Star Trek: Season 1, Episode 18

Arena (19 Jan. 1967)

TV Episode  |   |  Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
8.1
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 1,220 users  
Reviews: 14 user | 9 critic

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

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Title: Arena (19 Jan 1967)

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

When an alien race known as the Gorn destroys an Earth colony, the Enterprise pursues the fleeing Gorn vessel until another race of powerful aliens called the Metrons intervenes and forces Captain Kirk and the Gorn captain to face off in one-on-one combat in which the winner will be released and the loser 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

Ted Cassidy (Lurch of The Addams Family (1964) has his final Star Trek role as the voice of the Gorn. Cassidy had also voiced the antagonist in Star Trek: The Corbomite Maneuver (1966) and appeared as Ruk in Star Trek: What Are Little Girls Made Of? (1966), which aired in reverse order to compared to their filming dates. See more »

Goofs

(at around 37 mins) As Kirk is preparing to fire a mortar round at the Gorn, a stage hand's shadow is seen moving across the actors. 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 »

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Featured in William Shatner's Star Trek Memories (1995) See more »

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User Reviews

Mastering the reptile.
15 February 2011 | by (The San Francisco Bay Area) – See all my reviews

As mammals we have a layer of intellect and empathy that, for most of us at least, acts as a safeguard against relentless pursuit of territory and other material goods for the sake of all else. That primitive part that drives us forward is regulated by this sense of empathy and higher purpose (for lack of a better phrase).

But, when it comes down to it, when man competes with himself, other animals, or nature itself, it is the inner reptile that drives us forward. We seek land and raw materials to gratify us and perpetuate the species. It is what keeps us going, and in this sense preserves us.

So what happens when a species whose sole purpose is survival, and has starship weaponry to back it up? What happens when it confronts another species also bent on territorial expansion? The result; a clash.

This first season episode is a bit in the low budget department, but the drama is not lost on the viewer. By today's standards the Gorn alien captain and space SFX are certainly primitive, but the story endures. Lifted from a short story by Frederick Brown, also entitled "Arena", Trek shows the conflict between Kirk and a reptilian alien who has brain and brawn to match Kirk's Star Fleet training... mostly.

As another reviewer noted, we are also witnessing hypocrisy flagrantly thrown in the face of the two embattled starship captains by the Metrons, the so-called super-race of beings who force the two CO's to settle their differences on some far flung world (allegedly an asteroid). The would stop the carnage created by a starship on starship duel with their version of ultimate-fighting, complete with close circuit coverage for the bridge crew to watch.

The Metrons claim superiority, but with their promise to destroy and kill the ship and crew of the losing captain, they demonstrate an astute inferiority, or rather an arrogance and condescension that the two starship captain, for all of their bluster of threatening the other side, do not stoop to. Both Kirk and Gorn, in spite of being high on a blood lust, do not thumb their nose with false promises.

In the end Kirk succumbs to his inner mammal, and confronts the Metrons with their own devices. Or perhaps the Metrons were applying behavioral conditioning to one of Federation's finest? Testing the UFP to see what caliber of species they may encounter and interact with in the future? We don't know, but the hint is awfully strong.

Other than that, it's a good old fashioned actioner with some moments of tension and a few thrills. The script is tight and it's a very well shot piece of TV sci-fi drama.

Watch and enjoy.


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