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Star Trek: Dagger of the Mind

The Enterprise crew drop off supplies at a penal colony and pick up a stowaway, a doctor who has gone insane. Kirk investigates and the facility director gives him a look at a neural neutralizer device. It is hoped the device can cure the criminally insane inmates held there. However, all is not as it seems.

Episode Info
Episode number: 1x9
Production Number: 6149-11
Airdate: Thursday November 03rd, 1966

Starring Roles
DeForest KelleyDeForest Kelley
As Dr. Leonard Horatio "Bones" McCoy
Nichelle NicholsNichelle Nichols
As Lt. Nyota Uhura

Guest Stars
James GregoryJames Gregory
As Dr. Tristan Adams

Co-Guest Stars
Morgan WoodwardMorgan Woodward
As Dr. Simon Van Gelder
John ArndtJohn Arndt
As First Crewman
Larry AnthonyLarry Anthony
As Transportation Man
Ed McCreadyEd McCready
As Inmate
Marianna HillMarianna Hill
As Dr. Helen Noel
Eli BeharEli Behar
As Therapist

David L. RossDavid L. Ross
As Guard
Eddie PaskeyEddie Paskey
As Lt. Leslie
Frank Da VinciFrank Da Vinci
As Brent/Vinci
Irene SaleIrene Sale
As Noel's Stunt Double
Louie EliasLouie Elias
As Inmate Guard
Walt DavisWalt Davis
As Therapist #2
Main Cast
William ShatnerWilliam Shatner
As Captain James Tiberius Kirk
Leonard NimoyLeonard Nimoy
As Commander Spock


The Enterprise arrives at the Tantalus V penal colony to drop off supplies and pick up a box of research materials. After the box is beamed up, a desperate looking man emerges, knocks out an engineering tech, and steals his uniform...

Read the full recap
Episode Notes
Leonard Nimoy (Spock) and Marianna Hill (Dr. Helen Noel) previously appeared in the original Outer Limits episode "I, Robot" together. They played Judson Ellis and Nina Link respectively.

Morgan Woodward (Dr. Simon Van Gelder) would later play Captain Ronald Tracey in "The Omega Glory".

The original episode recycles the matte shot of the dilithium cracking station from "Where No Man Has Gone Before." This is eliminated in the 2007 remastered version (see Analysis).

Episode Quotes
Spock: Interesting. You Earth people glorified organized violence for forty centuries. But you imprison those who employ it privately.
McCoy: And, of course, your people found an answer.
Spock: We disposed of emotion, Doctor. Where there is no emotion, there is no motive for violence.

Kirk: What did you say your name was?
Van Gelder: My name? My name is... (winces in pain) ...Simon... Van Gelder... I was... the director... of the... Tantalus Colony... I was assistant to... to... Doc-tor... I knew. I knew, but... they've erased it.
McCoy: Erased?
Van Gelder: Edited... adjusted... subverted me. BUT I WON'T FORGET! I WON'T FORGET! (To Kirk) You're so blind ignorant! You believe I belong back there, don't you? Dead or alive! WELL I WON'T LET YOU TAKE ME BACK THERE! I'M NOT GOING! I'LL DIE FIRST! (McCoy administers sedative) NO! NO! No! (Van Gelder passes out)

McCoy: I don't believe him. I can't explain it, but the more I study that patient...
Kirk: You don't believe him, and you can't explain it. Bones, are you aware that in the last 20 years, Dr. Adams has done more to revolutionize, to humanize prisons and the treatment of prisoners than all the rest of humanity had done in 40 centuries? I've been to those penal colonies since they've begun following his methods, and they're not cages anymore.

Spock: Problem, Captain?
Kirk: Mr. Spock, you tell McCoy that she had better check out as the best assistant I ever had.

Dr. Tristan Adams: There you are, Captain. To all mankind. May we never find space so vast, planets so cold, heart and mind so empty that we cannot fill them with love and warmth.

Kirk: One of the advantages of being a captain is being able to ask for advice without necessarily having to take it.

Dr. Tristan Adams: Captain, you remind me of the ancient skeptic who demanded of the wise old sage to be taught all the world's wisdom while standing on one foot.

McCoy: He's dead, Captain.
Dr. Helen Noel: The machine wasn't on high enough to kill him.
Kirk: He was alone. Can you imagine the mind emptied by that thing? Without even a tormentor for company.

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

Episode Goofs
Helen reaches a critical part of the prison colony by crawling through a ventilation duct. Inasmuch as Tantalus was a prison colony, and given that some of its inmates were violent (this is revealed in dialog), it seems astonishing that the ventilation system would be of sufficient size to accommodate a person, even a small person. We know from the example of Lethe that Tantalus served female inmates. Even if the ducts needed to be this size for some reason of engineering, common sense would suggest not connecting them to anything sensitive (using a separate system for such facilities) and/or equipping them with sensors able to detect a person. This latter is done now in museums and high-security facilities for exactly this reason.

Cultural References
Tantalus, here the name of a penal colony, was the name of a prominent inhabitant of Hades, the underworld in Greek myth. A glutton in life, Tantalus was imprisoned waist deep in a clear river, beneath a tree whose branches were heavy with fruit. But when he bent to drink, the river receded out of his reach, and when he reached for a fruit, the tree likewise withdrew out of his reach. His name comes to us as the word "tantalize."

Episode References
Spock's first use of the Vulcan Mind Meld.

What Changed in the Remastered Version
General improvements cited on the main series page. The orbital shots of the planet get a surface upgrade and the planet gets a set of rings. A new matte shot of the planet's surface shows the surface access point to the Tantalus penal colony atop an isolated plateau.

Other Episode Crew

CreatorGene Roddenberry
CastingJoseph D'Agosta
Costume DesignerWilliam Ware Theiss
Make-upFred B. Phillips
GripGeorge Rader
Property MasterIrving A. Feinberg
GafferGeorge H. Merhoff
OtherHerbert F. Solow (Executive in Charge of Production)
Special EffectsJames Rugg
Main Title ThemeAlexander Courage
Missing Information
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