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Lunch » Tags » Tv Shows » Reviews » Star Trek - The Original Series, Episode 62: Is There In Truth No Beauty? » User review

Excellent alien form, unbelievable actions by humans

  • Aug 28, 2004
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I must admit that I have a soft spot for science fiction stories featuring aliens that are not bipedal humanoids that speak unaccented American English. In this episode, the Enterprise is transporting Kollos, the Medusan ambassador, to his post. The Medusans are non-corporeal entities whose appearance drives humans insane. Even Vulcans are affected, although they are safe if they wear a protective visor. Dr. Miranda Jones is a telepathic human who has studied on Vulcan. She is the ambassador's companion; her telepathic contacts with Kollos are his connection to the human world. Her goal is to forge a true mind link with Kollos, becoming his companion and a continuous link so that he can carry out his duties.
The third member of the Kollos delegation is Lawrence Marvick, who is in love with Miranda Jones and his jealousy over her plans with Kollos are consuming him. In a fit of anger, he enters the ambassador's quarters, with his goal being to kill him. Kollos responds in the only way he can, exposing himself and driving Marvick mad. Since Marvick was one of the original designers of the Enterprise, he understands how it operates. He goes to engineering and controls the engines so that the Enterprise velocity dramatically increases and they enter a void with no physical markers that they can use to plot a return course.
The Medusans are noted for their innate navigational ability, so Spock proposes that he mind meld with Kollos so that he may navigate them out of the void. However, Miranda is jealous of Spock and tries to prevent the meld. She is overruled by Kollos and the meld between Spock and Kollos takes place. The Enterprise is safely returned to normal space, but Spock does not wear the protective visor when the link is dissolved, so he also enters a state of madness. His only hope is to have Miranda form a deep mind meld with him and bring his mind back to a normal state. At first she cannot overcome her jealousy, but after Kirk gives her a very stern lecture, she performs the meld and Spock recovers.
While I enjoy the idea of an unusual alien, the rest of the story is absurd. The intense emotions that Miranda has about her link with Kollos would not be tolerated in one that is to be the sole link between two species. Diplomacy is a very formal and precise operation, and emotional instability is the antithesis of good practice. Her argument against Spock making the meld with Kollos when the ship is in danger is extremely irrational and would not be tolerated. Marvick is also an unbelievable character. To think that he would attempt to kill the ambassador of another species over his love for Miranda is absurd. Killing the ambassador would destroy his only chance to be involved with her. For these reasons, when ranking the episodes of the original series, I place this episode in the lower third.

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Charles Ashbacher ()
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Charlie Ashbacher is a compulsive reader and writer about many subjects. His prime areas of expertise are in mathematics and computers where he has taught every course in the mathematics and computer … more
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TheEnterprisehas dangerous cargo indeed: the Medusan Ambassador Kollos and his lovely telepathic interpreter Miranda Jones (futureNext Generationstar Diana Muldaur). It's aTrektwist on "Beauty and the Beast," a study in surfaces, assumptions, and secrets. The apparently hideous Medusans are a race of great culture, intelligence, and warmth, yet their appearance drives others to madness, while the cool, unemotional Jones (a Vulcan-educated human) brings out the beast in Kirk and McCoy, who pull out their best come-ons and flattery over a cozy dinner. (It's kind of satisfying to see babe-magnet Kirk lose his touch, but give the man credit: he never stops trying.) When an insane crewman sends theEnterprisedeep into uncharted territory, only the navigational skills of the Kollos can save them, but it will necessitate a mindmeld with Spock and in that direction, as we know, lies madness. Nimoy breaks out of his Vulcan reserve as Kollos greets theEnterprisecrew with smiles while channeling through Spock's body, but the episode highlight is Spock's jerky, bug-eyed attack of insanity, capped by distorted point-of-view camerawork and set to brassy stings of stock music. Shatner must have been jealous.--Sean Axmaker
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Studio: CBS Paramount International Television

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