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Star Trek TOS - Season 2 - Episode 05

Star Trek TOS - 2x05 - The Apple

Originally Aired: 1967-10-13

Synopsis:
The crew discovers a paradise controlled by computer. [Blu-ray] [DVD]

My Rating - 2

Fan Rating Average - 3.15

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 111 13 32 26 15 12 44 18 14 4 14

Filler Quotient: 3, bad filler, totally skippable.
- Pretty lame episode with no significant long term continuity.

Problems
- Despite the Enterprise being stated to be in a decaying orbit throughout the entire episode due to the pull of a tractor beam from the surface, at no point does any orbital shot reflect this.

Factoids
- According to Spock the Federation has invested ~122,200 units of whatever currency it uses in his training.

Remarkable Scenes
- Chekov claiming that the Garden of Eden was just outside Moscow.
- Spock's exploding rocks.
- Kirk: "A Garden of Eden with landmines!"
- Spock getting shot by thorns to save Kirk.
- Spock getting zapped by a forcefield.
- McCoy regarding the forbidding of sex on this world: "Well there goes paradise."
- Spock getting struck by lightning.

My Review
An episode filled with another round of cliches such as more evil flowers with poisonous pollen, another society controlled by an evil computer which must be destroyed, and more cheesy comedy, especially the awkward Spock-the-sex-ed-teacher scene. On top of the cliches this episode breaks new ground on the poor choices front by making Kirk uncharacteristically second guess his decisions constantly and worry repeatedly about endangering his crew. Meanwhile the plot simultaneously makes him look like an idiot for not coming to the conclusion that they should just phaser the evil computer from orbit sooner. Though at least they blew it up rather than talk it to death this time.

While Kirk was having an off day, Spock sure got a chance to shine. In the space of a single day Spock survived two separate assaults that both by themselves killed a member of the landing party. By this point there can be no doubt that if you join Starfleet and your uniform is red then you are more likely to die with statistical significance. Since Spock's shirt is blue he must be immortal.

What little intrigue this story has to offer is tied to the potential for a moral dilemma with regards to destroying this society's paradise so that Kirk can save his ship. But the trouble is since there's no actual choice in the matter there is nothing to weigh. Given the choice between survival and violating the Prime Directive there is no choice so the whole debate is useless.

Nevertheless they seem to want to debate it anyway with Kirk and McCoy arrogantly trampling all over Spock's argument with rhetoric that amounts to little more than, "Who cares! Our culture is superior! They should live like us!" All the while glossing over the fact that however sedated the alien culture may have seemed, they were happy, sustainable, and for all intents and purpose immortal before Kirk showed up and ruined their happy little lives. All this to the backdrop of a plethora of annoying Bible references, as if we're supposed to believe that Christianity somehow dominates 23rd century Federation culture as much as it dominates 1960s American culture. Oh well. There have certainly been worse episodes.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From J. Poole on 2006-04-20 at 1:43pm:
    This is an episode that I remembered fondly from my childhood, but it stood out as one of the worst when I watched the series again recently on dvd (God bless Netflix).

    For the most part, I agree with the review of this episode featured on this site--the problems with the prime directive, the mass murder of the redshirts, etc. are all indicitive of bad TOS episodes. I don't buy McCoy's arrogance when he's debating with Spock about saving these people from their idyll, but I guess you can ultimately justify breaking the Prime Directive because the ship was in danger.

    That aside, though, there are still some real problems with this episode, namely the cliched aliens du jour and the "nothing can kill Spock" attitude this episode takes toward the first officer.

    The aliens (aside from looking silly with their flowers and make up and spray-on tans) are ridiculous. I like the idea of their "Eden," even if it is a bit over-used, but I just don't buy these guys. And why, why, why does the Enterprise have orders to contact them just because of "strange readings?" This episode tramples on the Prime Directive from the very beginning. And you'd think that the crew would have learned to stay away from alien flowers by now.

    The problem with Spock bothers me as well. I realize that he's physiologically different--stronger, able to mentally heal himself, etc.--but he should have died twice in this episode. I can buy the spore-thorns not killing him because of his different physiology, but a lightning strick capable of not only killing but actually vaporizing a red shirt ensign simply gives him some second-degree burns that are never mentioned again. Give me a break.

    This episode is a real candidate for my personal "Worst Of" list. The only thing that saves it for me is Spock's analysis after the Feeders of Vaal try to kill the crew: if McCoy was worried about their stagnation, their lack of humanity, he need worry no longer because they have now taken a vital step by learning to kill.
  • From Arianwen on 2010-07-26 at 7:43pm:
    Gentlemen/women/variations thereupon, I submit to you one Yeoman Martha Landon, who wears a short dress, is in love with one of the crewmen and shows concern for the natives' well-being. And flattens large, muscular men. Twice.

    This is only the third time I remember seeing a woman take physical action against another person and succeed - without screaming. One of the redeeming features of this episode.

    I agree with your review - the story is annoying and has many flaws. But it had potential, and with better handling (and laying off Spock for a few minutes) it might have turned out very well. I quite liked the natives - not the hippiness, but the physical portrayal, the facepaints (but don't look too hard at the hairstyles). It would have been more interesting if they had found out just what that machine was, rather than just destroying it and strolling off happily. Although I have a feeling it would have resulted in Kirk talking yet another computer into oblivion. The man is a menace.
  • From jd_juggler on 2015-03-22 at 12:09pm:
    No, the saving of one's ship is not a justification for violating the Prime Directive. In one of the Captains Log entries from "The Omega Glory" Kirk notes that the prime directive even includes sacrificing the entire crew rather than interfere with the native culture. By the way, remember the redshirt who tripped on a rock and was blown up? The stuntman was severely injured and in fact was hospitalized.
  • From Chris on 2018-01-14 at 5:50pm:
    This episode bugged me for a lot of reasons and I wonder how Nichelle Nicols felt when Roddenberry (or whoever) described the natives in this episode. Tanned, blonde, muscular surfer looking types, you know typical good-looking folks.
    I was often fascinated how Star Trek portrayed the good/innocent inhabitants of various worlds... like the Yangs or the Hill People of Neural. All white and good looking with goofy hairdos.

    Considering that Roddenberry was an atheist, they sure used a lot of Bible references in their episodes!

    Other problems with this episode aside from the ones mentioned are:
    - Spock breaking the stone landmine without it going off in his hands!
    - Spock being selected to give a sex-ed lesson when there is a perfectly good doctor on hand who is far more qualified on the subject. Especially human sex! Yes, I understand the 'humor' wouldn't work my way...
    - McCoy continually unprepared to handle Vulcan physiology, continuously using human drugs on aliens.

    There are numerous other problems as well...

    I laughed at the 'argument' between Chekov and Spock! "Vhat do you vant, violins?

    A factoid that should be listed is that Kirk establishes that the warp nacelles can be jettisoned from the main body of the ship! That's mentioned in another episode as well but I can't remember which... Later in Season 3, I believe.

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