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Star Trek: The Original Series episode
Episode no.Season 2
Episode 7
Directed byJoseph Pevney
Written byRobert Bloch
Featured musicGerald Fried
Cinematography byJerry Finnerman
Production code030
Original air dateOctober 27, 1967 (1967-10-27)
Guest appearances
  • Antoinette Bower - Sylvia
  • Theo Marcuse - Korob
  • Michael Barrier - Asst. Chief Engineer DeSalle
  • Eddie Paskey - Lt. Leslie
  • William Blackburn - Lt. Hadley
  • Jimmy Jones - Crewman Jackson
  • Rhodie Cogan - First Witch
  • Gail Bonney - Second Witch
  • Maryesther Denver - Third Witch
  • John Winston - Lt. Kyle
Episode chronology
← Previous
"The Doomsday Machine"
Next →
"I, Mudd"
Star Trek: The Original Series season 2
List of episodes

"Catspaw" is the seventh episode of the second season of the American science fiction television series Star Trek[1] Written by Robert Bloch and directed by Joseph Pevney, it was first broadcast October 27, 1967.[2]

The crew of the Enterprise encounter two aliens from another galaxy with magical-seeming powers. This episode was the first filmed to include series regular Pavel Chekov (Walter Koenig), although it was broadcast after several other episodes with the character had already been aired; the airing was delayed to coincide with Halloween.[3][4]


The USS Enterprise, under the command of Captain Kirk, orbits the apparently lifeless planet Pyris VII. Contact has been lost with the landing party, consisting of Chief Engineer Scott, Lt. Sulu, and Crewman Jackson. Jackson calls for transport back to the ship, but falls from the platform dead. His open mouth emits an eerie voice, telling Captain Kirk that Enterprise is cursed and must leave the planet immediately, or death will follow.

Kirk beams down with First Officer Spock and Chief Medical Officer Dr. McCoy to search for the missing crewmen, leaving Assistant Chief Engineer DeSalle in charge of Enterprise. The landing party comes upon three apparitions that appear as witches, who warn the landing team not to proceed any further. The team ignores the warnings and discovers what appears to be a medieval castle.

Entering the castle, the landing party comes upon a black cat wearing a diamond pendant. As they follow the cat, the floor collapses, and the fall knocks them unconscious. When they awaken, they find themselves held in a dungeon. Scott and Sulu soon appear, walking as if in a trance, and unlock their restraints.

Kirk and the others attempt to overpower them but suddenly find themselves in another part of the castle, with a robed man, Korob, and the black cat, whom he appears to consult for advice. Spock remarks that no life is known to exist on the planet, and Korob admits that he is not a native. The cat leaves the room, and Korob's beautiful colleague Sylvia enters, wearing a pendant identical to the cat's. As a demonstration of her power, by which she claims to have killed Jackson, Sylvia dangles a miniature model of Enterprise over a lit candle, after which the crew of the real Enterprise reports a rapid rise in hull temperature.

Kirk reluctantly surrenders and offers to cooperate. Korob then surrounds the model of the ship with a crystal prism, informing them that Enterprise has been encased in an impenetrable force field. Kirk and Spock are then led back to the dungeon.

After a while McCoy appears, in a trance, and leads Kirk back to Sylvia. Sylvia wants to experience human sensations, and appears in various feminine forms to stimulate Kirk's interest. Kirk plays along as he tries to get information. Sylvia tells Kirk that she and Korob are explorers from another galaxy, who wield their power through a device called a transmuter, which gives them control over matter. Sylvia then realizes Kirk is using her, and angrily sends him back to the dungeon. Korob comes to free Kirk and Spock, telling them that he has released their ship, and urges them to leave immediately, as he can no longer keep Sylvia under control. Sylvia, in the form of a giant cat, attacks him. Korob releases his scepter and Kirk picks it up, guessing it to be the transmuter.

Kirk tells Sylvia that he has the transmuter. He destroys it when she threatens him with a phaser. The castle disappears and Sulu, Scotty, and McCoy return to normal. Looking down, Kirk sees two tiny blue and yellow creatures, apparently Korob's and Sylvia's true forms. Unable to survive without the transmuter, the two creatures die and disintegrate.


Bloch wrote this episode, basing it on a short story of his, "Broomstick Ride" (1957) and also wrote the Star Trek episode, "What Are Little Girls Made Of?" Both mention the "Old Ones".[5] The character of Asst. Chief Engineer DeSalle previously appeared in the episodes, "The Squire of Gothos" and "This Side of Paradise" wearing a gold command shirt.[citation needed]

The cloak worn by Gilligan in "Lovey's Secret Admirer" (aired January 23, 1967) was also worn by Korob in "Catspaw" (October 27, 1967).[6]


Critical response

In 2017, H&I included "Catspaw" in a list of "eerie, disturbing and downright scary" episodes of the series. The list noted that the episode was written by Robert Bloch, writer of the famous psychological thriller Psycho.[7]

In 2020, Den of Geek ranked "Catspaw" as the 28th scariest episode of all Star Trek franchise television episodes, including later television series.[8]

In 2021, ScreenRant ranked "Catspaw" the 10th scariest episode of all Star Trek franchise television episodes, including later series.[9]


Catspaw was released on VHS on April 15, 1994, by CBS Paramount International Television.[10]

See also



  1. ^ Jason T. Eberl; Kevin S. Decker, eds. (2008). Star Trek and Philosophy: The Wrath of Kant. Popular Culture and Philosophy. Vol. 35 (1st ed.). Chicago: Open Court Publishing Company. ISBN 978-0812696493.
  2. ^ Baker 2018, p. 218.
  3. ^ "Was the Star Trek episode Catspaw originally intended as a Halloween episode or was it just coincidence?".
  4. ^ "Remembering Star Trek's Halloween Special, "Catspaw"". Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  5. ^ "Star Trek Re-Watch: "Catspaw" (Halloween Edition)". October 30, 2009.
  6. ^ "Jake Sisko's Dos and Don'ts for #NaNoWriMo".
  7. ^ "18 eerie, disturbing and downright scary Star Trek episodes". H&I. Retrieved June 5, 2019.
  8. ^ "The Scariest Star Trek Episodes". Den of Geek. October 12, 2020. Retrieved February 13, 2021.
  9. ^ "10 Scariest Episodes Of Star Trek, Ranked". ScreenRant. February 1, 2021. Retrieved February 13, 2021.
  10. ^ Catspaw. CBS Paramount International Television (VHS). Los Angeles: CBS Television Studios. April 15, 1994. ASIN 630021334X.