Thursday, January 3, 2013

TOS: The Man Trap

"The Man Trap" basically functions as the Star Trek pilot. It's the first time we meet most of the iconic TOS crew. Because of that, I feel like I have to say a lot about all of that stuff. I should say what the episode is all about and give a summary and talk about how well it was shot and how great Kirk and Bones already were. I ought to talk about how Nancy The Salt Monster was like the passenger pigeon--the last of her kind--and how poignant that was. But, this isn't a webpage for summaries or reviews.  This blog is about my experiences watching Star Trek. And, when it comes to "The Man Trap" all I really want to talk about is how amazing Nichelle Nichols is.

Uhura shines as she teasingly flirts with Spock. She lights up the already bright and blinking bridge. And, according to her, she's "just trying to start a conversation." I loved the Spock/Uhura-ship they did in 2009's Star Trek but I hadn't remembered them being romantic or flirty in the original series. I remembered they were friends. I remembered a sort of mentor relationship. Then I re-watched "The Man Trap."

Uhura: Why don't you tell me I'm an attractive young lady. Or ask me if I've ever been in love. Tell me how your planet Vulcan looks on a lazy evening when the moon is full.

Spock: Vulcan has no moon, Miss Uhura. 

Uhura: I'm not surprised, Mister Spock.

Even in an episode where Spock beats up an old lady, McCoy gets all doe-eyed and sucks at doctoring, and Yeoman Rand chats up Sulu in a room full of crazy space plants, the only thing I could really think about was Uhura and how sometimes, I wish I was more like her.

I've always been a lot like Spock, never more alone than when I'm standing in a crowded room. I feel, and have always felt, like an alien. I have a degree in Anthropology because I like to study people, but don't really understand how to be one. Uhura was different. She oozed charisma and she influenced (and continues to influence) generations of girls and women. She was inspiring. Uhura broke through racial and gender barriers when it was not only difficult, but dangerous. She was important.

Nichelle Nichols is still being engaging, inspiring, and important. She came along exactly at the right moment and was talented enough and smart enough and brave enough to weather the culture war that raged around her. And, while Nichelle Nichols is certainly unique, she isn't the last of her kind. Because she paved the way for so many others, she'll never end up like Nancy The Salt Monster. She won't be remembered as the last--but the first.


  1. shut up. you're inspiring the heck out of me right now!

    1. Awesome! Because you're always inspiring the bazoobs outta me!

  2. Well said.

    My husband and I are plowing through all the Treks for the first time. Neither one of us had ever seen the episodes before. After all the years, Nichelle Nichols is still inspiring as Uhura. I, too, want to grow up to be her.



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