Lion of the Blogosphere

Star Trek TOS, S02E01: “Who Mourns for Adonais?”

The next episode I will review is “The Changeling.”

* * *

This episode is, objectively, not so good, yet I enjoyed it quite a bit.

PLOT SUMMARY: There is a being who calls himself Apollo, the ancient Greek god. Kirk assumes that Apollo is from a group of super-powerful aliens who visited Earth a long time ago and inspired the Greek myths. It is implied that Apollo needs the worship of lesser beings, but he appears to genuinely believe that he gives them stuff in return so it’s a mutually beneficial relationship. The babe of the week gives him some of that adoration, but Kirk uses his alpha-maleness to convince the babe that she has to reject him in order to save the ship.

The episode is like a cross between two better episodes. In Squire of Gothos, Kirk and company are trapped on a planet with a super powerful alien who looks like a French general from the 18th century. In this episode, Kirk and company are trapped on a planet with a super-powerful alien who is supposed to look like the ancient Greek god Apollo.

In Space Seed, a babe of the week, a “historian,” betrays the Enterprise by falling for a muscular super-alpha male, Khan. In this episode, a babe of the week with a specialty in “archaeology, anthropology, and ancient civilizations” betrays the Enterprise for another muscular super-alpha male.

In both of those previous episodes, the guest actors (William Campbell and Ricardo Montalban) were fantastic. In this episode, not so much. There have certainly been much worse guest actors on Star Trek, and in this episode I think that the guest actor didn’t have a very good screenplay to work with, so perhaps it’s not the actor’s fault. He certainly looked the part; he was quite muscular for the 1960s, before bodybuilding became mandatory for all Hollywood actors.

So what do I like about this episode?

(1) It’s the first episode where Ensign Chekov gets a decent amount of airtime. This episode is actually a welcome break from the Kirk-Spock-McCoy episodes. The landing party consists of Kirk, McCoy, Scotty, Chekov, and the babe of the week, Lt Carolyn Palamas.

Chekov was obviously intended to make a point about the Cold War. In the future we will all get along and the Cold War will be forgotten. Sounds good, doesn’t it? But I think the anti-Cold-War propaganda is more subtle. Chekov was made to be the opposite of how we imagined Russians to be in the 1960s. Instead of a scary-looking soldier type, Chekov is goofy and youthful looking, and he provides comic relief with his Beatles-like wig, his fake Russian accent and his patriotic “facts” about Russia which are wrong half the time. No one should be scared of a country full of Chekovs. I think that Democrats these days who are pushing Russian conspiracy theories need to watch some old episodes of Star Trek and learn what the Russians are really like.

I enjoyed this exchange between Kirk and Chekov after Kirk tells Scotty he will find out if the babe of the week is OK after she spent time alone with “Apollo.”

CHEKOV: Perhaps if I assisted.
KIRK: How old are you?
CHEKOV: Twenty two, sir.
KIRK: Then I’d better handle it.

You have to watch it to appreciate the way that Kirk says “then I’d better handle it,” suggesting to Chekov that he totally doesn’t have the skill with women that Kirk has, but with good-natured amusement that Chekov thinks he does.

(2) Scotty. Well, actually, Scotty is a total white-knight cuck this episode. He has this thing for Lt. Palamas, and rages with anger when Apollo hits on her and apparently wins her affections.

(3) I love the political incorrectness of this exchange on the bridge when the babe, Lt Palamas, is first introduced, and we see Scotty following her around like a puppy dog:

MCCOY: I’m not sure I like that, Jim.
KIRK: Why, Bones? Scotty’s a good man.
MCCOY: And he thinks he’s the right man for her, but I’m not sure she thinks he’s the right man. On the other hand, she’s a woman. All woman. One day she’ll find the right man and off she’ll go, out of the service.
KIRK: I like to think of it not so much losing an officer as gaining
SCOTT: Come along.
(He and Carolyn enter the turbolift.)
KIRK: Actually, I’m losing an officer.

(4) Even more political incorrectness: Scotty calls Apollo a “bloodthirsty Saracen” (in anger over his woman getting stolen from him).

(5) The specific premise of this episode is that the basis for ancient Greek belief in “gods” is that there were some alien beings who visited Earth and presented themselves as such. But in the future, Kirk sees the same entity as a powerful but dangerous alien who we should resist at all costs and certainly not worship.

The general message of this and many other Star Trek episodes is that religion and belief in God or gods is leftover superstition from a time when men lacked scientific understanding. And I am thankful to Star Trek for opening my mind to this at a young age!

A year after this episode aired, the book Chariots of the Gods? by Erich von Däniken was published. Däniken attributed various ancient mysteries and religious beliefs to extraterrestrial alien visitors.

Read part 2 of the review

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

December 27, 2018 at 4:36 PM

Posted in Star Trek

7 Responses

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  1. It’s been a long time since I saw that episode but does Scotty say Saracen or Sassenach? The latter is the Gaelic word for Saxon and is the Scottish insult to Englishmen or people you dislike in general. It’s also a stereotypical word TV Scotsmen say like G’day for Australians.

    It doesn’t make much sense to call a Greek god a Saxon. But it makes even less sense to call him a Saracen (Arab.)

    Lionel of the Richiesphere

    December 27, 2018 at 6:31 PM

  2. The general message of this and many other Star Trek episodes is that religion and belief in God or gods is leftover superstition from a time when men lacked scientific understanding.

    Apollo: “What else does mankind demand of its gods?”
    Kirk: “Mankind has no need for ‘gods.’ We find the one quite adequate.”

    (You’re going to hate S02E25 “Bread And Circuses.”)

    chedolf

    December 27, 2018 at 6:47 PM

    • It is believed that network censors made Gene Roddenberry put in that second sentence which totally conflicts with the message of the rest of the episode.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      December 27, 2018 at 11:33 PM

  3. According to Star Trek geeks, the story goes that the hot babe who falls in love with Khan, purportedly becomes a victim of his brain eeewwls.

    She doesn’t appear in Star Trek II and we don’t know what happened to her after Space Seed. Maybe Khan abused her and decided to kill her with his Ceti Eels. In the movie, he states “I’ve killed people with these things.” I would assume his own men who followed him to the inhospitable planet on the Botany Bay with those who betrayed him, got a taste of a neural parasite nibbling on their brain like eating cheese.

    Ok, what, who's this again?

    December 27, 2018 at 10:29 PM

  4. ” In this episode, a babe of the week with a specialty in “archaeology, anthropology, and ancient civilizations” betrays the Enterprise for another muscular super-alpha male.”

    Starfleet needs to do an investigation on it’s social sciences program, since it generates so many traitors.

    Mike Street Station

    December 30, 2018 at 8:12 AM


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