It’s all in the mind, or rather in the plot. Originally Broadcast on November 3, 1966 this is Dagger of the Mind.
Captain’s Log Stardate 2715.1
After mistakenly beaming up an inmate to the Tantalus Penal Colony Kirk is asked by the inmate, who identifies himself as Simon Van Gelder, for Asylum aboard the Enterprise. Identifying the man as an associate of the the Penal Colony’s administrator, Dr Adams, Kirk and Dr Helen Noel visit the colony to determine what is going on. There they learn that Van Gelder may have damaged his own mind using a device used in therapy, however it seems something nefarious is up. It seems that Dr Adams has been using the device to give people suggestions and, after Kirk is tortured with it, Dr. Noel escapes and manages to contact Enterprise for assistance. Dr Noel is soon able to take over the power grid and, Dr Adams mistakenly exposes himself to the neutralizer after a fight with Kirk, wiping the Doctor’s memories, leaving only a blank slate. Van Gelder is cured and returned to the Asylum to resume his duties while Enterprise continues on it’s journey of exploration.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
This one is a pretty run-of-the-mill ‘mystery’ episode where it is very obvious what is going on from the get go. It is very clear that Simon Van Gelder is a victims of the asylum in some way so why it takes so long for them to get to the bottom of it is rather frustrating. In fact, Kirk beaming down without a security detail or even some of his key bridge crew is just as frustrating considering the fact that they believe something bad is happening on the Penal Colony. I mean, why risk it right?
All that aside, this is a very slow paced and frustratingly obvious episode that could have been so much better. I imagine if this had been revisited on STNG or one of the other new shows, they would have had crewmembers vanishing and make this story more of a mystery with Dr, Adams being much less suspicious from the get go. If anything, Kirk seems a little too trusting of Dr Adams with Helen Noel reinforcing this blind trust. Then he EXPOSES himself to the very device that might be dangerous?! Seriously? Sometimes I wonder how it is Kirk has managed to stay alive this long. Personally, this is not a the best example of a Star Trek episode and, if you are just hitting the highlights, you can skip it.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
- Red Shirt Deaths: 0:2
- This episode features the first use of the Vulcan Mind Meld that Spock claims is a ‘personal’ thing.
- We never see Dr Helen Noel again, despite the fact that there is a serious relationship between her and Kirk.
Thanks for reading the Retro TV Review, I look forward to discussing the rest of the series with you, one episode at a time every Monday, Wednesday and Friday! Next Review: Miri
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Late To The Game 12/24/2021
Special Thanks to Memory Alpha as they are one of the best sources for details on Star Trek information available. Although I have a pretty deep knowledge on the subject, they have proven invaluable as a regular resource.
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