Sunday, February 9, 2014

Star Trek: Who Mourns For Adonais?

It is time for another episode of classic Star Trek, and it's a good one too: Who Mourns For Adonais?
As the episode begins we learn that Scotty has taken a shine to Lieutenant Carolyn Palamas who reports that there is a "strange lack of intelligent life on the planets" in this system. I guess in the Star Trek universe there's not only intelligent life in every solar system but on multiple planets too. That seems kind of over the top, even for Trek.
They head into orbit about Pollux IV they encounter a giant hand that grabs the Enterprise by the primary hull.
Soon afterwards they are greeted by none other than the Greek God Apollo, expertly played by Michael Forest. He really nailed the part and the writers gave him good stuff to work with too. He greets the Enterprise crew with this:
The eons have passed and what has been written has come about. You are most welcome, my beloved children. Your places await you. You have left your plains and valleys and made this bold venture. So it was in the beginning. You have made me proud. Now you can rest.
Kirk isn't buying whatever this guy is selling though, but when Apollo applies pressure on the Enterprise hull with his hand he agrees to beam down to see him. It is there that we learn who he really is.
"Search your most distant memories, those of the thousands of years past, and I am there. Your fathers knew me, and your father's fathers. I am Apollo."

Apollo wants nothing more then for them to give up everything so that they can live there and  worship him. I'm not quite sure why Apollo thinks that a space-faring species would want an end to warm showers in favor of tending herds of sheep, but that's his offer and he isn't interested in taking "no" for an answer.
 There's a lot of back and forth where Apollo talks about how great it will be and how beautiful Carolyn is, whereupon Scotty gets jealous and challenges Apollo. It doesn't go too well for Scotty.
Or for Kirk when he does the same.
Apollo puts some serious moves on Carolyn. First with this: "You are beautiful. You would do Aphrodite credit. I will tell you a thousand tales, stories of courage and love. You will know what it is to be a goddess." And then,  "I offer you more than your wildest dreams have ever imagined. You'll become the mother of a new race of gods. You'll inspire the universe. All men will revere you almost as a god yourself. And I shall love you for time without end, worlds without end. You shall complete me, and I you." 

Guys, I dare you to top that. 

While they were alone Apollo also gives Carolyn some back story on the gods: 

We're immortal, we gods. But the Earth changed. Your fathers changed. They turned away until we were only memories. A god cannot survive as a memory. We need love, admiration, worship, as you need food....In a real sense, we were gods. We had the power of life and death. We could have struck out from Olympus and destroyed. We have no wish to destroy, so we came home again. It was an empty place without worshipers, but we had no strength to leave, so we waited, all of us, through the long years....But I knew you would come. You striving, bickering, foolishly brave humans. I knew you would come to the stars one day. Of all the gods, I knew and I waited, waited for you to come and sit by my side.
Meanwhile, Spock is aboard the Enterprise trying to get some holes in Apollo's force field (the big hand) in an attempt to open up windows for communications & phase fire. He's also making use of a nifty circular slide rule.
Kirk realizes that the only way they'll have a chance against Apollo is to overtax him and that to do that they'll need Carolyn's help. He orders her to reject him.
She does and, not surprisingly, Apollo doesn't take it well. After all, its been 5,000 years since he's had a girlfriend.
Thankfully the landing party hears from Spock and Kirk orders him to fire phasers at Apollo's temple (which they had determined to be his power source).
Apollo fights back but his thunderbolts are no match for phaser fire.
In his big farewell, Apollo appeals to the other gods: "Zeus, Hermes, Hera, Aphrodite. You were right. Athena, you were right. The time has passed. There is no room for gods. Forgive me, my old friends. Take me. Take me." And he fades away much like Charlie X and Trelane did. Of the three, Apollo's is the coolest though.
McCoy turns to Kirk and says,  "I wish we hadn't had to do this" and Kirk agrees saying, "Would it have hurt us, I wonder, just to have gathered a few laurel leaves?" It's a little late to ask that, don't you think?
 Some 70 years later, a future captain of the Enterprise, with an intense interest in archaeology and ancient civilizations, will certainly read Kirk's log entries of this event and react accordingly. 

Still, this is a top notch episode and well worth watching or re-watching (do so here). The story of Apollo does have a sequel. Last year, the fan-based Star Trek Continues released their first episode, Pilgrim of Eternity. It wonderfully brings Michael Forest back into the role of Apollo in a great follow-up story.

The Star Trek Continues web-series takes up right after Season 3 of TOS. It is quality stuff that every Trek fan should take a look at. They just released their second episode too. Star Trek Continues really captures the look and feel of Star Trek.

Back to Who Mourns For Adonais?, let me mention that composer Fred Steiner really knocked it out of the park here too with about 29 minutes of music composed for this episode. It is all on the wonderful complete set of TOS music from La-La Land Records. Here's a sample track from this episode.

Speaking of music, the band Five Year Mission has a cool song about this episode that is a lot of fun. Here's their video of it:

Next up is another stand out episode, Amok Time. 

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