OK, I just rewatched Dagger Of The Mind on DVD: no cuts, no commercials, digitally remastered and clean as a whistle! Nice.
Here is an episode which is quintessential TOS - it has a serious issue at heart, there are moments which are strongly slashy between Kirk and Spock, there are titillating scenes between Kirk and the lovely lady of the hour (and it's not his idea) as usual, and, as usual, when Kirk is offered a chance to get hurt for the pure fun of it, he takes it, as is his habit, as I shall explain:
A raving loony escapes from the penal colony but is captured aboard the Enterprise and restrained in sickbay. He turns out to be no ordinary loony, but is Dr. Van Gelder, Dr. Adams' associate. McCoy complains that he smells something fishy which obligates Kirk to initiate a formal investigation. He needs an assistant, and McCoy chooses Dr. Helen Noel to accompany Kirk.
When Kirk enters the transporter room, Spock is right behind him. Dr. Noel, a great looking brunette woman, awaits his arrival on the transporter pad, and greets Kirk with a highly provocative, imperious expression on her face. She next, oddly, reminds Kirk that they have already met (not surprising, with only 400 odd people aboard).
[NOTE: Apparently she can't understand why Kirk doesn't greet her warmly. Apparently she hasn't heard about Kirk and Spock.]
Spock reacts by throwing eyebrows up, then throwing Kirk a *look*. Kirk returns Spock's glance, and seems embarrassed. We don't know at this point why Kirk's embarrassed or why Spock's surprised to hear Kirk "has met" this woman before.
As Kirk mounts the transporter pad, Helen Noel quietly reminds Kirk that they met at the science lab Xmas party, while Kirk grinds his teeth and wishes she would just shut the fuck up. He remembers, but he, oddly, doesn't like being reminded.
[NOTE: at least not here, right now, in front of Spock! This scene is a kind of K/S Rosetta stone - it's a scene that makes no god-damned sense unless you first understand that Kirk and Spock are a Gay couple.]
Kirk curtly cuts Noel off with a sharp remark. Spock, curiosity fully aroused, asks (eyebrows still aloft), "Something wrong, Captain?"
[NOTE: He obviously would like some explanation, as would we.]
Kirk, oddly, steps down from the pad, crosses to Spock, and (apparently thinking that Spock deserves some explanation) grimly says, "Mr. Spock, you tell Dr. McCoy she'd better check out as one of the best assistants I ever had!", as he frowns at Noel, who blanches.
[NOTE: Kirk's standing next to Spock, Kirk's remark, and his disapproving manner, clearly sends a warning to Helen Noel, who clearly gets the message and adjusts her attitude.
CONSIDER THIS: Kirk makes a point of discouraging the woman while Spock watches. If Kirk is heterosexual and free, if Kirk and Spock are not lovers, this makes no sense whatsoever. If they are lovers, the drama in the scene snaps into focus, as does the drama that is whole rest of the episode.
YOU SEE, IT'S LIKE THIS... if Kirk is heterosexual and free, then whether Kirk knows the woman or not, whether Kirk danced with the woman or not, whether Kirk and the woman played sexy horsey all night long and wanna do it again is none of Spock's god-damned business. If Kirk is heterosexual and free, and if his sex life is none of Spock's business, then the proper thing for Kirk to be saying right now is something like "WHAT'S IT TO YA, MR. SPOCK?" It's not like there is some regulation against heterosexuality on this ship. As we have seen several times in TOS, there are no regulations against sex and/or romance on the Enterprise. If there was one, Spock would quote it now, but he doesn't.]
Blah, blah, blah. Once deep in the spooky bowels of the penal colony, Kirk and Noel get the big tour. Kirk shows pointed interest in the comfy torture chair. Against advice, he opts to spend the night in the prison, and he sneaks over to Noel's room in the night to convince her to try the thing on him.
