In Mirror, Mirror, when there is trouble with the transporter at the start of the episode, we hear this exchange:

SPOCK: Regrettable that this society has chosen suicide. Mister Kyle, you were instructed to compensate during the ion storm.

KYLE: But I tried, Mister Spock, I tried.

SPOCK: Carelessness with the equipment cannot be tolerated.

KYLE: But Mister Spock, I --

SPOCK: Your agonizer.

KYLE: No, Mister Spock.

SPOCK: Your agonizer, please.

And from there, he uses Kyle's agonizer to torture him. It's clear this is a normal consequence for not performing successfully in the mirror universe.

Has anything ever been written, or said, by Trek staff about why Spock would need to use Kyle's own agonizer? Why, as an officer, wouldn't Spock have one with him normally, to use on personnel who did not perform to his standards?

I am not interested in speculation. I know this may never have been addressed, but it's also possible that the author or someone else involved with production has elaborated on this.

  • 6
    A guess would be that they are doing similar to the gun thing where handing over your gun, knowing what is to come, as an act of obedience, hoping for a reprieve.
    – Durakken
    Jul 19, 2016 at 2:51
  • 10
    Seems pretty obvious to me that it's to humiliate him by forcing him to play an active role in his own torture. Jul 19, 2016 at 5:54
  • 5
    in all honesty in the film I always took it as an intimidation tactic. or psychological torture. Kyle knows he is going to get tortured, thus what better additional torture than asking him to hand over the item that will give him the torture?
    – Thomas
    May 9, 2017 at 18:53
  • 4
    There's also a facet of "Go cut me a switch for me to use on you" - the act of having to provide your own instrument of torture can make things worse. Jan 14, 2019 at 18:50
  • 5
    This is reminiscent of a practice in the southern US, where it was long common for a parent to tell a child to go out and cut a switch -- for the parent to beat the child with. It not only added to the tension, but involved the child as an active and obedient participant in punishment, which was expected to even the score and eventuate in forgiveness. If the child resisted, ran away, or cut too small a switch, the punishment would be harsher and the parent would not forget the disobedience. Jun 6, 2020 at 16:57

1 Answer 1


2 possible solutions:

1) Picking up on the point above about the agoniser being a personalised item, each individual agoniser is attuned to its individual owner's "pressure points" of pain.

2) Perhaps it's to do with record-keeping. Maybe an agoniser isn't just a means of dispensing pain, it's also a miniature computer that's a means of keeping someone's disciplinary record. An agoniser keeps a record of exactly how many times it's been used against its owner - that way, at any given time, an agoniser can be demanded, to present a strong impression of how "obedient"/"rebellious" its user is.

  • 3
    Do you have any reason to prefer either of these solutions?
    – amflare
    Jan 15, 2018 at 22:43

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