Wednesday, June 03, 2009


From Wikipedia:

"Dagger of the Mind" is a first season episode of Star Trek: The Original Series. It is episode #9, production #11 and was broadcast November 3, 1966. It was written by Shimon Wincelberg (under the pen name "S. Bar-David"), and directed by Vincent McEveety.

Overview: The Enterprise visits a prison planet where a new treatment for the criminally insane has deadly results.

More here.

Okay, this isn't the greatest one of them all, but it's pretty darned good. Straight-up, straight ahead Trek, nothing weird or out of place. A solid episode. It's particularly good, by and large, because of the fantastic performance of guest star Morgan Woodward who plays the stark raving insane Dr. Simon Van Gelder.

Indeed, and this is definitely worth noting here, the 1960s version of Star Trek was greatly concerned with insanity as a near omnipresent issue. "Dagger of the Mind" was only the eleventh episode overall, but it was the fourth where some sort of intense psychosis is a major theme--"Where No Man Has Gone Before," "The Corbomite Maneuver," and "The Naked Time" all feature characters either descending into insanity or going right up to its edge; one might even make an argument that "The Enemy Within" deals with insanity, as well, but you know, Kirk's psychosis in that episode was only because the transporter had divided him into his good and evil selves. Whatever. The point is that, for original Trek, space drives people mad all the time. And I fucking love it! Trust me, in the sixty odd episodes to come, there will be much more insanity.

"Dagger" is also notable for the first appearance of Spock's use of the Vulcan mind meld: I think it entirely appropriate that the producers brought it out for the mental hospital episode.

Check it out: