Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Episode Analysis: S3E05 Is There In Truth No Beauty?

Despite all I say about Is There In Truth No Beauty?, I do like it, a lot, not least because it guest stars Diana Muldaur, who is rather marvellous in both her Star Trek episodes (this one and Return to Tomorrow) and who I should probably appreciate more in her prolonged guest stint as ship’s doctor in The Next Generation.

The complete objectification of Muldaur, as Dr Miranda Jones, by the men aboard ship is intensely frustrating, and for me it overwhelms the story of the Enterprise being stranded outside the galaxy. After all, she was stranded there entirely because of the jealousy Miranda arouses in her male companion, Enterprise designer Larry Marvick. She is seen by the men on board alternately as frigid, too tempting, misguided, cruel (in denying the male humanoids of the galaxy a chance of romance), over-emotional, and jealous. There’s probably more. But this episode was written by a woman, Jean Lisette Aroeste; and not only by a woman, but by the same woman who wrote the splendid All Our Yesterdays. (Incidentally, All Our Yesterdays was originally titled A Handful of Dust, which I think makes us reflect far more deeply on Zarabeth’s fate.)

In the light of this I have to hope that the male reactions to Miranda Jones were a rather cynical, satirical exposé of 1960s attitudes to women. Unfortunately, with such attitudes rampant through television of the time, it’s very hard to tell if this is satirical or just normality. Was Aroeste’s treatment of Miranda’s blindness, and the male assumptions of her incapability, the same? Miranda certainly shows herself as completely capable in everything she does. The ending of the episode would lead me to believe that Aroeste was far more in sympathy with Miranda than the males of the episode, since at the conclusion she achieves all that which she set out to achieve.

I have one more thing to say, having just flicked back through these caps. Lighting, lighting, lighting! The lighting in this is beautiful, the way the relatively low-key grey sets are rendered as purple, blue, green, just by the effects of lighting.

Well, hello, beautiful.

I do a fair bit of objectifying myself through this episode, although mostly of the ship and of Spock.

As the Enterprise orbits a beautiful planet we learn from the Captain’s Log that they’re there to pick up the Medusan ambassador, the Medusans being beings with beautiful minds, but of such ugliness that they can cause a person to go insane. We know right from the word go that we’re being set up for a philosophical discussion on the nature of beauty. If the title of the episode didn’t give it away.

So here we all are, the boys preparing to receive the ambassador. Larry Marvick (David Frankham) is sent up first to make sure that no one but Spock is in the room when the ambassador beams up. This ugliness thing is serious. Scotty’s happy because Marvick is one of the designers of the Enterprise. Wow. He doesn’t even look that old. I’m not quite sure why he’s part of Miranda’s team. Maybe I missed that.

Sometimes when you see Spock attending to things on the ship you wonder why they bother to have any other crew at all.

Spock has a funky visor to wear that will somehow protect him from the hideousness of the Medusan. Spock assures Kirk it works for Vulcans. ‘It’s your human half I’m worried about,’ Kirk points out. Spock gives him the look, and promises to ‘endeavour to keep it under control.’

I assume the fear is that in the transportation process some glimpse might be caught of the interior of the box that the Medusan travels in. That brings in interesting questions for the transportation process in general. Do we ever get a glimpse of Spock’s spleen, for example?

It says something about Spock that he doesn’t look silly in this. He just looks an extra level of cool.

Dr Miranda Jones is not proficient at the Vulcan salute. We’re seeing her through Spock’s visor, of course. The music changes, and it might as well be going, ‘boom chicka-wah-wah.’ Miranda is A Beauty.

Spock, of course, is excellent at the Vulcan salute.

Here she is in proper colour.

This is the Ambassador. I wonder what he looks like in there?

Spock looks rather startled, which surprises me, to be honest. Surely Spock would be perfectly aware of what to expect?

Spock continues to look startled. And what a look. The music goes all dramatic too, just in case we weren’t aware of how startling this is. And so we fade to the titles. Two minutes in. 11 caps. Oops.

So, Kirk clears the corridors so that the Ambassador can be taken to his quarters. They’re taking no chances.

For once the corridors are quite crowded. This guy in blue looks about sixteen!

Both looking good with visors. I mean, Spock always looks good, so the visor can only make things better.

There’s already a lot of very polite bitchiness from Miranda as they carry the box through the corridors. We get a little glimpse into Spock’s life – he was offered the assignment with the Ambassador but turned it down. ‘My life is here.’ Miranda is obviously working on a lot of pent-up jealousy and sees Spock as quite a threat. Women. You know. They’re always unstable.

Oh, hands...

Spock asks for the chance to exchange greetings with the Ambassador. Miranda is obviously reluctant, but she allows it. Even with the visor on he flinches and looks away at first, but gradually becomes more intrigued.

The Ambassador is just a one-being disco in a box. Groovy.

‘I almost envy you your assignment,’ Spock  tells Miranda.

‘I see in your mind that you are tempted to take my place,’ Miranda responds. A bit of a faux pas, that, reading his thoughts without asking. But she is wrong anyway. He doesn’t want to take her place.

We haven’t seen McCoy in this episode yet, but he gets in anyway.

‘Ambassador Kollos often finds the process of transport somewhat unsettling,’ Miranda says.

‘I understand. Our ship’s surgeon often makes the same complaint,’ Spock responds dryly.

Here we get the first intimation that Miranda is blind. ‘What is it he sees when he looks at you?’ she asks once she is alone, in a rather intense tone. ‘I must know.’

And the box opens to display psychedelic vomit.

So. They’re having dinner with Miranda. Much excitement from my three year old. ‘They have a café on the ship! They have a café on the ship!’

This is where the rather grating 1960s sexual objectification begins. (Anyone remember The Lights of Zetar, where the female protagonist was referred to almost constantly throughout as ‘the girl’?) Kirk pretends to be bewildered as to how the male population of the galaxy ‘let’ Miranda come on this mission. ‘Didn’t anyone try to stop you?’ Her answer is yes, and Kirk is glad that he didn’t succeed because ‘otherwise I wouldn’t have met you.’ Can we read this in any other way than, ‘I want to have sex with you and I don’t foresee you having any problem with that’?

Just look at this gathering. Five men and one woman, with women waiting on. Kirk spends all his time at the start of this scene treating Dr Miranda Jones as a sexual object. She is here as a liason to an Ambassador, but he treats her as a rather confusing female who has dared to step out of the box.

On the plus side everyone looks rather pretty at this gathering. First Kirk, who is wondering how Miranda manages to work with Kollos since no human can look at him even with a visor without going mad.

Then Miranda, who explains that she spent four years on Vulcan studying their mental techniques.

Then McCoy, who greets this news with a wry, ‘You poor girl.’

Then Spock, who retorts that on the contrary, ‘Dr Jones was indeed fortunate.’

Dr Jones has been on Vulcan learning how not to read minds. We get a moment of insight into Spock’s inner life.

‘What most humans generally find impossible to understand is the need to shut out the bedlam of other people’s thoughts and emotions,’ Spock explains.

‘Or of their own thoughts, and emotions,’ Miranda adds reflectively.

Here we get our first proper glimpse of Spock’s IDIC. Miranda exposes her insecurities by asking, ‘Is it a reminder that, as a Vulcan, you can mind link with the Medusans far better than I could?’

Ouch. Everyone’s a bit stunned by this. Captain Kirk calls it, ‘the most revered of Vulcan symbols.’ Spock sounds rather stung as he tells her, ‘I wear it this evening to honour you, Doctor.’

Ever the diplomat, Kirk moves the chatter on to talking about the possibility of using Medusans on starships as navigators. All that is necessary is working on adapting the instruments. Dr McCoy, of course, is cynical. 

‘I see, Dr McCoy, that you still subscribe to the outmoded notion, promulgated by your ancient Greeks, that what is good must also be beautiful,’ Spock comments.

And if the argument is that just because the Medusan is ugly he is not necessarily bad, it must follow that just because Miranda (whose name means ‘worthy of admiration’) is beautiful she is not necessarily good. It is telling that it is Larry Marvick, who has his own reasons to be in conflict over Miranda’s goodness, who points this out.

