Memory Alpha
Memory Alpha
Real world article
(written from a Production point of view)

A beautiful woman escorts an alien ambassador so hideously ugly that the sight of him can drive a Human insane.



The USS Enterprise is assigned to transport the Medusan ambassador Kollos back to his homeworld. Brilliant navigators with unique mental abilities, the Medusans are so different physically that any Humans go insane at just the mere sight of them. Vulcans, however, can safely view them by wearing a red-tinted protective visor.

The ambassador (in a protective box) beams aboard along with Dr. Miranda Jones and Larry Marvick, one of the designers of the Enterprise's engines.

Act One[]

Kirk clears the way on the Enterprise for Spock and Jones to escort the ambassador to his quarters. Jones says she is a telepath tasked with performing a Vulcan mind meld with the ambassador, which has never been done before. Spock was initially asked for the assignment, but he turned it down. Jones becomes suspicious of this.

At dinner in full dress, Dr. Jones tells Captain Kirk, Scott (in a kilt), McCoy and Marvick that she studied on Vulcan for four years to learn (among other things) how to temper her telepathic abilities, shutting out the thoughts of others, and not go mad. Her goal for the mind link is a preliminary step toward Medusans becoming navigators on starships. Marvick's part will be to adapt the instrumentation to meet the needs of those navigators. At the dinner, Dr. Jones points out that Spock is wearing an IDIC, but he reassures her that he wears it to honor her and not to suggest that he could more easily use the Vulcan mind meld to communicate with the Medusans.

Dr. McCoy wonders aloud why someone would risk going mad by attempting this research. Spock chides McCoy for subscribing to the "outmoded notion promulgated by your ancient Greeks that what is good must also be beautiful." Kirk concedes that one of the last prejudices faced by Humans is to be attracted to what is beautiful, and makes a toast to Jones, "the most beautiful woman to grace a starship." Jones retorts by wondering why McCoy would look on disease and suffering for the rest of his life, and he then gives a toast "to whatever she wants the most." Before they take another drink, Jones receives the disturbing sensation that someone nearby is thinking of murder. The feeling passes but she quickly excuses herself.

It turns out that Marvick loves Jones. He comes to her quarters and pleads with her not to go with Kollos, but she rejects him. She then realizes that it's Marvick who wants to commit murder, and she urges him to seek help, but he leaves. Marvick tries to kill Kollos with a hand phaser, but looks upon him during the attempt. He goes mad and runs out of Kollos's room down a corridor in a frenzy.

Act Two[]

An insane Marvick heads to engineering, knocking out Hadley on the way. Kirk, Spock, and McCoy, accompanied by Lemli and Leslie, go to the ambassador's quarters where they find Dr. Jones. She informs them that no harm has come to Kollos, although Larry Marvick tried to kill him. Jones confirms that Marvick did see Kollos, at which Spock notes that dangerous insanity will soon result in him.

In engineering, Scotty, thinking Marvick has taken him up on his previous bet that he wouldn't be able to handle the controls he helped design, hands over the console to Marvick. As he does, Kirk makes a shipwide announcement that Marvick has just attempted to murder Kollos, that he is insane and extremely dangerous. Scotty tries to wrestle Marvick away from the controls, but Marvick attacks him and his staff, rendering them all unconscious, and speeds the Enterprise past warp factor 9.5 which propels them through the Galactic barrier and into an uncharted void outside the Milky Way Galaxy. Spock and Chekov try to disengage the engines from the bridge's engineering station, but have no luck. Upon hearing Marvick's ranting in engineering, Kirk, McCoy, and a security team, along with Dr. Jones, rush to the engine room to stop Marvick. Still ranting and raving, Marvick tries to grab Jones by the throat and screams at everyone to not love her, as she will kill them if anyone loves her. He then utters that he loves her, and suddenly collapses. McCoy checks Marvick, but he is dead: he died of sheer terror.

Act Three[]

The Enterprise is now stranded in an uncharted void with no known points of reference by which to return to normal space. Spock says that in going beyond warp 9.5, the Enterprise entered a space-time continuum and left the galaxy. Kirk wonders whether Kollos with his superior navigational abilities inherent to Medusans can get the ship home; however, in order for the attempt to take place Spock must mind meld with Kollos so that he can provide the navigational skill while Spock physically pilots the ship. Spock notes Jones will certainly not allow it, and cannot be confined to quarters due to her abilities.

