Star Trek: 9 Times Mr. Spock Got A Power-Up

8. Spock’s Vulcan Mind Meld

Spock Mind Meld
CBS

Perhaps the most famous power-up of all, the Vulcan mind meld was a last minute addition to the first season episode “Dagger of the Mind.” The original plan was for Spock to perform hypnosis on Dr. Simon van Gelder. Here’s what the final draft describes:

His [Spock] back partly turned as he painfully charges up his resources of psychic energy for the ordeal he is about to undergo. But now, pale, tense, breathing shallowly, he's ready. He fixes a pinpoint light upon Van Gelder's eyes, and switches on a device emitting an undulant soothing SOUND. He now places a strange pair of hypnogenic goggles (or any other acceptable hypnotic aid) over Van Gelder's eyes. Van Gelder squirms... twists his head... tries to remove them, finally gives up.

This reads halfway between hypnosis and some telepathy. Then Roddenberry changed his mind, and gave Spock a mind-reading power-up instead.

But just as “Play it again, Sam,” was never uttered in Casablanca and Kirk never said “Beam me up, Scotty,” neither did Spock even once utter the term “mind meld” in the original series. In fact, the mind meld doesn’t get any sort of name at all in the first season, where it is used four times. It’s described as “an ancient Vulcan technique to probe into Van Gelder's tortured mind,” “Limited telepathic abilities are inherent in Vulcanians,” and “the Vulcan technique of the joining of two minds.”

There are four melds in the second season - twice without comment and twice described as a “Vulcan mind probe.”

This power-up is employed a record six times in the third season, and it’s Kirk who finally calls it a “mind meld” in two episodes, whereas Spock calls it a “mind fusion” and then Kirk, Spock and Dr. Miranda Jones all refer to a “mind-link” in “Is There in Truth No Beauty”. But fans glommed onto "mind meld".

Spock eventually caved, though. Thirteen years after first using the technique, he finally uttered the now-ubiquitous term in Star Trek: The Motion Picture when he said, “I must try to mind meld with it.” After that, mind melds were de rigueur for every single original series cast film.

Contributor
Contributor

Maurice is one of the founders of FACT TREK (www.facttrek.com), a project dedicated to untangling 50+ years of mythology about the original Star Trek and its place in TV history. He's also a screenwriter, writer, and videogame industry vet with scars to show for it. In that latter capacity he game designer/writer on the Sega Genesis/SNES "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine — Crossroads of Time" game, as well as Dreamcast "Ecco the Dolphin, Defender of the Future" where Tom Baker read words he wrote.