Miranda looks rightly dubious as Kirk dismisses all this to assert rather impatiently that ‘most of us are attracted by beauty and repelled by ugliness. One of the last of our prejudices,’ and proposes a toast to beauty, ‘To Miranda Jones, the loveliest human ever to grace a starship.’

At this point McCoy gets in on the sexual harassment act, saying, ‘How can one so beautiful condemn herself to look upon ugliness for the rest of her life? Will we allow it, gentlemen?’

‘Certainly not,’ they chorus (with the exception of Spock).

Excuse me? May I slap them now?

Miranda isn’t going to take that. ‘How can one so full of joy and the love of life as you, Doctor, condemn yourself to look upon disease and suffering for the rest of your life? Can we allow that, gentlemen?’

To which – silence.

‘To whatever you want the most, Miranda,’ McCoy replies, sounding royally pissed off, because, I mean, how dare she attack his choice of profession? How dare she?

Suddenly the atmosphere changes as Kirk tries to ply Miranda with more alcohol and she freezes.

‘There is somebody near by thinking of murder,’ she says.

We get lots of reaction shots to this. But it was a fleeting thought. It’s gone, and she can’t say who it was.

As she gets up to leave she has a flurry of offers to escort her to her quarters. Kirk probably wants an intimate after dinner coffee. Spock is probably just being courteous. Miranda, being a dastardly independent woman, insists she can manage.

‘Are you sure you can find your way alone?’ McCoy asks her. McCoy, with what he knows about her, should really be more sure than the others, one would think. Kirk makes a little face at McCoy kissing her hand. The testosterone in the room is so thick you can almost smell it. Yes, even through a computer screen.

‘Now, where I come from that’s what we call a lady,’ McCoy asserts after she has left.

‘Yes, she is something special,’ Kirk agrees. I mean, she hasn’t even deigned to sleep with him yet.

‘Very special – and I suggest you treat her accordingly,’ Marvick cuts in. Is it any coincidence that there’s a green hue all around him? If I were him I’d be a bit pissed off too, to be honest. Dr Jones hasn’t exactly been treated with the respect that she is due as a scientist on a mission. Scotty offers to ply him with Scotch, but he isn’t having it.

So Kirk chooses to mention how dressed up Spock is for the occasion, with his IDIC on his tunic.

Spock’s not in a good mood either now, and doesn’t appreciate what he seems to see as teasing.

‘I genuinely intended to honour her, Captain,’ he says rather peevishly. ‘Good evening, gentlemen.’

So Kirk and Bones are left behind with their alcohol and their sexual frustrations.

‘Bones, what’s troubling you with the girl?’ Kirk asks. Here we are. The girl.

‘Well, she’s not just another girl, Captain, don’t make that mistake,’ McCoy asserts. No, Leonard, she’s an adult scientist with a doctorate or a medical degree. But he’s bothered. ‘She seems very vulnerable,’ he says.

Yes, Leonard. Probably because she comes to an evening dinner on the ship and everyone’s hitting on her.

‘We’re all – vulnerable in one way or another,’ Kirk says sagely and rather introspectively, and we suddenly get a glimpse of the ‘all I need is a tall ship and a star to sail her by’ Kirk, the Kirk who is probably a little insecure, who likes to read books and maybe hits on every girl he meets to fill up a void in his soul.

‘But there’s something so very disturbing about her,’ McCoy muses. Perhaps because she’s a woman with a ‘disability’ who manages to go through life as if she had no such thing? Does that disturb you, Bones?

‘Meaning she’s quite a woman,’ Kirk says glibly, shaking off his introspection. ‘I agree.’

Yes, of course, Jim. That’s always what McCoy means when he says something like that in that tone of voice...

‘Goodnight, Jim,’ McCoy says, with the tone of, ‘You have no idea what I’m talking about and I might as well give up trying, because we all know you’re thinking with your penis right now.’

So Jim is left alone to rather creepily fondle the rose that Miranda has left behind.

