Dagger of the Mind - What was Dr. Adam's Plan ?

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by DanGussin, Aug 16, 2019 at 3:14 AM.

  1. DanGussin

    DanGussin Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    In watching "Dagger of the Mind " tonight it dawned on me that Dr. Adams did not seem to have a long term plan in place.

    Did he intend to just stay hidden and safe behind the penial colony shield with his little cult of blank faced patients ? Not once did he express any overall future goal or ideology he wanted to bring to the galaxy or to improve his own fortune.

    Am I missing something or was Adams just a bit of a shallowly written character ?
     
  2. Spock's Barber

    Spock's Barber Commodore Commodore

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    Good question. Maybe he was creating a horde of mindless zombies who would work for long hours and low pay at the nearest galactic Walmart. ;)
     
  3. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Commodore Commodore

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    Roger Korby and Garth of Izar wanted to conquer the galaxy, but Dr. Adams might in fact have enjoyed being a big fish in a small pond. It's a sure bet he was having all the sex he wanted. He should have bluffed his way past Kirk and Noel, and kept a good thing going.

    The mystery is why he responded so aggressively to Kirk's inspection tour and gave himself away. It appears that Adams felt cornered, and in classic sociopathic fashion said, "If you're going to take everything away from me, I'm going to make you pay for it, and to hell with both of us."
     
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  4. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    I don't think he was out to conquer the Federation or anything like that. I think he just slid a long way down a slippery slope. He started out to trying to "fix" severely troubled people by adjusting their memories, but the neural neutralizer proved a little too effective and tempting. Pretty soon he was seeing any sort of opposition to his experiments as a "disorder" that needed to be fixed, so more and more people getting the neutralizer treatment.

    He was like a cult leader, ruling over his own little fiefdom, where everybody thought the "right" way or else. And when the larger galaxy started to looking too close, his first instinct was to brainwash anybody who challenged his authority.

    Basically, it was a "power corrupts" scenario. If you have the ability to manipulate people's minds and memories, how long before you starting abusing that ability?

    Heck, even Helen couldn't resist playfully rewriting Kirk's memories to make their Christmas party encounter much spicier. Granted, one assumes she intended to reverse the effect eventually, but the fact that she succumbed to the temptation to dial up Kirk's romantic feelings about her, even temporarily, shows just how seductive that gadget was.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2019 at 4:14 AM
  5. Maurice

    Maurice Admiral Premium Member

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    That's because she was Rand with a full actress replacement.
     
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  6. Henoch

    Henoch Commodore Premium Member

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    The Enterprise was on a milk run: deliver cargo and pick up research material. But Doctor Simon Van Gelder proved too clever even after six months of brain washing by Doctor Adams. I suppose that Adams hadn't thought though every situation to control Van Gelder such as him escaping the colony. Even though Van Gelder couldn't tell anyone about Dr. Adams, his escape alone brought unwanted attention. Nice writing.

    As to Dr. Adams' grand plans, I think the prospect of fame could be another motive. He has already acquired a high level of current fame in the community, but if he "cures" all his charges, then he would go down in history with the likes of Dr. Sigmund Freud. Or maybe he is just trying to stay on top or one-upping his last success (sounds like Doctor Richard Daystrom, does it?).

    KIRK: You don't believe him, and you can't explain it. Bones, are you aware that in the last twenty years Doctor Adams has done more to revolutionise, to humanise prisons and the treatment of prisoners than all the rest of humanity had done in forty centuries? I've been to those penal colonies since they've begun following his methods, and they're not cages anymore.
    MCCOY: Jim
    KIRK: They're clean, decent hospitals for sick minds.

    What can Adams do next to improve on his successes? He's already set the standard for decent hospitals for sick minds. Now, let's cure all the sick minds!
     
  7. Henoch

    Henoch Commodore Premium Member

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    I think that the comparison between Tristan Adams and Richard Daystrom may be more in line with writer's intent. Both were willing to do anything, even murder, to succeed with a new technology which could save people. I wonder if something was in earlier script drafts to this intent? Good questions for @Maurice or @Harvey.

    Later in Season 3 in Whom Gods Destroy, we see the Federation pursuing advanced drug treatments instead of neural memory wiping. :techman:
     
  8. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    "Instead"? The very same neural neutralizer chair is seen in that episode, too!

