6/20/12

Star Trek: Asterisk "Is There In Truth No Beauty?"

Vital Information
Series: The Original Series
Episode: S03E05
Air Date: October 18, 1968
Written by: Jean Lissette Aroeste
Directed by: Ralph Senensky

Premise
Ambassador Kollos is a member of a species that is so ugly you'll go insane if you look at him. But he still has to do his job as an ambassador, so he brings along with him Dr. Miranda Jones who is so beautiful you'll go insane if you look at her.

Review
The Enterprise picks up Kollos because he wants to go home. Kollos is a Medusan. Medusans are so different from humans physically that if a human looks at them they'll go insane. Vulcans, on the other hand, are able to look at them through the use of a special visor. So it's kind of surprising that when he beams aboard inside of his protective box, he's not escorted by a Vulcan, but rather a human: Dr. Miranda Jones. Also along with them is Larry Mavik. He was one of the designers of the Enterprise's engines. He's not important. No one cares about Larry.

When they go to Kollos' quarters, Spock sneaks a peek at Kollos out of scientific curiosity. But then Dr. Jones gets jealous. When Spock leaves, she sneaks her own peek and... nothing happens. She doesn't go insane, she just stands in front of the open box, green light flooding her face. And then she goes to dinner. Everyone in their best attire, including Scotty in a formal kilt. During the dinner they discuss the Medusans and pretty much just take turns calling Miranda beautiful and contrasting it to how ugly Kollos is. Suddenly Dr. Jones gets the distinct feeling through her telepathic powers that someone is thinking of murder. It passes, but she excuses herself anyway.
Meanwhile, the crew isn't going to let this ice cream go to waste.
Well, turns out Larry is in love with Dr. Jones. And he approaches her with the idea for what is probably the hundredth time. And she rejects him for what is probably the hundredth time. So, in a fit of jealousy, Larry runs off to kill Kollos with a hand phaser. But the idiot forgets exactly how ugly Kollos is, so when he takes aim he goes completely insane and, like all insane men, runs into engineering.

When he gets there, he acts normal and asks Scotty if he can play around with the controls. And only then does Kirk make the announcement that Larry is insane and shouldn't be trusted. Scotty tries to get him away from the controls, but it's too late. Larry flips some switches and the Enterprise is sent at full warp outside of the galaxy, past the Galactic Barrier. AGAIN.
Not this place again...
With no points of references in this place where no one has ever gone before, it's impossible for Sulu to navigate a way back home. There's just one person who might be able to do it, and that's Kollos. Kollos, however, is not able to physically navigate the ship. So the plan is for Spock to mind link with Kollos to gain all of his navigational expertise while giving Kollos the use of his physical body. But Dr. Jones objects saying that she's the better choice because she's a better telepath than any Vulcan, apparently.

That's when Bones spills all the beans all over the floor. He says that he knows Miranda thinks she can do anything a sighted person can do... but she can't... because she's blind! All this time she's been wearing a special fabric with sensors woven into it so that she can "see" through the sensors using her telepathic ability. Sensors or no, a blind person cannot pilot the starship. Spock is given the task, and they bring Kollos into the bridge.
Wait there while I change into something more ugly.
Kollos/Spock takes some time to appreciate how awesome it is to be in a physical body for a while, but eventually gets around to saving the ship. But things go awry when Kollos forgets to put on his protective glasses before transferring back to his box. So when he's gone, Spock is staring directly at him and goes crazy. He rampages through the bridge in a fish-eyed frenzy until Kirk stuns him with a phaser. In sick bay, Miranda uses her telepathic powers to bring Spock back into reality. At first she doesn't want to out of jealousy, but Kirk persuades her to do it, and she gains the ability to link with Kollos in the process.

Overall Thoughts
I have a slight problem with the idea of something being so ugly that it'll drive you mad. It's just a little too far fetched for me. Kinda like the idea of a body walking around without a brain. I'm beginning to see why season 3 became Star Trek's last. Then again, this episode had some great ideas about truth, beauty and jealousy. I just wish the Medussans were developed a little better.