Meanwhile, Larry comes to visit Miranda in her quarters. You can tell she really doesn’t want to let him in, but she does, in that feminine, slightly motherly way that people have. She feels sorry for him. Larry seems enormously jealous that Miranda enjoyed her meal with all of those men. He’s the kind of person who wouldn’t surprise you if later you found out they were a rapist. And here he is in Miranda’s rooms.

It’s obvious from their conversation that he is in love – or at least obsessed – with her and she has no such feelings. It’s also a little obvious that she is slightly in the wrong to be beautiful and female and yet still reject him, despite his apparent persistence in his pursuit of her.

‘I understand. That you’re a woman and I’m a man, one of your own kind, and Kollos will never be able to give you anything like this.’

And so he sexually assaults her by kissing her when she obviously doesn’t want him to and makes no movement in response.

It is obvious from what she says that she has not encouraged him and has repeatedly told him that she’s not interested. But she’s a woman, so she should accept him.

This is when she realises that it is he who was thinking of murder. She still doesn’t know who he wants to kill, though. She wants to help him, but he’s bitter.

‘So now I know what a mere human male has to do to get a reaction out of you. Make you think he’s a patient. The great psychologist. Why don’t you try being a woman for a change?’

There is so much wrong with this that I can’t even start.

He leaves her room and starts to go one way, then turns back and goes to the room of Ambassador Kollos. Why he does this is a little unclear. It could just be that he’s verging on insane and wants to kill Kollos and doesn’t even think about the risk of going in there. (It’s a little disturbing – no, actually, very disturbing – that he’s allowed to carry a phaser on board.) But is it also possible that Kollos is aware of what’s going on and entices him into the room through telepathy so that he can expose him and remove him as a threat to Miranda?

Oh dear. Jazzy music, snapping between different camera shots, face grabbing. Not good.

Miranda is aware...

Marvick has been infected with overacting.

Interestingly, the shots of Marvick here aren’t distorted, whereas the ones of Miranda are.

Again, we see that Miranda can go into the room without any protection.

This lot mean business. Presumably Miranda has called them.

‘Who could have done such a thing?’ Kirk asks her.

‘Larry Marvick,’ she says with great regret.

Just as Spock is warning that Marvick will be dangerously insane, Marvick is down in engineering, gaining access to the engines. Oops.

Then the announcement comes through the PA system. But don’t worry. Scotty knows how to handle a mad person! Barrel into them and try to bring them down!!

A fight ensues, of course. There isn’t any way in such a sensitive area of the ship to bring someone down quickly – you know, like hit them with a phaser on stun. Something like that. Marvick is beating Scotty’s head into the floor, but no one comes to his aid, because apparently the entire engine room is staffed only by one person.

Oh f*ck.

The bridge crew are essentially thinking the same. McCoy, of course, needs to be on the bridge right now, because there’s a mad man loose on the ship and the best place McCoy can be is not looking for him. They’re travelling at Warp 8.5, and accelerating.

I like this. This is a view we don’t often get of the bridge. It really looks like a complete, real place. But presumably the camera angle is to reflect Marvick’s madness and a sense of dislocation.

Spock (and Chekov) is trying to disengage power. He is pretty.

They get engineering on audio and Spock pauses to listen to Marvick’s wild ranting. Spock, we can see right up your nose.

Am I the only one who thinks that it’s poor that engineering was apparently staffed only by Scotty (after a meal with plenty of alcohol), and was about to be left in the hands of a non-crew member, Marvick, and that it’s taken this long for anyone to realise what was wrong and get down there?

Oops again. The Enterprise has just passed through the edge of the galaxy, which apparently, rather than just a petering out of stars into a more complete vacuum, is something completely momentous.

Marvick is immensely relieved, because he thinks they’re safe now.

Kirk gets McCoy in to help him, but when Marvick panics, in his wisdom he waves McCoy away, presumably thinking the Kirk-brand of soothing will be better than the treatment of a qualified doctor.

Except, no. His panic increases. He sees Miranda. She tries to reassure him. He tries to strangle her, and warns them all against loving her. And then he dies. Jim, do you think you should have let McCoy give him that shot?

