Star Trek TOS – Episode 9 – Dagger of the Mind [Remastered]

I’m up way too early on a Sunday morning…

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An escaped mental patient is on the Enterprise. Captain Kirk investigates with Dr. McHotty. They scramble his brains. He falls in love.

Click the picture for a full summary from the database.


An extremely large bottle ‘o drugs is bring transported to the “Tantalus Penal Colony”. Heh heh. It says “penal”. (If you haven’t figured it out by now, I have the mind of a twelve-year-old boy.) I thought that it was cool how the transporter refused to work because of a forcefield around the penal colony. Nice added touch. Also:

KIRK: Any incoming cargo?
BERKELEY: Just one item, sir. Some research material bound for the Central Bureau of Penology at Stockholm.

OH MY GOD. Is penology really a word? I’m going to find a way to use it in my everyday vocabulary from now on. Thank you, Star Trek, for this educational opportunity.

They beam up a box:

Fra-gee-lay... It must be Italian!

And of course, there’s a crazy dude in the box. A very silent crazy ninja dude. Or maybe the transporter operator couldn’t hear him over the background music. Crazy dude karate chops transporter dude, and…

Credits. Goddamnit.

On the bridge:

KIRK: I would like to have met Dr. Adams. Have you ever been to a penal colony since they started following his theories?
MCCOY: A cage is a cage, Jim.
KIRK: You’re behind the times, Bones. They’re more like resort colonies now.

Oh, like celebrity rehab centers?

They get a hail from the penal colony telling them that they lost one of their people. Crazy dude has some serious savant ninja skills. He gets to the bridge in record time. He’s asking for asylum. At the same time, he’s obviously batshit insane. This dude might be a ninja, but he’s no match for the Vulcan Neck Pinch™!

Back in sickbay, he’s trying to explain who he is, but he’s obviously had his brains scrambled a bit. Spock finds out, though, that the guy is who he says he is. He’s Dr. Van Gelder, and was the assistant to the director of the Tantalus colony, Dr. Adams. McCoy thinks there’s some funny business going on, and pushes Kirk into making an investigation into the colony.

We see Kirk dictating his Captain’s log on the bridge. Considering that you can use a digital recorder nowadays that’s the size of my finger, the huge cassette recorder he’s talking into is so goofy looking. Oh 1960s, you are so quaint.

MCCOY: Oh, I’m assigning your technical aide, Captain. One of our psychiatrists does have a background in rehabilitative therapy. Dr. Noel, standing by in the transporter room now.

YOWZA. I wonder if McCoy actually wants Kirk to get any work done. She looks a bit like Geena Davis, I think. And her dress is really short. It seems that they’ve met before, at the company Christmas party. Kirk is a bit pissed at McCoy’s game:

SPOCK: Problem, Captain?
KIRK: Mr. Spock, you tell McCoy that she had better check out as the best assistant I ever had.

They beam down to the planet’s surface:

KIRK: In here, I presume, Dr.
NOEL: Perhaps it would be simpler if you called me Helen, Captain, since…
KIRK: This is another time, another place, and another situation.
NOEL: Of course, Captain.

HEY-OH! Sounds like someone had fun at the Christmas party.

Dr. Adams introduces them to Lethe, a former patient turned therapist. She’s even more robotic than Andrea was. Completely vacant.

Crazy-ass Dr. Van Gelder starts screaming about the neural neutralizer. Oh look, that’s what Kirk is checking out on the planet. Dr. Adams passes it off as a simple tranquilizing treatment, but it’s obviously a hypnotizing beam. Crazy Dr. Van Gelder freaks out, telling them that if Kirk and Dr. Noel stay on the planet, they are in big trouble.

Spock prepares for our first Vulcan mind-mend and… my internet goes out. Really? It’s 1:30 AM and I’d like to get some sleep sometime.

Fast forward… Spock mind-melds with crazy Van Gelder. Dr. Noel and Kirk, still on the planet, argue about Dr. Adams’ machine, and decide to go check it out for themselves. Whatever Dr. Noel suggests, Kirk thinks is true. She suggests to him that they did a bit more on Christmas than they really did, and he begins to believe it. Dr. Adams barges in:

ADAMS: Now Captain Kirk is going to have a complete demonstration. I want there to be no doubts whatsoever in his mind. Mmm. You’re madly in love with Helen, Captain. You’d lie, cheat, steal for her, sacrifice your career, your reputation.

