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Dagger of the Mind (episode)

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A new treatment for the criminally insane has deadly results.

  • 1.2 Act One
  • 1.3 Act Two
  • 1.4 Act Three
  • 1.5 Act Four
  • 2 Log entries
  • 3 Memorable quotes
  • 4.1 Production timeline
  • 4.2 Production
  • 4.4 Sets and props
  • 4.5 Costumes
  • 4.6 Continuity
  • 4.7 Preview
  • 4.8 Syndication cuts
  • 4.9 Video and DVD releases
  • 5.1 Starring
  • 5.2 Also starring
  • 5.3 Guest star
  • 5.4 Co-starring
  • 5.5 Featuring
  • 5.6 Uncredited co-stars
  • 5.7 Stand-ins
  • 5.8.1 Unreferenced materials
  • 5.9 External links

Summary [ ]

The USS Enterprise is on a routine cargo drop to the Tantalus Penal Colony on the planet Tantalus V , beaming down cylinders containing infra-sensory drugs and other supplies. Lieutenant Berkley , in charge of the transporter , tries to beam the cargo down, but is having trouble doing so. Captain Kirk enters the transporter room seeing this and jokingly chides Berkley over the fact that the colony has not yet deactivated its security force field . After contacting the colony, it does so and the cargo is beamed down. The colony sends up a large cargo case to the Enterprise , which is research supplies for the Central Bureau of Penology at Stockholm . After Kirk and Berkley leave, the case opens slowly, revealing a gray-haired, wild-eyed man, clearly mentally ill. He carefully makes his way towards the distracted assistant transporter operator , knocking him out.

Act One [ ]

On the bridge , Kirk talks to Dr. McCoy , telling him that he wishes he could have had the time to meet Dr. Tristan Adams , and asks McCoy if he has visited a penal colony since they have started following his theories. " A cage is a cage, Jim, " he remarks. Kirk tells McCoy he is behind the times, as the captain considers them to be more like resorts now. Just then, the Tantalus Penal Colony hails the Enterprise , informing the starship that an inmate is missing, and possibly hid in the case they had sent up. They also inform them that the missing patient is a potentially violent case.

Meanwhile, the mysterious stowaway has exchanged his pale blue prison uniform jumpsuit for the transporter operator's red operations utility uniform. He makes his way out into the Enterprise 's corridors , where he is immediately spotted by Fields , who alerts the bridge through an intercom that he is on deck fourteen. Spock reports that deck fourteen is being closed off and a search is in progress.

Security is then alerted to the stowaway and he ambushes one of the guards looking for him, overpowers him, and takes his phaser . He then heads to the bridge where he easily dispatches the bridge guard and then reveals his name is Simon Van Gelder and he demands asylum from Kirk. After Van Gelder is incapacitated by Spock using a Vulcan nerve pinch , he is captured and restrained in sickbay . Later, Kirk attempts to get answers out of Van Gelder, but he seems to struggle enormously when he tries to confirm his name and that he was a director at the Tantalus colony. McCoy then has him sedated with a hypospray . Later on the bridge, Spock determines that Van Gelder is indeed a former associate of Tantalus administrator Dr. Tristan Adams, assigned to the colony only six months prior.

Required by regulations as quoted by McCoy to investigate Van Gelder's injury, Kirk decides to visit the penal colony with someone who has psychiatric experience.

Act Two [ ]

Kirk and Noel embrace

" I wouldn't recommend it for weak hearts. "

The Enterprise has returned to Tantalus V and assumed standard orbit. Kirk enters the transporter room with Spock and is surprised to discover that he is beaming down to Tantalus V with Dr. Helen Noel , a psychiatrist with whom he's been previously acquainted. In the transporter room, she tries to remind Kirk about their previous encounter, but he cuts her off. Spock asks if the Captain has a problem, to which Kirk replies, telling Spock to let Dr. McCoy know that Dr. Noel better be his best technical aide. After beaming down, Kirk and Noel take a very fast turbolift down to the colony. Adams meets with the two immediately after the doors open. After exchanging pleasantries with both Kirk and Noel, Adams shares a toast in his office with them. Just then, Lethe , an emotionally detached former patient at the colony and now therapist enters. " I love my work, " she says unenthusiastically. Adams raises his glass to Kirk and Noel for the toast. " To all mankind. May we never find space so vast, planets so cold, heart and mind so empty that – that we cannot fill them with love and warmth. "

Tristan Adams giving a toast

" And now, to the toast, hmm? You'll forgive us, Lethe. "

Later, walking through the corridors of the colony, Dr. Adams informs Kirk and Noel that Van Gelder injured his mind by testing an experimental therapy device on himself, the neural neutralizer . Adams shows the device in operation, with the controls being manned by a therapist named Eli for use on a patient, but he insists that it is of limited therapeutic value. Kirk asks Adams where Van Gelder's injury occurred and he says it happened in the very room in which they are standing in. He says that Van Gelder was a stubborn man and could have sat in the room for years with beam from the neural neutralizer at the same level as on the patient. Unfortunately, he did not have anyone at the controls to turn it off and tried it alone and at full volume. After the group leaves, Eli tells the patient sitting in the chair that he will forget everything he had heard and that he will feel intense pain if he recalls anything or fights to remember.

Tantalus V surface remastered

The entry to the penal colony

On board the Enterprise , Spock and Dr. McCoy continue to investigate Van Gelder, whose ravings are difficult to decipher. Spock contacts Kirk and reports that Van Gelder is highly agitated and has warned them that Kirk and Noel are in danger. Noel insists that they are not and Kirk relays what Adams told him – that Van Gelder had caused his own suffering. Noel adds that Van Gelder is suffering from neuro-synapse damage, which causes delusions. McCoy tells Kirk that they still have doubts and asks if they can provide any more information. Kirk says they cannot and announces that he and Noel plan to spend the night on the surface. Upon hearing this, Van Gelder begins shouting. Before ceasing communication, Spock reminds Kirk to continue to check in every four hours. Van Gelder continues to yell hysterically and McCoy begins to use a sedative on him through a hypospray . At this, Van Gelder begins to calm down, asks not to be put under, and tells Spock and McCoy that he will try not to fight. As calmly as he can, he claims Dr. Adams will destroy "like death".

Act Three [ ]

Spock mind melds with Van Gelder

Spock performs a mind meld on Dr. Simon Van Gelder

In sickbay, Spock decides to employ an ancient technique, the Vulcan mind meld , to learn the truth that Van Gelder cannot speak aloud. Although Spock had never previously performed a mind meld on a Human, the procedure meets with some success. He learns that Adams has been experimenting on various individuals, including Van Gelder, using the neural neutralizer.

Adams shows Kirk and Noel the neural neutralizer

Dr. Adams shows Kirk and Noel the neural neutralizer

At the colony, Kirk and Noel investigate the neural neutralizer privately. Kirk wants first-hand experience with the device. After Noel provides assurance that an experiment can be done safely with her supervision, Kirk sits in the treatment chair. Using a very low setting, she suggests to Kirk that he is hungry. A few seconds later, unaware of the suggestion, Kirk does in fact suggest they find a kitchen to raid. Then, at Kirk's request, Noel begins with a more elaborate suggestion; that Kirk and Noel went back to Kirk's quarters for a romantic evening after a meeting at the previous year 's science lab 's Christmas party , which didn't really occur. Suddenly, Adams surprises them, has his assistant Eli restrain Noel, and begins using the device to condition Kirk, including the suggestion that he is desperately in love with Noel, and using very high settings that are obviously causing Kirk great distress.

Act Four [ ]

Fighting off the suggestions placed in his mind by Adams, Kirk dispatches Noel through the air conditioning ducts, in the hope she can find the power controls and deactivate the security force field. That field protects the facility, and prevents transporters from operating in it. After crawling through the duct, Noel manages to locate the power control room for the colony. She takes care of the guard in the power control room and deactivates the field long enough for Kirk to escape the torture, and Spock and a security force to beam down and secure the colony.