Everyone is rather captivated by the odd swirly blue fire stuff that exists beyond the edge of the galaxy. I would be too. The trouble is, the Enterprise is now lost in uncharted space. Oh dear.

Having just made a log entry to the effect that they’re lost in a ‘completely unknown void,’ Kirk rocks up to Spock and asks rather unfairly, ‘Where are we?’

I would forgive Spock for answering, ‘We are in uncharted space, in a completely unknown void, Captain.’ Essentially Spock replies that they’re lost. They have ‘entered a space-time continuum.’ I’m not sure that that makes much sense, because isn't everything a space-time continuum? But I’m not exactly an astro-physicist.

McCoy doesn’t know why Marvick died, either. ‘He evidently could not live with what he saw.’

‘Position report, Spock?’ Kirk asks.

Poor Spock. Hasn’t he just asked him this in the form of, ‘Where are we?’

Again, Spock is patient. ‘Impossible to calculate. We lack data to analyse. Our instruments appear to be functioning normally, but what they tell us makes no sense.’

This is just because Spock is pretty as he explains to Kirk exactly why they can’t find their way back.

Let’s have a Chekov and Sulu moment.

‘A madman got us into this, and it’s beginning to look as if only a madman can get us out,’ Chekov mutters.

‘An entertaining suggestion, Mr Chekov, but not very helpful,’ Spock admonishes him.

Gosh, if only they had a being renowned for being an expert navigator aboard...

Aha. Kirk remembers about Kollos. Spock is intrigued by the idea of ‘becoming’ Kollos via a mind link. It’s rather lovely hearing him talk about this. But he knows Dr Jones will be reluctant to let him do it. Marvick wasn’t the only jealous one on board the ship.

‘If it is at all possible, her mind must be so engaged that no thought of what I am doing shall intrude,’ Spock warns Kirk.

‘I – think that could be arranged,’ Kirk muses. (Faintly, in the distance, we hear ‘boom chicka-wah-wah’ drifting from an undisclosed location.)

So, what can Kirk do to distract the doctor? Engage her in academic discussion? Show her his stamp collection? Try to seduce her with a room full of flowers? Kirk goes for number three, of course.

Roses. Very romantic. But of course roses also have thorns, just as beautiful women are dangerous.

Kirk takes the opportunity to hold her hand with, ‘I was hoping to make you forget about this today.’

‘It doesn’t hurt any more,’ she tells him rather coldly. How many times does she have to let him know that she’s not interested?

‘You mustn’t blame yourself because Marvick loved you,’ Kirk tells her, the implication being that it’s impossible for men to not love her. Oh, Jim. We already know he’s not the best psychologist after his performance with Marvick in Engineering.

‘I didn’t want his love,’ she replies. ‘I couldn’t return it.’

Kirk’s not having that. ‘Well, some day you’ll want human love and companionship,’ he tells her paternalistically. Of course. Some day you won’t be a lesbian any more. Some day you’ll get over those silly gender issues you have, etc etc.

‘Shall I tell you what human companionship means to me?’ she asks. ‘A struggle. A defence against the emotions of others. At times the emotions burst in on me. Hatred, desire, envy, pity. Pity is the worst of all. Now, I agree with the Vulcans. Violent emotion is a kind of insanity.’

While this is going on, Spock is on his way to the Medusan’s quarters.

Jim is still arrogantly trying to persuade Miranda that in the end she won’t want to spend her life with the Medusans. She’ll want ‘someone who isn’t ugly.’

Miranda is rightly annoyed by this.

Would he be having this conversation with a man?

Ever since she came on the ship and all through this conversation Miranda has been repeatedly showing that she’s not interested. So Kirk talks about how romantic the setting is, wishes there were moonlight, and tries to kiss her. This is the second time she’s had a kiss forced on her in one episode. Really, this is abhorrent. It’s even worse in a way because he’s only doing it to distract her from Kollos.

It doesn’t work. As soon as Spock is in the room with Kollos she realises what’s going on, and protests, saying that Spock is doing something terribly dangerous.

She arrives too late. ‘The Enterprise is at stake,’ Spock tells her flatly. ‘It is not possible for you to be involved.’

