Star Trek

Season 3 Episode 5

Is There in Truth No Beauty?

Aired Unknown Oct 18, 1968 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
145 votes

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Episode Summary


Stardate 5630.7:...or is there in beauty no truth? Miranda Jones, a telepath who studied mental disciplines on Vulcan, arrives with Ambassador Kollos, a Medusan - an alien life form whose physical form is so hideous, humanoid life forms are driven insane if they look upon him. Also beaming aboard is Larry Marvick, one of the original designers of the Enterprise - and hopelessly in love with Miranda, although she has chosen to spend her life serving as a liaison between the Medusans and other humanoids. Miranda senses that someone is actively contemplating murder, and suspects Spock is envious of her once-in-a-lifetime mission - but even Miranda is unaware of the real would-be killer and their target.


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  • Dr. Miranda Jones arrives with Ambassador Kolos, a Medusan, and senses someone plotting murder.

    "Who says that fictions only and false hair become a verse? Is there in truth no beauty?"

    - From Jordan (I), a 1633 poem by George Herbert

    Talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly! This episode's unsolicited, amateur script has all the hallmarks of Mary Sue fan fiction. Basically, it's about an extraordinarily woman with remarkable talents visiting the ship, and all the guys try to elbow each other away to get her attention.

    (Mary Sue: noun, An original female character in fan fiction who serves as an idealized version of the author mainly for the purpose of wish fulfillment. She's often exotically beautiful, having an unusual hair or eye color, and exceptionally talented in an implausibly wide variety of areas).

    But writer Jean Aroeste, a librarian, gives the episode several broad strokes that are more inventive than those offered by her professional counterparts. She creates one of Star Trek's most "alien" aliens, adds a clever, unexpected twist midway through, and turns the title question on its ear through her two character creations. Unfortunately, her subplots are all over the map, and the core issue of looking upon the Medusan itself is handled inconsistently. (At first, Captain Kirk and his crew aren't even allowed to look at the alien's housing, and Spock has to wear a protective visor. Then as the episode progresses, only the alien inside is treated as a dangerous sight, and everyone becomes more casual about the situation. Heck, Captain Kirk isn't even allowed in the transporter room at the beginning, but he's right there at the end!)

    Aroeste's greatest problem, however, is her need to have the lead guest star be more right than the crew, with the script having the guys ask why someone so beautiful would spend her days with one so ugly and having her put them in her place with a pointed answer. That's all fine for her, but in the next episode she's gone, and the regular cast will be back; it's important not to make them look too bigoted. And yet Captain Kirk takes the foolishness one step further. He attempts to seduce Jones as a distraction, only resorting to reasoning with her as Plan B. (This seems like a new low even for him). But Kirk's poor showing is balanced by the awesomeness of Jones, Spock and Kollos, with Diane Muldaur, Leonard Nimoy, and the special effects team working well together to bring the three to life to create a compelling triangle relationship. (Nimoy in particular deserves credit for giving Kollos a personality through the Vulcan mind meld story device). Having a woman raised on Vulcan is an intriguing concept, and mixing Vulcan training with Earth emotions gives Dr. Jones an interesting personality that Muldaur plays well and Shatner and Nimoy play well against.

    Toss in a new score and the sure hand of director Ralph Senensky, and you have a decent little bottle show.

    Diane Muldaur returns to Star Trek to play a third doctor in TNG's second season.

    Remastered Version: B

    With the Enterprise leaving the galaxy in this episode, there are quite a few cool sights here, though both the original and remastered use some previous footage to flesh it out. Interestingly, the original uses the same stock footage of the "Operation: Annihilate" planet for both the beginning and end, despite the whole point of the episode being to transport the Medusan from one place to another. (Would it have killed them to pull out another stock planet?) Actually, the dialogue in the episode is inconsistent with regard to the destination. In the beginning, Kirk says they're transporting the entity to the Medusans' home planet, but later Dr. Jones says they're rendezvousing with a Medusan vessel. The original takes its lead from Kirk and has the Enterprise enter orbit with a planet at the end, but the remastered version agrees with Dr. Jones and includes a rendezvous with a Daedalus Class ship similar in design to one of Captain Sisko's models.

