After taking a closer look at
the instances where the touch telepathic abilities of Vulcans are mentioned and
or used during TOS and TMP I wanted to sum up the results in one last post on
The first time the Vulcan Mind
Meld is used occurs in the first season episode “Dagger Of The Mind” (S1E11 in
production order). Here Spock melds with Dr. Gelder to find out what happened
to him. During the series there are a number of occasions when Spock has to
meld with someone or something. It is always a last resort and only if there is
no better way to solve the problem or handle miscommunication (remember the
It took me by surprise to
realize that the first Mind Meld with Jim only happens in season three. Episode
56 to be precisely. In “Spectre Of The Gun” Spock melds with the entire crew to
convince their minds that what happens to them is not real, in order to save
their lives. At first this doesn’t seem to be that much of an indicator for
intimacy, but looking at the reactions of the other crew members it does prove
interesting. While Scotty and McCoy freeze and seem terrified by having another
mind in their head, Jim is comfortable and doesn’t display any signs of
The second time Spock melds
with Jim is in “The Paradise Syndrome” where he has to find Jim’s buried
memories of his real self, due to a serious case of amnesia. It’s an intense
scene and probably a much deeper meld than the first time, not only because of
the duration of the contact, but also because Jim’s distress is visibly
bleeding into Spock.
After everything is said and
done Spock compliments the captain: “His mind. He is an extremely dynamic
individual”. Which tells us that he delved deep enough to get a good look at
Jim’s innermost thoughts, his mind, maybe even what constitutes as Katra in
Vulcans. There is a reason for one of the five principles of Vulcan philosophy
to be privacy. If you possess the ability to look that deeply into someone
else’s mind, be the intentions as they may, you have to honor the privacy of
each individual for society to work.
But I think it can be
established that from this (admittedly otherwise whacky) episode that Spock
knew Jim’s mind and, as we see a bit further down, is able to recognize it by a
mere touch alone.
The third time happens in
“Requiem for Methuselah”, which in itself is a very special episode and famous
for McCoy’s often quoted dialogue with Spock. It’s one of my personal favourites
for its portrayal of love and the different facets that make up this complex
emotion. In Methuselah we see Flint’s obsession with his creation. Rayna, who
never saw another living being before and develops an innocent crush for our
charming captain. Jim himself is manipulated into caring for Rayna, but he still
likes her. In the original post I called it infatuation on his side and I think
that still makes sense, because I don’t think love can grow over one afternoon.
And then, of course, there is Spock. Who is the only one to show love as a
selfless want for the wellbeing of another person. Because when Jim is
heartbroken over Rayna’s death, he makes him forget her. And that is a VERY
IMPORTANT point here! Spock is Vulcan. He is INSANELY private and he still
deletes Jim’s memory of the android, although every Vulcan principle tells him
not to. He does it, because he is helpless otherwise, doesn’t know how to make
Jim feel better.
Ironically, this is where he
proves Bones wrong, only minutes after the doctor left Jim’s quarters.
The last instance in the
Original Series concludes the third season in “Turnabout Intruder”. This
episode is another personal favourite, because not only does Spock recognizes Jim’s mind IN AN INSTANT, when everything
else tells him that this has to be a fraught, but he also holds Jim’s hand for
almost two minutes, while he protects him. And we all know how casual Vulcans
are when it comes to hand-holding *insert sarcasm here*.
What did I take from those
reoccurring mind melds throughout the series?
I think by the time the 5-year
mission ended those two had an unacknowledged mind link. A link that
established itself without conscious decision, something that’s NEVER supposed
to happen. However, since Spock is not only repeatedly exposed to Jim’s mind,
but also progressively comfortable with this kind of intimacy I regard this as
And Gene Roddenberry, ever the
helpful cheerleading ghost that he is, practically hand-delivered me the arguments
for this theory in the novelization of the Motion Picture Movie.
The very first thing the
reader of the novel gets to see, before the author’s note, before anything, is
the prologue, which happens to be Spock saying goodbye to Jim. Why is he saying
goodbye? Because he is about to pass the trials of Kolinahr that will “purge
all his remaining emotions”. Spock never intends to go back to earth at this
Now let’s take a step back
here and ignore Spock calling Jim his T’hy’la for a moment (I know it’s hard),
because I sure know that my favourite question of all time always resurfaces at
this part: Why?
WHY?!? Why would Spock try to
purge all emotion? Why did he come back to Vulcan after the five-year mission?
Why would he return to a place that he left because he couldn’t stand how it
made him feel? Why give up an extraordinary career? WHY WOULD HE EVER LEAVE THE
SIDE OF NOT ONLY HIS TWO BEST FRIENDS, BUT ALSO OF THE PEOPLE THAT BECAME HIS
It will forever remain an
enigma because Gene decided to be a horrible tease about it.
