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Star Trek: Arena

After an unknown alien race destroys an Earth colony, Kirk pursues them into unknown space where a third group of aliens, the Metrons, transport him and the alien captain to a deserted planet where they must fight to the death... and the Metrons promise to destroy the loser's ship and crew.


Episode Info


Episode number: 1x18
Production Number: 6149-19
Airdate: Thursday January 19th, 1967

Director: Joseph Pevney
Story: Fredric Brown
Teleplay: Gene L. Coon


  • Currently 7.7/10
7.7/10 (3 Votes cast)
Starring Roles
DeForest KelleyDeForest Kelley
As Dr. Leonard Horatio "Bones" McCoy
Recurring
George TakeiGeorge Takei
As Lt. Hikaru Sulu
Recurring
James DoohanJames Doohan
As Lt. Cmdr. Montgomery "Scotty" Scott
Recurring
Nichelle NicholsNichelle Nichols
As Lt. Nyota Uhura
Recurring

Co-Guest Stars
Jerry AyresJerry Ayres
As O'Herlihy
Recurring
Grant WoodsGrant Woods
As Kelowitz
Recurring
Sean KenneySean Kenney
As DePaul
Recurring
Tom TroupeTom Troupe
As Lt. Harold

Uncredited
Bobby Clark (1)Bobby Clark (1)
As The Gorn
Recurring
Dick DialDick Dial
As Kirk Stunt Double
Recurring
Eddie PaskeyEddie Paskey
As Lt. Leslie
Recurring
Frank Da VinciFrank Da Vinci
As Brent/Vinci
Recurring
Gary CombsGary Combs
As The Gorn
Recurring
Ron VetoRon Veto
As Harrison
Recurring
Ted CassidyTed Cassidy
voiced The Gorn
Recurring
Vic PerrinVic Perrin
voiced Metron
Recurring
William BlackburnWilliam Blackburn
As Lt. Hadley
Recurring
Main Cast
William ShatnerWilliam Shatner
As Captain James Tiberius Kirk
Leonard NimoyLeonard Nimoy
As Commander Spock

Recap

The Enterprise is invited to the colony planet of Cestus III by its commander, Commodore Travers. He invites down Kirk, Spock, McCoy and the ship's three tactical officers for dinner. Upon entering orbit, they make audio contact with Travers who makes sure Kirk is bring his tactical aide with them. They beam down… and find themselves in the middle of a devastated colony. ..

Read the full recap
Episode Notes
Due to a special effects explosion during the filming of this episode, William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy both suffer from tinnitus, ringing in the ears.

Vasquez Rocks in California were used to represent the Metron planet. The fort was a constructed set built near Vasquez Rocks, originally for the TV series Tales of the 77th Bengal Lancers. In the original episode, a piece of rock wall is matted in to conceal the landscape which would demonstrate that they were using the same location for the two different planets.

This episode reveals that the transporter cannot be used while the shields are raised.

Ted Cassidy would later appear on-screen as the android Ruk in "What Are Little Girls Made Of?"

Despite common belief, the episode is not based on Fredric Brown's short story "Arena," which involves a human and alien soldier both struggling to solve a lethal puzzle presented to them by another alien race, with the loser and his race being wiped out. Rather, Gene Coon came up with the idea on his own but the production crew later realized it was similar to Brown's. They got permission from Brown to use Coon's story in return for giving the author a story credit.



Episode Quotes
McCoy: I, for one, could use a good nonreconstituted meal.
Spock: Doctor, you are a sensualist.
McCoy: You bet your pointed ears I am.

Kirk: I am in personal combat with the creature the Metrons call a Gorn. Immensely strong, he has already withstood attacks from me that would have killed a human being. Fortunately though strong, he's not agile. The agility, and I hope the cleverness, is mine.

Metron: Your captain is losing his battle. We would suggest you make...
whatever memorial arrangements, if any, which are customary in your culture. We believe you have very little time left.
McCoy: We appeal to you in the name of civilization. Put a stop to this!
Metron: Your violent intent and actions demonstrate that you are not civilized.

The Gorn: Earthling! I grow weary of the chase. Wait for me. I shall be merciful, and quick!
Kirk: Like you were at Cestus III?
The Gorn: You established... an outpost in our space!
Kirk: You butchered helpless human beings!!
The Gorn: We destroyed invaders, as I shall DESTROY YOU!!!

