Spock logs that as Acting Captain, he must now use "an ancient Vulcan technique to probe into Van Gelder's tortured mind." Bones encourages Spock to go ahead, even though Spock admits that he's never used it on a human. Bones implores, "If there's any way we can look into this man's mind to see if what he's saying is real or delusion --" "It's a hidden, personal thing to the Vulcan people," Spock interrupts, "part of our private lives." Bones reminds him that "Jim Kirk" could be in big trouble, and asks if it will work or not. Spock stands over the Sweaty-Toothed Madman and tells him, "It could be dangerous. Do you understand? It requires I make pressure changes in your nerves, your blood vessels." The Sweaty-Toothed Madman tells him that he has to see inside his mind, because it's the only way he can explain the horrors he has seen. Spock rubs his hand as though he's cracking the knuckles and tells Bones it will only affect the one he touches: "It is not hypnosis." Bones understands.
Tantalus. Kirk visits Hell'n-a-Handbasket and asks her what she thought of the inmates they met that afternoon. "You could have waited until morning to ask me that, Captain," Hell'n-a-Handbasket barbecue-sauces. Kirk points out the obvious, that he didn't. Hell'n-a-Handbasket thinks the inmates were fine -- happy and well-adjusted. "But a bit blank," Kirk adds. Hell'n-a-Handbasket starts to argue that there's nothing wrong with Dr. Adams's methods, but Kirk says he'd like to see the treatment room again. Hell'n-a-Handbasket doesn't see the point when Dr. Adams can answer all his questions. Kirk says that if Dr. Adams is lying, he'll continue to lie, and he'd like to see the machine at work. "Or is that too impractical and unscientific of me, Doctor?" Kirk asks accusingly. Huh? Is he confusing her with Spock? Kirk walks to the door as Hell'n-a-Handbasket stares off into space, smiling to herself. What the --? "Well?" Kirk prompts from the doorway. "Coming," Hell'n-a-Handbasket smiles. Okay, I do not get what is going on with her. It's like she's trying to make every exchange between them a flirtation with absolutely no provocation, and in doing so, she's dancing a hyperactive schottische on my last nerve.
Sick Bay. Spock's hands are on the Sweaty-Toothed Madman's jawbone as he asks, "What is our name? Who are we?" The Sweaty-Toothed Madman is able to answer these questions quite calmly. Spock asks him what the NN does to people, and as the Sweaty-Toothed Madman answers, Spock employs an Around The World mind-meld. Basically, Dr. Adams reshapes the victim's -- I mean, patient's -- mind and erases their memories, putting his own thoughts there instead. "He was surprised it took so much power. We fought him, remember?" the Sweaty-Toothed Madman says. "But we grew so tired, our minds so blank. So open that any thought he placed there became our thoughts." Spock pants with the exertion and emotion that he's sharing with the Sweaty-Toothed Madman. The Sweaty-Toothed Madman drones that their minds were so empty and lonely that they craved any word from Dr. Adams to be placed there. "Love. Hate. Live. Die," the Sweaty-Toothed Madman says, and Spock breathes, "Yes!" after each of those. "Such agony to be empty," the Sweaty-Toothed Madman says. "Empty," Spock repeats, all sexy-voiced. "Lonely," the Sweaty-Toothed Madman says. Spock keeps repeating his last word, and while Spock is so very yum in this scene, we get it already. Lonely = empty and empty = lonely. Get on with it. And I think that was the very first mind-meld, although many will argue that they never actually said "mind-meld," but come on, stop with the quibble already! We all know what it is, and the truth of the matter is that they just hadn't come up with a name for it yet.