"I'm tired of being responsible for 203 lives, and... I'm tired of deciding which mission is too risky and which isn't, and who's going on the landing party and who doesn't... and who lives... and who dies."
Captain Christopher Pike

"The Cage" is the original unaired pilot episode for the 1966 science fiction television series Star Trek. After being presented to studio heads, NBC ordered a second pilot episode for the series which was entitled "Where No Man Has Gone Before". The original pilot features the lead character Christopher Pike as Captain of the USS Enterprise. Along with fellow crew members Mr. Spock, Number One, Doctor Philip Boyce, Lieutenant José Tyler and Yeoman J.M. Colt, Captain Pike encounters a strange, telepathic alien race known as the Talosians. From this initial episode, only Mr. Spock, played by Leonard Nimoy, was brought over to the regular series. Actress Majel Barrett, who played Number One, was also brought over to the regular series, this time portraying the part of nurse Christine Chapel. Scenes from this episode were colorized and incorporated into the two-part season one episode "The Menagerie". The entire episode was colorized and remastered in 1986 and broadcast on network television on October 4th, 1988. A digitally remastered version of the episode aired on May 2nd, 2009.

Synopsis Edit

TOS 1x00 005

Captain Christopher Pike

The crew of the United space ship Enterprise under the command of Captain Christopher Pike is flying through space en route to the Vega Colony when they intercept a distress signal originating from the Talos Star Group. The crew theorizes that the signal might have something to do with the survey ship, the SS Columbia, which disappeared eighteen years ago. Pike orders them to maintain course to the Vega Colony and retires to his cabin.

He summons his Chief Medical Officer, Doctor Philip Boyce to his room. Boyce prepares what Pike believes to be a tonic, but is in fact a martini. He says that some people are more willing to open up to their bartender than they are to their doctor. Pike vents his frustration about some of his prior missions, in particular, a recent fracas that took place on Rigel VII. He is overwhelmed with the burden of having to be the caretaker of 203 lives. From the communicator, Science Officer Spock interrupts their conversation to report that they have discovered eleven survivors of the SS Columbia on the planet Talos IV. Pike goes to the bridge of the ship and orders his navigator, José Tyler, to direct their course to the Talos Star Group - Time Warp 7.

Once they reach the planet's orbit, Pike puts together a landing crew of six people consisting of Spock, Doctor Boyce, José Tyler, C.P.O. Garrison, a geologist and himself and transports down to the planet. They find an encampment of survivors, one of whom is an elderly scientist who introduced himself as Doctor Theodore Haskins. Doctor Boyce runs a quick analysis on the condition of the survivors and determines that they are in perfect health. Doctor Haskins introduces a young woman named Vina to Captain Pike. He explains that Vina was born shortly before the Columbia crashed on this world eighteen years ago.

Vina offers to show Captain Pike the secret to their restored health. The landing party is unaware that they are secretly being observed by a race of subterranean beings called Talosians. Vina lures Captain Pike into the hills of a nearby canyon. A doorway in the side of the cliff's face opens and a Talosian emerges. It stuns Captain Pike with an energy weapon and brings him inside the cave. The rest of the crew look about astonished as Haskins and the other members of the encampment disappear before their eyes. It was all an illusion. The crew looks toward the area where Pike disappeared and begin firing their phasers at it. Their blasts have no effect and it appears that Captain Pike is gone for good.

TOS 1x00 018

Mister Spock inspects the fauna of Talos IV.

Captain Pike awakens inside of a transparent cell underground. His cage is adjacent to several other similar cubicles, all of which contain strange alien life forms from other planets. One such alien is an Anthropoid ape while another resembles a humanoid bird. The Talosians stand silent and continue to observe him as he takes in his surroundings. The Talosian magistrate and two attendees approach Pike's cell. They commune with one another telepathically and Pike can perceive their thoughts.

Meanwhile, the landing party returns to the ship and calls a meeting. Pike's second-in-command, Number One is in attendance as well as a fresh new Yeoman named J.M. Colt. Having seen the alien who grabbed Captain Pike, Spock offers his own theories as to the nature of these aliens. He deduces that they are telepathic in nature with brains three times the size of a normal human. Doctor Boyce adds to Spock's deduction and illustrates how the Talosians are able to create elaborate illusions in the minds of others.

Back on the planet, Vina suddenly appears within Captain Pike's cell. She pleads with him to cooperate with the Talosians and asks him to tell her about his dreams. He presses her for answers about his captors, but she deflects his inquiry, insisting that he can exist in any fantasy world of his choosing.

