Memory Alpha's In Universe Timeline
Assignment: Earth - The Cage - Where No Man Has Gone Before.

In The Talosian story arc, The Cage is followed by The Menagerie Part 1.
The remastered version of The Cage was released after the remastered version of Turnabout Intruder.


The U.S.S. Enterprise is en route to the nearest Federation starbase for rest, recreation, repairs, and replacement of personnel lost during the exploration of Rigel VII. Despite the status of his ship, Captain Pike decides to investigate signs that a spaceship may have crashed on planet Talos IV.

A landing party, including Pike, Lieutenant Spock and Navigator Jose Tyler, beams down, and is startled to find an encampment created from makeshift tents and old spaceship parts. A band of ragged survivors comes forward, led by a man who introduces himself as Dr. Theodore Haskins. He explains that they are scientists, who have been marooned on the planet since their ship, the S. S. Columbia, crashed almost twenty years before.

A beautiful young woman comes forward, and is introduced as Vina, who was just a child when the ship crashed. Captain Pike is very much attracted to her. Watching his fascination are several aliens, concealed underground, who view the scene on a strange television like screen.

When Vina lures Pike to a rock formation, to show him the secreat of how the old scientist have survived in such perfect health, the aliens emerge from a concealed elevator, render Pike unconcious, and drag him into their underground chamber. Spock and Tyler reach the scene too late to help their captain. Meanwhile, the survivors and their encampment have vanished.

Pike awakens in a small enclosure, fronted by a super-strong transparent material. The small aliens, led by the Keeper, aproach his cage and converse telepathically, angering Pike by their references to him as a member of an inferior species. Pike is transported, by illusion, back to Rigel VII, where he once again sees Vina. After that illusion ends, both materialise in his cage again, where Vina tells Pike that she is the lone survivor of the S. S. Columbia crash.

When Captain Pike refuses to perform as the Talosians wish, the aliens try to get him interested in Vina, by presenbting him within various illusions designed to spark his masculine instincts: a medieval princess, a green skinned Orion slave girl, and his "wife." The Talosians have lured the Enterprise to their planet so that Pike can serve as a mate for Vina, enabling the Talosians to bread a race of humans they can use as slaves.

Meanwhile, an Enterprise landing party prepares to have itself transported underground. Immediately before the transporter is activated, however, Number One and Yeoman Colt vanish, and the machine ceases to function. The two females materialise withing Captain Pike's cage. The Talosians reason that perhaps the captain will be more attracted to either of his crewwomen.

Examining Number One's laser pistol, Pike finds it completely drained of energy, but suspects that this is mearly an illusion, and that the weapon is actually functional. He has discovered that the Talosians cannot probe into hostile emotional moods, and deliberately assumes an attitude of mindless anger. Throwing the lasers to the floor near the concealed door of the cage, Pike sits and waits.

As he anticipated, the Keeper attempts toremove the pistols. Pike quickly grabs the alien, and as Number One holds onto the tricky Talosian, Pike tries to shoot a hole in the wall of the cage. He threatens to shoot directly at the Keeper, and a hole instantly materialises in the wall. The Talosians have been keeping the Enterprise people from seeing the destruction their weapons had caused.

Using the Keeper as a shield, Pike and the others ascend in the elevator to the surface of Talos IV, and learn the truth. Centuries before, the Talosians had wrecked the surface of their planet in a nuclear war, and were forced to move their civilisation underground, resulting in their increased mental abilities, and their inability to produce children. After Number One threatens to commit suicide, by setting the laser pistols to explode, the Talosians confide to him that they never wanted slaves: they only wished to perpetuate their heritage in the offspring of Pike and Vina.

Number One and Yeoman Cole are returned to the Enterprise, and the Talosians reveal the truth about Vina. She had actually survived the crash as an adult, but was horribly injured and disfigured. Without the aid of the Talosian illusions, Vina is a deformed, middle aged woman. Pike sympathises with her, and asks the Talosians to give her back her illusion of beauty.

Standing alongside the Keeper, Pike watches the full illusion that is the Keeper's gift to Vina; she is apparently walking happily away with an illusion of himself keeping her company. Back aboard the Enterprise, Pike refuses to discuss what has happened, and the Enterprise leaves Talos IV.

Errors and ExplanationsEdit

The Nitpicker's Guide for Classic TrekkersEdit

Plot OversightsEdit

  1. Vina being deformed due to the Talosians not using their own form as a guide for rebuilding her. The Talosians' internal physiology could be far too dissimilar to humans to be useful. [N 10]
  2. The Talosians not using Vina's memories of her own appearance as a guide. Vina's memories could have been too jumbled to be of use, due to the pain of her injuries.

Equipment OdditiesEdit

  1. Kirk's Enterprise lacking the ability to change viewscreen setting with a wave of the hand. This could be due to a change of operating procedure, to allow greater control of viewer settings.