Kirk decides to occupy her in an arboretum by asking her about her future. She eventually understands what is happening, and rushes to Kollos's quarters. Spock, already there, says he must be the one since he can pilot a starship. Furthermore, Dr. McCoy has surmised her secret and reveals that she is blind. Jones admits that she hides her blindness because she hates the pity of others, and has been using a sensor web worn over her clothes to feign sight. Jones argues that her sensor web gives her more detailed information than Human vision. Nonetheless, Kirk insists that she communicate with Kollos to understand that it is necessary for Spock to meld with Kollos.

Kollos is brought to the bridge, and Spock initiates the mind meld near his station with a protective screen covering Kollos. Kollos speaks through Spock, recognizing Kirk as an old friend, McCoy, and Uhura. Kollos/Spock succeeds in returning the Enterprise to normal space by taking the helm from Sulu. Before returning, Kollos/Spock notes "how compact these bodies are" and how "remarkable" language is, but that Humans are "so alone, you live out your lives in this shell of flesh…terribly lonely." However, when the time comes to break the link, Kollos/Spock forgets the visor, which he has left on the helm console; and Spock — now himself again — looks upon Kollos in his native form.

Act Four[]

Spock arises from behind the screen stunned and begins attacking crewmembers. Kirk has to stun him with a phaser, from which Spock may die as a result. Spock is taken to sickbay, where Jones, with her Vulcan training, may be able to repair Spock's damaged mind. Against McCoy's advice, Kirk enters sickbay to convince her to help. She argues that she cannot help Spock, because his "mind has gone down too much". Kirk confronts her with her jealousy of Spock's ability and accuses her of not wanting Spock to recover, telling her that the true "ugliness is within you." Jones refuses to acknowledge the truth of her jealousy, telling Kirk to go away. Kirk leaves and tells McCoy that he may have made a mistake in going in to confront her and if Jones lets Spock die, that it was because she could not stand to hear the truth. Jones ultimately decides to help Spock, and successfully melds with and heals him. As a result, Jones gains her desired ability to link with Kollos to the same level that Spock can.

In the transporter room, Jones meets Kirk and tells him that his words enabled her to see; Kirk gives her a rose. Jones tells Spock that she understands the great joy Spock felt upon linking with Kollos, and Spock is pleased that she understands. They wish each other peace and long life before Jones beams over to the Medusan ship.

Log entries[]

Memorable quotes[]

"Ambassador Kollos often finds the process of transport somewhat unsettling."
"I understand. Our ship's surgeon often makes the same complaint."

- Miranda and Spock, in the ambassador's quarters

"Vulcan is not my idea of fun."

- McCoy, upon learning that Miranda studied on Vulcan for four years

"I think most of us are attracted by beauty and repelled by ugliness. One of the last of our prejudices. At the risk of sounding prejudiced, gentlemen, here's to beauty."

- Kirk, toasting Miranda

"How can one so beautiful condemn herself to look upon ugliness the rest of her life? Will we allow it, gentlemen?"
"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?"

- McCoy and Miranda, toasting each other

"There's somebody nearby thinking of murder."

- Miranda, sensing Marvick's intentions

"The controls are all yours, and the bottle of scotch will be in your room this evening — if you can handle them."

- Scott, to Marvick unaware he has gone insane

"Don't love her! Don't love her! She'll kill you if you love her! I love you, Miranda."

- Marvick's last words

"You mean he just simply died."
"I mean he evidently could not live with what he saw."
"Or what he felt."

-Kirk and McCoy, over Marvick's death

"A madman got us into this and it's beginning to look as if only a madman can get us out."

- Chekov, on the galactic void

"In some ways, she is still most Human, Captain, particularly in the depth of her jealously."

- Spock, to Kirk on Miranda Jones

"You said that pity is the worst [emotion] of all."
"Pity, … which I hate."

- Kirk and Miranda, on why she kept it a secret.

"My compliments to you. And to your dressmaker."

- Spock to Miranda, upon realizing that she is blind

"And Uhura, whose name means freedom. She walks in beauty, like the night."
"That's not Spock."
"Are you surprised to find that I've read Byron, Doctor?"
"That's Spock!"

