The Great Star Trek TAS Rewatch: The Time Trap

the council of aliens in Elysia the council of aliens in Elysia

The Enterprise is tasked with investigating the Delta Triangle, a region of space where many starships have mysteriously disappeared. However, when the ship comes under fire from the Klingons, the crew have no choice but to fly directly into the triangle themselves. They end up ensnared in a pocket universe inhabited by the crews of all the ships that disappeared before them – and with little hope of ever getting out.

Even though I didn’t particularly remember this episode from the last time I watched it, within the first couple of minutes I could already feel a sense of creeping ennui. As soon as we hear about the Delta Triangle, we know exactly how this episode is going to play out – all we have to do is sit through it.

As with so many other TAS episodes, the short runtime works against any attempt at plot development. There’s a society of disparate aliens living in the pocket universe, but we have far too little time to properly develop them as characters. There’s a Klingon plot to double-cross the Enterprise, but again this has to be unceremoniously packed into the last ten minutes. Obviously we already know that the Enterprise will come through this unscathed, but the story proceeds too quickly for even the pretence of jeopardy.

Spock gets chummy with the Klingons

Spock getting uncharacteristically chummy with the Klingons. Naturally, he has an ulterior motive and is just acting Completely Naturally so as not to raise suspicion.

I have a feeling that I’ll be typing this sentence a few more times before we get to the end of this rewatch, but The Time Trap really typifies The Animated Series. It’s not outright awful, it’s just incredibly dull and average.

Spock's equations

Even my physics PhD can’t help me to decipher Spock’s equation.

Other notes

  • This episode sees the return of the Klingon Kor, who appeared in both TOS and DS9.
  • Among the aliens trapped in the Delta Triangle are an Orion, a Tellarite, a Gorn, Vulcans, an Andorian, and a Phylosian.

Summary – The Time Trap: Don’t fall into the trap of wasting your time on this.

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