    The remainder of the remastered shots include an Earth-like planet, the old galactic barrier, a nebula effect, and shots of the Enterprise going here and there. The "Kollos" effect, an ingenious pattern of flickering colors that really does seem like it could drive you mad, is wisely left alone.

  • The Enterprise has been assigned to transport an alien ambassador, whose physical appearance causes insanity, and his telepathic aide. The closest the series has come to a filler episode at this point...moreless

    This episode has a few fairly good moments, but for the most part is a very average and rocky tale, and the closest the Original Series has come to a filler episode at this point.

    The concept of Medusan ambassador Kollos, whose physical appearance drives people insane, is a thinly disguised reworking around the ancient Greek myth of Medusa, who would turn anyone who looked at her to stone. The idea here is an interesting one, but deserves a stronger storyline around it.

    Probably the best thing about this mixed episode is Diana Muldaur as Dr. Miranda Jones. Muldaur had already played a different character in the second season episode "Return to Tomorrow", and in the role as Jones she has good screen presence. The twist revealed about her later in the episode (which I shan't give away here) is quite unexpected. (Diana Muldaur would, of course, go on to play Dr. Kate Pulaski in the second season in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation').

    If this story had come earlier in the show's life, it no doubt would have been much sharper and polished, but by this point, things are feeling a bit tired, and the show has defiantly long peaked by this point.

    The episode has its good moments, but ultimately winds up as one of the Original Series' far weaker stories. While there are some genuinely nice moments, there are also a number of weak ones.

    The plot has a great many elements, and plays like one story after another. While it deserves credit for trying something with such scope, the result is sadly something uneven and unfocused.moreless
  • A blind woman claims she can beat Kirk in tennis.

    I volunteer for the blind. Diane Muldare or whatever her name is did not do the greatest job. I’m well aware that most of the episode she had on that sensory dress, but she still made a poor blind person. And the addition of Marvick’s obsession with her (the plot thins) did not help it out. I also did not buy for a second that no one on the bridge said to Spock/Kollos, “Hey brother, don’t forget your sunglasses”.moreless
Leonard Nimoy

Leonard Nimoy

Mr. Spock

William Shatner

William Shatner

Captain James Tiberius Kirk

DeForest Kelley

DeForest Kelley

Dr. Leonard Horatio "Bones" McCoy

Diana Muldaur

Diana Muldaur

Dr. Miranda Jones

Guest Star

David Frankham

David Frankham

Larry Marvick

Guest Star

Robert Balver

Robert Balver

Yeoman (uncredited)

Guest Star

George Takei

George Takei

Lt. Hikaru Sulu

Recurring Role

Nichelle Nichols

Nichelle Nichols

Lt. Nyota Uhura

Recurring Role

Walter Koenig

Walter Koenig

Ensign Pavel Chekov

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (6)

    • After Jones leaves Kollos' quarters, there's a cut to a reaction shot of Kirk with his hair parted in reverse.

    • At the end of the dinner, Kirk finishes off his glass, then the camera cuts to McCoy. Then it cuts back to Kirk and his glass is full.

    • Kirk aims his phaser at a berserk Spock's head and fires, but the beam hits him in the stomach.

    • At the beginning of the episode Kirk says they're taking the Medusan ambassador back to his home planet, but later Miranda says she's going to mind-meld with him when they reach a Medusan vessel.

    • Every time Miranda senses an intent to kill she gets an image from Larry's' mind of Kollos, but after the second time she asks him who or what he wants to kill - could it be...Kollos?

    • It is established that during transport of Ambassador Kollos, the protective visor must be worn to prevent insanity. In the final scene, when Spock transports the Ambassador off the ship, he wears his visor. But Kirk remains in the transporter room and witnesses transport without a visor.

  • QUOTES (9)

  • NOTES (1)

    • Diana Muldar makes her second appearance in Star Trek; The Original Series in this episode. Her first, being in "Return To Tomorrow". In later years, she will be in Star Trek: The Next Generation's second season as Doctor Pulaski, having replaced Doctor Crusher, from the first season.


    • The concept of Kollos, the Medusan whose physical appearance drives people insane, comes from the Greek legend of Medusa, who would turn anyone who looked at her to stone.