The One with The Mind Wiper
There are 2 plot lines in this episode and one lets the side down. Lets deal with the best one first.
A prisoner, van Gelder, escapes from the penal colony of Tantalus onto the Enterprise. However he turns out to be a doctor and Kirk beams down with Helen Noel to investigate.
The plot on board the Enterprise, with Spock and McCoy trying to get to the bottom of the Van Gelder mystery is deep stuff. All 3 actors are excellent, though V Gelder can be OTT at times, but very believable. We also get to see the vulcan mind meld for the first time, very different from future episodes and It comes across as dangerous and risky for patient and Spock. Whilst it was nice to see Spock and McCoy doing their normal debating, the rest of the usual crew were missed. Even semi regulars like Rand were AWOL.
Which brings us to Kirk and Noel on the planet. This role wa obviously primed for Rand, but the writers have replaced her. I think this is for best, as I've said before, Kirk shouldn't be a 1 woman guy and this would have been too much to come back from. As it is, Noel is very easy on the eye, but her acting is ropey to say the least. Where there should have been drama and tension, she came across as rather unflustered and amused by the whole situation of kirk being mindwiped. I liked her, but perhaps in a lighter episode with a different tone. I also have an issue with Kirk going into the neutralizer chair to "test" it out. C'mon, you don't test out torture devices to see how they work. Also Shatners acting was decidedly Shatnertastic this episode. I quite like when Kirk shouts and fights, but after the weighty mind meld on the ship, this writhing about was a bit much.
It was also interesting to note that There are criminals in the 23rd century which tends to go against Gene's vision, but as he produced this I guess he either had it forced on him or decided it would make more rewarding fare. I like the idea of prison colony's and it gives the Star trek universe a richer feel to it.
It was an enjoyable episode, but the tone of the acting didn't always match the story it was trying to tell.