Noel and Kirk play around with a couple of mild mind-games. At this point, while Kirk is helpless in the thrall of the device, Noel reminisces aloud about the way Kirk and her danced and talked about the stars the magical night they met.
[NOTE: Big Whoop, they danced and talked about the stars! Why would this embarrass Kirk? It all sounds perfectly innocent and harmless! Any guy who is part of a couple, even a Gay couple, might dance and talk with a woman, Big Whoop!
OTOH, what those two are up to right now is definitely shady. Kinkman Kirk isn't too picky about his partner when he gets that masochistic urge, it seems.]
While Kirk is helpless in the grip of the mind-bending machine, Noel fantasizes out loud about how she would have liked the night of the Xmas party evening to have ended. We flash to a scene of Kirk carrying her in his arms to a room for a night of passion... but it's most emphatically nothing but HER FANTASY. That part never happened. But now Noel is trying to make Kirk believe it did.
Suddenly bad guy du jour Adams steps in and starts torturing Kirk, making him believe that he is nuts about Helen, and that he should also drop his weapon and his communicator. As Kirk is holding his communicator, he flips it open and tries to call for help, obviously enduring great pain to do this much. Then he passes out.
[NOTE: Pain doesn't incapacitate Kirk as it would others. This is only one of many times we are shown this. Lots of people stupidly think this shows how macho he is. No, this shows he has a high tolerance for pain. I feel constrained to point out that experienced masochists often develop a high tolerance for pain. Kirk really makes special effort to *not* seem too macho, if you actually look at his patterns of behavior.]
Next scene, Kirk and Noel are locked in a room together when he returns to consciousness. When he automatically starts to embrace Noel, she reminds him that his love/lust is not genuine. Kirk rolls away from her, and with tremendous effort he remembers what happened. Oddly, instead of manifesting agony of body and spirit as Van Gelder did, Kirk seems weirdly happy, and is, BTW, fully functional.
[NOTE: not only doesn't pain incapacitate Kirk, but he seems to be enjoying himself despite it. "Macho", zero; "masochist", one.]
Kirk explains to Noel that someone has to crawl through the ducts and go mess with the electricity to disable the security field which keeps them captive. He asks if she knows how, she says no, he sends her anyway. Seconds after she is on her way, two guards come for Kirk and he cheerfully (almost eagerly) goes with them for more torture.
[NOTE: Oh yes! There is *more* torture. Now see here! I did not write the script, you guys. I did not produce the show. What's there is NOT MY DOING. It's also not my imagination.]
During the big torture scene, Adams praises Kirk, saying, "Did you know Van Gelder was down on his knees sobbing at this point!?" as if he admires Kirk's stamina. And indeed, Kirk is holding up remarkably well. Apparently he has a hugely high tolerance for torture. Kirk passes out before he feels compelled to reveal Helen's whereabouts.
All kinds of dramatic things happen and Spock manages to beam to the planet.
[NOTE: He throws all caution to the wind to rush to Kirk's side ~by himself~. Isn't that kind of not-smart, and emotional-looking of him? Speaking of regulations, isn't there a regulation about how Spock is supposed to bring a bodyguard with him when he beams into a hazardous situation, or something? But No0oo, he just goes rushing to the rescue, tits to the wind, all impulsively n stuff.]
Kirk welcomes Noel back from her little errand with a big hug and kiss (he still thinks he's crazy about her), but she is protesting that it's not proper, that his love is insincere and the result of mechanical interference... as Spock bursts in upon them and gets a face full of this image of Kirk, holding Noel in his arms. Up go the eyebrows again.
[NOTE: Why is Spock always (ever) surprised to see Kirk and women together? Isn't Kirk human, heterosexual, single and free? Well? Is he or isn't he? Free, that is. Think about it...if Spock *doesn't* think Kirk is *free*, it would explain a lot.]
[NOTE: I'm not asking if Kirk's a masochist...I think it's pretty obvious that he is.]
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