Series: Series/{{Star Trek The Original Series}}\\
Episode: Unaired Pilot Episode\\
Title: The Cage\\
Previous: (None)\\
Next: (None)\\
Recapper: Insert Witty Name Here]

The original PilotEpisode of ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries''. Written by GeneRoddenberry and produced in late 1964, it preceded the series itself by a good two years. While this pilot was not considered to have been a success at the time, the network executives did like it enough to finance a second pilot episode. And you all know how well that turned out.

The episode begins with the USS ''Enterprise'' (under the command of Captain Christopher Pike) on a routine patrol. Pike is suffering from self-doubt, having just come from a mission where a number of his landing party were killed in action (including his close friend and Yeoman).

The ship receives an belated S.O.S from survivors of a Earth spaceship that crashed on the nearby planet Talos IV some time ago. Once they arrive on this barren and desolate planet, they find a ragtag bunch of survivors, but something doesn't feel quite right about them. While the landing party does a thorough examination of the group, a young woman named Vina lures Captain Pike to a secluded spot, where he gets zapped by humanoid aliens and taken deep underground.

The survivors vanish, having been revealed to be an illusion created by the alien Talosians. Captain Pike has been placed inside a zoo. The Talosians aim to pair him off with Vina, who is in fact the only true survivor of the earlier spaceship crash. While the aliens use their telepathy to try and bring Pike and Vina closer together, in illusionary versions of his recent near-death encounter, his home city of Mojave back on Earth, and a Orion slave harem; the crew of the ''Enterprise'' attempt to breach the underground complex and rescue their kidnapped captain.

The Talosians finally kidnap two further females from the ''Enterprise'' crew, giving Pike the choice of three potential mates. The ''Enterprise'''s female first officer sets her hand phaser to self destruct, forcing the Talosians' hand and giving them no option but to let the three of them go. Pike watches sadly as the true extent of Vina's injuries are revealed, explaining why she can not come with them.

Footage from this un-aired pilot was later re-edited as a [[Recap/StarTrekS1E11TheMenageriePartI two part]] [[Recap/StarTrekS1E12TheMenageriePartII regular episode]] called "The Menagerie".

!!! '''The Cage''' provides examples of the following tropes:

* AbsenteeActor - The entire regular ''Star Trek'' cast except for Creator/LeonardNimoy (and, though in a '' very'' different role, Majel Barrett).
* AdamAndEvePlot
* BlondeBrunetteRedhead: Vina, Number One, and Colt.
* CharacterizationMarchesOn / OutOfCharacterMoment - Spock's joyful reaction to hearing the singing plants on Talos IV, and also his panic when he realises [[MemeticMutation THE WOMEN]] have been kidnapped. Actually, Spock in general.
* TheChainsOfCommanding: Pike lays out how tired he is of being responsible for the lives of his crew, and making decisions that include "who lives, and who dies".
* DarkerAndEdgier - It comes across this way compared to the series that it spawned. Although it might be fairer to say that the series was actually LighterAndSofter than The Cage, changes which were mandated by ExecutiveMeddling.
* DespairEventHorizon: The Talosians reach this point with the failure of their plan:
-->'''Captain Pike:''' And that's it. No apologies. You captured one of us, threatened all of us...\\
'''Talosian:''' Your unsuitability has [[DyingRace condemned the Talosian race to eventual death]]. Is this not sufficient?
* DistressCall - One of these kickstarts the plot.
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness - Everything, from the characters, to the uniforms, to some details of the USS ''Enterprise'' itself.
** Spock as an animated, overeager junior officer.....who smiles!
* EnergyWeapon - The huge laser cannon that gets wheeled out on the planet surface during the ''Enterprise'' crew's attempt to break into the Talos compound.
* EpiphanyTherapy - Dr Boyce's attempts to help Captain Pike get over his HeroicBSOD.
-->'''Boyce:''' A man either lives life as it happens to him, meets it head-on and licks it, or he... turns his back on it and starts to wither away.
-->'''Pike:''' Now you're begining to talk like a doctor, bartender.
-->'''Boyce:''' Take your choice. We both get the same two kinds of customers-- the living and the dying.
* ExecutiveMeddling - The network chiefs felt this initial pilot episode was [[ViewersAreMorons too cerebral for the average viewer at home]], and turned it down on those grounds. [[NetworkToTheRescue They gave the series another chance]] though, on the proviso that Gene Roddenberry gave them something with a bit more action and a bit less philosophy.
* FacePalm: Vina does this when Pike gets punished for thinking wrong thoughts.
* GreenSkinnedSpaceBabe - The TropeCodifier. Although strictly speaking, Vina is only ''pretending'' to be a green skinned space babe. But she's still the first one that we ever see in ''Star Trek''!
* HeroicBSOD - Captain Pike is going through one of these when the episode begins, having lost several crewmen (including his personal yeoman) on a mission.
* HilariousInHindsight - Vina on Number One's breeding capabilities: "You'd have better luck with a computer!" During the episode's use in "The Menagerie" it was just plain funny, as Majel Barrett had already been voicing the computer for some time.
* HumansAreSpecial - The Talosians access the records of the ''Enterprise'' and conclude that humans have "a unique hatred of captivity" that renders them unsuitable for their purpose.
* IceQueen - Number One was designed to be this trope.
* InMediasRes: The story begins as the ''Enterprise'' has completed a mission that resulted in serious casualties and is returning to base.
* MasterOfIllusion - The Talosians force Captain Pike to partake in a series of illusionary worlds. When he resists, they are also able to punish him with a FireAndBrimstoneHell and then believably threaten to go deeper into his mind for experiences ''even worse''!
* NamedAfterTheirPlanet - Talosians. From Talos IV.
* NoNameGiven - Majel Barrett's character is referred to throughout simply as "Number One".
* PilotEpisode
* RaygunGothic
* RubberForeheadAliens
* SurveillanceAsThePlotDemands
* TechnologyMarchesOn - An in-universe example. The consoles on the ''Enterprise'' bridge are here fitted with what look like personal computer printers (which print out messages on paper), and the Yeoman is seen using a clipboard with paper sheets on it. By the time of the series proper, both would be replaced by more futuristic devices.
* TelepathicSpacemen
* TheBartender - Dr Boyce brings some alcohol with him during his visit to the Pike's quarters, and mixes him a martini as a part of the captain's EpiphanyTherapy.
-->'''Boyce''': Sometimes a man will tell things to his bartender that he'd never tell his doctor.
* ThePeteBest - Jeffrey Hunter's Captain Christopher Pike has gained something of a loyal following as being "the ''Star Trek'' captain who wasn't". Adventures featuring him have appeared in the expanded universe, in novels and in comic books; and he also made an reappearance in [[Film/StarTrek the 2009 reboot movie]], as played by Bruce Greenwood.
* UnresolvedSexualTension - Between Pike and J.M. Colt in particular.
* WhatCouldHaveBeen
* WholeEpisodeFlashback - It became this when it was later re-edited and screened as [[Recap/StarTrekS1E11TheMenageriePartI a regular episode]].