He makes it painful for Kirk to even think about disobeying his direct orders. This is your brain on drugs, kids.

Aptly enough, there’s an anti-smoking commercial. Good job, CBS.

Noel tries reasoning with Kirk, but he believes that he’s madly in love with her. They try to form a plan to escape. Dr. Adams’ people take Kirk back for more “treatments”, while Noel crawls through the vents to get to the power supply. She cuts the power, but a guard catches her and turns the power on. She pushes him into the high voltage wires and he goes all sparky. Is it me, or is the original series way more violent than the ones that come after it? Usually it’s all about shooting people with phasers, clean and simple, but I’ve seen more blood and horrible ways to die on this show than I ever saw on, say, Voyager. (I think yesterday’s “bonk bonk” kid got to me.)

Spock beams down, sees that the power has been cut, and he turns it back on. Conveniently enough, Dr. Adams is now the one below the beam, and it’s set to full power. Kirk finds Noel in the air conditioning vent, and kisses her passionately. Spock walks in, of course. Vulcans are like C-3PO. It’s like they know. Tuvok does that all the time on Voyager.

They run to the treatment room to find Dr. Adams dead, his brain totally fried.

The Enterprise leaves Tantalus V, leaving a cured Dr. Van Gelder in charge. Dark ending.


…? Don’t be a crazy person?


It was an OK episode. I’ll give it the rating of Lieutenant JG.  1.5 out of 4 pips. It seemed like it was more of a reason to get Kirk alone with a woman than anything else. Plus, I didn’t feel like there was any real danger to the Captain or crew. It didn’t “wow” me, but I didn’t hate it either.


Until tomorrow,

Captain Painway

The <i>Enterprise</i> receives an SOS. They follow it to a planet that is a duplicate Earth. Hey look, it’s North America. Hey, it’s Florida! I can see my house from here!

Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Rand, and two Red Shirts beam down to the surface to a 1960s ghost town. Is that what 1960 looked like? I see no hippies…

Kirk pulls a damaged <a href=”; target=”_blank”>Kwanzaa tricycle</a> out of a pile of rubble and hands it to Spock. Spock looks less than pleased. He hands it to McCoy, who holds it like a guitar. McCoy… you’re doing it wrong.

Some crazy dude comes running out of the building and attacks McCoy for touching his tricycle. Kirk gives him the beat-down. The poor dude’s face is really, really messed up. The guy dies while rambling like a lunatic.

They hear footsteps running away and chase after whoever it is. Because it’s always wise to go running <i>towards</i> trouble. They find a girl hiding in a closet. She’s hysterical, afraid that they’re going to hurt her. She explains to them that all of the adults got sick and died, and only children are left.

<blockquote>KIRK: What’s your name?
MIRI: Miri.
KIRK: Miri. A pretty name for a pretty young woman.
MIRI: Pretty?
KIRK: Very pretty. </blockquote>

I know that he’s just trying to put her at ease but, damn Kirk, she looks like she’s twelve. Ease up.


Spock and the Red Shirts are searching outside. They hear creepy kids chanting louder and louder. Holy hell, this is freaky.

Kirk realizes that he’s beginning to get blue splotches on his skin, as is everyone else in the landing party except Spock.

<blockquote>KIRK: Bones, why do you think the symptoms haven’t appeared in Mr. Spock?
MCCOY: I don’t know. Probably the little bugs or whatever they are have no appetite for green blood.
SPOCK: Being a red-blooded human obviously has its disadvantages.</blockquote>

They find some papers on what might have caused the illness. They were trying to live longer, but ended up killing everyone who wasn’t a child. Even weirder, all of the adults died over 300 years before, so how come the children are still around. Even more disturbing:

<blockquote>RAND: One thing, Captain. If she were a wild animal ever since she’s been a little girl, how do you explain that she wants to stay with us?
KIRK: Loneliness? I don’t know, curiosity? I think children have an instinctive need for adults. They want to be told right and wrong.
SPOCK: There may be other emotions at work in this case, Captain.
MCCOY: She likes you, Jim.
SPOCK: She’s becoming a woman.</blockquote>



They come to realize that the children age only one month for every century that passes, meaning that Miri is over 300 years old. Kirk takes Miri with him to find the other children. As they leave, Rand is horrified:

<blockquote>RAND: That little girl…
SPOCK: Is at least three hundred years older than you are, Yeoman. Think about it. </blockquote>

Rand has a look on her face somewhere between jealousy and disgust. I hear ya, sister. Technically, it isn’t wrong, but it’s goddamn skeevy.