In an ironic twist, Dr. Adams dies of exposure to the neural neutralizer after Kirk knocks him down and leaves him near it when Spock restored the power. However, Dr. Noel notes the neutralizer was not on high enough to kill Adams. Kirk says he died because he was alone, his mind emptied by it, " without even a tormentor for company. " Dr. Van Gelder is cured, and resumes his responsibilities at the colony. He also dismantles and destroys the neural neutralizer equipment. Before the Enterprise heads away from Tantalus V, McCoy says, " It's hard to believe that a man could die of loneliness. " Kirk tells him, " Not when you've sat in that room. " He then instructs Spock to break orbit and proceed away at warp factor one.

Log entries [ ]

  • Captain's log, USS Enterprise (NCC-1701), 2266
  • Ship's log, USS Enterprise (NCC-1701)

Memorable quotes [ ]

" A cage is a cage, Jim. "

" Interesting. Your Earth people glorify organized violence for forty centuries, but you imprison those who employ it privately. "

" Where there is no emotion, there is no motive for violence. "

" It appears we may have an inmate of yours aboard the ship. " " Transporter crewman found unconscious, Captain. Cargo case open and empty. " " Make that definite, Doctor. He's aboard. "

" I want asylum. " " At gunpoint? "

" You smart, button-pushing brass hat! Wash your hands of it! Is that your system? "

" May we never find space so vast, planets so cold, heart and mind so empty that, that we cannot fill them with love and warmth. "

" One of the advantages of being a captain, Doctor, is being able to ask for advice without necessarily having to take it. "

" You begin to feel a strange euphoria. Your body floats. "

" I have no desire to damage my brain. Can this be handled with reasonable safety – yes or no? "

" It's hard to believe that a man could die of loneliness. " " Not when you've sat in that room. "

Background information [ ]

Production timeline [ ].

  • Story outline by Shimon Wincelberg : mid- March 1966
  • Revised story outline: 30 March 1966
  • Second revised story outline: 25 April 1966
  • Third revised story outline: 2 May 1966
  • Fourth revised story outline: 9 May 1966
  • First draft teleplay: early- June 1966
  • Second draft teleplay: 23 June 1966
  • Revised second draft teleplay: 27 June 1966
  • Revised teleplay by John D.F. Black : 6 July 1966
  • Revised teleplay by Gene Roddenberry : 22 July 1966
  • Additional revisions: 30 July 1966
  • Final draft teleplay by Roddenberry: 31 July 1966
  • Additional revisions: 2 August 1966
  • Revised final draft teleplay: 5 August 1966
  • Additional revisions: 6 August 1966 , 8 August 1966 , 9 August 1966
  • Day 1 – 9 August 1966 , Tuesday (Half Day) – Desilu Stage 9 : Int. Bridge
  • Day 2 – 10 August 1966 , Wednesday – Desilu Stage 9 : Int. Bridge , Transporter room
  • Day 3 – 11 August 1966 , Thursday – Desilu Stage 9 : Int. Transporter room , Corridors , Kirk's quarters , Sickbay
  • Day 4 – 12 August 1966 , Friday – Desilu Stage 9 : Int. Sickbay , Tantalus Colony Main power chamber
  • Day 5 – 15 August 1966 , Monday – Desilu Stage 10 : Int. Dr. Adams' office , Kirk's guestroom , Dr. Noel's guestroom , Air vents
  • Day 6 – 16 August 1966 , Tuesday – Desilu Stage 10 : Int. Tantalus colony corridors , Treatment room
  • Day 7 – 17 August 1966 , Wednesday – Desilu Stage 10 : Int. Treatment room
  • Extra pickup shots filmed – 6 October 1966 , Thursday
  • Original airdate: 3 November 1966
  • First UK airdate (on BBC1 ): 11 October 1969
  • First UK airdate (on ITV ): 1 November 1981
  • Remastered airdate: 13 October 2007

Production [ ]

  • Writer S. Bar-David is a pen name for Shimon Wincelberg . He incorporated several references to Jewish parables into the screenplay.
  • The part of Helen Noel was originally written for Grace Lee Whitney 's character Janice Rand ; however, producers wanted to avoid showing Kirk becoming involved with her, and Whitney was already on the verge of leaving the show due to personal problems on the set. ( The Star Trek Compendium , 4th ed., p.41)
  • The title of this episode is taken from a line of Shakespeare's play, Macbeth . This is the first of a great many episodes in the franchise to take its title from a quotation from Shakespeare. In the context of this quotation, Macbeth is preparing to murder Duncan, the King of Scotland, and sees a dagger that he attempts to grasp, only to discover it is a figment of his imagination. The relevant passage from the soliloquy reads: Is this a dagger which I see before me The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee. I have thee not, and yet I see thee still Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible To feeling as to sight? Or art thou but A dagger of the mind, a false creation Proceeding from the heat-oppressèd brain?
  • The name "Lethe" is a reference to the River of Forgetfulness in Greek mythology . ( These Are the Voyages: TOS Season One , 1st ed. p. 234)
  • The name of the colony, Tantalus, is also a reference to Greek mythology. Tantalus was a former king imprisoned in Tartarus for various evil deeds. Tantalus was forever chin deep in water, and fruit-laden branches hung within easy reach. But when he tried to eat or drink the fruit and water receded from him so that he could not. ( These Are the Voyages: TOS Season One , 1st ed. p. 234)
  • The shot of the Enterprise miniature heading back to Tantalus at the beginning of Act Two does not appear in any other episode. The ship shifts slightly before veering out of frame; when this shot is used in other episodes, the model merely veers off.
  • The producers still hadn't settled on background sound effects for the bridge when this episode was produced. Both the older bridge sound effect (first heard in " The Cage ") and the familiar whirring sound that eventually would became standard were used in this episode. ( citation needed • edit )
  • James Doohan ( Scott ) and George Takei ( Sulu ) do not appear in this episode.
  • Scott appeared in the original script, operating the transporter in the first scene, when Van Gelder is beamed aboard. His appearance was nixed by Robert H. Justman , who saw this as a way of saving costs by eliminating Doohan – who would have been paid US$890 for the episode – and replacing him with a random performer ( Larry Anthony , playing Lieutenant Berkley), hired for a much lower salary. ( These Are the Voyages: TOS Season One , 1st ed. p. 237)
  • After finishing this episode, Morgan Woodward (playing the emotionally and physically intense role of Van Gelder ) reportedly went home and took a rest for four days. [1]

Sets and props [ ]

  • The chair used in the neural neutralizer room was later re-used by Garth in " Whom Gods Destroy ".
  • Albert Whitlock 's matte painting for " Where No Man Has Gone Before " is recycled here, with the towers on the fuel bins painted out and a different doorway added to match with the live-action footage filmed of Kirk and Noel entering the surface shaft. This was made as a compromise between Gene Roddenberry and Robert H. Justman . Roddenberry wanted Kirk and Noel to arrive on the surface, then go underground via the elevator, while Justman urged him to eliminate this scene, and let them beam down directly into Dr. Adams's office – therefore saving the costs of creating a matte painting and some extra sets. Roddenberry kept the surface scene in, but reused the old matte painting created for the second pilot. ( These Are the Voyages: TOS Season One , 1st ed. p. 241)
  • Some of the colony interiors are reused (and redressed) sets left over from the previous episode, " What Are Little Girls Made Of? ". ( These Are the Voyages: TOS Season One , 1st ed. p. 242)

Costumes [ ]

  • The treatment smocks worn by Adams and Eli have the same insignia as Dr. Cory in " Whom Gods Destroy ".

