"I weary of the chase. Wait for me. I shall be merciful, and quick."
Series Star Trek
Season 1, Episode 18
TOS 1x19 001
Air date January 19th, 1967
Writers Gene L. Coon; Fredric Brown
Director Joseph Pevney
Producers Gene L. Coon; Robert H. Justman; Herbert F. Solow; Gene Roddenberry
Starring William Shatner; Leonard Nimoy; DeForest Kelley
Episode guide
"The Squire of Gothos"
"Tomorrow is Yesterday"

"Arena" is the eighteenth episode of season one of Star Trek and first aired on January 19th, 1967. It was first commercially released in Betamax format in the United States in 1985. It was released in VHS format in 1994 and was first pressed to DVD in 2000. The episode has been included on disc 5 of the Star Trek: The Complete Series season one DVD collection, disc six of the HD-DVD collection and disc 5 of the season one Blu-ray collection.

Synopsis Edit

Stardate: 3045.6

TOS 1x19 005

Ensign O'Herlihy

The crew of the USS Enterprise make way for an Earth outpost station on Cestus III where they intend on attending an informal meeting with Commodore Travers - a man known for his hospitality. Travers makes a request of Captain Kirk to bring along his tactical crew. A team of six men beam down to the planet, but when they arrive, they find the outpost in smoldering ruins. Kirk finds a survivor suffering from bad radiation burns. Spock takes a reading and picks up traces of alien life sign. Suddenly, a weapon is discharged and Ensign O'Herlihy is atomized. Bombs begin exploding all around them. Kirk contacts the Enterprise and tells Sulu to get a lock on the attacker and return fire. Sulu opens the phaser banks, but is unable to damage the ship bombing the outpost. Meanwhile, the bombs continue to drop. Kirk tells Sulu to do anything to protect the ship, including moving out of the planet's orbit, outside of transporter range.

Kirk, Spock and tactical officer Kelowitz set up a grenade launcher and begin firing back at the invisible enemy. Within minutes, the bombing ceases. Kirk radios to Sulu who tells him that the alien vessel is retreating from the area. Kirk orders him to send a medical party down to Cestus III and beam the away team back up. Afterward, he orders him to pursue the alien ship.

Kirk takes a statement from Lieutenant Brent, the last known survivor from Cestus III. Brent doesn't understand why the aliens attacked, but he certifies that the bombing began a full day before the Enterprise crew received their invitation to come to Cestus III. Kirk determines that the so-called communiqué from Commodore Travers was a trap.

TOS 1x19 004

The Gorn Captain

Driven by a desire for revenge, Kirk orders the Enterprise to maintain a tight pursuit of the fleeing alien vessel. He pushes the ship to Warp Seven then Warp Eight - speeds that are much too dangerous for sustained travel. As they approach the fleeing ship, they find that it has stopped dead in its tracks. Moments later, the Enterprise likewise comes to a violent halt. All weapons systems are suddenly inoperable. A voice comes over the com channel identifying itself as a member of a race of highly evolved beings known as Metrons. The Metron admonishes Kirk as well as the crew of the ship he had been pursuing (which he identified as belonging to a race of aliens known as the Gorn) for their violent actions. As punishment, the Metron decides that the captains of both ships shall settle their differences in a battle to the death.

Automatically, both Kirk and the captain of the Gorn ship are teleported to the surface of Cestus III. They have no weapons, but are provided with personal recorders should they choose to log their final thoughts. Kirk knows that the only way to satisfy the Metrons is to kill the Gorn, which would also satisfy Kirk's own need for vengeance.

The Gorn captain is a large, muscular reptilian man who is several times stronger than Kirk. Kirk however, possesses greater speed and agility and uses that to evade the Gorn's blows. Trying to keep abreast of his opponent, Kirk takes the high ground and begins pitching heavy rocks at the creature. The Gorn stumbles, but presses onward.

Eventually, Kirk realizes that the way he can win is if he can somehow fashion a weapon for himself. He finds several mineral deposits located throughout the valley and divines away to combine them to make gunpowder. He then creates a rudimentary bazooka out of a hollowed out tree limb and fires the gunpowder mixture at the Gorn, knocking him down. The Gorn is bleeding and in critical shape, but is still alive. Despite his desire to avenge the deaths of those the Gorn had murdered, he refuses to take the life of an injured adversary.

At this point, a representative of the Metrons appears before kirk wrapped inside a halo of light. The Metron is impressed with Kirk's display of mercy and professes that perhaps their is hope for humanity after all. He teleports Kirk and the Gorn back to their respective ships and they each leave the area.

Cast Edit

Starring Edit

Actor Role
William Shatner Captain James T. Kirk
Leonard Nimoy Science Officer Spock

Featuring Edit

Actor Role
DeForest Kelley Leonard "Bones" McCoy
George Takei Ensign Hikaru Sulu
James Doohan Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott
Nichelle Nichols Lieutenant Nyota Uhura
Jerry Ayres O'Herlihy
Grant Woods Kelowitz
Tom Troupe Lt. Harold
James Farley Lang
Carole Shelyne Metron
Sean Kenney DePaul

Notes & Trivia Edit

  • Takes place in the year 2267.
  • This is the first episode of the series directed by Joseph Pevney.
  • The captain of the Gorn ship is later identified by the name S'Slee. His race are part of an organization known as the Gorn Hegemony. [1]
  • The scene at Vasquez Rocks State Park was also used for a scene involving Billy the Kid in the Old West in the "Bully and Billy" episode of Voyagers! in 1982.

Bloopers Edit

  • When Kirk, Spock and Kelowitz are readying their grenade launcher on Cestus III, the shadow of a crew member can be seen passing over them on the left hand side of the screen.
  • When Kirk is beamed back aboard the Enterprise, he is cleaned up and missing his belt as well as the recording device the Metrons gave to him.

See also Edit


The World of Star Trek

Star Trek miscellaneous

External Links Edit

Series links Edit

Episode links Edit

References Edit