Star Trek: Season 2, Episode 7

Catspaw (27 Oct. 1967)

TV Episode  |   |  Action, Adventure, Mystery
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 940 users  
Reviews: 11 user | 7 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?


Korob and Sylvia refer to their leaders as the Old Ones, and imply that they are close by. Horror writer H.P. Lovecraft referred to the inhuman gods in his short stories as Old Ones; their being "nearby" was standard fare in his writings. Episode author Robert Bloch was a friend and disciple of Lovecraft. A similar reference occurs in Bloch's Star Trek: What Are Little Girls Made Of? (1966). See more »


When the little creatures are shown at the end, the wires animating the puppets are visible. (Corrected in the Remastered Edition) See more »


Captain James T. Kirk: You can't think a man to death.
See more »


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

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User Reviews

Why All the Mumbo-Jumbo?
30 August 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This one's somewhat of an oddity among the Trek episodes of the original series, an episode cobbled together for no other reason than to fit a Halloween theme. There are no other reasons for its existence, no profound ideas explored, no stretching of the imagination. Bloch, the premiere horror writer of the time, penned the script (he also wrote "What Are Little Girls Made Of?" in the previous season). The paradox to this effort, though, is that there doesn't seem to be a sincere attempt to offer scares: the creators and actors approach this with a tongue-in-cheek attitude after the first and only death in the pre-credits sequence. This lightweight approach is most evident in the early encounter with the 3 witches: Kirk asks Spock for a comment; Spock's response, along with Kirk's and McCoy's reactive expressions, sends me into guffaws every time I see it - maybe the single most hilarious moment during the season (and that's saying something, as "I,Mudd" and "The Trouble With Tribbles" are coming up soon). Later, of course, we have the scene in the dungeon, when Kirk refers to 'Bones' and then notices the skeleton hanging nearby. BOO!

There is, admittedly, a half-hearted attempt at exploring the conflict between physical senses and pure mentality. There is a tendency in the Trek series to depict aliens who hunger for the potential of physical sensation we human beings represent. Usually, such aliens may take human form temporarily, as Sylvia & Korob do here, and the new sensations corrupt them - apparently, only we humans can handle the, ah, sensuous nature of the ability to touch something or someone physically (see also the later "By Any Other Name"). But, the episode never really makes it clear what these aliens want - all we get is the Halloween mumbo-jumbo: a foggy mist, the witches, a black cat, crew members turned into zombies, a dark castle with cobwebs and, finally, the warlock and sorceress with a wand. These aliens do prove to have impressive abilities, even by the standards of 23rd century technology, and it is explained that they tapped into our subconscious to produce this bizarre scenario, but otherwise, it's just those silly spooky elements interspersed amid a plodding storyline. There's a brief reference to 'the old ones' by Korob, the beings he and Sylvia serve, which conjures up images of Lovecraft, rather than aliens from another galaxy. The episode is capped by some of the worst FX, involving puppetry, of the series. This was, by the way, the first episode of the 2nd season to be filmed, and so is the first appearance of Chekov.

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