They all seem to gang up on her at this point, forming a wall between her and the Ambassador’s quarters. Miranda asks why she can’t link with Kollos herself. She can learn the controls of the ship.

This is where McCoy drops the bomb.

‘Now, hang on a minute. I realise you can do almost anything a sighted person can do. But you can’t pilot a starship.’

Oh, Spock. This isn’t exactly polite. But she’s been exposed. Not only is she a woman, and prone to all the weaknesses of having a womb, but she’s a blind woman. 

‘You are blind, and there are some things you simply cannot do,’ McCoy tells her. One can’t help but feel that she can’t do this only because they think she can’t do this. There’s no evidence that she would have any trouble at all with it.

Her dress is a sensor web. And Spock’s hands are pretty.

Suddenly all three of them are full of pity, despite the fact that all through the episode she has never shown a moment’s problem. No wonder she hates that emotion so much. Spock fails to understand why she hides her blindness. They’re displaying exactly why right now. She tells Kirk that she could play tennis with him. She can judge distance exactly. She can tell how fast his heart is beating. But still they won’t let her pilot the ship.

Spock continues to be pretty as they tell her she will have to talk to Kollos so he can persuade her that Spock must make the mind link.

It really is rather disappointing that when she goes into the room to talk to him we hear her scream. It seems more a scream of fear than anger. Would she really scream because Kollos disagrees with her? Especially since she’s perfectly composed when she comes out.

The Enterprise is still hanging in this weird void...

Kollos is on the bridge, behind a shield. Spock goes to meld with him...

Yep, it worked.

Spock is a rather beautiful mix of the two of them, emoting but logical, able to respond to beauty and express his feelings. He speaks of his friendship for Jim. He even quotes poetry at Uhura. ‘She walks in beauty like the night.’

‘That’s not Spock,’ McCoy asserts.

‘Are you surprised to find that I’ve read Byron, Doctor,’ Spock asks him.

That’s Spock.’

It seems that Kollos returns Miranda’s feelings, as he sees her and quotes from The Tempest with a great deal of tenderness.

Let’s have a little bit more of Spock smiling.

And a little more.

Is this what we need to see to understand the love between two beings? Flesh touching flesh? Humanoid bodies together? This episode echoes Metamorphosis, where the Companion’s love can only be truly realised once she takes human form. Perhaps this one goes a step further if it can be accepted that Miranda and Kollos can share something without looking the same.

When he apologises to Kirk for the trouble he’s brought to the ship he sounds curiously like Quinto-Spock.

We get to see Spock in the helmsman’s chair as he makes the calculations for returning home.

Hands again...

Enterprise at sunset? I don’t know why the edge of the galaxy should look like this, but apparently it does.

When Spock asks for their position Chekov responds with ‘Bullseye, Mr Spock,’ and gets a rather lovely smile in return. It’s not often I can take Spock smiling, but he does it nicely in this episode.

But then he has a little philosophising moment, as Kollos, and doesn’t look so pretty.

‘How compact your bodies are, and what a variety of senses you have. This thing you call – language – though. Most remarkable. You depend on it for so very much, but is any one of you really its master? But most of all, the aloneness. You are so alone. You live out your lives in this shell of flesh, self-contained, separate. How lonely you are. How terribly lonely.’

This is a nice moment. All episode Kirk and others have been at pains to remind Miranda how ugly Kollos is, how he cannot offer her what a human can. This lets us see it from the other side. Kollos pities corporeal beings, sees them as strangely as he is seen by them. All of the human arrogance in the episode is put into context here.

That’s enough for Kirk. ‘You must dissolve the link,’ he tells Kollos. ‘There must be no delay.’

One can’t help but feel that Kollos has struck a little too close to home.

Who can spot the deliberate mistake?


Kirk is a little concerned.

He looks genuinely horrified at the thought that Spock has gone mad. One of Shatner’s more subtle and effective pieces of acting.

Yep. He’s mad. Or is morphing into Kenneth Williams. One or the other.

You can tell he’s mad because of the distorted view from the camera.

Kirk tries to reassure him. You’d find this reassuring, right? I mean, it worked so well with Marvick.

