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The Enterprise transports a Medusan ambassador back to his home planet along with two passengers. The Medusans are a race of aliens so vile and ugly that humans who see them go insane. One of the passengers takes over the Enterprise after they look at the Medusan while attempting to kill him.
Starring RolesGuest StarsCo-Guest StarsUncredited
picks up three passengers: Ambassador Kollos, the non-corporeal representative of the Medusan race; Miranda Jones, a human telepath; and Larry Marvick, one of the original designers of the Enterprise
. To look upon a Medusan unshielded causes madness in humans and even Spock as a Vulcan must wear a protective visor. Meanwhile Kollos remains within a protective travel box...Read the full recap
This was an unsolicted script which Robert Justman read and recommended. It was Aroeste's first TV script.
The Vulcan IDIC was inserted into the script and into the episode at the behest of Gene Roddenberry, who wanted to sell the prop as an item at his Lincoln Enterprises. Nimoy, Shatner, and others were outraged at this, but the IDIC symbol was used under protest anyway.
Ralph Senensky's excellent direction includes extensive use of wide-angle lenses to capture the madness of Spock and Marvick in bizarre ways.
The dining room has pictures of exotic planets on its walls. These will show up in Kirk's quarters in other third-season episodes. Accordng to the 'Star Trek' 30th anniversary book, Mike Minor painted these scenes.
The arboretum is a re-dress of the recreation room, seen only in the episode "And the Children Shall Lead".
Matt Jeffries designed the box that held Ambassador Kollos.
In a precursor to Geordi's visor in TNG, Miranda Jones uses a sensor web to gather information about her surroundings and disguise her blindness.
Shots of the Enterprise in the galactic void and barrier are partially new shots and partially recycled from "Where No Man Has Gone Before".
This was Eddie Paskey's last appearance in the series.
Coincidentally, when David Frankham guested on 'The Outer Limits', in the episode, "Do Not Open Till Doomsday", his character was also the victim of an alien hidden in a box which did its damage when looked upon.
This is the last appearance of anti-gravs in the series.
A scene which shows crewman listening to the intercom in a corridor is reused from "The Corbomite Maneuver".
As the ship is being flung to the far reaches of the galaxy, there is a rare but recycled shot of the ship coming straight at camera and going over the top of the frame.
Dr. Miranda Jones: Ambassador Kollos often finds the process of transport somewhat unsettling.
Spock: I understand. Our ship's surgeon often makes the same complaint.
Kirk: I can't understand why they let you go with Kollos.
Dr. Miranda Jones: They, Captain?
Kirk: The male population of the Federation. Didn't someone try and talk you out of it?
Dr. Miranda Jones: Now that you ask, yes.
Kirk: Well, I'm glad they didn't succeed. Otherwise, I wouldn't have met you.
Kirk: Why isn't it dangerous for you to be with Kollos? Spock I can understand. Nothing makes an impression on him.
Spock: Why, thank you, Captain.
Kirk: You're very welcome, Mr. Spock.
McCoy: How do you manage?
Dr. Miranda Jones: I spent four years on Vulcan studying their mental discipline.
McCoy: You poor girl.
Spock: On the contrary, Doctor, I would say Dr.Jones was indeed fortunate.
McCoy: Vulcan is not my idea of fun.
Dr. Miranda Jones: Who is it you want to kill, Larry? Is it me? You mustn't keep this to yourself. I want to help you.
Larry Marvick: So now you want to help me. Now I know what a mere human male has to do to get a reaction out of you: make you think he's a patient. The great psychologist. Why don't you try being a woman for a change?
Larry Marvick: Don't love her! Don't love her! She'll kill you if you love her! I love you, Miranda.
Chekov: A madman got us into this. It's beginning to look as if only a madman can get us out.
Spock: An entertaining suggestion, Mr. Chekov, but not very helpful.
Spock: Evidently, a highly sophisticated sensor web. My compliments to you, and to your dressmaker.
Kirk: Bones, why hadn't you told me?
McCoy: She would have told you herself if she had wanted you to know. I respect her privacy.
Kirk: There's a great deal to respect about that lady.
