Star Trek

Season 2 Episode 5

The Apple

Aired Unknown Oct 13, 1967 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
161 votes

By Users

Episode Summary


Kirk attempts to assist a primitive people that are ruled over by a computer named Vaal.

Who was the Episode MVP ?

No results found.
No results found.
No results found.
  • Vaal will probably never make the Star Trek Guest Star Hall of Fame.

    Like a quodlibet of TOS's favorite ideas, "The Apple" includes a false paradise, childlike aliens, speeches about freedom, and a machine for Kirk to overthrow... not to mention ridiculous make-up, costumes and wigs.

    Most of the episode takes place on the "alien planet" stage set with the same red cyclorama sky used in "Amok Time". It's basically another version of "Who Mourns for Adonais", with the plot moving in circles while Kirk tries to figure out how to save himself and his ship. But whereas "Adonais" has a noble quality and Michael Forrest brings a presence to Apollo, this one is sillier, and Kirk's opponent is a serpent head that looks like a papier-mch project gone wrong. (Although to be fair, the creature is really made of aluminum foil). To make matters worse, the thing's spokesman is Akuta, terribly played the wooden Keith Andes. Why would anyone cast Andes, nearing the age of 50 at the time of the shoot, as a childlike youngster who likes to run around mostly naked?

    Still, the episode has some interesting ideas, from McCoy and Spock's continuing debate over the Prime Directive to the first talk of a saucer separation. And Walter Koenig shines, with the writers finally figuring out how to use Chekov. (There's also a young David Soul, who would go on to be the latter half of "Starsky & Hutch", playing Makora, a young alien experimenting with For Mr. Spock, the redshirts, and the rest of us, however, it's a rough day at the office.

    Remastered Version: With not much to do and no reason to do much, "The Apple" gets the basic makeover with new CGI shots of the planet and the ship. Because of stage set's red sky, the original episode reuses Vulcan from "Amok Time" (the planet in the opening credits). The new version, however, goes for a more Earth-like planet, which is a curious choice. Moreover, whereas the original uses some stock footage of clouds and tints them red, the remastered counterpart filters out the red, creating a new look that doesn't match the sky of the stage set. To make matters worse, in the second season Blu-ray set which supposedly gives viewers the choice of watching this episode in the original or remastered way, the new, de-tinted version of the stock footage appears in both versions, with CBS Digital apparently forgetting they made a change and not accounting for it.

  • rotten apple

    I watched this episode today. I saw it as an analogy for the American system versus Communism. Kirk in effect tears the Berlin Wall down, and says to the East Germans "you have freedom", but fails to replace their way of life with a viable alternative. Except to leave them to work it all out for themselves. These people are going to starve, there will be fights, disputes over leaderships - a "Lord of the Flies" situation. There should have been a later episode where Kirk goes back to see how they have got on, and what sort of mess they are in.moreless
  • How shall I plot thee? Let me count the ways …

    Of all the overused devices in STAR TREK TOS, this plotline must surely be the champion. We’ve seen exactly the same story, albeit with different character names and costumes, in “Return of the Archons”, “This Side of Paradise” and there’s even some elements of “Taste of Armageddon” in here as well …

    It’s hard to fathom why the ST producers insisted of rehashing this plot every ten episodes or so. Maybe it was one of Gene Coon’s favourite stories (I notice he’s often a writer on these episodes, credited or uncredited). Or maybe they thought we didn’t hear them the first time. OK, there’s a kernel of a good idea in here, but the morality is shakey at best. Did the folks in Kirk’s time learn nothing from the way the Earth’s Western powers made a complete hash in Africa, the Middle East and the Far East during the 19th and 20th Centuries? Apparently not …

    I’m sure I’ll come across this plot again as I view my way through three seasons of STTOS on DVD … but where’s the fun if you can’t have a bit of a moan?moreless
  • Kirk and a landing party visit a 'paradise' planet inhabited by primitive people ruled over by a computer named Vaal, that is draining the Enterprise's power systems, endangering the entire crew. One of the weakest episodes...moreless

    It's hard to think that after a classic like "Mirror, Mirror" comes such a weak offering as "The Apple".