The Metron: Sparing your helpless enemy who surely would have destroyed you, you demonstrated the advanced trait of mercy, something we hardly expected. We feel that there may be hope for your kind. Therefore you will not be destroyed. It would not be civilized.

The Metron: You are still half-savage -- but there is hope.

Kirk: We're a most promising species, Mr. Spock, as predators go. Did you know that?
Spock: I frequently have my doubts.
Kirk: I don't, not anymore. And maybe in a thousand years or so we'll be able to prove it. Never mind, Mr. Spock, it doesn't make much sense to me either.
Spock: A thousand years, Captain?
Kirk: Well that gives us a little time.



Episode Goofs
Due to bad matte work, the blue line around the Enterprise view screen wobbles noticeably throughout the episode.



Episode References
In this episode, Kirk describes diamonds as "worth a fortune." A few episodes later, in "Catspaw" he will spurn Korob's offer of precious stones, saying that such things can be readily synthesized.

This episode reveals that the transporter cannot be used while the shields are raised.

This episode is the first to feature the photon torpedos referred to by name.

This is the first time that the "Federation" is referred to by that name.



Analysis
What Changed in the Remastered Version
The expected cleanups of color and sound are present - the episode is crystal clear. Enhancments include the replacement of Cestus III with a CGI planet and the replacement of the Enterprise in all shots with a CGI ship. The grenade explosion at Cestus III was enhanced - the original effect was a green wash; the revised effect looked more like a photon torpedo explosion. The Gorn ship was added as a distant screen artifact; it appeared to consist of a large central body and two side projections that might be nacelles. Several displays around the bridge were enhanced. phaser fire from the Enterprise is made the standard blue as opposed to the red from the original, and launched from the proper spot on the ship unlike the original episode. The Gorn's eyes occasionally blinked, and a bit of sparkle was added in a few places. A bleeding wound appeared on the Gorn's back after Kirk rolled a rock onto it, but disappeared in later shots. The Metron was enhanced with an additional reflective effect and proximate sparkles - perhaps this is what Michael Okuda meant when he said the team planned to leave the aliens alone, but "might add some sparkle." A missed opportunity was the scenes where the Metrons permitted the Enterprise crew to view the contest - the picture inside the viewscreen jumps noticeably. Stabilization of this image would have enhanced the effect. The kaleidoscopic strobe the Metrons projected when speaking to the Enterprise crew was also left unchanged; replacement of this uninteresting effect with something better would have improved the episode.

Original vs. Remastered
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The Metron: We shall not destroy you. It would not be... civilized.

This quote from the final scene is somewhat out of place until one knows some context. In an early treatment, the Metrons planned to destoy the winner of the contest since that individual represented the race more dangerous to their own civilization. They told the combatants they would destroy the loser (and his ship) to motivate them. Kirk's act of mercy suggested that although he won, the Federation was heading in the correct moral direction and the Metrons judged that it would not be likely to threaten their civilization by the time it gained the actual ability to do so. This bit disappeared during rewrites, except for this one confusing line.



Other Episode Crew

CreatorGene Roddenberry
Executive ProducerGene Roddenberry
ProducerGene L. Coon
Associate ProducerRobert H. Justman
EditorFabien D. Tordjmann
CastingJoseph D'Agosta
First Assistant DirectorGregg Peters (1)
MusicAlexander Courage
Music EditorJim Henrikson
Music SupervisorWilbur Hatch
Costume DesignerWilliam Ware Theiss  |  Marge Makau
HairstylistVirginia Darcy
Make-upFred B. Phillips
GripGeorge Rader
Set DecoratorMarvin March
Property MasterIrving A. Feinberg
Script SupervisorGeorge A. Rutter
Post Production SupervisorBill Heath
GafferGeorge H. Merhoff
OtherEdward K. Milkis (Assistant to the Producer)  |  Herbert F. Solow (Executive in Charge of Production)  |  Julian Davidson (Music Coordinator)  |  Steven W. Carabatsos (Script Consultant)
Director of PhotographyGerald Perry Finnerman
Production SupervisorBernard A. Widin
Art DirectorWalter M. Jefferies  |  Rolland M. Brooks
Sound MixerDoug Grindstaff  |  Jack F. Lilly
Special EffectsJames Rugg
Main Title ThemeAlexander Courage
 
Warning: Star Trek season 1 episode 18 guide may contain spoilers
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