Star Trek: Season 1, Episode 18

Arena (19 Jan. 1967)

TV Episode  |   |  Action, Adventure, Mystery
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 1,291 users  
Reviews: 15 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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Episode complete credited cast:
Jerry Ayres ...
Lieutenant Kelowitz
Tom Troupe ...
James Farley ...
Lt. Commander Lang
Carolyne Barry ...
Metron (as Carole Shelyne)


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

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


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Release Date:

19 January 1967 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs


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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The first episode to establish that the Enterprise's cruising speed was warp 6. See more »


When Kirk is coming down the hill after pushing the rock on the Gorn, his left side is leading. In the next shot, his right side is leading. See more »


[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!
See more »

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

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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).

9 of 10 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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