Production: Paramount, 1969
Running Time: 52 minutes
The Enterprise serves as escort to human translator Miranda Jones and Medusan ambassador Kollos, who intend to attempt an interspecies mental connection. But when Dr. Jones' jealous assistant Larry Marvick tries to kill the alien, he looks upon the terrifying Medusan and goes insane. Taking control of the vessel, Marvick strands the ship deep in subspace before dying of his madness.
Because the blind Miranda cannot pilot the Enterprise, Spock mind-melds with Kollos and guides the ship home. But a glimpse of the Medusan drives the Vulcan insane as well. Dr. Jones must put aside her jealousy of Spock's telepathic skills to enter his mind and reconstruct his psyche.
Best For Ages:
6-8 - One of the more frightening episodes, this is not appropriate for young children.
8-12 - Pre-teens have traditionally been one of STAR TREK's largest audiences; this philosophical episode will entertain them.
12 & up - Vulcan idealism and an emotional crisis make this one of the most popular Trek installments.
Educational Value: A blind ambassador proves that a disability doesn't have to be a handicap. Spock teaches the Vulcan philosophy of embracing diversity. When scientific ingenuity fails, the crew use their wits to save themselves.
Entertainment Value: The powerful story isn't served very well by the cheesy music and visuals, particularly during a fight scene in engineering. But the eerie lighting of the alien ambassador is effective.
Violence: An enraged would-be-lover tries to murder his rival and attacks several crewmembers. Kirk is forced to subdue the man. Under the influence of an alien, Spock tries to attack his shipmates.
Frightening Situations: The sight of a terrifying creature drives Spock insane. A blind woman must cope without her sensory web. The crew is stranded at the edge of the galaxy.
Emotional intensity: Romantic passion drives a man to madness. Contact with an incomprehensible alien does the same to Mr. Spock.
Mature Themes: Prejudice, romantic excess, madness.
A sensitive and emotional story, IS THERE IN TRUTH NO BEAUTY? explores themes of disability and prejudice within the context of an exciting STAR TREK adventure. Spock introduces the Vulcan philosophy of IDIC - "Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations" - which represents both the need for interspecies cooperation and for the more personal, emotional connections between individuals.
Marvick cannot accept the Medusan's difference, and is destroyed by it. But Miranda Jones overcomes the disability that sets her apart - not her blindness, but her resentment of her telepathic limitations. The rapport between Spock and Kollos contributes to the underlying theme of fellowship. Passion is more complicated; it drives Marvick to attempt murder, and at one point Kirk, Spock, and McCoy all appear to be competing for Jones as well. Yet her ultimate bond with Kollos is a transcendent link of minds.
STAR TREK episode 44, JOURNEY TO BABEL, explores many of the same themes of inter-species tolerance, plus offers a glimpse into Spock's family. For younger children, the SESAME STREET film MUPPETS FROM SPACE explores some of the issues of alienation and cherishing one's differences.
Children's Star Trek Reviews
Adult Star Trek Reviews