The fact is: We just don’t
know and are left to speculate.
But there is this little
something that doesn’t quite leave me alone and that I want to present. The
only hint we are ever given regarding Spock’s decision is this tiny, seemingly
Spock was in pain. Now the
reader can either choose to interpret this as: “The raging war between his two
halves finally takes its toll” or “Why does it hurt so much to be in the
company of humans/one specific human”. In my understanding it’s a bit of both.
Yes, of course Spock’s human half had to fight all its life to not be squashed
by its overbearing Vulcan counterpart, but this is something Spock is actually
used to. He even says so himself in “The Enemy Within”.
Which leaves us with option
Nr. 2. Spock is canonically in possession of an extremely sensitive mind, which
seems to be the nature of all Vulcans, hence the extensive mental shielding
they are taught from an early age. When applying the afore-mentioned theory of
an unacknowledged mind link the entire situation could not only drain, but
actually be painful to Spock, if he is not aware of it. WHICH HE IS NOT.
The exact same moment: POV Jim on earth (above) and POV Spock on Vulcan (below).
As is shown in the book. The second Spock has to open his mind for master T’sai
he is hit by Jim’s thoughts, and I mean HIT. It’s apparent form Spock’s
reaction that this comes completely out of the blue. He isn’t even sure if they
are Jim’s thoughts for a second, before he recognizes them and that’s the thing
that trips me up. At this point Spock is more sursprised than the reader to realized the connection. I mean how can that even be possible? To be this close to
someone without noticing?
It’s highly probable that
Spock repressed his human half so completely, even before running away to
Vulcan, that the link to Jim and all the emotions bleeding through were buried
with it. Maybe he felt too close to him thanks to the link and it scared him or
the bleed-through began to throw him off balance.
But in order to finally
achieve the state of total logic he HAD TO open his mind entirely. So in this
moment he had to let go and not even a heartbeat later he hears Jim thinking
At this point the
unacknowledged mind link theory can be addressed as canon, because when Jim
wishes to speak to Spock and Spock can hear him 10.6 light years away, it can’t
be anything BUT a mind link. Again, Vulcans are TOUCH telepaths, so reading
minds while touching? Check. Reading the mood of a room? Check. Melding with
someone over the distance of a few meters or through a wall? Check. Hearing
someone entire systems away? Nope. It doesn’t usually happen, if we are not
talking about something like hundreds of telepaths dying (The Immunity
Syndrome) or the appearance of a powerful entity a.k.a Vger. And Jim is
neither. This is a completely singular occurrence. As far as I know it never
happens again between two regular(-ish) people.
I will be mad at the movie for
not including this particular dialogue into the triumvirate-scene after Spock
comes back on board as long as I live. Spock admits to being able to hear Jim’s
thoughts and it’s a shame that we don’t get the captain’s thoughts on this
revelation. BUT we get Bones, which is better still.
Bones is not surprised, not
even the slightest, that those two have a connection between them. His medical
knowledge throws me a bit though. Not because I don’t think it’s plausible, but
because this is the only instance we ever hear of a connection like that.
But “telepathic rapport
between Vulcan and human only in cases of EXTRAORDINARILY close friendship”?
This line is gold. Those two are so close to each other that they know each
other’s thoughts, they can sense the other one blind. They risked their lives
time and time again to save each other. So yeah…extraordinarily close is how I
would coin them too. Hence my undying love for the term T’hy’la, that Gene
generously gifted us with. Friend. Brother. Lover. There is no “or” in between
those words, it’s not “choose the correct meaning” it’s all three of them,
together forming one untranslatable word and friend is only a third of the
Also: Bones is still pissed
about how Spock denies even the tiniest display of friendship towards Jim,
which makes for an interesting discussion about what happened after the
Five-Year-Mission to split the trio up.
So, to sum this up:
Five-Year-Mission Spock has to meld with Jim more than once (at least four
times are documented).
increase in intensity up to the point where Spock alters Jim’s memory.
At the end Spock
can tell Jim’s mind by a simple probe. He knows him “better than anyone in the universe” he “knows his thoughts”
There is an
established mind link between them that neither know about.
seems to be the root of the pain that drives Spock to Mt. Seleya to pursue
hear Jim’s thoughts from 10.6 LIGHTYEARS away, when he finally opens his mind
for the first time after three years. (I like to stress this, because it’s
Bones is not
even fazed by this revelation, maybe because he suspected it ever since
“Turnabout Intruder” when Spock was the only one to believe “Janice Lester’s”
“It was common knowledge that telepathic rapport between Vulcan and human
was possible only in cases of extraordinarily close friendship.” - official medical assessment.