On “Dagger of the Mind,” a facility for the criminally insane solves its problems with the power of suggestion.
This might not be evident from the schedule of posting these that I’ve established here, but I actually took a bit of a break from watching Star Trek. Not for any negative reasons; life just happened, I guess. One of the benefits of planning ahead and batch scheduling posts is that I can do that. One of the downsides is that since it’s been a little while, I’m sort of out of rhythm of writing these. But I’ll manage.
So “Dagger of the Mind” is the ninth episode of Star Trek The Original Series. For some reason, I thought this was going to be the last appearance of Janice Rand, but either I was mistaken or her scene was cut from the final product.
The synopsis of “Dagger of the Mind” goes something like this: the Enterprise stops to provide supplies to a facility for the criminally insane and is all ready to go on its way when it is discovered that someone from the facility has snuck on board. I think we’re initially supposed to believe that the individual is someone who was convicted of a crime – at least, that’s what I believed – but it turns out he was the assistant to the facility’s director. Some of what he says doesn’t sit well with Dr. McCoy, so Kirk and the Enterprise’s psychiatrist, Dr. Helen Noel, go down to investigate. At first, everything seems above board, but it becomes clear that a neutralizer is being used on the inmates. In my best non scientific way of explaining, what happens is inmates sit in a chair where they are forced to look at a thingy on the wall and are being suggested various things by the person running the neutralizer (hey, I never claimed to be good at science).
The director of the facility attempts to use the neutralizer on Kirk. Meanwhile, Spock does a mind melding thing with the assistant on board the Enterprise. Helen sneaks through the air conditioning vents and attempts to shut down the force field so they can make contact with the Enterprise. A rescue team manages to beam down, Kirk escapes from the neutralizer and the director gets caught in the neutralizer beam and dies of loneliness (?)
Ok, so a few thoughts:
- Yes, I know that many of the female characters on TOS wear short skirts. I don’t care if someone wants to wear a short skirt. But I also couldn’t help looking at Helen and thinking that her skirt seemed unusually short. And impractical for what she was doing during the episode. Also, this is presumably the uniform she had to wear for her job, so it’s not like this is something she’s wearing because she feels like it. I don’t know, man.
- When the director dude came to retrieve Kirk from his quarters for his second treatment, how did he not notice that Helen wasn’t there?
- I wonder how much Helen is going to appear in future episodes of TOS. As I write this, a part of me wonders if the episode was originally written to have Janice Rand investigate the facility with Kirk, but was rewritten to be Helen once Grace Lee Whitney was let go. But I could be very wrong about that.