Continuity [ ]

  • This episode is mentioned as taking place after a Christmas party in the science labs. This is one of the few times a religious holiday is mentioned in the Star Trek future, and Christmas in particular was not mentioned again until Star Trek Generations . Similarly, " Charlie X " references Thanksgiving, and " Catspaw " references Halloween.
  • This episode marks the first appearance of the Vulcan mind meld . The final shooting draft of this script had Spock placing his hands on Van Gelder's abdomen while performing the mind meld. According to The Making of Star Trek (p.297), the mind meld was developed as an alternative to the script's use of hypnosis to stabilize Van Gelder. They did not want to inaccurately depict hypnosis as a medical technique, nor did they want to shoehorn into the script a pretext that Spock was qualified to act as a hypnotist in a medical capacity. Lastly, they did not want to risk accidentally hypnotizing viewers at home.
  • A shipping label produced for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine shows that a (now elderly) Dr. Van Gelder is still in charge of the Tantalus Penal Colony in the 2370s.
  • The name of the penal colony in this episode, "Tantalus," was reused in Season 2 for the episode " Mirror, Mirror " for a surveillance and killing device known as the Tantalus field .

Preview [ ]

  • The preview contains a truncated Captain's Log from the finished episode: " Captain's log, stardate 2715.1. Exchanged cargo with penal colony on Tantalus 5. "

Syndication cuts [ ]

During the syndication run of Star Trek , the following scenes were typically cut from broadcast

  • A log entry by Kirk in which he recaps the situation of Van Gelder's escape and then states that he (Kirk) will get to meet Dr. Adams after all.
  • A log entry by Spock where he explains the Vulcan mind meld in some detail. While the mind meld later became a common plot device, at this early stage of Star Trek production, the viewing audience had not yet seen the meld on camera, leading to Spock's need to explain the nature of the meld. When the episode was syndicated, this scene was frequently cut, since it was assumed that most viewers already knew what the mind meld was.
  • A more lengthy recovery scene by Kirk after his first neural neutralizer session.

Video and DVD releases [ ]

  • Original US Betamax release: 1985
  • Original UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video ): Volume 6 , catalog number VHR 2253, release date unknown
  • US VHS release: 15 April 1994
  • UK re-release (three-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 1.4, 5 August 1996
  • Original US DVD release (single-disc): Volume 5, 23 November 1999
  • As part of the TOS Season 1 DVD collection
  • As part of the TOS Season 1 HD DVD collection
  • As part of the TOS Season 1 Blu-ray collection

Links and references [ ]

Starring [ ].

  • William Shatner as Capt. Kirk

Also starring [ ]

  • Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock

Guest star [ ]

  • James Gregory as Tristan Adams

Co-starring [ ]

  • DeForest Kelley as Leonard McCoy
  • Morgan Woodward as Simon Van Gelder
  • Marianna Hill as Helen Noel

Featuring [ ]

  • Nichelle Nichols as Uhura
  • Susanne Wasson as Lethe
  • John Arndt as First Crewman
  • Larry Anthony as Transportation Man
  • Ed McCready as Inmate
  • Eli Behar as Therapist

Uncredited co-stars [ ]

  • Frank da Vinci as Vinci
  • Lou Elias as Therapist
  • Ron Kinwald as Inmate
  • Jeannie Malone as Inmate
  • John Hugh McKnight as Therapist
  • Eddie Paskey as Leslie
  • Security Crewman 1
  • Security Crewman 3
  • Transporter Crewman
  • Inmates 4, 5, 6 & 7
  • Therapist 1 & 2

Stand-ins [ ]

  • William Blackburn as the stand-in for DeForest Kelley
  • Frank da Vinci as the stand-in for Leonard Nimoy
  • Jeannie Malone as the stand-in for Marianna Hill
  • Eddie Paskey as the stand-in for William Shatner

References [ ]

2nd millennium BC ; 2220s ; 2246 ; 2265 ; 2266 ; acting captain ; adjustment ; advice ; afternoon ; agitation ; agony ; air conditioning ; answer ; area ; assignment ; assistant ; associate ; assumption ; asylum ; ball ; beam neutralizing ; bloodstream ; blood vessel ; body ; body function panel ; " Bones "; box ; brain neutralizing beam ; brain wave ; brass hat ; briefing room ; button ; cabin ; cage ; captain's log ; career ; cargo ; cargo case ; case ; casualty ; Central Bureau of Penology ; chance ; chair ; Chamber of Horrors ; Christmas ; Christmas party ; Christmas present ; colony ; Constitition -class decks ; contact ; control panel ; coordinates ; course ; crime ; criminal ; cure ; damage ; dancing ; danger ; day ; death ; delusions ; demonstration ; department ; desire ; destination ; device ; Devil's Island ; director ; door ; dose ; duct ; Earth ; effect ; electronic clipboard ; elevator ; Emergency Channel D ; emotion ; engineering uniform ; estimate ; euphoria ; Eurasia ; experiment ; face ; fact ; failure ; floor ; foot (appendage); foot (unit); force field ; general quarters ; general quarters 3 ; hailing frequency ; hand ; happy ; hate ; heart ; honesty ; hope ; hospital facility ; hour ; Human ; hunger ; hyper-power circuit ; hypnosis ; hypo ; identification tape (aka ID tape ); infra-sensory drugs ; injury ; instruction ; intruder ; intruder alert ; investigation ; kitchen ; knee ; library ; lie ; light ; location ; loneliness ; love ; machine ; Manual on Penal Colony procedures ; medical log ; medikit ; megavoltage ; memory ; memory patterns ; " Merry Christmas "; mind ; mind meld ; minute ; mission ; mistake ; month ; morning ; motive ; naked ; name ; nerve ; neural neutralizer ; neuro-synapse ; night ; off-on switch ; " on the nose "; over-changer ; oxygen mask ; pain ; party ; patient ; penal colony (aka rehab colony ); penology ; person ; personnel director ; phaser weapon ; place ; planet ; power ; power supply ; prisoner (aka inmate); problem ; profession ; promise ; psychiatrist ; psychiatry ; psychotherapy ; quarters ; question ; rehabilitative therapy ; report ; reputation ; resort colony ; room ; sage ; sage and skeptic ; science lab ; Science Library ; schizophrenia ; search ; second ; second-in-command ; secrecy ; section ; security alert (aka security alert 3 / security alert, condition three / alert condition three ); security screen (aka security cover / security force field ); sedative ; sharing ; ship's library ; ship surgeon / ship's surgeon ; short circuit ; skeptic ; sobbing ; space ; speaker ; specimen ; sponge ; standard orbit ; " stand by "; star ; starship regulation ; Stockholm ; stubborn ; study ; suggestion ; Tantalus V ; Tantalus Penal Colony (aka Tantalus Penal Colony ); technical aide (aka technical expert ); theory ; therapist ; thing ; thought ; tissue ; title ; toast ; towel ; tranquilizers ; treatment ; treatment room ; truth ; tunnel ; unscientific‎ ; vault ; violence ; Vulcan ; Vulcan neck pinch ; wisdom ; word ; wrap

Unreferenced materials [ ]

amen ; brain pattern ; brandy ; cat ; delta waves ; Feinberg ; Finnerman ; Merhoff ; scimitar ; small white pill ; stencil ; Voice-O-Graph projections

External links [ ]

  • " Dagger of the Mind " at Memory Beta , the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
  • " Dagger of the Mind " at Wikipedia
  • " Dagger of the Mind " at , a Roddenberry Star Trek podcast
  • " Dagger of the Mind " at the Internet Movie Database
  • 2 ISS Enterprise (NCC-1701)


Marianna Hill

helen noel star trek imdb

Series: TOS

Character(s): Helen Noel

Marianna Hill is an actress who portrayed Doctor Helen Noel in the Star Trek: The Original Series first season episode “Dagger of the Mind” in 1966.

helen noel star trek imdb

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Published Nov 3, 2018

"Dagger" Still Sharp as Ever

Star Trek Voyager Dagger Sharp

Fifty-two years ago today, on Thursday, November 3, 1966, the ninth episode of Star Trek ’s ground-breaking first season debuted on NBC. While The Monkees were at number one in the hit parade with “Last Train To Clarksville” (and influencing the Trek upper brass to bring in a Davy Jones lookalike in season two in the form of Walter Koenig), Trek fans were watching “ Dagger of the Mind ,” which took the U.S.S. Enterprise to the Tantalus Penal Colony on the world of Tantalus V.