It’s interesting that ‘mad’ translates to ‘dangerously violent’ in this episode, and in quite a few other Star Trek episodes. The writers are obviously Daily Mail readers. Kirk has no option but to stun him.

In sick bay, Miranda is doing what she can for him... Apparently...

Meanwhile, Kirk and McCoy are waiting in the corridor. McCoy is pessimistic. Kirk doesn’t trust Miranda or Vulcan mind techniques now that the fate of his friend is relying on them.

So Jim decides to go in, against McCoy’s advice.

‘Whatever happens, Bones, don’t interfere,’ Kirk tells him.

Poor McCoy. Kirk stopped him helping Marvick, now he’s telling him not to interfere with a patient in his own sick bay. Why?

She’s not wearing her sensor web and he lets her flounder for a while, asking who’s there, before he speaks.

He uses this time to attack her for her frigidity again.

‘No doubt you think I can wake him with a kiss?’ she asks, and his response is along the lines that maybe she can, because he’s half human, ‘far more human than you, apparently.’

Because she won’t succumb to him romantically? He goads her, suggesting that she wants Spock to die, that she caused him to forget the visor on the bridge because Spock is a rival.

To get her to actually help Spock he employs his special Kirk-psychology, taunting and goading her, making her ‘hear such ugliness that Spock saw when he looked at Kollos with his naked eyes.’ In short, he’s furious with her and will say anything to get her to help Spock.

So Kirk stumbles out wondering if he’s pushed her too far, wondering if Spock dies will it be his fault? He is desperately worried about his friend, and completely unable to deal with Miranda without her sensor web. It’s interesting that disability frightens him so much.

Back in the sickbay, Miranda first gives Spock a little breast massage.

A little Sleeping Beauty moment as she initiates the meld. We don’t really need to see the confused flashback sequence that Spock goes through.

He reaches out for her mind. That must be a good sign.

It was! He’s alive! He’s on his feet! Just.

He obviously feels like sh*t. I find this scene rather adorable.

I’d like to explore this moment. How does Spock feel as he staggers into sickbay after such a traumatic experience?

While Spock collapses into the chair, Kirk runs off to find Miranda.

Isn’t this pretty? I do like the remastered versions. Presumably Miranda was fine, since we skip straight to Kollos leaving the ship.

Spock is all better too, and wearing the IDIC again.

They’re all there in the transporter room to say goodbye.

It seems as if the men have finally come to terms with Miranda’s sexual orientation (xenosexual, maybe?)

‘You have what you wanted most,’ McCoy says.

‘I am one with Kollos,’ Miranda replies, sounding serene. Funny how she’s fine once she allowed to love who she wants to love.

Now it’s Kirk’s turn. Miranda is grateful to him. ‘Your words enabled me to see,’ she says, somewhat tritely.

Just as trite is the rose he’s brought for her. ‘I suppose it has thorns,’ she asks.

‘I never met a rose that didn’t,’ he replies.

There’s a moral in there somewhere. Maybe the moral is for Captain Kirk.

Now Spock. Miranda tells him, ‘I know now the great joy you felt when you joined minds with Kollos.’

‘I rejoice in your knowledge, and in your achievement,’ Spock returns.

I find this a bit odd. The implication is that she has never melded with Kollos until now, which isn’t the impression you get for most of the episode. And why has she managed it only now, after the crisis with Spock?

‘I understand, Mr Spock. The glory of creation is in its infinite diversity,’ she says, noticing his IDIC.

‘And the ways our differences combine to create meaning, and beauty,’ Spock replies.

I feel that this is a lesson Kirk and McCoy have learnt through this episode, more than Miranda Jones.

She still can’t do the ta’al.

Spock can.

 So off she beams. I hope Kirk has his eyes closed, because there’s no sign that he’s left the room.

Once she’s gone Spock has something of a ‘thank god that’s over,’ look.

Kirk must have had his eyes closed, because there he is, still in the room.

And there it is. She’s gone, and now he can go back to his quarters and share a drink with Spock and talk about women and how difficult they are. Moral of the story? Women. Sigh...