    "Dagger" makes it pretty clear that Dr. Adams' techniques were working, and working well. The chair wasn't standard equipment outside Tantalus V during that adventure yet, but apparently it, too, was found to be a great invention and eagerly adopted. Whether on all the elements of the asylum-based crime management system, or only on the Elba II facility for utterly hopeless cases, we don't know. But it's not much in doubt that Adams did good, peer-reviewed work for twenty years and achieved a lot. Which is why experts like Noel and laymen like Kirk are equally impressed.

    That Adams has no plan is just proof that he had no intent, beyond curing even those stubborn incurables no matter what it took. Of course that meant trouble, and when you have a neural neutralizer, every problem begins to look like a patient...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
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  9. Pauln6

    Pauln6 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Yeah, I think Adams went on a power trip, convinced of the righteousness of his methods. It's worth noting that he didn't do it alone. At least two orderlies were assisting. Are we to assume that he resorted to mind control on them too? Seems unlikely, as forcing people to do things against their morals wasn't overly effective, albeit perhaps multiple treatments might be more effective. Plus, how would he get them in the chair? Former patients like Lethe? Again, seems unlikely.

    Presumably he intended to make Kirk forget what he'd discovered? It's hard to see where else he could take the treatment in such a short space of time.

    I love Helen but I'm curious to see how the episode could have been worked for Rand. It would have been a great showcase for her character.
     
  10. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I gather Adams was planning on killing or at least brain-killing Kirk, at least to the degree he had managed to kill van Gelder. "An unfortunate accident" would appear unconvincing, especially this second time around, but it would be unlikely for Spock or the rest to actually find damning proof for their obvious suspicions. A mental asylum is a dangerous place to fool around.

    Adams would have at least some idea of what it would take to reach van Gelder levels of results. So while his decision to kill Kirk would be out of sheer panic, it would still take him some time to implement that in practice. Time enough to think of a more clever plan, perhaps? For whatever reason, Adams tries to make Kirk be insanely in love with Noel - the plan might be for Kirk to kill Noel in a fit of jealousy, perhaps, and then commit suicide.

    Preparing the two victims and rigging the evidence would take some time, hence the seemingly crazy decision to give Kirk that short respite in the guest quarters. It's a bit odd Adams would not put Kirk in a proper patient room, supposedly escape-proof... But it's not as if he were an experienced criminal mastermind, or that there would be obvious immediate risks from doing what he did. Remember that Spock would not have intervened at all if not for the magic of the Vulcan Mind Meld!

    Timo Saloniemi
     
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  11. Henoch

    Henoch Commodore Premium Member

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    No:
    UHURA: Oh, Captain, there was a message from Tantalus colony, sir.
    SPOCK: It was from Van Gelder. He thought you'd like to know the treatment room had been dismantled and the equipment destroyed.
    The machine Adams use may have been an experimental piece of equipment but highly modified to be more "effective". Noel was not familiar with such a device, but knew of the concept, so, the chair seems "new". Van Gelder was his peer, and he having first hand experience, realized that it was dangerous. His opposition to Adams probably got him in the chair. Adams did illegal human trials most likely without patient permission. The chair physically damaged the brain, not repaired the brain. As to use of a similar chair in WGD, it was most likely only a calming/supplementary treatment along with the new drug treatment to reverse brain damage:
    CORY: Will intramuscular injection be satisfactory?
    MCCOY: Intravenous is indicated unless circumstances make it impossible.
    CORY: How long before it takes effect, Doctor McCoy?
    MCCOY: Reversal of arterial and brain damage should begin almost immediately.
     
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  12. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    That the chair persists is proof enough that it's a valid treatment device. That Adams abused it is neither here nor there - Noel is familiar with the technique even if not with the equipment, and comfortable with it, supposedly because Adams for the past 20 years has been utilizing it for good.

    The new drugs helped out a patient who was previously declared uncurable by the UFP crime management institution. Supposedly Garth would already have been in the chair, then, having spent time in a place akin to Tantalus V before being sent to the one and only Elba II.

    Prior to "Dagger", archaic crime management methods such as jails may be in use, even in the civilian world and outside the extreme wartime situation described in DSC a decade earlier (Burnham's cellmates certainly weren't Starfleet, and we didn't exactly learn they would only have been imprisoned within the past few war months). A prison satellite has already been abandoned for some reason in the second season of that show. After "Dagger", supposedly jails would go out of fashion altogether, and quickly at that - literally only a handful of people are kept behind forcefields for their incurable criminal insanity.