After initially failing to transport down supplies to the colony due to the security force field still being in place, a consignment of cargo traveled in the opposite direction to the Enterprise marked for delivery to the Central Bureau of Penology in Stockholm. As Captain Kirk and Lieutenant Berkley left the transporter room the cargo opened, revealing a stowaway who knocked out the assistant transporter operator before leaving the room.

helen noel star trek imdb

On the bridge, the command crew were contacted by the colony, learning that an inmate was missing from the colony and may well have hidden in the cargo that was beamed up, a missing patient who was potentially a violent case. That suspicion was borne out as the stowaway got hold of a phaser and headed for the bridge, asking for asylum and revealing that his name is Simon Van Gelder. Spock used a Vulcan nerve pinch to incapacitate him and he was taken to sickbay. Suspicious, McCoy asked Kirk to investigate further, and soon after the captain beamed down to the colony along with Enterprise psychiatrist, Dr. Helen Noel.

helen noel star trek imdb

Meeting Dr. Adams, they were introduced to the oddly emotionless Lethe and the experimental neural neutralizer. Adams claimed that van Gelder had tested the device on himself, causing his agitation and that the machine was harmless at low frequencies. Noel accepted his explanation, but Kirk was still suspicious.

helen noel star trek imdb

Back on the Enterprise , Van Gelder was increasingly frantic, writhing in pain when trying to explain to Spock about the neural neutralizer. A mind-meld revealed that the machine emptied the mind of all thoughts, replacing it with only loneliness. Spock assembled a security team, but the force field was once again up and enveloping Tantalus V.

helen noel star trek imdb

On the planet and unaware of the revelations, Kirk decided to try the machine. Noel implanted harmless tweaks to his short-term memory until Adams seized control of the device and increased the intensity, convincing Kirk of his love for Noel. The two were confined to quarters. Fighting off the urges implanted in his head, Kirk ordered Noel to crawl through the air ducts and disable the security force field. The doctor found the power control room for the entire colony and deactivates the field long enough for Kirk to escape the machine and for Spock to beam down a security detail and take the colony.

helen noel star trek imdb

Adams was killed by the machine, but not for the obvious reasons. Near enough to the machine to be exposed to its effects, he died "without even a tormentor for company." Dr. Van Gelder resumed his responsibilities after being cured, dismantling the neural neutralizer. Back aboard the Enterprise , McCoy remarked that, "It's hard to believe that a man could die of loneliness." To which Kirk replied, "Not when you've sat in that room."

helen noel star trek imdb

The eleventh episode produced and the ninth screened during the show’s first season, “Dagger of the Mind” is notable for a number of reasons. Becoming ubiquitous in the world of Star Trek during the following half century, the episode marked the very first appearance of the Vulcan mind meld. Sixteen years later the meld would become a key element in the final scenes of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan , as Spock transferred his memories/katra to a prone Dr. McCoy.

The name of the emotionless Lethe would also be used decades later as the title of the sixth episode of Star Trek: Discovery ’s first season, the name referring to Greek mythology and the River of Forgetfulness. The role of Dr. Helen Noel was originally written for Grace Lee Whitney and the character of Janice Rand, but the decision was made to not have Kirk become too emotionally involved with a crew member. Instead, a psychologist was introduced, a forebear of Deanna Troi 21 years later.

helen noel star trek imdb

The title of the episode is one of the first nods to the takes of the Bard, coming from Macbeth Act 2 Scene 1, a tradition which would continue through TOS and on into the era of Star Trek: The Next Generation and beyond. “Dagger of the Mind” was also the title of the fourth episode of the second season of Columbo , the legendary detective series which guest starred a number of Trek alumni over the years, including Leonard Nimoy in “A Stitch in Crime” in 1973, Ricardo Montalban in "A Matter of Honor" (another shared episode title) in 1976 and William Shatner in "Fade in to Murder" also in ’76 and "Butterfly in Shades of Grey" (almost) in ‘94. Theodore Bikel, Clive Revill, Laurence Luckinbill, Julie Newmar and Dean Stockwell would also feature.

He may have come to a sticky end, but Dr. Adams gave one of the most-positive statements in all of Star Trek when he said, "May we never find space so vast, planets so cold, heart and mind so empty that, that we cannot fill them with love and warmth." Regrettable – for him – that he couldn’t follow the wisdom of his own words, and fortunate for the crew of the Enterprise that they did.

Mark Newbold has been an avid Trek fan since the 1970's, when TOS was shown on UK TV, but it was the original cast movie series and TNG era that sealed the deal. Mark is a writer for Star Trek The Official Magazine , is editor-in-Chief of Star Trek: The Neutral Zone and was a stage host at Destination Star Trek Germany in 2018. At heart, he's a Niner. Follow him on Twitter .

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  • 2.2 External link

History [ ]

In the year 2265 , Lieutenant Commander Spock noted that Dr. Noel had changed into her civilian clothing so that she could enjoy shore leave on Starbase 20 . ( TOS - Crucible novel : The Fire and the Rose )

In December 2265, Dr. Noel attended the ship's science lab Christmas party, a party that was also attended by Captain James T. Kirk .

The following year , Dr. Noel accompanied Captain Kirk to the Tantalus penal colony on Tantalus V to investigate the psychological injuries that had been suffered by Dr. Simon Van Gelder . Together they discovered that Van Gelder's associate, Dr. Tristan Adams , was using a device known as the neural neutralizer to torture inmates and staff by affecting their minds. In order to escape from the colony, Noel was able to deactivate the planet's transporter shield, and Commander Spock was able to beam down a team to secure the colony. ( TOS episode & Star Trek 1 novelization : Dagger of the Mind )

She later transferred to the USS Reliant at some point during or before 2269 . ( TOS novel : The Weight of Worlds )

Appendices [ ]

Connections [ ], external link [ ].

  • Helen Noel article at Memory Alpha , the wiki for canon Star Trek .
  • 1 USS Triumph (NCC-26228)
  • 2 Ferengi Rules of Acquisition
  • 3 Odyssey class

helen noel star trek imdb

Star Trek : "Dagger Of The Mind" / "The Corbomite Maneuver"

Workplace romance is hardly ever a good idea. Dealing with the same people day in and day out is tricky enough; throw actual emotion into the mix, and you’re inviting disaster. So you have a couple of drinks at an office mixer, and you and the temp suck face for a while in the break room. All fun and games, but the next thing you know, the temp is hired permanent, and you’re spending your afternoons avoiding eye contact and trying to time your bathroom breaks around staff meetings. Love, or sex, or that weird area between second and third base where there’s a lot of heavy breathing but no one really knows if anything actually gets done—it’s complicated, and it doesn't need further complications.

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And if you think the 9-to-5 version is rough, try doing all of that trapped in a giant tin can flying through a billion miles of nothing.

“Dagger Of The Mind” has the Enterprise investigating a psychologist and his potentially shady brain-warping experiments; once again, Kirk finds his way planet-side to put himself in harm’s way, only this time, instead of a trained nurse, he’s accompanied by Dr. Helen Noel, who spends most of her time on-screen trying to contradict Kirk into submission. And yeah, there’s a history there. Nothing more scandalous than some dancing during a staff Christmas party (Noel—during a Christmas party. Does he hit on Maria Samhain come late October?), but when Kirk asks McCoy to provide him with an assistant for his trip, he’s not happy with what he finds waiting on the transporter pad.

