2/20/12

Star Trek: Asterisk "Dagger of the Mind"

Vital Information
Series: The Original Series
Episode: S01E09
Air Date: November 3, 1966
Written by: S. Bar-David
Directed by: Vincent McEveety

Premise
After sending some supplies to a penal colony, an escaped patient warns Kirk of a deadly mach- wait, holdon... there's a hot doctor on my screen...

Review
It starts off as a routine mission to bring supplies to Tantalus Penal Colony, but when Dr. Simon Van Gelder gets on board by hiding inside of a box, concern starts to be raised about the treatment of prisoners sent to this place. It is, perhaps, important to note that Bones raises the first concern, noting, before Van Gelder even gets on board, that "a box is a box" and, basically, all prisons are medieval torture chambers. Kirk argues that most prisons are more like resorts now-a-days. So, in the future, we don't punish criminals, we feed them shrimp cocktails and reserve pool-side seats for them.

Only, on this resort, the air conditioning has gone out. Which would explain Dr. Van Gelder's sweaty appearance. After an examination, Bones convinces Kirk that he needs to look over the Tantalus colony because something isn't right. Bones has observed Dr. Van Gelder experiencing tremendous amounts of pain when he only tries to remember something. Well, Kirk hesitates, but, in order to fill out a proper report, he decides it's going to be necessary, so he tells Bones to line up the best expert in the psychiatric field to help him.
Yes, Bones knows what Kirk likes.
Dr. Helen Noel is a psychiatrist with a background in rehabilitative therapy and, apparently, made out with Kirk at the last Christmas party. So, ya know... awkward feelings all around. And it doesn't really help when, as soon as they get onto the planet, they are shot down an incredibly fast elevator and end up falling in each other's arms.

When they meet with the administrator, Dr. Adams, he seems open and honest about everything that had been going on at the colony. He admits that Van Gelder was affected by a neural neutralizer, a device that he says has been a failed experiment on several test cases, but one that Dr. Van Gelder felt the need to test on himself.

Back on the ship, however, Spock and Bones are still trying to decipher what Van Gelder is trying to actually tell them. Spock decides that the only way to proceed is through a Vulcan mind meld. Through this meld, Spock discovers that Dr. Adam is experimenting with the neural neutralizer on many patients including his former assistant, Van Gelder. So Kirk and Dr. Noel go on to test this device. Kirk gets in the chair and Dr. Noel operates it. And how does she test it? By suggesting that Kirk live out one of her sexual fantasies.
"And then you whisked me away to your pirate ship!"
In the middle of probably the best action Kirk was going to get that day, Dr. Adams comes in, captures Dr. Noel and takes charge of the neural neutralizer. He tortures Kirk with it for a while and then sends him and Noel into private quarters. There, Kirk asks Dr. Noel to crawl through an air duct so he can stare at her butt she can get to the power controls. In the meantime, Dr. Adams takes Kirk back for another "treatment".

While Kirk is back on the chair, Noel switches off the power. Kirk gets up from the chair and fights with Dr. Adams while the power is out. Meanwhile, Spock is able to beam down with a security team. After Kirk knocks out Dr. Adams, a penal colony security officer is able to get past Dr. Noel and turn the power back on while Dr. Adams is laying in the chair. By the time Kirk, Sock and Noel find their way back to him, he had died. Died of a completely emptied mind.
...

Overall Thoughts
The moral of this story seems to be clear: The mind is a terrible thing to waste. Also, one should never have complete control over someone else's thoughts. It's a violation and immoral and could possibly lead to death. But, really, what I think we all learned through it all is that uniform designers in the 23rd century were gifts sent from God.