"Dagger of the Mind"
Tantalus: Enterprise stops by the Tantalus Penal Colony (presumably named because writer S. Bar-David recently read a coffee-table book about Greek myths) in order to deliver the world's largest prescription bottles full of "infra-sensory drugs," which is the first clue that this episode might involve some batshit crazy people. The batshit crazy is especially high in the prison's chief doctor/administrator/guy, Dr. Tristan Adams, who is apparently such A God Among Prison Administrators that he's totally famous and everyone wants to meet him. His batshit crazy is expressed when he invents an awesomely named Neural Neutralizer device that wipes people's brains and leaves them 1) vulnerable to suggestion, and 2) vulnerable to ridiculous facial seizures.
Do Not Operate Heavy Machinery Under Influence of Infra-Sensory Drugs
Kirk: Captain Kirk, as a renaissance man, knows everything about everyone who has ever done anything in the Federation, and really really wants to meet Crazy Dr. Adams. Captain Kirk, as a ladies man, apparently spends his time stopping by the Enterprise "science lab Christmas party," picking off a hot young science girl from the herd, and then waxing poetic to her about his love for the stars. Captain Kirk, as an idiot, thinks that the best way to find out what Dr. Adams' mysterious brain-wiping machine does is to SIT INSIDE IT AND ACTIVATE IT, THEREBY TESTING IT ON HIS OWN BRAIN. In a plot twist that surprises no one except Kirk and hot young science girl Dr. Noel, this does not end well. He spends the rest of the episode dramatically writhing around as only William Shatner can, god bless him.
Kirk suavely grabs Helen the second they're alone, because it's a fast moving elevator.
Spock: Spock is absolutely AMAZING in this episode. His eyebrows deserve starring credits for the way that they OPENLY MOCK Kirk throughout the episode. The images below, in order, reflect Spock mocking Kirk on the bridge, Spock mocking Kirk on the bridge in a different scene, Spock mocking Kirk's Awkward Transporter Room Encounter With Hot Dr. Noel, Spock mocking Kirk over the intercom, Spock mocking Kirk's triumphant kiss with Hot Dr. Noel at the end of the episode:
It Really Is Much Funnier If You Continue To Think Of It As "Vulcan Buttsex": This is an episode about many things (eye candy, Shatner, the facial contortion olympics), but most notably, it is THE FIRST SPOCK MIND MELD EVER! Among other things that Enterprise ruined, the ability to watch any mind meld scene without snickering is one of them. This episode lends surprising canon to Enterprise, though, as Spock is uncomfortable about performing this "personal" procedure, and says the mind meld is based on NEURAL PRESSURE. He performs this meld on a completely crazy brain-wipe victim, and the healing power of mind melds is demonstrated, as by the end of the episode, the crazy dude is not only sane, but gets a promotion.
McCoy: My favorite McCoy moment of this episode is when Kirk asks McCoy to come up with a specialist for the away mission, and McCoy gets the awesome smirk of I Will Totally Send The Chick You Did Not Score With At The Christmas Party. AWESOME. He also whips out his hardcore doctorness in this episode, citing regulations to pressure Kirk into investigating Tantalus Colony, using the largest hyposprays ever made, and telling Spock that his Vulcan inhibitions can go to hell and to perform the damned mind meld already. Someday in Star Trek III, Dr. McCoy will regret insisting that Spock learn to mind meld with humans.
The Facial Contortion Olympics: Usually, Shatner would win by pure virtue of his Shatnerness, but Guest Star Dr. Simon Van Gelder really pulls out all the stops, and probably sprains his eyeballs a few times in the process.
It's An Honor To Even Be Nominated
Dr. Helen Noel: Presumably named after the beautiful Helen of Troy from S. Bar-David's coffee table book, and also after the Christmas party where Kirk did not have sex with her, Dr. Helen Noel is so dumb, that I wrote "Dr. Noel is SO DUMB!" about eight times in my episode notes. It's entirely obnoxious the way that Kirk and Dr. Adams don't let her finish a single sentence, but even her half sentences are enough to irritate the heck out of me. She really doesn't help her case by insisting that no one call her 'doctor.' She fawns over Dr. Adams despite his obvious evilness. She not only DOES NOT STOP KIRK from using the mind-wiper on himself, she happily uses it to brainwash him into thinking that they did it. At the end of the episode, though, she awesomely redeems herself by saving the day and coldheartedly frying a bad guy with live voltage wires, all without messing up her hair.
Times James T. Kirk Did Not Have Sex: Kind of like the last time Kirk got any action (back when Nurse Chapel's fiance ordered an android to kiss him), Kirk gets some sugar in this episode only because a crazy madman orders him to. While torturing Kirk in the Neural Neutralizer, Dr. Adams, for no obvious reason, plants the suggestion that Kirk is madly in love with Helen. Really, I have no clue what he hopes to gain by this.
The principal difference between Kirk and James Bond: no double-entendres involving the fact that her name means "Christmas." Also, this makeout scene never actually happened outside of Kirk's head.
Things That Happen When Yeoman Janice Rand Is Not There: At one point in this episode, Kirk sits on the bridge, dictating his Captain's Log into a TRICORDER. Seriously, if none of the other yeomen on this ship have any idea how to take down a proper Captain's Log, when Janice leaves in a few episodes this could devolve into total administrative anarchy. Also, not a single cup of coffee got waitressed to anyone on the bridge in the entire episode. FOR SHAME.
All caps thanks to Trekcore.com
Who wins the gold medal?
Captain James T. Kirk
Doctor Simon Van Gelder
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