The notorious science lab Christmas party: “Dagger of the Mind” (TOS)
One advantage of Christmas in July? No company Christmas parties.
It’s disappointing to discover the mandatory holiday mirth making that is the office holiday party persists into the 23rd century. Make too merry with your co-workers, and coming back to work afterward can be awkward.
Just ask Captain Kirk.
In “Dagger of the Mind,” Kirk beams down to the Tantalus Penal Colony—where we’ll soon learn Dr. Tristan Adams is up to psychological shenanigans—with Dr. Helen Noel, an Enterprise psychiatrist at “the science lab Christmas party.” Judging from Kirk’s reaction to Dr. Noel in the transporter room, their office party tête-à-tête must have taken place under some mistletoe.
When Kirk and Noel test Dr. Adams’ neural neutralizer, she implants in Kirk’s mind a false memory of the Christmas party. In this scenario, Kirk literally swept her off her feet and carried her back to his cabin for some private holiday cheer.
You can watch it all in the clip above if you like. Seeing a professional woman who’s also quite an action hero spin out a fantasy involving her commanding officer is problematic by modern standards.
On the other hand, Noel’s fantasy is her fantasy (in-universe—yes, a man wrote the episode). Much as the once-beloved but now-controversial song “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” may be “actually about a woman trying to exercise sexual agency” in a man’s world, Noel’s amorous fancies about Kirk could be seen in the same light.
Whatever you think about the scene, there’s no doubt Marianna Hill created a memorable character in her sole Star Trek appearance.
And there’s no doubt any episode with a character whose last name, in French, is “Christmas” deserves a spot on any Star Trek Christmas in July watch list!