The Rewatch 7: Dagger of the Mind

Series: Star Trek (The Original Series)
Episode: 1.09 Dagger of the Mind (11-03-66)
Rating:  4.5/5
Redshirt Status: surprisingly 0/16 (not counting non-crew members)

Notable Guest Stars:

James Gregory – Dr. Tristan Adams. Gregory was a popular character actor. I recognized him from the 1963 film PT 109 which is a biopic about John F. Kennedy’s time in the service.
Morgan Woodward – Dr. Simon Van-Gelder. You may recognize him from Gunsmoke, or Dallas.
Marianna Hill – Lt. Helen Noel. She appeared in several tv series and films, including a recent one in 2016. She also appeared in several of Elvis Presley’s films.
Eddie Paskey – Lt. Leslie. Lt Leslie is the TOS version of SG-1’s Sitler. He shows up often, but somehow isn’t a main character.

Review:

This episode is interesting because it starts off with the main three at odds. The Enterprise arrives at Tantalus V, a planet that has been used as a rehab/penal colony for the federation. It is run by Dr. Adams, who has a long history of fighting for more humane treatment in prisons.

However, while they are there they get a stowaway in the form of Dr. Van-Gelder, a doctor at the facility who Adams claims expiramented on himself to bad results. Except McCoy doesn’t buy this, and tells Kirk so.

Kirk and McCoy argue it out while Spock plays mediator and finally Kirk gives in when McCoy uses procedure against him. As he investigates, Kirk gets the feeling McCoy was right.

Investigating with Kirk is Dr. Helen Noel, a person who deals with psychology and rehabilitation. She is like Kirk at the start of the episode, so to believe that something is wrong.

This episode has an interesting plot line. In this futuristic society, they have redefined prisons. There are prison colonies on other planets throughout the galaxy, and apparently at least one on Earth in New Zealand. Probably more humane than our current prison systems can be. However, there is still apparently abuse in the system, which this episode shows. TOS (And Enterprise) is good at balancing the improvements Humanity made with the fact that we aren’t perfect and still have things to improve.

Interesting Notes:

  • Written by S. Bar-David
  • Directed by Vincent McEveety
  • First occurance of the mind meld. It also is the point where you start to realise that the Vulcans are extremely private, sometimes to their detriment (I’m looking at you, Vorik)

Pros:

  • McCoy’s unwavering trust in Spock.
  • Balance of advancement and problems.

Cons:

  • Noel/Kirk elements. It just seemed strange. Like the writer couldn’t decide if Kirk would actually be the type to flirt with a coworker.
  • Why are all the guest officers Lt? Easier to say? Not wanting to confuse Lt. Commander with Commander? For that matter, why is McCoy only a LT. Commander?

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