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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Cast

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)
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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Trivia

The fort set (Cestus III), retouched here with science-fiction trappings and location signs, can be seen in several early episodes of _The Wild Wild West_, most prominently in The Wild Wild West: The Night of the Sudden Plague (1966). It also is an important part of the coincidentally-titled _Trek_. This set was directly adjacent to Vasquez Rocks - so close that in Bat Masterson: Dagger Dance (1961), both the fort and the distinctive peaks of Vasquez Rocks appear in the same shot. In some shots Vasquez Rocks can be seen from the set in "Arena" itself. The fort set plays a major role in Bonanza: Alias Joe Cartwright (1964). The fort's walls and crenelations are clearly visible throughout the episode. The Vasquez Rocks area is used for the travelling segments back and forth to town. According to Eddie Paskey's website, it was also used for Beau Geste (1939). According to Jerry L. Schneider's "Vasquez Rocks" web page on Movie Making Locations, the fort was built in the mid 1950s for the television show Tales of the 77th Bengal Lancers (1956) from Screen Gems, a Columbia Pictures subsidiary, erected at a cost of US$117,843.17. The set was torn down several years after the filming of "Arena", and the area is a parking lot across from the Vasquez Rocks Natural Area. See more »

Goofs

Kirk finds a large hollow tube and he starts filling it with potassium nitrate, diamonds, sulfur, etc. However, it is a hollow tube and he keeps carrying it straight up and down which means everything he has just put into would be falling out the bottom. 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 Saturday Night Clive: Episode #4.1 (1991) 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).


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