The kids are having a meeting when they see Kirk and Miri outside. They hide, and a girl who has the disease jumps on Kirk. He stuns her, but she dies. Miri is terrified, knowing that the girl was just a little bit older than she was. Spock calculates that, while Miri has five or six weeks left to live, the landing party only has a week.

As they’re trying to figure out a cure, they hear the creepy kids outside. As they run out of the building, one of the kids sneaks in and steals all of their communicators. They start to get angrier and angrier at each other. Rand gets upset. Kirk runs after her. Miri runs after him. She sees Kirk comforting Rand, and you can see her little tween heart break.

Miri goes to the other children and they plan to kidnap Rand to slow them down on their research. Not only that, but Miri is obviously jealous, and wants to get rid of her.

<blockquote>JAHN: But Grups, they know things and all that. You know, I bet they’ll be able to do it with one person less.
MIRI: Not one, two. Because he’ll try to find her.
RED HEAD BOY: Who? Who will, Miri?
MIRI: The Captain. He’ll try to find her, but he won’t. Mister Lovey-dovey.
RED HEAD BOY: Lovey-dovey. Bonk bonk on the head. Bonk bonk! bonk bonk!
CHILDREN: Bonk bonk! Bonk bonk! </blockquote>

Ho-ly shit. That is some scary stuff right there. Little dude with a hammer yelling “bonk bonk on the head”? That is so messed up.

Back from the commercial break, everybody is going crazy, Rand is gone, they might have the cure but they can’t test it without the communicators, and Miri is being a stubborn little bitch. Kirk reasons with her, and shows her that she’s getting the disease. She freaks out.

The kids have Rand hostage. Creepy little bastards. Miri shows up, and she brings Kirk with her to talk to them. They are being horrible little assholes. “Bonk bonk” kid is driving me insane. The next time someone’s kid is screaming in a movie theater, I’ll just remember “bonk bonk” kid. Maybe I’ll want to strangle them a bit less. And why does the leader, the kid named Jahn, sound really drunk all of the time? Plus, he looks like he’s 18. <i>This episode is so frustrating.</i>

A kid comes up behind Kirk with a a club. They begin chanting “nyah, nyah, nyah”. Soooo creepy. “Bonk bonk” boy begins beating Kirk and the others join in. One little girl stands over the group of kids, smiling as they hit Kirk with clubs and hammers.

That’s it. I’m officially having nightmares tonight.

Kirk, bleeding, breaks away. He shows them what has happened to him. What will eventually happen to them. “Bonk bonk” kid starts up again. Kirk throws him off of the desk he’s standing on, and shows them how savage they’ve become. Finally, they listen.

McCoy, not willing to wait any longer, injects himself with the potential cure without testing it. He collapses, unconscious, but the blue blotches start fading rapidly.

Back, on the <i>Enterprise</i> everybody has been treated and is back to work as usual. Now that the disease has been eradicated, “Space Central” (er, Starfleet?) is sending teachers and other adults to supervise and educate the children.

<blockquote>RAND: Miri. She really loved you, you know.
KIRK: Yes. I never get involved with older women, Yeoman.</blockquote>


The End.


2 Responses to Star Trek TOS – Episode 9 – Dagger of the Mind [Remastered]

  1. Ah, Dr. Noel! Star Trek was puberty’s best friend!!!

  2. Steve says:

    I never really enjoyed this one either… a lot like Miri for me… people going mad, a lot of yelling, not a lot of adventure. As well Dr. Noel always felt out of left field – she was supposed to be Yeoman Rand… but we all know how she worked out on the show (unfortunate really – that would of made for a great episode and explained all the tension between those two characters).

    This episode also featured the first mind meld which was certainly inspired (it was Nimoy’s idea) – as originally written it was just to be a questioning/interrogation sequence – which would of been painfully dull in an already lacklustre episode. By the “Devil in the Dark,” Nimoy has it down to a science.

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