The awkward drama that ensues is “Dagger”’s weakest element, mostly because Helen just isn’t likeable or clever enough to serve as a foil for Our James. It’s yet another example of the writers trying to find ways to bring a starship captain back down to Earth, but it falls flat; while it’s easy to relate to having to work with someone you don’t feel comfortable around, Helen and Kirk’s squabbling comes across as too petty and contrived, and they have the same chemistry levels as, say, a couch and a mildly annoyed cat. Apparently, Helen really wanted something more to happen after the party, which would be fine if the lady was ever given a personality beyond that desire. Oh, wait; she’s bossy, and while Kirk is questioning the suspicious Dr. Tristan Adams (James Gregory, the idiot senator from The Manchurian Candidate ), she keeps butting in to disagree with the captain.

The set-up: while on a routine supply run to penal colony on Tantalus V, the Enterprise picks up an unexpected guest. The stowaway manages to take out a number of crew-members before breaking onto the bridge and demanding asylum; one Vulcan neck pinch later, the crazy man is down for the count, and the Enterprise is pulling a U-turn to head back to the planet. Spock does some digging, and finds that their guest, Van Gelder, wasn’t an inmate on Tantalus but a doctor working directly for the head man himself. Given Gelder’s highly unstable state (the poor guy seems to be delivering his lines while getting his junk slow roasted), McCoy’s suspicious, and Kirk decides to take a closer look. Dr. Adams is a pioneer in the field of prisoner rehabilitation, but as anybody knows, the better you look on the surface, the more chances you stand to be rotten underneath.

Enter Helen Noel, and all the banter she brings. The two beam down to the colony—note the matte painting here, swiped from “Where No Man Has Gone Before”—and are warmly greeted by Adams and his staff. Danger signs abound, from the assistant named Lethe (as in the river with the amnesia-inducing water) and the general thuggishness of the locals, as well as the neutralizer booth that Adams claims has been shut down, despite it being in use when Kirk and Helen walk by. Helen defends the good doctor, but Kirk won’t have it, and insists on trying out the neutralizer for himself.

For all his talk about loving the Enterprise, Kirk spends a lot of time trying to get off ship and into the line of fire. Obviously he’s got to be involved with every story; he’s the hero of the show, and heroes don’t sit around waiting for field reports. But there’s something absurd about the lengths he’ll go to, just to ensure he’s in the worst position he can possible be in. He comes down to Tantalus V with just one other person, despite the fact that, with Van Gelder neutralized, the Enterprise is in no danger from any of Dr. Adams’ work. Then he finds the most likely smoking gun in the area and immediately sets the barrel to his temple, just to see if the damn thing has any bullets left. It’s part of what makes the character so much fun, really; beneath all his heroism is an ego so large that he has to stick his nose in everything. If he wasn’t so likeable, he’d be, well, William Shatner, I guess.

The session in the booth confirms Kirk’s worst fears; not only is the neutralizer a hell of a lot more operational than Adams let on, the son of a bitch himself arrives and takes over the controls just when things were getting interesting. The machine works by blanking out a person’s mind, allowing the controller in the next room to implant whatever desire or memories into the empty space. Given what we’ve seen of her so far, it’s not really that surprising that Helen uses this as a way to try and bring her and Kirk closer—but while her actions are relatively innocuous, when Adams arrives with goon in tow, he pushes things to the edge. He tells the brain-drained Kirk that he’s “in love” with Helen. Wackiness, thus, ensues.

Back aboard ship, Spock and McCoy are trying to get proof out of Van Gelder as to just what the hell's going on. Ultimately this proof won’t have much impact on the plot; by the time they know Adams is up to no good, Kirk’s already been taken prisoner and things have moved on to the “mwa-ha-ha” stage. But we do get our very first Vulcan mind meld here, when Spock decides to use a very personal ritual of his race to break through Gelder’s constant crazy talk. Nimoy’s one of the best actors on the show, and he makes what could’ve been a hopelessly goofy sequence fairly effective. The look of despair that crosses his face once he really gets a sense of what Gelder’s going through is convincing, and it also ties in nicely with what we eventually learn about the neutralizer; when the mental slate is wiped clean, there’s a whole lot of emptiness left behind, and that emptiness can break even the strongest will.

Like I said last week, TOS really works best when there’s a strong sense of stakes. Here we’ve got Kirk and this week’s guest star in moderate danger, with the rest of the crew largely out of the action; while the booth itself is a nifty concept, Adams isn't that compelling a villain. The most memorable thing about him is the way he gets his just desserts—he’s stuck in the booth with his invention running and no one at the control panel to feed him new thoughts, so he has to face all that emptiness alone, and it kills him. I like how haunted Kirk looks by the episode’s end, and I wish more time had spent with him struggling against the mind-warping. If “Dagger” had done a better job tying together his experience with Van Gelder’s and Adams’, this could’ve been more memorable. As is, it's got a handful of excellent moments (the mind-meld, that damn booth) that don't fit as well as they should.

After spending the last few episodes in the company of humans (or at least people who used to be human, or look and act exactly like a human would), it's nice to get some good, old-fashioned alien action in. "The Corbomite Maneuver" has our heroes dealing with a threat that surpasses them on nearly every level; a force whose motives are a mystery, and whose hostility is immediate and decisive. This is TOS at its best—gripping, well-paced, and thematically coherent. Plus it's got a young Clint Howard, so what's not to like?

During a routine survey mission, the Enterprise comes across an unknown object blocking the way ahead. While Helmsman Bailey wigs out (hey look, a brand new guy on helm! I wonder if that will be important later on…), Spock and Sulu do their best to break away from turns out to be a giant, glowing cube, to no avail. Kirk gets interrupted during a check-up with McCoy—he's sweaty and shirtless, so yowza, I guess—but even he can't get free immediately. Discussion ensues; I always like seeing the whole group get together when some problem comes up, as there's something wonderfully rational about coming across a radioactive space-thingy and immediately sitting down with your co-workers for a nice chat. (The rationality is hurt somewhat by the fact there are no women involved in the discussion; here in the future, we welcome every race, color, or creed, and the ladies will bring y'all coffee!)

Everybody reacts to the current crisis as professionally as one would expect, except for poor old Bailey, who has come down with a serious case of the freak-outs. While Bailey sweats, Kirk re-news efforts to escape the cube—the thing closes in on the ship emitting a deadly radiation, ultimately forcing Kirk to bust out the phasers and blow it away. Unhappy with their response time during the crisis, the captain sets the crew to running emergency drills, while he settles in for a talk with McCoy, discussing the well-being of the men (McCoy is concerned about Mr. Freak-Out, of course), and the tragedy of having the apparently smoking hot Rand as a Yeoman. Yeah, it's so hard not to sexually harass someone you're attracted to, y'know?

But we're not out of the woods yet. There's another, much, much, much bigger problem ahead; a giant orb made entirely of glowing bulbs that measures roughly a mile in diameter. Apparently, that "cube" that got blown up has a daddy, and Daddy is pissed .

"Corbomite" is one of the highpoints of the first season (and the show as a whole) for a number of reasons. The threat is a memorable one, as it's arguably the first time the show actually tried to exploit the blank check that limitless space and alien life provides. While the crude effects work doesn't always do the idea justice, conceptually, a mile-wide ship makes for an arresting visual; and what makes it even better is how well that visual dovetails with the episode's central argument. This is a smart script (by Jerry Sohl), giving us the problem that's been with us since the first episode—namely, the terror of the unknown—and then providing us with what at first seems to be a completely justification of that terror. As Helmsman Bailey gets more and more nervous, it's hard to fault him his fear; which makes the ultimate resolution of the storyline all the more satisfying.

The new, big-ass ship declares itself the Fesarius of the "First Federation" (?!), and declares war on the Enterprise—the cube they destroyed was a warning buoy, and firing phasers on it was an unforgivable act of violence. Kirk tries to explain, but the other ship isn't buying; Spock manages to get a visual on the captain, Balok, and he is a not a happy looking dude. ("Balok"'s frozen face appears during the end credits of every episode, and it always used to freak me out as a kid. What's cool is how fake it looks; the visual Spock generates is murky enough to keep it ambiguous, but I can imagine a clever first-time viewer seeing the puppet and thinking its phoniness was just part of the show's usual so-so effects work.) Despite Kirk's best efforts, the sentence is laid down; the Enterprise will be destroyed, and there isn't a damn thing anybody can do about it.