The Talosians create a mirage of the planet Rigel VII, and Pike finds himself in an all-too-familiar setting. He sees Vina dressed in the gown of a princess, playing the role of an atypical damsel in distress. A beastly, giant known as a Kaylar emerges and advances towards them. Although Pike knows that this is only happening in his mind, he feels compelled to defend Vina. He grapples with the Kaylar and manages to keep him at bay by hitting him with rocks. The Kaylar pushes Pike to the ground, then chases Vina up the steps of a castle parapet. Pike hurls a sword at the monster, stabbing him in the back. The Kaylar reels in pain and falls off the parapet onto Captain Pike's mace. The illusion ends and Pike and Vina find themselves back in the cell.

The Enterprise crew return to the planet's surface, this time armed with a large laser cannon. They concentrate their fire power on the side of the cliff, but as before, the weapon is having no effect on the environment.

TOS 1x00 012

The Talosian Keeper.

Having satisfied Vina's wishes to some extent, Pike begins to ask her more about the Talosians. She reveals that there was once a great war that left the surface of the planet uninhabitable. Life is only now beginning to come back to Talos IV and the Talosians are seeking two compatible life forms to help repopulate the planet. Suddenly, Vina cries out in immense pain and disappears. She is being punished by the Talosians for revealing too much.

The Talosian magistrate comes down to the cell and provides Pike with a nutrient drink. She expects him to consume it, but Pike refuses. To punish him, the Talosian creates the illusion in Pike's mind that he is burning to death. Once the image fades, lunges towards the glass and the startled Talosian takes a step back. Pike realizes that the alien couldn't perceive his thoughts at that moment and deduces that the Talosians cannot read primal emotions such as rage and hate.

The Talosians attempt to distract Pike from this thought process by placing more fantasy settings into his head. In the next mirage, he sees himself with Vina having a picnic in his home town of Mojave back on Earth. He presses Vina for more information about the Talosians' vulnerabilities and she confirms what he had suspected - that thoughts of intense hate mentally blind them.

TOS 1x00 032

Vina as an Orion slave girl.

Pike tries to dispel the illusion, only to find himself placed into another. This time, he is at the Orion Colony with a merchant and a Space officer watching an Orion slave girl dancing before him. As the woman turns, Pike sees that it is Vina once again. Frustrated, he gets up and leaves, but Vina trails after him.

Back on the Enterprise, the crew embark upon a third attempt to beam down to the planet to rescue their missing Captain. The Talosians are aware of their plans and use their powers to alter the perceptions of the crew members. They manipulate the transporter chief into only sending Number One and Yeoman Colt down to the surface. As the rest of the crew remain on the transporter pads, Spock exclaims "The women!"

Number One and Yeoman Colt materialize inside the underground cage next to Captain Pike. They train their phasers on the transparent window, but find that they have lost their charge. They discard the seemingly useless weapons just as the Talosian magistrate re-enters the chamber. The Talosian reveals that since Pike is refusing to mate with Vina as they would prefer, they have provided him with two more suitable options in the forms of Number One and Yeoman Colt. They reveal that Number One has her own private fantasies about Captain Pike while the Yeoman's youth has bred a fiery, sexual appetite within her. Both women are embarrassed by this revelation. The magistrate leaves the three of them to get some rest.

TOS 1x00 036

Vina's true face.

Later, the magistrate attempts to sneak into the cage to recover the discarded phasers. Captain Pike pounces on top of the alien and begins throttling the Keeper. He theorizes that there is nothing wrong with their phasers at all and that the Talosian has simply led them to believe that they are inoperable. He threatens to test his theory by placing the weapon against the Talosian's head. The Keeper relents and reveals that the weapons are fully operational. There is even a large hole in the glass from where Number One and Yeoman Colt fired upon it earlier.

With the magistrate under the control, they go back up to the surface. Number One sets her phaser to overload, which would produce an explosion that would wipe them all out unless the Talosian agrees to let them go. The magistrate understands now that human beings are too violent of a species for their needs. They decide to let Captain Pike go. Pike also learns that Vina is an actual human being and not merely another illusion. As the one true survivor of the SS Columbia, Vina is considerably older than Captain Pike and horrifically disfigured because of the crash. Before leaving, Pike asks the Talosians to restore Vina's illusion of beauty. The Talosians comply and they create the belief that Pike has chosen to stay on Talos IV to be with her.

