Star Trek : The Dagger of the Mind

December 8, 2014 in Guest Blogs, Star Trek by GuestBlogs

A Guest Blog by Mindless-Droid

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This week’s classic Star trek episode is Dagger of the Mind. On a routine supply run to the Tantalus V rehabilitation colony the Enterprise beams up a container bound for Earth. What the crew doesn’t know is that one of the colonies inmates has hidden in the container. After subduing the transporter technician the inmate eludes the search for him and makes his way to the bridge. Upon arriving at the bridge the inmate in an agitated state requests asylum on the Enterprise and will stop at almost nothing to get it. Kirk and Spock quickly take control of the situation and Spock renders the inmate unconscious with the Vulcan nerve pinch.


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The inmate is taken to sick bay and he claims to be Doctor Simon Van Gelder of the Tantalus colony. Kirk contacts the colony and Doctor Adams the director of the colony confirms that it is indeed Van Gelder and that he went mad while testing a new treatment device on himself. Although seemingly insane Doctor McCoy’s medical intuition tells him that something doesn’t quite add up as Van Gelder’s rants all seem to have a bit of truth to them. Kirk decides to investigate the colony at the urging of McCoy and Spock who agrees with the doctor before returning Van Gelder to the surface.

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McCoy assigns Doctor Helen Noel the ship psychiatrist to accompany kirk in his investigation. Upon arriving Kirk and Noel meet Adams and everything seems normal. They are then introduced to one of the former inmates who has stayed on as a counselor but she seems odd almost in a trance like state. Doctor Adams then takes them on a tour of the facility. They pass by a room and Kirk inquires what it is and Adams tells them that it was the room and experiment that injured Van Gelder. Kirk asks why they are still using it and Adams says that on low intensity it has a relaxing effect on patients and Van Gelder’s mistake was using too much power. Kirk seems placated and they move on but after they leave the technician using the machine cranks up the power telling the patient that he is to forget what has just happened and that to remember will cause him great pain.

Back on the ship Van Gelder in an increasingly agitated state warns Spock and McCoy that there is danger on the planet but with each attempt to tell them more he suffers great pain. Spock determines that he may be able to reach Van Gelder’s mind with an ancient Vulcan technic the Vulcan mind meld. Spock uses the meld on Van Gelder and discovers that Adams is using the machine the Neural Neutralizer to experiment on the inmates. Spock is unable to beam down due to the colonies security shield and is forced to wait for word from Kirk.

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On the planet Kirk is suspicious of the device and he and Doctor Noel return to the room to investigate. Kirk sits in the chair as Noel takes control he asks her to only start it for a second and when she does he has no recollection of it happening. Kirk then has her make a simple suggestion to him while the beam is on and she tells him he’s hungry. After turning off the beam Kirk says he wants to raid a kitchen when they are done. It is then that Adams discovers them and takes control of the device tormenting kirk and placing in his mind that he is deeply in love with Helen.

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Back in their quarters Kirk wakes up and tells Helen he loves her she tells him that it was Adams who put that thought in his head. Kirk sends Noel into the ventilation shaft to find the main power center to turn off the shield after she is gone the guards take him for another treatment. Noel finds the power center and shuts down the power allowing Kirk to escape the device and render Adams unconscious in the room. Spock seeing that the shield is down beams down to the power center disables the shield and turns the power back on. Helen and Kirk are reunited in their cell. Spock joins them and Kirk realizes that Adams was left alone in the room when the power came back on. They discover Adams dead under the devices beam his mind emptied by it. Van Gelder is cured and sent back to the colony where he takes over and returns everything to normal and as the Enterprise leaves orbit he sends a message that the machine has been disassembled and destroyed. McCoy wonders how a person could die of loneliness having a minds emptied and Kirk tells him he would understand if he had sat in that chair.

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This was a decent episode. You have the initial mystery of who Van Gelder is and what his motivations are. The neural neutralizer was an intimidating device and quite dangerous. This is also the first time that we see Spock use the Vulcan mind meld which was portrayed exceptionally well by Leonard Nimoy. Morgan Woodward’s portrayal of the insane Van Gelder was an amazing intense performance and quite taxing on the actor himself as he went home and took a four day rest. A couple of things that didn’t quite click though was we never really got to understand what Doctor Adams motivations were in regards to experimenting with the neural neutralizer on his patients and why someone with his reputation for making rehabilitation centers more than just a prison would just snap and turn this one in to a chamber of horrors. Helen Noel was a bit to enamored by Doctor Adams she seemed to almost even worships him and she was supposed to be the expert.

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Some random thoughts on the episode. The re-mastered planet shots were once again a nice addition I always like when they throw a couple of rings around the planet. I know it’s an establishment shot but when you’re beaming stuff to a penal colony wouldn’t you know that it is shielded. As I said Woodward’s portrayal of Van Gelder was extremely intense he just looks and sounds totally insane but as McCoy points out there does seem to be a bit of truth or sanity there. I like the security guard popping out of the turbo lift while everyone was on edge although they did leave him lying there after Van Gelder knock him out as they carted Van Gelder off to sick bay. In sick bay as Van Gelder struggles to talk he looks up as if still in the room with the neural neutralizer a nice touch there. The scene in which McCoy tells Kirk that something doesn’t add up and Spock agrees is a good scene between the big three showing their trust in one another. Although a red shirt was knocked out in this episode I assume he was okay later.