    Does this get reversed at some point? Is the prison sentence of Richard Bashir a rare case of an enraged judge throwing a dusty, centuries-old book at a man who broke mankind's greatest taboo - or a sign that Adams' ideas have been discarded and freedom deprivation torture again is the way to go? In contrast, Garak gets a "sentence" of a couple of months for attempted genocide, in line with him receiving therapy (perhaps those same drugs that cured Garth of his desire to attempt genocide) but not with him being subjected to freedom deprivation commeasurate with the severity of his crime.

    Hard to tell. Tom Paris is confined, but for therapy or for deprivation torture? The length of his "sentence" (quotes again to signify it was not called that) can be adjusted with Janeway's interference, but what does that tell us exactly?

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  13. Henoch

    Henoch Commodore Premium Member

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    Sentence: "Death of Personality." (Babylon 5) :)
     
  14. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    But how would that work if Harry Kim were the condemned?

    Timo Saloniemi
     
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  15. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Adams's motivations were explained in material cut from the final episode:

    https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/Tristan_Adams
    So evidently he had plans to use it for personal power and wealth (the idiom "a comfortable old age" means being rich enough to guarantee a cushy retirement), though exactly how he would profit from a brainwashing technology was unclear (sell it to hostile governments, maybe?).


    There was nothing playful about it. It was a therapist taking unethical sexual advantage of a helpless patient. She should've had her license revoked for that.
     
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  16. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Commodore Commodore

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    "Stop BROWBEATING her! Can't you see she's sexy?!!" :brickwall:
     
  17. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Also, it's nonsense anyway. She wasn't being a therapist and he wasn't being a patient. Interfering with what people do in their own time isn't a big theme in the Federation; if it were to extend to this, it would probably be high time to start killing Council Members or whatever.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  18. Henoch

    Henoch Commodore Premium Member

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    I agree with @Christopher except his last statement about Helen. Helen definitely had a "sexy" and "playful" attitude. :adore: She and Kirk didn't realize the supreme danger of the device until too late. Adams abused the machine for power; yes. Narcissistic? No evidence. Egomaniac and sadist? Maybe. :devil::evil: Remember, he was also under a short time constraint since Kirk needed to check in with Spock every four hours. When exposed by Kirk, he took it as a challenge, and he was confident in his ability to fix the problem with Kirk and Helen.
    ADAMS: Excellent, Captain. I compliment you. Do you know Doctor Van Gelder was down on his hands and knees sobbing at this point? It was so gratifying. (edit. Sadist?) I'm so fortunate to have had a couple of excellent specimens to, to work with. I've learned a great deal.(edit. Egomaniac?)

    As for Whom Gods Destroy, it looks like a safe version of the machine was put into service for the very reasons Adams and Helen discussed about tranquilizers:
    ADAMS: A neural neutraliser. Experimental. Actually, we don't expect to get much use out of it at all (edit. a lie). That beam from above neutralises brain waves, relaxes the patient's mind. Does them no harm, of course (edit. another lie), and the effects are only temporary (edit. possibly the truth).
    KIRK: One question, Doctor. If it doesn't do any good
    ADAMS: Why do we go on using it, hmm, Captain? Hope. Yes, yes, there's always that slight chance that it might do some good in the more violent cases.
    NOEL:
    Tranquilizers are fine, Captain, but to continually pump chemicals into a person's bloodstream
    ADAMS: Exactly my point, Helen. Yes.
     
  19. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Might be the tech is rotten to the core - c.f. real-world things like Deep Sleep Therapy, amusingly the very thing Noel and Adams distrust. Might be it works just fine if not pushed beyond its limits, whatever those are. I wonder how long Adams had been using it at Tantalus... Wouldn't most of the visiting starship captains feel compelled to have a look around, especially during the later years when Adams was a celebrity? Or was Kirk an exceptional fan, and did the incident with the stowaway play a major role in him taking the time to do the tour?

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  20. Henoch

    Henoch Commodore Premium Member

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    The Enterprise just came and went. Routine milk run. Also, there seemed to have procedures in place to avoid contact with the colony and its patients as demonstrated by the transporter scene at the beginning of the episode:
    KIRK: Oh, Mister Berkeley, you might refamiliarise yourself with the manual on penal colony procedures.