Breakout performance by Morgan Woodward
Cseeley6 | Texas | 03/11/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Dagger of the Mind
After exchanging cargo with the penal colony on planet Tantalus Five the Enterprise unknowingly takes onboard an inmate who was hiding inside one of the crates beamed up from the planet. The colony contacts the Enterprise to warn them of the escape and that the inmate is an extremely violent and dangerous case. Kirk orders a security alert and the search begins for an intruder that proves to be more than a match for the Enterprise's security detachment. The intruder who makes his way to the bridge holds the command crew at gun point identifying himself as Simon Van Gelder. He asks for asylum and not to be taken back to Tantalus and threatens to disable the ship by destroying crucial operating controls if his demands aren't met. Kirk and Spock are able to subdue Van Gelder, and the ship is ordered back to Tantalus.
In the sick bay Van Gelder struggles to tell Kirk and McCoy about his horrific ordeal. Each word that Van Gelder attempts to speak seems to cause him immense pain. Checking the library tapes Spock learns that Simon Van Gelder is actually Dr. Simon Van Gelder and that he was assigned to the colony six months prior. Contacting the colony, Kirk talks to Dr. Tristan Adams the leader of the Tantalus Penal Colony who tells Kirk that Van Gelder's injuries occurred after he tried an experimental beam on himself. McCoy after having examined Van Gelder has his doubts about Adams's story. Following regulations meant that Kirk would have to file a report and therefore investigate the matter personally. McCoy assigns Dr. Helen Noel from the ship's Psychiatry Department to assist Kirk in determining if there was anything going wrong at the colony. Upon beaming down to the surface and after a stomach churning elevator ride straight down Kirk and Noel are greeted by Dr. Adams. Everything seems to be in order, as Adams takes the duo on a guided tour of the facility. On the tour Kirk visits where Van Gelder's accident took place, a room where the experimental beam called a neural neutralizer was kept. Adams told Kirk and Noel the equipment was an experiment that went wrong and that it was only used in the more severe cases in the hope that it would do some good. The equipment was in use and the technician at the controls gave Kirk a quick tutorial on its operation. The operator controls the intensity of a beam which is directly over the subject who is seated in a chair. The operator places suggestions into the patient's mind via a microphone and these suggestions with help from the intensity of the beam help cure the patient.
Van Gelder warns Spock and McCoy about the neural neutralizer, despite the warnings Kirk decides to stay overnight to continue the investigation. Spock decides to use an ancient Vulcan mind technique on Simon Van Gelder to reach into the doctor's tortured mind. The Enterprise Captain, puzzled about the blankness of the people he had met during his tour and his growing suspicions about Adams himself prompt Kirk to want to take another look at the site of Van Gelder's accident. Using the Vulcan mind technique Spock learns about what Dr. Adams did to Van Gelder. Kirk and Noel make it to the neural neutralizer room and decide to experiment with the device. With Noel at the controls and Kirk in the chair as the "test subject" they learn that it is an extremely effect device. Adams and his henchman "interrupt" their experiment and conduct an experiment of their own. Dr. Adams uses the beam to bend Kirk to his will and suggest that he can't live without Helen Noel a woman with whom Kirk had a brief affair with in the past. Adams tortures Kirk and makes him turn over his phaser and communicator. Kirk tries to resist but the beam, pain and Adams's suggestions are too strong.
Back in their quarters Kirk and Noel plan their escape. Exiting the room via the air ducts Kirk orders Noel to find the power source and short circuit the planet's security screen, a screen that when in operation prevents beaming. Adams continues to torture Kirk with the device and upon learning that Noel had escaped increases the beams intensity to learn where she was at, and with what instructions she had been given. On board the Enterprise Spock attempts to break through the security screen using different transporter frequencies with no success. Noel makes her way to the reactor room, and after kicking a guard into some live circuits temporarily knocks out the planetary security screen as well as several power systems allowing Spock to beam down to the planet. When the power fades out in the neural neutralizer room the beam shuts off allowing Kirk escape the room after knocking out Adams and his henchman, while Spock after beaming down to the planet permanently disables the security screen. Spock also restores the power which reactivates the neural neutralizer with Adams left helpless in the room exposed to the beam. Kirk, Spock and Noel later discover Adams dead in the room, having died from the affects of the machine without even a tormentor for company. Van Gelder having recovered from his injuries returns to the colony to continue his assignment and has the neural neutralizer dismantled forever.
Great performances by a young Marianna Hill, as well as experienced actors James Gregory and Morgan Woodward."
Kirk vs. the mad scientists
David Bonesteel | Fresno, CA United States | 09/24/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The crew of the Enterprise faces off against a couple of mad scientists in this pair of middling episodes from the classic 60s SF series.
"What Are Little Girls Made Of?" is the better of the two. Written by veteran genre author Robert Bloch, it tells the story of Dr. Roger Korby's doomed attempt to populate the universe with androids. Ted Cassidy's frightening performance as the gigantic Roc is the highlight of the episode. The way in which messy human emotions befuddle and destabilize arrangements based on the repression of said emotions became a Trek cliche, but it's probably not fair to criricize this episode on that basis since it was among the first to introduce it.
"Dagger of the Mind" is less interesting. Somehow Dr. Tristan and his mind-warping device just don't seem like a worthy enough threat to cross the flagship of the Federation. In addition, it depends on unprofessional behavior on the parts of Kirk and Dr. Helen Noel for much of the drama."
A Keeper! Two of the Better Episodes of the First Season!
Frederick Baptist | Singapore | 06/17/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"No less a brilliant horror/sci-fi writer then Robert Bloch himself wrote the screenplay to the first ep here and so you can expect quality. Nurse Chapel's old flame, presumed lost and dead for years, suddenly turns up but only in true Trek fashion not in the way one would assume. Roddenberry's sermonising continues as we ponder the question: how far should we go to improve the human race? Should we accept our failings and work around them to make the best of things or do we go all the way to eliminate the very things that make us human? Great acting here from Michael Strong as the protagonist, mad doctor and the original Lurch from the Addams Family as well. Great episode.
In the second ep, we get another mad doctor story which explores a similar thesis to the first ep with a slight twist, asking the question of where does healing stop and playing God begin? How much do we impose our will and ideas on others and how much should we respect free will? We also get the first Vulcan mind-meld in this ep. Great acting by James Gregory as the long-suffering whistle-blowing assistant to the evil Dr. Adams as well.
Overall, 2 strong eps that stand out from the first season.