Star Trek: Season 2, Episode 7

Catspaw (27 Oct. 1967)

TV Episode  -   -  Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 879 users  
Reviews: 10 user | 6 critic

Very alien visitors to our galaxy try to connect with human consciousness but miss, winding up tapping into the regions of human nightmares instead.



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Title: Catspaw (27 Oct 1967)

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Episode complete credited cast:
Theodore Marcuse ...
Korob (as Theo Marcuse)
Michael Barrier ...
DeSalle (as Mike Barrier)
John Winston ...
Transporter Chief
Rhodie Cogan ...
Gail Bonney ...
Maryesther Denver ...
Jay D. Jones ...
Crewman Jackson (as Jimmy Jones)


When Kirk and his landing party arrive on the planet below, they are met by eerie mists, a dark castle, witches, zombies and a black cat. They soon learn that they are under the influence of a wizard, Korob, who tries to bend them to his will. They also soon learn that the black cat they saw is more than she appears and is in fact a powerful witch in her right. It is left to Kirk and Spock to find a means to escape their grasp. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

castle | black cat | fog | dungeon | witch | See All (25) »


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Release Date:

27 October 1967 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The title of this episode, "Catspaw", is a term that describes a person used by another as a dupe. As McCoy points out, Scott and Sulu are used as catspaws to lure more crewmen down. See more »


While in the dungeon, Spock mentions something about Jackson just before he collapsed. Spock was not present when Jackson collapsed. See more »


DeSalle: Mr. Chekov, recalibrate your sensors. If you need help...
Chekov: I can do it, sir. I'm not that green.
See more »


Featured in Bring Back... Star Trek (2009) See more »

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User Reviews

Interesting episode, somewhat sexist.
25 June 2009 | by (The San Francisco Bay Area) – See all my reviews

The previous reviews pan this episode, and for good reason; it's somewhat campy, cliché and mildly unfocused. But, there is an underlined re-visitation of Hephaestus' and his wife theme operating here.

We're treated to some tongue in cheek spookiness in the opening. Was it done intentionally? I'm not sure. There may have been a sincere attempt to create an atmosphere of horror, but it doesn't come off very well. Which may call into question the sincerity of the effort, but then one realizes that the lack of horror and fright is intentional because of the episode's primary focus.

The astute classic Trek aficionado will recall the real chills delivered in the "Wolf in the Fold" episode, nor the scary tension of "Dagger of the Mind". The production team at Desilu was more than capable of presenting frights in the context of a Star Trek episode, so why wasn't it done here? One must keep in mind that the thrust of this episode is the unavailability of a physical reality to the antagonists. This is part of the puzzle. It is essentially both plot and theme.

And here in lies another layer, and, perhaps, one that pokes fun at the material woman who marries a man for the riches he can garnish via whatever ability he has, and not for love. We're shown the material-girl in all her essence. Captain James T. Kirk takes a page out of the Sean Connery's James Bond, and gives as good as he takes from a woman who seeks more of what she already has, but who has sacrificed true emotional satiation for material gain. Kirk shows Sylvia her own folly, and the true value of her own worth and what he thinks of her.

Sylvia invokes her wrath, but Kirk counters with Star Fleet training and his own patented Promethian approach to counter her attacks. Even at the moment of truth Sylvia cannot help but see an opening for gain. Even when Kirk tries to give her another chance, she is relentless in her pursuit of gain. A high tech grifter with supernatural appetites and abilities.

It is fitting that both Sylvia and Korob are exposed for the weak transparencies that they really are. Perhaps a comment on true fear, and what really frightens us; not any manifestation of danger, but what we imagine might be the danger. It is in this vein that the scare factor is kept to a minimum to drive home a larger theme.

The episode is not one of the more sterling in terms of production values, but it is worth a look. The closing SFX shot is somewhat fitting.

Give it a shot.

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