According to Memory Alpha's In Universe Timeline, the story sequence is:
Catspaw : Shore Leave : Arena.
In the Remastered Episodes Chronology, the release sequence is
Patterns of Force : Shore Leave : Bread and Circuses.


During the investigation of an apparently uninhabited planet as a possible shore leave destination McCoy speaks of "Alice in Wonderland". Briefly later he sees a big talking rabbit, who is followed by a little girl. Kirk beams down on McCoy's request and runs into Finnegan, his old rival from Starfleet Academy, as well as Ruth, his old love. Other members of the landing party too encounter people and things that they were just thinking of.

Eventually McCoy is killed by a knight with a lance and Ensign Teller dies in an aircraft attack. Kirk gathers the landing party around him, ordering them to stand still and stop imagining things that would come true. The caretaker of the place appears and explains that the whole planet is there for their enjoyment. McCoy and Teller are alive and well.

Errors and Explanations

The Nitpicker's Guide for Classic Trekkers

Plot Oversights

  1. Angela Martine getting cosy with Rodriguez, apparently so soon after the death of her fiancé.[N 1] Rodriguez could have helped Angela overcome her grief.
  2. Insects on a planet on which the scanners only detected plant life. Either the scanner failed to detect the insects or they were created from the same material as the plants.
  3. Sulu’s comment about someone beaming down from the bridge. This could be a reference to an experiment in site to site transport.[N 2]
  4. No mention of the shuttle. They probably think it could be more dangerous that the transporter.
  5. Kirk and Spock's apprehension about the chained tiger. The chain holding the tiger could be a fake.
  6. Angela Martine not appearing at the end of the episode. She must be resting out of shot. [N 3]

Equipment Oddities

  1. The six round chambered Police Special firing seven shots. It must have been reloaded, either manually by Sulu, or automatically by the Caretaker.

Continuity and Production problems

  1. A second aircraft briefly appearing in the sky. According to the trivia page on this episode's IMDB entry, this is a Mitsubishi A6M "Zero" which briefly appears in order to attack the Vought F4U Corsair already visible.
  2. The uniform worn by Yeoman Barrows being intact at the end, even though it was torn at the shoulder by Don Juan. The Caretaker could have repaired or replaced it.

Internet Movie Database


  1. Before Yeoman Barrows changes into the "damsel in distress" gown, her uniform is very torn on her right side (from "Don Juan"), but when she changes out of the dress and back into her uniform, her uniform is only slightly torn and on her left side. Possibly evidence of an attempted repair by the Caretaker.
  2. When Kirk and Spock are examining the knight dummy, its eyes are open and then close, with no one touching them (even more to the point, there's no logical reason for the dummy to have functional eyelids). This could be a side effect of the dummy's self-diagnostic.
  3. When Yeoman Barrows changes into the medieval princess gown, she leaves her tights hanging on a tree. However, when she runs over to join Kirk and Spock (after the knight has impaled McCoy), she is still wearing them. She probably put them back on after fastening the dress.

Incorrectly regarded as goofs

  1. After Sulu fires the pistol, he rubs the barrel, clearly appreciating the object. After firing the barrel would be extremely hot and impossible to touch bare-handed without severe pain being caused. (IMDB) The "park" they're in would very likely have safeguards to prevent this, unrestrained by the usual laws of physics.

Nit Central

  1. Keith Alan Morgan on Wednesday, April 14, 1999 - 11:58 am: McCoy is the first to see something, but then quite a few minutes pass before somebody else discovers a fantasy object. Why didn't several people see things at around the same time? They were probably concentrating on their allotted tasks, leaving McCoy free to let his mind wander.
  2. McCoy stands up to the knight because he doesn't believe it is real, but Yeoman Barrows is wearing a Princess outfit, so does McCoy believe she is just walking around wearing nothing? No - he just finds the outfit more believable than the knight.
  3. MattS on Thursday, May 13, 1999 - 10:31 am: Rodriguez doesn't draw his phaser on the tiger. He knows that getting out an obvious weapon, such as a phaser, may make the tiger more angry.


  1. This occurred in Balance of Terror, which was the episode before this in the original broadcast order, but nine episodes earlier in the production list.
  2. The IMDB entry lists this as a Character Error.
  3. According to the Nit Central board for this episode, Angela can be seen very briefly at the end of the episode.

The Original Series Season 1
Pilot episodes: The Cage I Where No Man Has Gone Before
Regular episodes: The Corbomite Maneuver I Mudd's Women I The Enemy Within I The Man Trap I The Naked Time I Charlie X I Balance of Terror I What Are Little Girls Made Of? I Dagger of the Mind I Miri I The Conscience of the King I The Galileo Seven I Court Martial I The Menagerie Part 1 I The Menagerie Part 2 I Shore Leave I The Squire of Gothos I Arena I The Alternative Factor I Tomorrow Is Yesterday I The Return of the Archons I A Taste of Armageddon I Space Seed I This Side of Paradise I The Devil in the Dark I Errand of Mercy I The City on the Edge of Forever I Operation: Annihilate!
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