Star Trek: The Original Series – Arena
“Arena” is another episode from Star Trek: The Original Series that I have a love/hate relationship with. It contained a lot more action than the normal Trek episode but on the flip side it didn’t age very well.
It begins with a phony call from Cestus III inviting an away team down to the remote colony the Federation had established there. Upon beaming down, Kirk and company find out that the colony has been decimated and they get ambushed by unseen forces.
Guess which one didn’t make it?
After a quote unquote tense battle and rolling and somersaulting through mortar blasts, Kirk is able to find a way to fight back and the enemy retreats. The enemy ship beams up their crew and heads out and Kirk does the same. After a chasing the enemy ship into unknown territory, a third-party that is immensely more powerful than either of them stop both ships and beam both Captains to a remote planet for them to duke it out. Kirk finally discovers that the enemy they were chasing are called the Gorn and that they were strong enough to break Arnold Schwarzenegger in half.
This may have been slightly taken out of context.
The battle itself was a bit cringeworthy. Kirk hopped (you would too after being forcibly smurfed by a giant lizard) from rock to rock trying to outwit the Gorn by building a makeshift cannon from various chemicals lying around on the planet surface. It’s the sort of chemistry lesson every school would tell kids not to try at home.
MacGyver could have built a rocket by now, just sayin’.
Without giving away the ending I enjoyed the message that the episode managed to convey to the viewer. Suffice it to say that mankind has to take steps it normally wouldn’t take to advance as a race. The Metrons, the third-party who stopped them both initially, is surprised and pleased by Kirk’s final decision and tells him that in a thousand years or so, mankind will be advanced enough to speak to them again.
If evolving means wearing a toga and sparkling like the vampires in Twilight, then I’ll stick to being a normal semi-educated biped.
Overall the episode wasn’t bad…Star Trek has done far worse. If you’ve already watched the others I blogged about, give this one a look.
Note: I read a Star Trek: The Next Generation book called Requiem that is related to this episode. Picard ends up accidentally going back in time to the colony before it was obliterated, knows what is going to happen, and has to prevent changing the timeline even though he wants to warn the colonists of their pending doom. If you enjoy reading Star Trek books, give this read.