    The common device of faceless redshirts being killed off had by now become a cliché of the series, and this episode matches "The Changeling" for the highest number (four) of on-screen redshirts to be killed. As per usual, nobody really seems to blink an eyelid – but as soon as Spock is nearly killed, it's panic panic!

    In some episodes, the various details added to the planets make nice little background, but here, the poisonous dart-shooting plants (!) and the exploding rocks just feel like story padding, and it takes a long time for the real plot to kick in.

    The Enterprise is having its energy drained by Vaal, not allowing the landing party to be beamed up or for the Enterprise to break out of orbit. The reasons for this never seemed to be fully explained; or more likely, I just wasn't interested enough to care; but either way, if they couldn't beam the landing party up, why didn't they at least deploy a shuttlecraft to pick them up?!

    An unintentionally amusing moment comes as Kirk sneaks up on their watcher, Akuta, and thumps him in the face without even finding out if he's friend or foe; and then spends the next two minutes trying to convince the timid Akuta that he won't do it again!

    The design, costume and make-up of the tribe are amongst the Original Series' worst. The men sport terrible white-blond wigs, and it is just not convincing to see pale white actors, daubed up in reddish make-up, trying to play scantily clad tribes people.

    I am a 'Starsky & Hutch' fan, and the only (minor) point of interest for me with this lame episode is that David "Hutch" Soul has a small part as Makora, one of the tribesmen.

    The story lacks any of the danger and urgency that it desperately needs, and personally I couldn't wait to get this one over with.

    Some have compared this episode with "Who Mourns for Adonis?" – it is true they do have some similarities, but (while many people didn't like that episode), in that story I at least cared what happened. By the end of this one I was just bored.

    The story has certainly been done before, but that's not the problem – this one is just so flat.

    All-in-all, possibly the weakest of the season. For purists, watch once to say you've seen it and move on.moreless
  • Spock volunteers to be a human lightening rod

    Ending reminds me of "Who mourns for Adonias" I don't know why that is such a pet peeve with me, but it is. We lost a lot of red shirts in this one. Did this beat "Obsession" for "Most non-essential personnel killed off in one episode"? I was a big "Starsky and Hutch" fan. Interesting to see Hutch in his earlier days. I wonder how many times he botched the "learning about kissing" scene so he had to do it over and over?moreless
William Shatner

William Shatner

Captain James Tiberius Kirk

Leonard Nimoy

Leonard Nimoy

Mr. Spock

DeForest Kelley

DeForest Kelley

Dr. Leonard Horatio "Bones" McCoy

Vince Deadrick

Vince Deadrick

Native 2 (uncredited)

Guest Star

Bobby Clark

Bobby Clark

Native #4 (uncredited)

Guest Star

Ron Burke

Ron Burke

Native #1 (uncredited)

Guest Star

James Doohan

James Doohan

Lt. Cmdr. Montgomery "Scotty" Scott

Recurring Role

Walter Koenig

Walter Koenig

Ensign Pavel Chekov

Recurring Role

John Winston

John Winston

Lt. Kyle

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (5)

    • Yeoman Landon remarks to Chekov that "if it weren't for Vaal, this would be a paradise."  She forgets the exploding rocks and spike-shooting plants.

    • In his captain's log, Kirk doesn't describe the planet as a "nightmare" until after Spock is "injured" - so much for the poor dead red-shirt guy, Hendorff.

    • Kirk & Co. are told by Starfleet to contact the natives but there's initially no indication that they have any technology - isn't this a violation of the Prime Directive (as described in episodes like "Bread and Circuses")?

    • Initially Spock discovers one of the explosive rocks. Before he knows what it does, he breaks it in half! Yet it doesn't explode. When he tosses away one of the pieces, though, it does explode.

    • When Scotty gives the order to try and break free of the tractor beam and the ship rocks, the captain's chair he gets knocked back into wobbles and lifts off the floor.