Nit CentralEdit

  1. Nat Hefferman on Thursday, December 10, 1998 - 11:46 am - During the first beam-down sequence, the Asian transporter technician provides a major continuty error by wearing glasses in one shot. This is the only instance I can recall of a character in Trek wearing glasses, and it's an accident! Charles Cabe (Ccabe) on Thursday, December 10, 1998 - 7:59 pm - Like Kirk, he was probably allergic to Retnax 5 (The cure for farsightedness). [N 11]
  2. Mf on Wednesday, March 03, 1999 - 10:33 am - Why does Spock have a bad limp in the first scene on Talos IV? Richie Vest on Wednesday, March 03, 1999 - 11:10 am - It was supposed to be from the attack on Rigel Seven.
  3. Brian Lombard on Wednesday, January 13, 1999 - 7:19 am - Footage from this story was incorporated into the two-part story "The Menagerie". In doing so, however, the story has been changed a little bit. For example, as this story folds, the Talosians create an illusion of Pike to stay with Vina. Then, at the end of "The Menagerie", the footage of illusion-Pike is used to represent real-Pike's return to Talos after the court-martial. But knowing that Vina's had an illusion-Pike for 13 years, did real-Pike just replace illusion-Pike? Anything's possible, especially for the Talosians!
  4. Spockania on Tuesday, January 19, 1999 - 11:32 pm - Why is an exploratory ship carrying heavy laser cannon? I suppose it might have some uses, but it seems odd. A changed premise I suppose. Certainly we never saw one again, even during the recent Dominion War when one would be useful! Johnny Veitch on Thursday, January 21, 1999 - 11:04 am - Just in case it encounters a hostile alien force on one of its exploratory missions.
  5. Spockania on Thursday, January 21, 1999 - 10:52 pm - Why do we never see a heavy laser cannon again? Even during a war! Sisco sure could have used one when he defended that captured enemy communications array. Possibly rendered obsolete by advances in personal firearm technology.
  6. Pike tells Number One that since she is the most experienced officer she must stay on board. Does this mean that she is more experienced than Captain Pike? No - she is just the most experienced officer under Pike's command.
  7. The tattered clothing of the survivors doesn't make much sense. This isn't some island on Earth where anyone may be marooned and they wouldn't know how to replace their clothes. The doctor says that the illusion showed them what they expected to see, including the tattered clothes. However, the Enterprise knows it was a research ship that crashed, and one of the illusions even states that all the men are old scientists. Are we supposed to believe that in the far future scientists won't know how to weave clothes from natural products or create artificial fabrics? There may not be enough raw material available to accomplish this.
  8. Talk about a rapidly developing society, in just over a century, in the Deep Space Nine episode The Passenger, a criminal will have disrupted the computer system of Rigel VII. I guess that barbaric looking giant is really just a computer nerd. His world's answer to Bill Gates. The society on Rigel VII may be more sophisticated than it appears.
  9. If the energy cannon is so dangerous that they have to run for cover before using it, then why are the controls mounted on the back of it? Clearly the designer felt that this would be the best place for the controls, so it should be safe, right? If it is not safe to stand next to the cannon when using it, then why not make the controls mobile, so that the user can take them behind the cover they are hiding behind? The controls probably needed to be directly connected to the cannon for safety reasons.
  10. Nove Rockhoomer on Wednesday, August 06, 2003 - 3:21 pm - Number One yelled at somebody to disengage, so they presumably have some kind of remote control, in addition to the controls on the cannon, which could be used for some pre-firing settings. What puzzles me is, why didn't Number One have the remote control? She was in charge of the operation. The main remote was probably installed aboard ship.
  11. Rene on Monday, September 04, 2000 - 8:36 pm - Why did the aliens want Pike...the writer can't seem to decide whether it was because they needed humans as slaves, whether they wanted the Tholosian race to survive or to keep the "Earth woman" company. Keith Alan Morgan (Kmorgan) on Tuesday, September 05, 2000 - 12:12 am - Maybe it was all three?
  12. Padawan on Sunday, November 19, 2000 - 3:04 am - At the end Vina is given a fake Pike. The Keeper says "She has illusion, and you have reality. May you find your way as pleasant". So in other words, the male needs to know that everything around him is real, and would not accept Vina if she wasn't, but the female can manage well with just an illusion? KAM on Sunday, November 19, 2000 - 6:15 am - Presumably Vina has been living with illusions for years and is used to them. So even if Pike had stayed she would think on some level that he is an illusion, and not reality. She stayed on Talos because she couldn't accept the reality of what she was.
  13. Nove Rockhoomer on Wednesday, August 06, 2003 - 3:21 pm - When the first landing party beams down, the transporter chief says, "There's a canyon to the left." To the left of...what? Shouldn't he be using a compass direction and a reference point? Referring to the canyon could be quicker and easier then interpreting a compass heading.
  14. NGen on Wednesday, July 21, 2004 - 3:02 pm - It's very unlikely that Vina would not return to Earth (because she is deformed from an improper "reconstruction"). If Earth can reorganise the very molecules of human beings (for the transportors), they should definitely have the technology to properly cosmetically reconstruct Vina. No they wouldn't - the transporter is specifically designed to reassemble people in the same physical configuration they were in before the transport.
  15. Another problem I have is with the concept of ESP. It's a concept that has been thoroughly debunked on Nova, Penn & Teller's Bull****, and other programs. Naturally, a story featuring ESP, or should I say the alien's thought powers, would seem less credible today. But that is probably a minor point: ESP and mental powers are an almost universally accepted concepts in science fiction. I can get over that, but it would seem to place the story more into the category of fantasy. Benn on Wednesday, July 21, 2004 - 4:05 pm - Well, it's been debunked as far as humans are concerned, sure. But does that mean that other lifeforms might not actually possess it? There's no way to completely rule out that possibility. We haven't met any extraterrestrial lifeforms to properly gauge the possibilities. ESP may be cliched, but it could still be possible (but not probable).
  16. May 15, 2018 Why are the Talosians able to shut down all the systems on the Enterprise but need to use some kind of wand to subdue Pike and then are rendered helpless in Pike's and No. 1's hands? Seniram 15:55, May 16, 2018 (UTC) Perhaps the wand is only needed to intensify the Talosian's abilities when dealing with resistant lifeforms.