Or is there? One of the big problems of sci-fi stories is coming up with problem solutions that don't revolve around magic-bullets. When your characters are working with a technology that doesn't actually exist in the real world, there's always the temptation to make up new technology whenever the need arises. Backed into a corner? Reverse the polarity! Everyone dead except for your main character? Flip the Romero/West switch! Lost viewers sick of the lazy-ass writing that can't be bothered to follow consistent rules? Reverse the—um—crap.

Star Trek is no stranger to this sort of thing, but even before it was a cliché, "Corbomite" turns the concept on its ear. As the clock counts down to destruction, Spock tells Kirk that he can see no logical alternative to death; as in chess, when one player is over-matched, the game is over. But Kirk, clever bastard that he is, changes the game (shades of the Kobayashi Maru here)—it's not chess, it's poker, and even if they can't come up with some magic tech to make the bad Balok go away, Balok doesn't know that. So, with the lives of over four hundred men and women and his beloved ship at stake, Kirk pulls a bluff. He tells the freaky alien that the Enterprise has a substance aboard known as corbomite. It's lethally destructive to any force that dares attack the ship. Corbomite is a standard addition to all Starfleet vessels, and since its initial inception, it's never, ever failed.

How stone cold is that shit? Oh sure, as lies go, corbomite is hilariously convenient, but as a bluff, it's crudely effective; just as our heroes can't be sure of the scope of Balok's abilities, he himself can't know everything there is to know about them. And crude or not, it's incredibly satisfying to see Kirk give his speech and then, when Balok demands proof, immediately cut communications short. The Enterprise and her crew spend a good chunk of their time getting dangled around like cat-toys in the paws of frustratingly omnipotent felines; it's nice to see them get the upper hand, and even nicer that they do it through wit alone.

There's more shenanigans to follow, but really, once Kirk manages to out-will the commander of the opposing ship, the battle is basically over. There's one final twist; after finally breaking free of the Fesarius' hold, Kirk, McCoy, and Bailey beam aboard—only to find that what we thought was "Balok" really was a puppet after all, and the actual creature is a bald-headed kid with a booming voice and freaky laugh. It's a swell metaphor for how fear of the unknown can be more dangerous than the unknown itself, but it's a little unintentionally creepy, too. Howard is freaky looking, and his request for a companion off the Enterprise—and Bailey's immediate acceptance of that request—makes you wonder how weird things are going to be once Kirk and the others make their exit. ("Hey, so what are all these knives for, anyway? And why do you keep telling me I have great skin?")

"Corbomite" is fun for all sorts of reasons, but the one that stays with you the longest is the optimism. Throughout the episode, Kirk tries to explain to Bailey (and us) why he refuses to give up hope; any intelligent life capable of space-travel, he says, has to be smart enough for peace. There's something almost hopelessly naïve about that (especially given the number of war-faring races we'll eventually stumble across), but it's worth believing in, even if it doesn't always prove to be true.

"Dagger Of The Mind": B

"The Corbomite Maneuver": A

Stray Observations:

—I love the chest-level duct work that runs through Adams' facility. I also dug the way Adams and his goons locked Kirk and Helen up, and then immediately forgot they'd captured Helen once she made her escape.

—Starfleet really isn't that effective a regulatory body, is it?

—Spock: "Has it occurred to you that there is a certain… inefficiency in constantly questioning me on things you've already made up your mind about?"

Kirk: "It gives me emotional security."

—Kirk to Bailey: “The face of the unknown. I think I owe you a look at it.” Good dialogue, great pick-up line.

—Next week, parts 1 and 2 of "The Menagerie."

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Recap / Star Trek S1 E9 "Dagger of the Mind"

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Original air date: November 3, 1966

The Enterprise is delivering some huge ass bottles of drugs to the Tantalus Penal Colony . (Wonder where they got big enough cotton balls?) They also pick up a box marked "Do Not Open" and addressed to "Bureau of Penology, Stockholm, Eurasia-NE". Not sure what it was supposed to be holding, but it is soon revealed to be holding a crazy old man who knows karate!

Said crazy old man is at first believed to be an escaped inmate from Tantalus, but it's discovered that he's actually Simon Van Gelder, one of the doctors. Dr. Adams tells Kirk that Dr. Van Gelder pulled a Professor Guinea Pig while working on a device called the Neural Neutralizer, losing his mind in the process. And would he kindly return him? Bones tells Kirk he smells a rat. Kirk gives Adams some B.S. about how they can't due to some red tape. Adams good naturedly accepts this and cordially invites Kirk down for a visit. Kirk takes him up on this. Bones suggests Kirk take a psychological expert with him. He recommends Dr. Noel. It seems Kirk and Dr. Helen Noel have met before. Apparently, even in the future office Christmas parties can get out of hand...

This episode is also known as "The One That Got Parodied Off By South Park ".

Tropes of the Mind:

  • Above the Influence : Zigzagged; when Kirk tells Helen to give him a fake memory, she chooses one where he sweeps Helen off her feet after the Christmas party regardless of what the crew might think. However even in this fantasy she accepts that Kirk doesn't genuinely love her , and is horrified when Dr Adams implants the suggestion in Kirk's mind.
  • Action Survivor : Dr Helen Noel doesn't have the skills to fight security mooks and sabotage power circuits, but she saves the day anyway. In fact, she's the first (and possibly only) Starfleet woman in TOS to straight-up kill someone.

