Stardate: 5267.2 (2269)
Original Air Date: November 24, 1973
Writer: Joyce Perry
Director: Hal Sutherland
“Elysia is, in many respects, a perfect society. But with all its virtues, it is not home.
And home, with all its faults, is where we prefer to be.”
The Enterprise has entered the Delta Triangle, a vast uninhabited sector of the galaxy, in which a high number of mysterious starship disappearances have been documented since ancient times. The Enterprise has been tasked with surveying the Triangle and, if possible, discovering a cause of this mystery. Suddenly, they encounter a Klingon ship. After taking fire, the Enterprise fires phasers but the Klingon ship disappears.
A Class-2 signal comes from the lead Klingon ship helmed by Commander Kuri. He accuses the Enterprise of destroying their sister ship, the Klothos, but Kirk claims the Klothos fired first upon the Enterprise and the Enterprise returned fire but the Klothos simply disappeared. Kirk then orders the Enterprise to flee this area, however the crew begin suffering from some sort of vertigo when they stumble upon “a vast Saragaso Sea” –a graveyard of old ships. Some have been here for centuries. Spock notes some ancestors may still be living in these old ships.
Then Kirk mysteriously vanishes from the bridge and reappears before a ruling council on Elysia alongside Kuri comprised of representatives of 123 races who have learned to live together. Two of the other aliens are Magen and Xerius. They all exist within a “pocket in the garment of time.” Their goal is to ensure peace rather than warfare. With the Klingon ship running out power and the Enterprise containing only four days of dilithium crystals left, Kirk suggests the Enterprise join together with the Klingons to jointly escape.
Spock begins acting strangely –overly friendly to the Klingons– but Spock reveals that he was merely intending to better understand why the Klingons have been acting open and friendly. He quickly uncovers a plot against the Enterprise, and following a brief fight between Bones and a Klingon, the Enterprise manages to escape after thwarting the Klingons.
My Thoughts on “The Time Trap”
As someone who is naturally drawn to the ways in which Star Trek parallels the Age of Sail –with high seas explorations, adventures in foreign lands, and maritime battles– I thought the idea of a “Bermuda Triangle” or a “Saragasso Sea” in the middle of space was well-suited for the franchise. Also the idea that a group of people living in this strange “pocket” of time as a unique multi-species delegation is apt, perhaps as an interesting contrast with the Federation. Which is a better vision for the future, the United Federation or the Council at Elysia? At any rate, these animated episodes are on the whole much better than I had expected, however after you watch a few, it’s pretty easy to see why most Trekkies seem to regard The Animated Series as the worst iteration of the franchise.
This was the only Star Trek episode written by Joyce Perry. She apparently crafted this episode around the vague idea of the “Saragasso Sea.”
Star Trek Trivia:
- Xerius says she wishes to travel through the time barrier again to see Orion again (not unlike Kirk in “Yesteryear” claiming to have traveled back in time to witness Orion).
- When encountered the Triangle’s graveyard, Scotty notices the Bonaventure, the first ship to have warp drive installed but then vanished without a trace on her third voyage. However, the Bonaventure does not reappear in future Star Trek iterations such as Enterprise.
- The Council of Elysia consists of an Orion woman, a Klingon, a Vulcan, a Kzinti, an Andorian, a Tellarite, a human, and a Gorn among other creattures.
- Klingon Commander Kor appears in this episode. He previously appeared in the TOS episode “Errand of Mercy” and several later Star Trek episodes.
- This episode marks the end of the smooth-headed Klingons as six years later in Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
- The stardate is initially given as 52.2 but is later corrected to 5267.6.
- In addition to Sulu, George Takei voices two Klingons in this episode.
- In addition to Uhura, Nichelle Nichols also voiced three other characters –Devna, Magen, and Kali.
- James Doohan voiced a total of five characters in this episode.
- Director Hal Sutherland (1929-2014) directed all episodes of the first season of TAS. He gained early career recognition working on large Disney animation movies before switching to Filmation where he worked on TAS, as well as Flash Gordon, Batman, and Superman animated shows. Notably, pink is a recurring color in TAS. This is because Sutherland was colorblind and thought he was actually selecting the color grey.
It’s hard to imagine an animated version of a Star Trek franchise being considered the worst when, as an animated series and certainly in the case of The Time Trap, it could achieve a great deal more than was seen in its live action counterpart. Thank you for your review and trivia.
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