian captain of an alien ship he was pursuing.

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(teleplay by), (story by) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Episode complete credited cast:
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Jerry Ayres ...
O'Herlihy
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Tom Troupe ...
James Farley ...
Lang
Carolyne Barry ...
Metron (as Carole Shelyne)
Sean Kenney ...
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Storyline

When a reptilian alien race known as the Gorn destroys an Earth colony, the Enterprise comes under attack by the Gorn vessel. Captain Kirk soon gives chase to the Gorn ship, leading them to an unexplored solar system, gradually (and dangerously) increasing speed. Kirk prepares to destroy the Gorn ship until another race of powerful aliens called the Metrons stops them and forces both captains to face off in mortal combat. The main purpose of this one-on-one duel is to solve their dispute, the winner will be released and the loser will be destroyed along with his ship and crew. Written by Anonymous

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19 January 1967 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In his final speech, the Metron informs Kirk that, because he demonstrated mercy, he will not be destroyed. Initially, they said they planned to destroy the loser, "in the interests of peace". In Coon's script, in dialogue not aired, the Metron admits that they had, all along, planned to actually destroy the ship of the winner of the personal combat, because that race would represent the greater danger to them. James Blish preserves this disclosure in his novelization in Star Trek 2. See more »

Goofs

The supposedly heavy boulder Kirk struggles to roll onto the Gorn shakes quite a bit. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Captain James T. Kirk: You'll enjoy Commodore Travers. He sets a good table.
Dr. McCoy: I wonder if he brought his personal chef along with him to Cestus III.
Captain James T. Kirk: Probably. Rank hath its privileges.
Dr. McCoy: [they both chuckle] How well we both know that!
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Crazy Credits

The closing credits are set against a combination background of stills from that episode and previous episodes. See more »

Connections

Featured in Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

Theme From Star Trek
Written by Alexander Courage
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User Reviews

 
Kirk vs. a giant lizard
18 June 2009 | by (Italy) – See all my reviews

Although it may seem like a silly story on the surface (in essence, Kirk fights against a man-sized reptile), Arena is actually one of the best Star Trek episodes, being an insightful critique on the unnecessary casualties of war.

The episode begins with the destruction of a Federation outpost, which prompts Kirk to go after the alien attacker and destroy him at all costs. During the pursuit, the Enterprise is seized by more powerful beings who send Kirk to a desert planet so that he can face his adversary: the reptilian Gorn. Whoever wins the duel will be set free; the loser will be destroyed, along with his ship and crew. Given the Gorn is much stronger than Kirk, the latter has to come up with an inventive strategy to survive.

Of the many examinations of the futility of war that Star Trek has offered, Arena is undoubtedly one of the more interesting ones, all because of its central idea: the preconception that all conflicts must end with the total annihilation of one of the two conflicting sides. The episode's presentation of the villain also plays on man's natural fear of all things unknown or different, making for 45 minutes of intelligence and tension that still resonate four decades on (despite the fact that the Gorn is obviously a stuntman in a suit).


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