helen noel star trek imdb

  • Air-Vent Passageway : Helen is sent down the air shaft because she'll fit more easily. It appears big enough for Kirk too , but he's hauled off by the guards for further experimentation so it's up to her anyway.
  • Arc Symbol : The logo on Dr. Adams' boiler suit and that of his "helpers" is a hand freeing (or crushing?) a dove under a stylized sun. (We'll see it again in "Whom Gods Destroy.") Or is that "sun" actually the round, flashy light of the Neural Neutralizer?
  • Artistic Licence – Geography : Stockholm's position in Eurasia is clearly to the north- west (NW), not the north-east. (Northeastern Eurasia is basically Siberia.) It is in Northeastern Europe , however.
  • Big Damn Kiss : Kirk plants a Smooch of Victory on Noel. She reluctantly tells him that he was only hypnotized to think he was in love with her.
  • Big Electric Switch : A red double-handed switch is used to shut off the power to the facility, including the security force field. Good thing too, as Helen might not otherwise have known how to Cut the Juice . After he arrives, Spock disables the forcefield by breaking into a circuit box and flicks off a row of switches , then flips the Big Red Switch back on to restore power elsewhere.
  • Big "NO!" : When Dr. Van Gelder tries to warn Kirk against staying on Tantalus.
  • Bothering by the Book : Bones does this to force Kirk to investigate what's going on at the Tantalus colony, as Kirk feels it's Someone Else's Problem . Fortunately Kirk is more amused than upset.
  • Bridal Carry : Noel induces an Imagine Spot for Kirk suggesting that he carried her into his quarters this way.
  • Broken Ace : Van Gelder. Perhaps Adams to a degree.
  • Can't Argue with Elves : Spock finds it interesting that "Your Earth people glorify organized violence for forty centuries, but you imprison those who employ it privately." Even Bones has no come back for that.
  • Cat Scare : Aware there's an escaped prisoner on the loose, Kirk and Bones flinch when the turbolift opens behind them only to admit a Red Shirt who takes up position by the door. Which leaves him in an excellent position to be knocked unconscious when a phaser-wielding maniac charges through the turbolift door later on.
  • Chekhov's Gun : The forcefield that prevents beaming in the opening scene becomes a plot point when Kirk and Helen's lives are in danger.
  • Creepy Monotone : Lethe. "I love my work."
  • Critical Psychoanalysis Failure : Dr. Adams turns the tables on the institution's supervisor, turning him into a neurotic wreck who hands the keys over to the patient. And that's just the start...
  • Cut Phone Lines : When Dr Adams forces Kirk to hand over his communicator, Kirk tries to call for help instead, but the forcefield prevents his signal going through.
  • "This is a potentially violent case." Cut to crewman Mugged for Disguise .
  • Van Gelder is raving about the neural neutralizer — cut to Adams explaining the device, which he dismisses as a harmless failure.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness : For some reason, Kirk tells Spock, who appears to be at the science station, to "take us out of here, warp factor one."
  • Emotions vs. Stoicism : Spock says "Where there is no emotion, there is no motive for violence."
  • Empty Shell : Adams uses the Neural Neutralizer to render people into mindless servants. Van Gelder: He can reshape any mind he chooses. He used it to erase our memories, put his own thoughts there. He was surprised it took so much power. We fought him, remember? But we grew so tired, our minds so blank, so open, that any thought he placed there became our thoughts. Our minds so empty like a sponge, needing thoughts, begging. Empty. Loneliness. So lonely to be sitting there empty, wanting any word from him.
  • Expository Pronoun : Van Gelder and Spock both refer to themselves as "we" during the mind meld.
  • Expy : The Neural Neutralizer works a lot like The Ludovico Technique from A Clockwork Orange .
  • Fake Memories : Adams can empty a person's mind and implant new memories or attitudes there. Needless to say such a technique can be used not only to remove traumatic memories that lead to crime or mental illness , but also to adjust a prisoners' personality or memory according to Adams' whim .
  • Famed In-Story : Kirk is an admirer of Dr Adams who has revolutionised the penal system, though he's never met the man. To his credit when investigating Bones suspicions, Kirk maintains a proper level of skepticism even though Helen shares this admiration.
  • Faux Affably Evil : Adams seems so charming and polite at first. He makes a toast to "love and warmth" , but it's only a Mask of Sanity .
  • Freak Out : Dr. Van Gelder has the mother of them all . Screaming, raving, crazy eyes, violent outbursts. He shouts "I am not a criminal!" Incidentally, the actor needed a four-day reprieve after this emotionally-taxing role.
  • Gilded Cage : Kirk points out to Bones that modern mental institutions may as well be vacation resorts. Bones replies "A cage is a cage, Jim."
  • Girl of the Week : Dr. Helen Noel. She was one In-Universe too, as the captain had an after-party fling with her that he hasn't followed up on.
  • Go Mad from the Isolation : The fate of Dr. Adams, who is alone in the brainwashing room when the power is suddenly turned on again. The lack of any mental stimulation at all—because there's no-one manning the console—makes his brain shut down completely.
  • Heroic Willpower : Kirk apparently has this or something similar, judging by Adams' comment about the strength used on him without effect having broken down Van Gelder.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard : Adams has his mind emptied by his Neural Neutralizer when it comes back on at full intensity without anyone at the controls to give him instructions.
  • Human Mail : Van Gelder, though he's wearing a breathing mask while in the crate.
  • I'm a Doctor, Not a Placeholder : Dr Noel knows nothing about hyper-voltage power circuits as she's not an engineer. Though the line is not delivered straight as the Trope Namer is not present.
  • Van Gelder urges Spock to proceed with the mind meld, despite being warned that it could be dangerous for a human. He knows it's the only way to reveal the truth, since every time he tries to just say what happened, he experiences terrible pain.
  • Realising that Dr Adams is hardly going to tell him the truth if there is something wrong with the neutralizer, Kirk decides to try it out on himself.
  • Kirk sends Helen down the air shaft to Cut the Juice even though she knows nothing about megavoltage power systems and could get killed short-circuiting the wrong wire. She decides that anything is better than waiting to be treated by Dr Adams .
  • Karmic Death : Adams dies by having his mind completely wiped by the same machine that he used on Van Gelder and Kirk.
  • Kissing Under the Influence : While something happened in the past with Dr. Noel, Kirk only kisses her now because the suggestion was planted within his mind by the device.
  • Literary Allusion Title : From Macbeth : "Or art thou but a dagger of the mind, a false creation proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain?"
  • The Ludovico Technique : The moment Kirk leaves the room after discussing the neural neutralizer, the operator cranks up the intensity and tells the inmate inside that he must forget everything that he's heard, or he will experience intense pain the more he tries to remember it. This technique was used on Van Gelder, as we see him cringing in agony every time he tries to remember his name or what was done to him.
  • Van Gelder at first, who is trying to battle his own psychological damage to warn Kirk and the crew of what's going on down on the planet below.
  • The Main Characters Do Everything : Dr. Helen Noel is one of the Enterprise's psychiatrists. So, why isn't Bones assisted by any of them for the puzzling case of Van Gelder?
  • Male Gaze : The audience gets a nice look at Helen's cleavage as she's crawling down the air vent.
  • The McCoy : Helen takes on this role while down on the colony, while Kirk takes on a more detached, questioning persona in response.
  • Meaningful Name : Lethe is the name of the river of forgetfulness in Greek myth. Tantalus was sent to Tartarus for murdering his son and punished by being never allowed to eat or drink. And isn't it funny that the girl Kirk met at a Christmas party was named "Noel"?
  • Mental Fusion : Spock mind-melds with Van Gelder to pick information from his troubled mind.
  • Mind-Control Device : A "hospital" basically zombifies people with a hypno-spinny-thingy. Trying to remember what happened to you, let alone tell others, causes increasing pain and eventually death.
  • Mind Meld : Bones insists that Spock use "an ancient Vulcan technique" to look into Van Gelder's mind and get to the truth. Spock is reluctant to try a meld because it's a very private matter to the Vulcan race. Furthermore he has never used it on a human before and it could be dangerous — ironic when considering its casual use in later years.
  • When Kirk tries out the Neural Neutralizer, he has no idea he blanked out for a second when it was turned on until Noel tells him.
  • When Spock is about to start the mind meld, he assures Bones that it's not hypnotism and he won't be affected just by observing.
  • Mugged for Disguise : Dr. Van Gelder knocks out a Red Shirt and steals his jumpsuit in an attempt to fit in. It doesn't work for long because he's wearing an Engineering uniform in the wrong area of the ship, and so is spotted during the security alert when everyone else has gone to their stations.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero : Kirk decides to secretly try out the neutraliser himself. This turns out to be a mistake as Dr Adams catches him there and decides to use it for real .
  • Not What It Looks Like : Spock rushes to Kirk's rescue without even waiting for a security team , and is not impressed to find him smooching one of his own officers.
  • Pen Name : Writer S. Bar-David is a pen name for Shimon Wincelberg. He incorporated several references to Jewish parables into the screenplay.
  • Dr. Van Gelder is felled by Spock applying the Vulcan neck pinch. Averted earlier when Gelder karate-chops the transporter crewman, and Kirk later chops a mook.
  • Rather than a purely-telepathic act as portrayed in later years, the Vulcan mind-meld seems a lot more complex. It initially involves Spock manipulating pressure points on Gelder's face to affect his nerves and blood vessels, to induce a relaxed state susceptible to a Mental Fusion . He tells Van Gelder he should feel a strange euphoria and a floating sensation.
  • Professor Guinea Pig : Invoked to explain Van Gelder's condition; however Bones refuses to believe this explanation and demands that Kirk investigates the matter.
  • Psycho Psychologist : Dr. Tristan Adams
  • Red Shirts : They get off easy in this ep. Two get karate chopped, one gets put in a chokehold until he passes out. It's possible that Dr. Van Gelder wasn't far gone enough to murder and just knocked them out for a while.
  • Shmuck Bait : Dr Adams adopts a concerned, friendly persona to allay Kirk's suspicions, even letting him keep his phaser when Kirk was about to hand it over as per regulations.
  • Shout-Out to Shakespeare : The title comes from the soliloquy of Macbeth ("A dagger of the mind, a false creation").
  • Stab the Scorpion : Helen backs off in alarm as a Brainwashed and Crazy Kirk advances towards her. Turns out he's actually spotted the air vent she's standing in front of.
  • Suggestive Collision : When the elevator drops faster than expected, Kirk and Helen Security Cling .
  • Teleport Interdiction : The Tantalus penal colony has a security force field which must be deactivated to allow beaming up or down. The Red Shirt gets teased for forgetting that.
  • Tested on Humans : Dr Adams is delighted at having had two 'normal' subjects (Kirk and Van Gelder) to test his machine on.
  • That Woman Is Dead : Lethe's response when asked What Are You in For? The real reason would be she could not recall her original life thanks to being brainwashed.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom : Spock gets a rare heroic example when he turns on the power, with no way of knowing that it would also turn on the mind control machine with the villain of the week still inside.
  • What Did You Expect When You Named It ____? : Tantalus Penal Colony, because why wouldn't you name your mental hospital after a Classical Mythology figure who's most famous for being subjected to everlasting torment. To be fair, it's the name of the planet, but why did they call the planet that in the first place?
  • What the Hell, Hero? : With Van Gelder safely Strapped to an Operating Table , Kirk just wants to dump him back on the penal colony while Bones wants to study his medical condition . Van Gelder tells them both off for their attitude.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit : After being pulled away from the high-voltage power control, Noel mimes the classic "swooning damsel" pose. When the orderly moves to apprehend her, she kicks him into the live wires with both feet.
  • The X of Y : The "Dagger of the Mind".
  • Star Trek S1 E8 "Miri"
  • Recap/Star Trek: The Original Series
  • Star Trek S1 E10 "The Corbomite Maneuver"