- Spock and McCoy, after Spock mind-links with Kollos

"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."

- Kollos/Spock, speaking after the Enterprise escapes from the void

"With my words, I'll make you hear such ugliness as Spock saw when he looked at Kollos with his naked eyes! The ugliness is within you!"

- Kirk to Miranda, as she refuses to heal Spock

"Now, Spock, this is to the death. Or to life for both of us."

- Miranda, before healing Spock

"I suppose it has thorns."
"I never met a rose that didn't."

- Miranda and Kirk, as he gives her a flower in the transporter room

"The glory of creation is in its infinite diversity."
"And the ways our differences combine to create meaning and beauty."

- Miranda and Spock, before she departs

Background information[]

  • The Vulcan IDIC was inserted into the script and into the episode at the behest of Gene Roddenberry, who wanted to sell the prop as an item at his Lincoln Enterprises. Nimoy, Shatner, and others were outraged at this, and Roddenberry was called to the set to negotiate with the actors. Finally, he agreed to rewrite the dinner scene. The IDIC symbol was used, but in a much less prominent way. [1]
  • When Jessica Walter, the original actress proposed for the role of Dr. Miranda Jones, became unavailable and a search for a replacement was fruitless, director Ralph Senensky recommended Diana Muldaur for the role, since they'd worked together the previous season in "Return to Tomorrow" and also in an episode of I, Spy. According to Senensky there was a policy against the reuse of guest stars in different roles (a claim refuted by the large number of actors who did, in fact, return to the series in multiple roles). This problem was solved by having Muldaur wear a black wig, creating a different appearance for the actress. After viewing the rushes, co-producer Robert H. Justman walked out of the screening room saying, "I wonder how she looks in a red wig", jokingly referring to another possible appearance by Muldaur in a potential fourth season. [2] [3]
  • According to the Star Trek 30th anniversary book, Mike Minor painted the pictures of exotic planets seen in the dining room. They reappeared in Kirk's quarters in other third-season episodes.
  • The arboretum (which was located on the swing set of Desilu Stage 10) was originally built for "Elaan of Troyius", but its appearance ended up as a deleted scene. Apart from this episode, it was only seen in "And the Children Shall Lead". Actually, it is generally "assumed" that this is the arboretum. On entering, Kirk says, "I may be sentimental, but this is my favorite place: Earth" – possibly indicating that this is Roddenberry's half-hearted attempt at introducing a "holography area," which he had planned for the next season (and which he promised to NBC executives in a pre-season letter). However, since Kirk gives Dr. Jones a non-holographic red rose at the end of the episode, indications are strong that the room was not a projection. (Inside Star Trek: The Real Story), [4]
  • This is one of only two instances in which Scotty wears a dress uniform complete with ancestral tartan. But whereas he wears white socks in this episode, in "The Savage Curtain" he wears red ones.
  • Matt Jefferies designed the container that held Ambassador Kollos.
Enterprise leaving the barrier unreversed

Leaving the barrier

  • Shots of the Enterprise in the galactic void are recycled from "Where No Man Has Gone Before". It is never made clear exactly where the Enterprise had been thrown; speculation includes a return trip to the galactic barrier, an earlier trip to the Great Barrier seen in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, or to some other distant location in space, perhaps even outside the normal space-time continuum.
  • A very rare stock shot of the Enterprise is used when the ship warps towards the barrier under Marvick's control: it is taken from the opening of "The Cage" (just before the "Guest Star Susan Oliver" credit) and shows the Enterprise at high speed blasting towards the camera. The same shot is reused later in "That Which Survives".
Security team in corridor

