“Is There in Truth No Beauty?” is the fifth episode of the third season of the American science fiction television series Star Trek.
Written by Jean Lisette Aroeste and directed by Ralph Senensky, it was first broadcast on 18 October 1968.
In the episode, the Enterprise travels with an alien ambassador whose appearance induces madness.
This episode was the second appearance of Diana Muldaur in the Star Trek franchise. She appeared previously as Dr. Ann Mulhall in the second season episode, “Return to Tomorrow” and would later appear as Dr. Katherine Pulaski in the second season of Star Trek: The Next Generation.
The federation starship Enterprise is assigned to escort Medusan ambassador Kollos and psychologist Miranda Jones to a rendezvous with a Medusan vessel. Medusans are non-humanoid creatures whose outward appearance causes humanoids who see them to go insane. Kollos travels in a carrier to hide him from view, and First Officer Spock assists as necessary using a special visor which allows his Vulcan psychology to withstand the sight of Kollos. Jones is also able to observe Kollos with the help of the visor, a fact which she claims is due to Vulcan-style mental discipline.
At a dinner with Captain Kirk and the senior officers, Jones, a telepath, explains that her assignment is to attempt a mind link with Kollos in the hope of allowing humans to utilise the unique senses and navigational abilities of Medusans to improve starship technology. In the course of the discussion, Jones breaks off, sensing someone nearby with murderous intentions. She then returns to her quarters, where she is visited by her associate Lawrence Marvick. Marvick is in love with Jones, a feeling which she does not reciprocate, and she senses that he is the would-be murderer. He then makes his way to Kollos’s quarters with a phaser, but is overcome by the sight of the Medusan before he can fire. Now insane, Marvick rushes to Engineering, overpowers and renders unconscious Chief Engineer Scott and other crew members, and takes control of the engines. The Enterprise quickly accelerates past Warp Factor 9.5, which takes it far outside of the galaxy and into a strange swirling void. Marvick, now restrained, screams wild accusations at Jones before he dies.
With no navigational references, the Enterprise crew cannot return home. Kirk suggests that Kollos’s superior navigational abilities could be of use, and Spock volunteers to mind meld with Kollos, allowing the two to pilot the Enterprise as one entity. Miranda Jones objects that she is a more logical choice, but McCoy reveals that she is blind and therefore couldn’t possibly pilot a starship. It turned out that her dress had an elaborate sensor web that could often provide even more information about her surroundings than sight, e.g. measuring someone’s heart rate and the distance to an obstacle to the nearest centimetre.
A partition is set up on the bridge to hide Kollos, and Spock, wearing the visor, completes the mind link. Kollos and Spock, acting through Spock’s body, successfully return the Enterprise to known space, and then retire behind the partition to dissolve the link, but forgetting the visor. Kirk shouts a warning, but Spock, unable to look away in time, goes mad and attacks the crew. He is subdued by a phaser blast from Kirk and rushed to Sickbay, where his condition deteriorates. Jones attempts to make mental contact with Spock but is apparently unable to help, and Kirk suggests that she, in her jealousy, does not really wish to. Enraged by the accusation, she makes one more attempt, and succeeds in bringing Spock’s mind back to reality.
The Enterprise arrives at its destination, and Kollos and Jones prepare to depart. Jones thanks Kirk for his insight, crediting it, somewhat cryptically, with ensuring her future. Kollos and Jones are now “one”, and she now knows the joy of the mind link for herself. Kirk gives Jones a rose as they leave, reminding her that every rose has thorns.
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Production & Filming Details
- Director(s): Ralph Senensky.
- Writer(s): Jean Little Aroeste.
- Production: Desilu Productions (1966-1967) and Paramount Television (1968-1969).
- Distributor(s): Paramount Pictures (1966-2006), CBS Paramount Television (2006-2007), and CBS Television Distribution (2007-Present).
- Original Network: NBC.
- Release Date: 18 October 1968.
- Running Time: 50 minutes.
- Country: US.
- Language: English.