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“Friday’s Child”: The original Star Trek’s Christmas episode?

By mike poteet | dec 23, 2022.

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 01: Actress Julie Newmar attends Day 2 of the Third Annual Stan Lee's Comikaze Expo held at Los Angeles Convention Center on November 1, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images)

Was “Friday’s Child” meant as the original Star Trek’s “Christmas episode?”

Recently, the MeTV network advertised a Christmas-themed “Sunday Block Party” during its weekly, late Saturday night rerun of Star Trek: The Original Series (TOS). I thought it a shame that TOS didn’t have a “Christmas episode” of its own to add to MeTV’s holiday mix.

Yes, Dr. Helen Noel —she of the seasonally appropriate surname—makes that tantalizing reference to “the science lab Christmas party” in “Dagger of the Mind,” and implants a false memory about it in Captain Kirk’s mind that leaves him, briefly, grinning ear to ear. But one scene does not a Christmas episode make, especially not an episode so somber and disturbing as “Dagger of the Mind.”

But then I remembered something Allan Asherman wrote, in the first edition of his Star Trek Compendium (Simon & Schuster, 1981), about “Friday’s Child.” I no longer have a copy of Asherman’s book, but if memory serves—and I’m quite sure it does—Asherman called the eleventh episode  of TOS’s second season “Star Trek’s ‘Christmas episode.’” He did so because the story features the birth of a baby in a cave, and because “Friday’s Child” first aired on December 1, 1967, just in time for the holiday season.

MeTV’s TOS rerun cycle is currently in the second season, and “Friday’s Child” was on deck earlier this month. I hadn’t watched this episode in decades and remembered very little about it, other than that Julie Newmar (pictured above) was a guest star , playing Eleen.

But I kept Asherman’s “Christmas episode” comment in mind as I watched. Had he been right to label it as such? TOS’s second season did, after all, bring us “Catspaw,” explicitly intended as a “Halloween episode.” Was it possible “Friday’s Child” was meant to be, as Asherman contended in the Compendium, “Star Trek’s ‘Christmas episode’”?

“Friday’s Child” evokes the Holy Family’s flight to Egypt

In “Friday’s Child,” Eleen does give birth to a baby boy in a cave, as the Virgin Mary gave birth to Jesus in a cave. (Luke 2.7 specifies only a manger—an animal’s feeding trough—not a stable, and the Church of the Holy Nativity in Bethlehem is built over the cave traditionally identified as Jesus’ birthplace.)

But this superficial similarity in itself does not make “Friday’s Child” a Christmas episode. We have no reason to think the conception of Eleen’s child was miraculous, as Christians claim Jesus’ conception was. And it seems unlikely Dorothy Fontana, who wrote “Friday’s Child,” meant Eleen to draw comparisons to Jesus’ mother.

Indeed, in an interview for These Are the Voyages: TOS Season 2 , Fontana said:

"My feeling was that not all women are mommies. Some women do not like their children; some women do not want to have their children; some women abuse their children, and that was a very real fact for me."

Indeed, in Fontana’s original script, Eleen sacrifices her baby to save her own life. The Bible’s Christmas stories, in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, give readers no reason to believe Mary would have made a similar choice.

The episode as we have it includes but softens Eleen’s dislike of her baby, especially in the corny but undeniably effective “The child is yours” exchanges she and Dr. McCoy have. But Eleen may yet be like Mary, and newborn Leonard James Akaar like the newborn Jesus, in a different way: They are political refugees.

In an interview in the May 1987 issue of Starlog, also preserved by Jarrah Hodge at her Trekkie Feminist website , Fontana said she “felt the story in which a woman and her unborn baby were the most interesting pawns in the game was an interesting one.” Because Eleen’s son is the rightful Teer of Capella, the lawful ruler of “the ten tribes,” he is a threat to Maab, who has killed the child’s father, Akaar. Kirk, Spock, and McCoy must take Eleen, still “great with child,” to the Capellan hills so she and her unborn child will be safe.

It’s all reminiscent of how Joseph takes Mary and Jesus to Egypt (Matthew 2.13-15) to protect the child from King Herod, who views the newborn Messiah, the “King of the Jews,” as a threat to his own power. Joseph, Mary, and Jesus were refugees, fleeing danger as much as Eleen and her baby do with the help of our Enterprise heroes.

“Friday’s Child” may be Star Trek’s Christmas episode, then, but not for the reasons Allan Asherman cited. Instead, like the Christmas story in Matthew’s Gospel, “Friday’s Child” illustrates the dangerous lengths to which some people will go to hold on to power—and how a newborn child can be both a powerful threat to an unjust status quo, and a promise of a brighter future.

3 Christmas episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation to watch. dark. Next

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Marianna Hill

Marianna Hill

Highest Rated: 100% Messiah of Evil (1975)

Lowest Rated: 13% Blood Beach (1981)

Birthday: Feb 9, 1941

Birthplace: Santa Barbara, California, USA

An American with exotic looks and a flair for accents, character actress Marianna Hill appeared in a wide variety of films and TV shows but had her heyday in the '60s and '70s. Although she was born in Southern California, Hill's family moved frequently when she was growing up, which may account for her mutability as a performer and the ability to portray people of different ethnicities. She could portray convincing Greeks, Germans, and even Hawaiians, which she did in the Elvis Presley vehicle "Paradise, Hawaiian Style." As a teenager she acted in the local playhouse and later became a model. Her screen acting career began in the '60s with numerous guest roles, including a recurring part on the Western "The Tall Man" and several appearances on "77 Sunset Strip." Her film appearances often came in low-budget exploitation pictures like "Black Zoo," a horror film from 1963. She employed her French accent on the family sitcom "My Three Sons" and her German dialect on the World War II comedy "Hogan's Heroes," as well as appearing on the cult series "Batman" and "Star Trek." Her film parts grew in stature gradually, with co-starring roles in the Haskell Wexler drama "Medium Cool" and the Clint Eastwood Western "High Plains Drifter," (despite continuing to appear in B-movie fare like the 1973 slasher film "The Baby.") She had a role in Francis Ford Coppola's sequel "The Godfather: Part II," then gradually appeared less frequently, effectively ending her screen acting career in the late '80s.

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Dagger of the Mind

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