9 – Dagger of the Mind

Grade: B

 Dagger of the Mind
(1966) on IMDb


The Enterprise is in orbit above the Tantalus penal colony. They beam down supplies needed at the colony, but when they beam up materials from the colony, a violent inmate beams aboard hidden inside the box. The prisoner does not want to be taken back to Tantalus, but asks for assylum on the ship. Captain Kirk and Dr. Helen Noel beam down to the prison to help investigate what happened. They find out that the inmates have been given experimental treatments involving a machine that empties one’s mind.


Dagger of the Mind is a much improved episode after watching Miri. Marianna Hill picks up where Sherry Jackson left off two episodes ago. In most scenes, the acting is actually pretty good, but in a few others, it’s a bit over the top. Shatner doesn’t do as well as the main guest star, Morgan Woodward.

Several of the scenes are a little uncomfortable to watch, but that’s mostly because of the subject matter. We’re seeing people lose their minds, and that’s never a good thing. There is also plenty of campiness in this episode, mostly because Captain Kirk has a hard time keeping his emotions in check when around Dr. Noel. But overall, this is a pretty good episode and one of the better ones of the first season.

Of Note

Spock’s moralizing 7 minutes into the episode is just silly. Fortunately, this is really the only comment of its kind during this episode. Morgan Woodward, who plays Dr. Van Gelder, will appear again in another episode, called The Omega Glory, but as a different character. I wish they had found more episodes for Marianna Hill, too.