Lion of the Blogosphere

Star Trek TOS, season 1: Dagger of the Mind

If there’s a message to this episode, it’s the same as What are Little Girls Made Of. In that episode, Roger Korby’s request to beam down alone sounds fishy, but Kirk’s attitude is that Korby is a famous scientist, everyone knows how awesome he is, so of course we can trust him.

In this episode, the situation down on the prison planet also seems fishy, but Kirk’s attitude is that Doctor Adams is a famous criminal psychiatrist, everyone knows how awesome he is, so of course we can trust him.

In both episodes they turn out to be mad scientists (or a mad scientist robot in the case of Korby), so the lesson is that you shouldn’t be star-struck like Kirk and blindly trust in someone because he’s a famous authority figure.

This episode doesn’t get any deeper than that, but I enjoyed it a lot more than I expected I would, it’s the most underrated episode that I watched since Charlie X. And what makes this episode most enjoyable is the guest actress who plays Helen Noel, a psychiatrist that McCoy assigns to Kirk to help him investigate the prison planet. The actress who pays her is 24 years old and she’s the best looking Star Trek babe since Vina from the original pilot episode. She’s almost as pretty as Vina but comes off as a lot sexier. Helen’s skirt is so short that if it were any shorter it wouldn’t be there at all.

In addition to being a babe, unlike babes in previous Star Trek episodes, she’s actually useful when she needs to be. Although initially even more star-struck than Kirk, once she realizes that Adams is an evil mad scientist and they are in big trouble, then all by herself she crawls through the air ducts, turns off the electricity so that the force field comes down and Spock can send a rescue party, and even shoves a prison guard into the electrical circuits, electrocuting him.

Kirk and Helen are great together. There’s a backstory about a drunken one-night-stand after a Christmas Party. Or maybe it didn’t actually happen that way, there’s some doubt about what actually happened. And at the end, Spock comes in and interrupts a smoldering kiss. (They still have Christmas parties in the future? I thought that there was no more religious believe in the future. Why not a Zefram Cochrane Day party instead of a Christmas party?)

The guest star who plays the guy who escaped from the prison planet (who was actually a victim of mad scientist Doctor Adams and not a criminal) did a good job of playing a crazy guy, overacting forgiven.

This episode is the first time we see a Vulcan mind meld.

A fun episode, very well paced for a TOS episode, recommended.

* * *

Why is the Enterprise, a military vessel with a crew of 400+, bringing a few boxes of supplies to a prison planet? Don’t they have much less expensive cargo ships for that kind of stuff? It’s interesting that episode after episode, they can’t think of sensible reasons for why the Enterprise is warping around the galaxy.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

August 10, 2018 at EST am

Posted in Star Trek

9 Responses

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  1. Helen Noel has a spectacular figure. She’s positively bursting out of her Starfleet uniform.

    Oswald Spengler

    August 10, 2018 at EST pm

    • The actress was Fredo’s wife in The Godfather: Part II.

      Jokah Macpherson

      August 10, 2018 at EST pm

  2. I’ve not seen the episode in ages, but didn’t Noel implant that memory of the Christmas Party hook up into Kirk? It didn’t actually happen?

    Mike Street Station

    August 10, 2018 at EST pm

    • She implanted a memory that something better happened at the Christmas party than what actually happened, but it’s not really clear exactly what happened except that Kirk is strangely uncomfortable about it.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      August 10, 2018 at EST pm

  3. [Helen’s skirt is so short that if it were any shorter it wouldn’t be there at all.]

    It’s a ‘skort’ (shorts with flaps resembling a skirt sewn over). This is clearly seen when she kicks the dude in the power supply room.

    I think you missed the point of this episode. It’s a commentary on the practice of lobotomies which were still done in the 1960s, even on children. Adams is probably meant to represent Walter Freeman, the ‘father’ of lobotomies.

    The insignia on the penitentiary worker uniforms resembles the rising sun insignia of the ananda marga cult, but this is probably a coincidence.

    toomanymice

    August 10, 2018 at EST pm

  4. Isn’t tos Enterprise supposed to be on a 5 year exploratory mission? That means there’s even less reason they would be anywhere that’s settled by humans or other known species.

    Greg Pandatshang

    August 10, 2018 at EST pm

  5. Did you notice van gelder is described as ‘early 40s’ but looks at least 60?

    Why would an evil genius have such poorly designed central air conditioning? Perhaps yakov could lend some HVAC insight.

    toomanymice

    August 11, 2018 at EST pm

    • “Why is the Enterprise, a military vessel with a crew of 400+, bringing a few boxes of supplies to a prison planet? Don’t they have much less expensive cargo ships for that kind of stuff? It’s interesting that episode after episode, they can’t think of sensible reasons for why the Enterprise is warping around the galaxy.”

      It’s because the Enterprise crew has to have an excuse to encounter other people, whether Federation citizens, enemies like the Klingons and Romulans, or other alien races. Encountering others provokes dramatic tension.. When Star Trek depicted missions involving pure scientific research, the Federation crews were often depicted as bored almost apathetic. For example, at the start of ST:VI The Undiscovered Country, the USS Excelsior is shown to be conducting a three year mission of cataloguing of gaseous anomalies. The Excelsior’s crew seems to be bored by the tedious assignment. Then BOOM…the tension level goes through the roof as the Klingon homeworld’s moon Praxis explodes and the movie really gets underway.

      Oswald Spengler

      August 11, 2018 at EST pm

  6. […] sort of blind trust that failed Kirk previously in the episodes What Are Little Girls Made Of and Dagger of the Mind. Why doesn’t anyone ever learn from the mistakes of previous episodes? If someone you think you […]


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