Spock/Kollos: And Uhura... whose name means "freedom." She walks in beauty, like the night.
McCoy: That's not Spock!
Spock/Kollos: Are you surprised to find that I've read Byron, Doctor?
McCoy: That's Spock!
Spock: Ah, Miranda. There you are. O brave new world, that has such creatures in it.
Dr. Miranda Jones: 'Tis new to thee.
Spock: My world is next for us.
Spock/Kollos: This thing you call language, though... most remarkable. You depend on it for so very much, but is any one of you really its master? But most of all the aloneness. You are so alone. You live out your lives in this... shell of flesh, self-contained... separate. How lonely you are. How terribly lonely.
Captain Kirk: (to Dr. Jones) With my words, I'll make you hear such ugliness, that Spock saw when he looked at Kollos with his naked eyes-- the ugliness is within you!
Kirk: I have something for you.
Dr. Miranda Jones: I suppose it has thorns.
Kirk: I never met a rose that didn't.
A well-documented goof is that Kirk stays in the transporter room while the Medusan is beamed away, which should have caused him to go mad. Spock has his visor on during the process. Perhaps beaming Kollos away was safe to watch and Spock only put on his visor to watch the ambassador go as he had watched him arrive.
At the end of the dining room scene, Kirk drinks the last of his glass of brandy only to have it half full again seconds later.
After Kirk confronts Dr. Jones in Sickbay, watch Diana Muldaur trying to keep from laughing by biting her lip.
A crewmember in a corridor appears to be chewing gum.
During the fight scene in Engineering, a crewman is thrown against one of the two large, gray cowlings that sit in the middle of the floor. Watch closely: It moves when he hits it.
No matter how convincing Dr. Jones is at portraying a sighted woman, it seems impossible that McCoy wouldn't notice something is wrong. At the end of the party he takes her hand and kisses it and makes eye contact with her for several seconds.
The Medusans take their name from the Greek mythological figure Medusa, one of the three Gorgons. Cursed by the gods, she was so ugly that to look upon her would turn a man to stone. The hero Perseus defeated her by viewing her only in a mirror, a device similar to the madness-insulating visor Spock employed to view Kollos.
There are several tie-ins with Shakespeare in this episode. Miranda was the name of Prospero's virginal daughter in "The Tempest." Dr. Jones wants nothing to do with men romantically, wishing only to join minds with Kollos and exile herself to his world. Spock/Kollos and Miranda also quote the play when Kollos sees Miranda for the first time through humanoid eyes: "O brave new world, That has such people in't." To which Miranda answers, "'Tis new to thee."
The episode title is from a poem by the 17th century English poet George Herbert.
Larry Marvick helped design the engines of the Enterprise. Scotty's joy at meeting one of his ship's creators leads him to hand the controls over to Marvick during his madness.
What Changed in the Remastered Version
General improvements cited on the main series page. The orbital shots of the planet where they pick up Jones, Marvick, and the ambassador is significantly upgraded. the Galactic Barrier shots use the same previous upgrades from "Where No Man Has Gone Before" and "By Any Other Name." The void sequences are given a blue cloud-like tint, rather than the original's swirling reddish/pink haze (see episode screencap). A Federation ship is added at the end of the episode to pick up Jones and Kollos.
It is possible that Kollos' appearance - a being so ugly that to gaze upon it drives men mad - is inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft, a nineteenth and early twentieth century horror writer most famous for the creation of the Cthulhu Mythos. The ancient god Cthulhu was described as residing in a sunken city, R'lyeh, and it was said that when the city rose, psychic sensitives all over the Earth would go mad. This occurred because Cthulhu and his city came from a place where different physical laws apply, and their alien geometries baffled human perceptions; the brain, unable to handle the conflicting data, collapsed into madness. It must be said that mental illness was far more poorly understood in Lovecraft's day than it is even now, so all manner of odd causes were hypothesized.
Leonard Nimoy was able to portray other beings on numerous occasions through mindmelds, but his performance here is really amazing, imparting Kollos' childlike wonderment at the senses of humanoids, our communication medium, and our separateness from one another, as well as his disappointment at having to dissolve the link so soon.