Internet Movie DatabaseEdit

Errors made by characters
(possibly deliberate errors by the filmmakers)

  1. For all their intelligence and telepathic ability, the Talosians seem to have difficulty with the English language. When Pike is given a vial of liquid nourishment, the Keeper says, "If the form and the color is not appealing, it can appear as any food you wish to visualize." Shouldn't that be "...ARE not appealing"? The Keeper is referring to form and colour as separate concepts.
  2. After Pike's first awkward moment with Colt, he tells Number One that he "just can't get used to having a woman on the bridge" - with the backhanded compliment that she is "different, of course." Yet, in the scene before this one, a woman is seated at the station where Garrison reads Pike the follow-up message from Talos, and Pike doesn't seem particularly fazed by or upset about it. Yeoman Colt’s femininity is more apparent than that of Number One and the woman seated at the bridge station.


  1. The sound of The Keeper's voice constantly changes. This is because the video was put together from footage used in "The Menagerie" using Vic Perrin's voice, and 'rediscovered' footage with Malachi Throne's voice. Vic Perrin was used to dub the keeper in The Menagerie because Malachi Throne appeared in the episode in person as Commodore Mendez. Originally, the whole pilot episode used Malachi Throne's voice for the keeper. This could be part of the Keeper’s testing procedure.

Revealing mistakesEdit

  1. Wooden batons, nailed to the rock outcrop on the barren planet to allow the actors to walk up the slope are clearly visible. These could have been left by the Talosian’s ancestors.


  1. Although produced as the original pilot for Star Trek in the early 1960s, this episode was not shown in the US until 1988, when used as a filler episode in place of The Next Generation during a writers strike.
  2. Transmitted on 10 December 1988.
  3. The entry on Memory Alpha lists The Neutral Zone as the previous overall release.
  4. Transmitted on 7 January 1989.
  5. The entry on Memory Alpha lists The Child as the next overall release.
  6. According to the episode list, the provisional stardate for this episode is 2254.
  7. Thirteen years before The Menagerie, according to dialogue in the latter story.
  8. The 22nd century events featured in the Star Trek:Enterprise episode These Are the Voyages... occur inside a holodeck of the Enterprise-D, during the events of the Next Generation episode The Pegasus. (There is some speculation that, for reasons that are unclear, the historical records on which the holodeck program was based were not entirely accurate,)
  9. Before the development of Star Trek Discovery, the Original Series episode Where No Man Has Gone Before was listed as the next story.
  10. Nit Central contributor Sir Rhosis submitted an alternative explanation on Monday, January 14, 2002 - 7:52 am - Re: the Talosians putting Vina together wrong but still being able to cast perfect illusions of the aged men. Well, after the ship crashed, Vina was near death, her mind was probably on the brink of shutting down and completely dying, but the Talosians cobbled the "mass of dying flesh" together the best they could. Later, when Vina had recovered, the Talosians could then read her mind and be able to see what humans looked like. Thus they could later create perfect illusions for the Enterprise crew.
  11. It was due to this allergic reaction that Kirk wore glasses in Wrath of Khan, Search for Spock and Voyage Home.

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!