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No reason is given for Dr. Adams using the neural neutralizer on patients and colleagues

  • May 23, 2008
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The most significant item about this episode is that it introduces the Vulcan mind meld. Other than the Vulcan neck pinch, it is the most widely (re)used tactic in the Vulcan lore. The episode begins when the Enterprise completes what should be a routine mission to a penal colony. Unknown to the crew, Dr. Simon Van Gelder, a psychiatrist, beams up to the ship in a container. He is captured relatively easily and Van Gelder exhibits signs of mental instability. As McCoy and Spock investigate, some anomalies appear in the story of the colony director, Dr. Adams.
In order to resolve the discrepancies, Kirk beams down with an aid (Dr. Helen Noel) and during their tour, they are shown the "neural neutralizer" a device that renders people suggestible and docile. Immediately suspicious, Kirk has Dr. Noel try the device on him. Kirk quickly recognizes its' power and tries to contact the ship. Adams intercedes and takes both Kirk and Noel captive. Spock uses the mind meld to extract the information from the mind of Van Gelder and is able to beam down when Noel eliminates the protective force field. Adams is left alone in the booth with the neural neutralizer on full strength, an action which kills him.
This is not a strong episode because it presents no rational reason for Dr. Adams to insanely use such a dangerous device on patients and colleagues. While he pays the ultimate price for his actions, it would have been much stronger if a plausible rationale had been put forward.

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December 29, 2011
I just saw this episode and never even thought of WHY it's going on. Thank you.
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review by . December 29, 2011
Another one of those classic Trek episodes that everyone knows about-the one with the insane man who comes aboard and knows something evil is going on down below on the benevolant planet.  The head Doctor sounding so saccharine that you KNOW he's up to no good, the sexy doctor who goes with Kirk down to the planet and it's another episode where there was plenty of things taken in a classic South Park episode.      The Enterprise just dropped off some supplies to …
Quick Tip by . December 29, 2011
A delivery to a mental institution has a patient escaping on board to the Enterprise and wanting asylum. A great episode with a wonderful mystery sadly ruined by no clear definition as to why this is going on.
About the reviewer
Charles Ashbacher ()
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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Like the preceding episode "What Are Little Girls Made Of?", "Dagger of the Mind" is another mad-doctor drama. This time, Kirk delivers supplies to a penal colony on Tantalus V, where he meets the renowned Dr. Tristan Adams. Adams has been working on the development of a neural neutralizer to control and manipulate dangerous patients. When Kirk threatens to expose him as a dangerous megalomaniac, Adams uses the technology on the unfortunate captain. This tense piece set in a madhouse atmosphere makes for a riveting episode, with a few unhinged performances adding to the fun.--Tom Keogh
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Studio: CBS Paramount International Television

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