by Laura Goodwin
I just rewatched Mantrap, and noticed a few things that were weird:
Uhura really is coming on very strong to Spock when she asks him about Vulcan's (nonexistent) moon. This is atypical behavior for her. It's practically sexual harassment. She acts like she's drunk or something. To my eyes it looks like very unprofessional behavior on her part, but nobody else seems to think so. She criticizes Spock a little later, and gets away with it.
[NOTE: Uhura has juice. Uhura can get away with doing/saying any nutty thing that pops into her head.]
[NOTE: Spock gives Uhura NO encouragement whatsoever. Au contraire, mon frere!]
My ears prickled when Kirk declares "General Quarters 3 - Intruder alert", which is upgraded later to "General Quarters 4". These commands sounded unfamiliar - they aren't used much, are they?
My jaw dropped at this: When Professor Crater refuses to co-operate with his interrogators, *Spock* suggests giving the guy a dose of "truth serum". Truth serum! LOL How quaint! On the planet, when Kirk stuns Crater with his phaser, it acts like truth serum on the guy. Crater gets all dopey, and willingly answers Kirk's questions. I thought when a person was stunned that they became unconscious, but not this guy. At the climax, McCoy has to save Captain Kirk by blasting the creature du jour with phaser-fire.
[NOTE: If they are allowed to shoot phasers aboard ship at close range, then why don't they just shoot Crater again to get him to talk instead of considering the use of "truth serum"?]
Spock comes off as a real bad-ass in this episode. Several of his scenes seem designed to spotlight the fact that he's bad to the bone:
1.Uhura's conversation with Spock about Vulcan's (nonexistent) moon makes him look like he's utterly immune to any female charm she can throw his way. He Is Not Amused. Period.
2.When the landing party is beamed up with one dead, Spock gets the message and curtly acknowledges it without embellishment. Uhura expresses shocked dismay at this - she can't believe that Spock didn't even ask if the Captain, "The closest thing you have to a friend!", is the dead man. This tells us two things about Spock: one, that at this early stage Kirk and Spock are already generally acknowledged to have a "special" relationship, and two, that Spock doesn't have any others. Nor does he seem to want any others. Uhura's disapproval matters nothing to Spock. He just shrugs it off, with a businesslike explanation for his brevity.
[NOTE: It's worthwhile to be aware of the fact that Uhura doesn't outright call Kirk Spock's friend. Even at this early stage that term seems somehow...inadequete.]
[NOTE: that makes two times in one episode that we are shown that Spock doesn't care about ingratiating himself with Uhura. It's pretty clear why Spock has no friends, *and* that he doesn't care. He especially doesn't seem eager to have a girlfriend. Au contraire, mon frere!]
3.When Professor Crater refuses to co-operate and help find the creature, Spock suggests giving the guy a dose of truth serum. Weird. Like something out of a B-grade spy movie. "Ve heff veys uff making you talk!"
[NOTE: no mind-meld asked or offered.]
4.When the creature attacks Spock, he gives it indigestion.
[NOTE: He's so bad, he even tastes bad!]
5.At the climax when Kirk, Spock and McCoy have the creature cornered, Spock exhorts McCoy to shoot it, then wrestles unsuccessfully for the gun (huh?). To persuade McCoy to shoot, Spock then sets out to convince him that the creature (in the form of McCoy's old girlfriend Nancy) is not Nancy in a bizarre and brutal way: He clasps his hands to make a double-fist, and uses them to viciously smack the "lady" around! Harsh! It sure is hard to watch Spock smacking around that nice-looking middle-aged woman. Whoa!
[NOTE: More evidence that Spock has no special tender feelings for the fairer sex. Au contraire, mon frere!]
[Special NOTE: It's worthwhile to remember that Spock later/normally is shown to be very respectful of all creatures and their rights. He knows this is an endangered species. All mercy and caution fly out the window when the thing attacks Kirk. This is the first time we see Spock going apeshit when someone or -thing threatens Kirk. It's possible to see this as Spock being unusually protective of Kirk. We see this again in Devil In The Dark, when after all Spock's complaints about wanting to capture the creature alive, he changes his tune when it threatens Kirk.]
I gotta wonder: if Spock can smack the creature around like that, why couldn't he a) have done that when first attacked, and b) find the strength to wrangle the gun from the merely human Dr. McCoy? Oh well...
This is the first TOS episode to air. *This* was the public's introduction to the "logical" Mr. Spock?