Scotty, Sulu and Ensign Jackson
have been beamed down to explore Pyris VII. Only Jackson beams aboard to die and then (Yes,in this order) give a prophesy of doom and destruction in an eerie, echoing voice. Kirk, Spock and McCoy beam down to investigate. The place has an eerie, spooky atmosphere and there's a creepy looking castle nearby. The crew goes there in search of their lost crewmates. The interior looks like something out of a Haunted House
, complete with dust and cobwebs. And a hissing and spitting black cat. Kirk and company fall through a trap in the floor and land in a dungeon where they're chained to the walls. A zombified Scotty and Sulu release them and they are transported to the sumptuous throne room of Korob the Wizard, who seems very interested in humanity, but doesn't seem very educated on modern (as of Stardate 3018.2) human culture. And there's something about that black cat that keeps hanging around him....
Tropes for this episode include:
- Affably Evil: Korob comes off as this.
- All Wizards Have Cats: An inversion! It seems that it's the cat who has the wizard.
- Bald of Evil: Koron has this along with a Beard of Evil
- Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": Lt. DeSalle says "I bet you credits to navy beans!" where most would say "I bet you dollars to donuts!" They don't have donuts in the future? What sort of Dystopia is this!?!?!
- Cats Are Magic: Justified. Sylvia is actually a shape shifting alien.
- Cats Are Mean: Sylvia is the meanest of mean cats, no matter her form. Spock discusses the trope, reflecting on a cat's natural savageness dating back to the sabre-tooth tiger.
- Cat Scare: The first thing our heroes get when they enter the castle.
- Chained to a Rock: Kirk, Spock and Bo...uh...McCoy all experience this.
- Cobweb Of Disuse: It's not a Haunted Castle without a few
- Crowning Moment of Funny: Kirk nearly refers to McCoy by his usual nickname of "Bones", until he sees what's in the iron maiden. He changes his mind and calls him "Doc".
- Even Evil Has Standards: Part of what makes Korob so Affably Evil is that he's clearly not as malicious as Sylvia. As Kirk is being brought in for his second "interrogation", Korob complains to Sylvia about her being "cruel" and "torturing the specimens", implying he would much rather barter or persuade Kirk and co to go along with what he wants than brutalise them into compliance like she has.
- Everything's Sparkly with Jewelry: Sparkly, yes. Valuable, not when you can replicate jewels as easily as making a cup of coffee. And then there's that diamond collar that Sylvia wears in both cat and human forms.
- Halloween Episode: Was originally aired around Halloween of 1967. Nearly all Haunted Castle tropes are present and occasionally discussed. Spock is familiar with a few Terran superstitions, but not with the custom of "Trick or Treat".
- Heel-Face Turn: Korob
- Humans Are Special: Korob and Sylvia admire the human ability to feel.
- I Have You Now My Handsome: Sylvia tries to pull this on Kirk in a rare genderflip of this trope. Kirk, being Kirk, quickly flips it into his favor.
- Magic Wand: Korob has one with a crystal on the end. It is a transmuter that allows him to perform his illusions.
- Mind Manipulation: How the aliens get Sulu and Scotty to do what they want. They claim it to be harmless. Kirk disagrees.
- Nightmare Fuel: The whole episode is meant to be scarey, but those three witch faces that appear out of nowhere are beyond mildly creepy.
- No, Captain Kirk, I Expect You To Dine: Korob offers Kirk and company a banquet. When they seem unimpressed, he offers them plates of jewels.
- Oh Crap: Scotty and Sulu AREN'T here to save them after all!
- Ominous Fog: It's all over the place. Spock comment that due to the low level of water vapor in the air, it shouldn't exist. It's there purely to look scarey.
- Power Echoes: The doom and gloom prophesy about terrible curses that Jackson gives posthumously is delivered in an ominous echo.
- Reset Button: Destroying Korob's transmuter undoes everything except the death of Jackson.
- Sense Freak: A mild case, but Sylvia blatantly admits she's enjoying the ability to experience the world through human senses when Korob questions her as having forgotten their mission.
- Shout-Out: Korob mentions to Sylvia of their duty to the Old Ones. Appropriate, considering the episode's writer was Robert Bloch.
- Special Effects Failure: Modern reruns of Star Trek the Original Series have digitally remastered special effects, but there was only so much they could do with the scene with the giant cat. Remember the "black panthers" from Team America: World Police? Yeah, it was like that. The fuzzy blue marionettes representing Sylvia and Korob's true forms have since had the wires edited out.
- Stripped to the Bone: There is a whole, bleached human skeleton in an iron maiden in the dungeon for no purpose other than to be scarey.
- This Was His True Form: The true forms of Sylvia and Korob looked like something a Kindergartner made out of blue pipe cleaners.
- Voodoo Doll: Sylvia calls it "Sympathetic magic". It's how she killed Jackson. She makes a model of the starship Enterprise that she uses as a voodoo doll. Incidentally, the prop used is now in the Smithsonian.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: Sylvia can change into a black cat and back and change her size. (We don't actually see this happen. We must infer that it does.)
- We Hardly Knew Ye: While the writers sure seemed to treat Redshirts like cannon fodder, Kirk makes it clear he doesn't feel that way about them.
- What Is This Thing You Call Love?: Sylvia and Korob can't get enough of human sensation