Director: Ralph Senensky
Writer: Jean Lisette Aroeste
Cast: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, Diana Muldaur, David Frankham, James Doohan, George Takei, Nichelle Nichols, and Walter Koenig
Composer: George Duning
Air Date: 10/18/1968
Production #: 60043-62
The Enterprise is required to provide passage for the Medusan ambassador Kollos, whose hideous appearance must be concealed lest it drive the crew to insanity. Accompanying Kollos are his telepathic interpreter Miranda Jones (Diana Muldaur) and Larry Marvick (David Frankham), a co-designer of the Enterprise’s engine system and personal inspiration for Scotty. Unbeknownst to Kirk and his officers, Marvick’s infatuation with Miranda will soon prompt him to commit an act of desperation and endanger everyone on the ship in the process.
Though slow moving at times, “Is There in Truth No Beauty?” benefits from a touching, if occasionally scattered, lesson regarding the true essence of love and romance. Additionally commendable is a unique performance from Leonard Nimoy, which draws attention to a surprisingly unrestrained side of Spock.
In the early sequences, a haunting score composed by George Duning accentuates the mysterious nature of Kollos, along with his ability to render insane any human foolish enough to gaze upon his unfiltered visage. Duning’s gothic-inspired organ music later combines with a series of unusual camera angles when Larry Marvick is exposed to Kollos, resulting in a surreal effect that gives a firsthand glimpse at the madness afflicting the former character (the same technique also works to highlight Spock’s loss of control following his mind meld with Kollos in the final scenes).
Initially a commentary on the enlightenment that stems from valuing inner beauty over all else, Jean Lisette Aroeste’s narrative loses focus around the halfway mark and delves into more experimental territory as a result. By emphasizing Kollos’ connection with Spock in later scenes, “Is There in Truth No Beauty?” allowed Nimoy another opportunity to showcase a variety of convincing emotional states not typically associated with his character; however, such a wild plot transition tends to detract from the central thesis outlined earlier, with Miranda Jones’ tacit attempt on Spock’s life undermining the poignancy of a romantic angle with Kollos.
(Spoilers beyond this point)
Miranda Jones at first appears to exemplify a virtuous and noble character by “overlooking” the ugliness of Kollos in favor of a more profound relationship with him (this is revealed to be somewhat untrue when McCoy surmises that Miranda must be blind). As indicated earlier, however, this otherwise inspiring message may fail to resonate with viewers when Miranda entertains the notion of letting Spock die simply to satisfy her own envy, thus proving herself to be a cold, spiteful woman whose judgmental attitude seems hypocritical in light of this fact (Miranda does eventually decide to save Spock’s life, but only after a vicious encounter with Captain Kirk).
A strange but compelling episode, “Is There in Truth No Beauty?” should intrigue Star Trek fans who admire the versatile acting talents of Nimoy. Also worth noting is the bizarre cinematography present during Marvick’s physical confrontation with Scotty, which provides a most unpleasant glimpse into the mental torment of a dying man.
Overall Quality: 7/10
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