The Great Star Trek Rewatch: The Apple

When Kirk leads a landing party down to Gamma Trianguli VI, it looks like an idyllic planet – a veritable paradise. But when the paradise turns out to be deadly, the landing party must watch their step. And when they encounter the natives, they discover a simple, tribal society dedicated to serving a computer – a computer that is slowly draining the energy of the orbiting Enterprise.

Remember how, in Return of the Archons, Kirk destroyed the computer in charge of a happy society and left them to fend for themselves? Well, here he is doing the same again – all in the name of preventing cultural stagnation, and enabling freedom and choice. Spock questions whether this was the really right thing to do, and again I have to wonder – is Kirk really freeing these people, or just imposing American values on them? Does this society really have no choice, or did they choose this lifestyle long ago and are actually quite content with it? What right does Kirk have to go round the galaxy destroying computers? The man must be stopped!

The good

  • When the natives start attacking the landing party with murderous intent, female yeoman of the week fights off not just one, but two attackers. Go women!
  • Scotty is finally establishing a genius reputation – Kirk claims Mr Scott knows more about the Enterprise than even the people who designed her.

The bad

  • Stop going down to planets without sending some kind of remote controlled probe to check if the planet is deadly! And don’t send the captain, first officer and chief medical officer down in the first landing party.
  • I was a little uncomfortable with Chekov perving over the female yeoman, although she seemed to reciprocate his feelings – perhaps, as with McCoy in Shore Leave, they had already established a relationship prior to the episode, and so Chekov’s advances were welcome.
  • We never find anything out about the origins of Vaal, or why it was there on the planet. Maybe it was actually there for a very good reason.
  • Poor Spock really went through the wringer this episode – he was struck by a forcefield, received second-degree burns from Vaal, and got a dose of plant toxins which would have been deadly to a human.
  • How exactly were the antimatter pods rendered inert? Were they somehow being cooled to very low temperatures in a manner that wasn’t affecting the matter?

The overthinking

  • This planet clearly had a breathable atmosphere, but had a red sky, which suggests a thick, dense atmosphere that scatters red light. The plant life is still green, suggesting that similar wavelengths of light reach the surface as they do on Earth, or perhaps a higher intensity of a narrower wavelength band.

Summary – The Apple: It’s like a second go at Return of the Archons.

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