Leslie's last watch

  • This was Eddie Paskey's last appearance in the series. Paskey suffered a back injury while filming the scene of Spock attacking his crewmates; due to the injury, he was excluded from the scene. This, along with the bright lights on the set causing him constant headaches, made him decide to leave the series after this episode. (These Are the Voyages: TOS Season Three)
  • This is the third and last episode of the original series to include a question mark in the title (the other episodes being "What Are Little Girls Made Of?" and "Who Mourns for Adonais?").
  • When David Frankham guest-starred on the The Outer Limits episode "Do Not Open Till Doomsday", his character was also the victim of an alien hidden in a box which injured those who glimpsed it.
  • The vibrant animated effects used to represent the form of the Medusan, and the momentary insert shots of the receptacle — during the dinner scene for example — were added in post-production, without director Ralph Senensky's knowledge or approval. [5]
  • This is the last appearance of antigravs in the series.
  • Despite Dr. McCoy's insistence that Dr. Jones cannot pilot the Enterprise due to her blindness, by the time of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Geordi La Forge; a blind man, was the helmsman of the Enterprise-D during the first season. This may have more to do with the limitations of her sensor web as compared to the VISOR.
  • There is a blooper in the last scene. When transporting Ambassador Kollos, Captain Kirk is still in the transporter room when the Ambassador is transported yet he does not go insane. Spock is wearing the visor though. Kirk only exits after the transportation is complete.
  • There are several references to Shakespeare in this episode. Miranda was the name of Prospero's virginal daughter in The Tempest. Spock/Kollos and Miranda also reference the play when Kollos sees Miranda for the first time through humanoid eyes: "O brave new world, That has such creatures in't." To which Miranda answers, "'Tis new to thee." (Spock/Kollos says "…such creatures…", a common misquotation; the play's line is actually "…such people…")
  • The episode title is from a poem by the 17th century English poet and clergyman George Herbert, from his poem "Jordan (I)", line 2: "Who says that fictions only and false hair/ Become a verse? Is there in truth no beauty?"
  • This was an unsolicited script which Robert H. Justman read and recommended.
  • In the third season blooper reel, Diana Muldaur blows one of her last lines by saying "We've come to the end of an eventful… trip." To which Shatner ad-libs, "I don't know what you've been taking…"
Medusan vessel and USS Enterprise

Medusan vessel rendezvous with the USS Enterprise

Production timeline[]

During the syndication run of Star Trek, no syndication cuts were made to this episode.

Video and DVD releases[]

Links and references[]


Also starring[]

Guest star[]


Uncredited co-stars[]

Stunt double[]


ability; acceleration; achievement; aloneness; ambassador; annoyance; Antarean brandy; antigrav; autopsy report; beauty; blindness; body; "Bones"; bottle; brain activity; "brave new world"; bull's eye; centimeter; chance; choice; clearance plan; colleague; channel; companionship; compliments; confined to quarters; contact; course (aka heading); creature; damage report; data; death; deceiver; designer; desire; devil; dinner; disease; distance; door; double entity; dream; dressmaker; Earth; emergency; emotion; envy; evening; evolution; experience; explanation; eyes; fear; Federation; fine art; flesh; flower; freedom; fun; galactic barrier; galaxy; good; Greeks; greetings; harm; hatred; health; heart; heartbeat; idea; IDIC; impression; information; insanity; insult; intercom; jealousy; joy; kiss; knee; knowledge; Kollos; laboratory; language; liar; lie; Lord Byron; love; luck; machine; madman; madness; male; meaning; Medusans; Medusan homeworld; Medusan vessel; mental discipline; meter; Milky Way Galaxy; mind; mind link; minute; mission; mistake; moonlight; murder; murderer; name; navigator; night; opportunity; passageway; patient; peace; person; permission; physical appearance; pilot; pity; place; planet (unnamed); population; position report; power; prejudice; privacy; protective shield; psychologist; quarters; race (aka species); rapport; reality; red alert; reference point; restaurant; respiration; result; return course; risk; rival; room; rose; sadism; sanity; scotch; Scots language; sense; sensor; sensory system; sensor web; shell; ship's surgeon; smell (aka scent, stench); solution; space; space-time continuum; starship; strangulation; suffering; suffocation; Sublight factor; suicide; telepath; telepathy; Tempest, The; tennis; thing; thorn; thought; toast; transporter; transporter control center; truth; ugliness; uncharted space; universe; unnamed planet; violence; visor; Vulcan; Vulcans; Vulcan salute; Vulcan symbol; wager; warp drive; warp factor; warp speed; "wee"; word; year

External links[]

Previous episode produced:
"Spock's Brain"
Star Trek: The Original Series
Season 3
Next episode produced:
"The Empath"
Previous episode aired:
"And the Children Shall Lead"
Next episode aired:
"Spectre of the Gun"
Previous remastered episode aired:
"That Which Survives"
TOS Remastered Next remastered episode aired:
"Elaan of Troyius"