  • QUOTES (17)

    • (McCoy examines Spock after he was struck by lightning)
      McCoy: Second degree burns. Not serious, but I bet they smart.
      Spock: Doctor, you have an unsurpassed talent for understatement.

    • Chekov: It makes me homesick. Just like Russia.
      McCoy: More like the Garden of Eden, Ensign.
      Chekov: Of course. The Garden of Eden was just outside Moscow.

    • Landon: But... when two people love...
      Akuta: Ah, the holding and touching. Vaal has forbidden this.
      McCoy: Well there goes paradise.

    • Spock: The good doctor was concerned that the Vaalians achieve true human stature. I submit there is no cause for worry. They've taken the first step. They've learned to kill.

    • Kirk: You'll learn something about men and women -- the way they're supposed to be. Caring for each other, being happy with each other, being good to each other. That's what we call love. You'll like that a lot.

    • Kirk: You'll learn to care for yourselves, with our help. And there's no trick to putting fruit on trees; you might even enjoy it. You'll learn to build for yourselves, think for yourselves, and what you create is yours. That's what we call freedom. You'll like it. A lot.

    • McCoy: There are certain absolutes, and one of them is the right of humanoids to a free and unchained environment -- the right to have conditions which permit growth.
      Spock: Another is their right to choose that system which seems to work best for them.

    • Spock: Precisely, Captain, and in a manner of speaking, we have given the people of Vaal the apple, the knowledge of good and evil, and they, too, have been driven out of paradise.
      Kirk: Doctor, do I understand him correctly? Are you casting me in the role of Satan?
      Spock: Not at all, Captain.
      Kirk: Is there anyone on this ship...who even remotely...looks like Satan? (Kirk and McCoy both stare at Spock)
      Spock: I am not aware of anyone who fits that description, Captain.
      Kirk: I didn't think you would.

    • (discussing the natives' sexual reproduction habits)
      Landon: I is it...done?
      Kirk: Mr. Spock? You're the science officer. Explain it to the young lady.
      Spock: Well, I...can believe it's safe -- ahem -- safe to assume that they would...receive the necessary...instructions.
      McCoy: From a machine? That I'd like to see.

    • Spock: In my view, a splendid example of reciprocity.
      McCoy: It would take a computerized Vulcan mind, such as yours, to make that kind of a statement.

    • (Spock's given a lei)
      Kirk: It, uh, does something for you.
      Spock: Yes, indeed it does, Captain. It makes me uncomfortable.

    • Scotty: Captain, we pulled away a little, we gained...maybe an hour...but we blew almost every system in the ship doing it. There's nothing left to try again. I guess you'll have to fire me, sir.
      Kirk: You're fired.

    • Kirk:'re my chief engineer. You know everything about that ship there is to know. If you can't get those warp engines're fired.

    • Kirk: Spock... you and Chekov create a diversion and make it loud.
      Spock: Mr. Chekov, your tricorder readings are totally inefficient!
      Chekov: Mind your own business, sir! For your information, I have a very high efficiency rating!
      Spock: Ensign, you will not address me in that tone of voice!
      Chekov: What do you want, violins?

    • Kirk: What were you trying to do?
      Spock: I surmised you were unaware of that plant, so I --
      Kirk: Took the thorns yourself.
      Spock: I assure you, Captain, I had no intention of doing that. My own clumsiness prevented me from moving out of the way.
      Kirk: Next time, yell. I can step out of the way as quickly as the next man.
      Spock: I shall do so.
      Kirk: You know how much Starfleet has invested in you?
      Spock: (helpfully) 122,22 --
      Kirk: Never mind. But...thanks.

    • Spock: Dr. McCoy's potion is acting like all his potions -- turning my stomach. Other than that, I am quite well.
      McCoy: If your blood were red instead of green, you wouldn't have an upset stomach.

    • Kirk: Mr. Chekov, Lieutenant Landon. I know you find each other fascinating, but we're not here to conduct a field experiment in human biology.

  • NOTES (3)