Pike and the others return to the Enterprise and they resume their course to the Vega Colony. Yeoman Colt ruminates about chosen as a potential mate for Captain Pike in the Talosians' "Adam & Eve" scenario. Boldly, she asks Captain Pike "Who would have been Eve?", a question that earns her a stern look from Number One. Pike doesn't respond and the ship continues on its way.

Cast Edit

Principal Cast Edit

Guest Stars Edit

Notes & Trivia Edit

  • Estimated production budget costs for this episode are $630,000.
  • Jeffrey Hunter is the only credited star in this episode. Susan Oliver is credited as a guest star in the opening credits. Everyone else is listed in the end credits.
  • Spock has the first lines of dialogue in the series. He issues the order, "Check the circuit."
  • In the episode, after José Tyler gives the order to engage Time Warp Factor 7, he holds up seven fingers to Captain Pike as if Pike somehow mis-understood the order.
  • The extended colorized version of the episode includes an introduction by series creator Gene Roddenberry.
  • The opening title card and logo used in this episode is different from the one used in subsequent episodes. This episode also doesn't include the traditional opening narrative.
  • The Communications Officer in this episode holds of the rank of Chief Petty Officer. In later episodes the Communications Officer holds the rank of Lieutenant.
  • When the first landing party arrives on Talos IV, Spock can be seen walking with a slight limp. The reason behind this is never explained in the episode.

Quotes Edit

  • Christopher Pike: Are you real?
  • Vina: As real as you wish.
  • Christopher Pike: No. No. No, that's not any answer. I've never met you before, never even imagined you.
  • Vina: Perhaps they made me out of dreams you've forgotten.


  • Vina: You're a fool.
  • Christopher Pike: Since you're not real, there's not much point in continuing this conversation, is there?


  • The Keeper: Since you resist the present specimen, you now have a selection.
  • Christopher Pike: I'll break out of this zoo somehow and get to you. Is your blood red like ours? I'm going to find out.
  • The Keeper: Each of the two new specimens has qualities in her favor. The female you call Number One has the superior mind and would produce highly intelligent children.
  • Christopher Pike: All I want to do is get my hands on you. Can you read these thoughts, images of hate, killing?
  • The Keeper: The other new arrival considered you unreachable but now realizes this has changed. The factors in her favor are youth and strength plus unusually strong female drives.


  • The Keeper: She has an illusion, and you have reality. May you find your way as pleasant.


  • Doctor Philip Boyce: ...and now you're tired...
  • Christopher Pike: You bet I'm tired! I'm tired of being responsible for 203 lives, and... I'm tired of deciding which mission is too risky and which isn't, and who's going on the landing party and who doesn't... and who lives... and who dies.


  • Doctor Philip Boyce: Sometimes a man will tell his bartender things he'll never tell his doctor.


  • Christopher Pike: The point is this isn't the only life available. There's a whole galaxy of things to choose from.
  • Doctor Philip Boyce: Not for you. A man either lives life as it happens to him, meets it head-on and licks it, or he turns his back on it and starts to wither away.
  • Christopher Pike: Now you're beginning to talk like a doctor, Bartender.
  • Doctor Philip Boyce: Take your choice. We both get the same kinds of customers -- the living and the dying.


  • Vina: I'm beginning to see why none of this has worked for you. You've been home and fighting, as on Rigel. That's not new to you either. A person's strongest dreams are about what he can't do. Yes. A ship 's captain--always having to be so formal, so decent and honest and proper.


  • Christopher Pike: You can read my mind. I can read yours. Now, unless you want my ship to consider capturing me an unfriendly act...
  • The Keeper: You now see the primitive fear-threat reaction. The specimen is about to boast of his strength, the weaponry of his vessel and so on. Next, frustrated into a need to display physical prowess, the creature will throw himself against the transparency. (Pike does so)
  • Christopher Pike: If you were in here, wouldn't you test the strength of these walls too? There's a way out of any cage.


  • The Keeper: The customs and history of your race show a unique hatred of captivity. Even when it's pleasant and benevolent, you prefer death. This makes you too violent and dangerous a species for our needs.


  • Vina: When dreams become more important than reality, you give up travel, building, creating; you even forget how to repair the machines left behind by your ancestors. You just sit, living and reliving other lives left behind in the thought records.


See also Edit

External Links Edit

Episode links

Series links

Ad blocker interference detected!

Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.