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Is There in Truth No Beauty? (episode)

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"Is There in Truth No Beauty?"
TOS, Episode 3x07
Production number: 60043-62
First aired: 18 October 1968
Remastered version aired: 22 March 2008
63rd of 80 produced in TOS
60th of 80 released in TOS
62nd of 80 released in TOS Remastered
60th of 728 released in all
Spock and Kollos on the bridge
Written By
Jean Lisette Aroeste

Directed By
Ralph Senensky
5630.7 (2268)
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A beautiful woman escorts an alien ambassador so hideously ugly that the sight of him can drive a human mad.



The Enterprise is assigned to transport the Medusan ambassador Kollos back to its homeworld. Brilliant navigators with unique mental abilities, the Medusans are so different physically that Humans go mad at the sight of them. Vulcans, however, can view them by wearing a 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

Jones is a telepath who studied on Vulcan to learn (among other things) the ability to shut out the thoughts and emotions of others. She claims to be able to look upon the Medusans with no ill effects as a result of her Vulcan training.

At dinner in full dress, Dr. Jones tells Kirk, Scott (in a kilt), McCoy and Marvick that she studied on Vulcan how to temper her telepathic abilities and not go mad. Because of this training, her mission (which Spock turned down) is to attempt to establish a mind link with the Medusans as a preliminary step toward Medusans becoming navigators on starships. Marvick's part will be to adapt instrumentation to meet the needs of those navigators. She 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.

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 our last prejudices is to be attracted to what is beautiful, and makes a toast to Jones, "the most beautiful woman to grace a starship." Jones wonders 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 sensation that someone nearby is thinking of murder; the feeling passes but she 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' room in a frenzy.

Act Two

An insane Marvick heads to Engineering, where Scotty gives Marvick the controls. Just after he does that, Kirk makes an announcement that Marvick is insane. When Scotty tries to wrestle controls away, Marvick attacks him and his staff and then plunges the Enterprise past the Galactic barrier and into a void with no way to get back. Kirk and a security team with Jones rush to Engineering to stop Marvick in which he takes one look at Jones and suddenly dies 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 can get the ship home; however, in order for the attempt to take place Spock must mind meld with Kollos so that Kollos can provide the navigational skill while Spock physically pilots the ship.

Jones objects to this plan, insisting that she is better trained to link with a Medusan, but Dr. McCoy has surmised her secret and reveals that she is blind and therefore unable to pilot a starship. Jones admits that she hides her blindness because she hates the pity of others. She has been using a sensor web worn over her clothes to feign sight. She is jealous of what she perceives as Spock's superior mind meld capabilities and his ability to physically look upon Kollos.

Kollos is brought to the bridge, and Spock initiates the mind meld. He speaks, with a smile, on behalf of Kollos. Spock and Kollos succeed in returning the Enterprise to normal space, but when the time comes to break the link, Spock forgets the visor. He too goes mad on the bridge attacking crewmembers until Kirk has to stun him with a phaser in which he may die as a result.

Act Four

Jones, with her Vulcan training, may be able to repair Spock's damaged mind, but she is reluctant to do so. Kirk confronts her with her jealousy and accuses her of not wanting Spock to recover. She successfully melds with and heals Spock and gains her desired ability to link with Kollos in the process.

Log Entries

  • Captain's log, stardate 5630.7. We have been assigned to convey the Medusans' ambassador to the Federation back to their home planet. While the thoughts of the Medusans are the most sublime in the galaxy, their physical appearance is exactly the opposite. They have evolved into a race of beings who are formless, so utterly hideous that the sight of a Medusan brings total madness to any human who sees one.
  • Captain's log, stardate 5630.8. As a result of Larry Marvick's insane fears, the Enterprise lies derelict in uncharted space. We have no way to determine our position in relation to the galaxy. We are in a completely unknown void.
  • Captain's log, supplementary. Our one chance to return to our own galaxy is dependent upon the navigational skills of the Medusan ambassador. With that end in view, Kollos has been brought to the bridge and placed behind a protective shield.

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

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

- Marvick's last words

"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

"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

"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?"

- Spock, speaking as Kollos 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 negiotiate 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 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 dark 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 9) 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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

Video and DVD releases

Links and References


Also Starring

Guest Star


Uncredited Co-Stars

Stunt double


Antarean brandy; antigrav; dressmaker; Earth; Federation; IDIC; Kollos; Lord Byron; Medusans; Medusan homeworld; Medusan vessel; Milky Way Galaxy; mind-link; red alert; sensor web; telepathy; visor; Vulcan; Vulcans; Vulcan salute; warp drive

External link

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"

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