A couple weeks ago I rewatched the very first Star Trek pilot, The Cage, in celebration of Star Trek‘s 52nd anniversary. It’s been over a decade, maybe two since I last saw it in its entirety, so it was almost like watching it for the first time.
1. Ship to Bridge
I love, and have always loved this transition shot of the bridge dome on the Enterprise model becoming the actual bridge set.
2. Sound Effects
We get a cacophony of familiar Star Trek sounds in this scene but used for different things! It’s so weird and off-putting (but not in a bad way).
3. Spock Hand Wave
Spock waves his hand to change the display on his screen. This is some prescient technology here that wouldn’t be out of place on Discovery.
4. Cheerleader Outfit
Pike passes by this lady wearing a weird cheerleader-looking outfit. Is this 23rd century leisure wear?
5. Translucent Communicator
Remember when translucent things were a thing? Like those iMacs in the late ’90s/early ’00s?
6. Theme Music
The Star Trek theme plays when the Enterprise goes to warp (and we get a starfield overlay). I wonder if the TNG theme playing over the saucer separation in Farpoint is an homage to this.
7. Transporter Room
I love that using the transporter seems like more of a big deal here. The room has a loud hum and feels busier, and you’ve got these technicians writing shit down to make sure they don’t screw up.
8. Spock Smile
Humming plastic plants make Spock smile. Deal with it.
9. Bird Person
If I remember correctly, this shot is the ONLY thing from The Cage that wasn’t recycled for The Menagerie. This bird guy’s great and they shouldn’t’ve cut him.
11. Rigel VII
A beautiful matte painting! It was on the cover of the VHS release.
12. Vina Face
She makes this ridiculous face when Pike refuses to follow her into the castle.
I like this guy’s teeth; if The Cage ever got a modern remake, he would probably be a Klingon.
14. Laser Cannon
This is one big-ass prop. I don’t think it ever showed up again in the actual show, did it?
15. The Keeper’s Vein
I just love how it throbs when he communicates telepathically.
16. Pike’s Jacket
There are a lot of nice jackets in this episode, but I like Pike’s in the picnic illusion the best.
17. “The women!”
Spock’s scream when Number One and Yeoman Colt are abducted by the Talosians.
18. “Is your blood red like ours? I’m going to find out”
Pike spends the entirety of his tenure as Talosian captive all analytical-like in detective mode (and this line is badass).
19. Vina’s Make-Up
For her true form.
20. Tyler’s Bandage (and Spock’s Limp)
I like this small detail showing that the adventure on Rigel VII happened all-too recently and that members of the crew are still recovering from it.
21. Colt’s Clipboard
Before there were PADDs and electronic clipboards, there were…regular clipboards with paper!