Star Trek

Season 2 Episode 5

The Apple

Aired Unknown Oct 13, 1967 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (6)

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out of 10
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  • 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.
  • 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?
  • 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...

    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.
  • 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?
  • The crew of the Enterprise discover a paradisal planet run by a machine and inhabbited by a people who's only purpose is to serve this Vaal, and have thusly been locked in evoloutionary stagnation.

    This episode has always been one of my favorites. True Star Trek does many "Paradise" themed episodes, but I love every single one of them. This particular episodes speaks to me greatly, you have the problem of the Prime Directive (or as Spock refers to it in this episode, the "non-interference directive"), for the people of Vaal, who are happy and their way of life and does work for them. Still, there is the fact that these people, as Dr. McCoy so perfectly stated, "are not living, they're existing." I enjoy that the argument is not looked at from one side, it explores and justifies all the areas. True, it is not something I, like Dr. McCoy and Captain Kirk would see as 'right' but, as Spock says, "you insist on putting human standards on non human cultures." It is true, we humans feel the need to base everything by our own culture, even when looking at people from other cultures here on our own planet. We too often feel that everything and everyone should live their lives by our specific set of rules, and while that could be good for some, is it right to destroy a culture simply because yours is uneasy about some of its practices. Is it fair that, Kirk & Co. gave the people of Vaal disease, death, heartache, and all the other vices of human culture along with love and freedom? How will these women, possibly thousands of years old, having never dealt with pain, be able to handle child birth... can they even have children? Will it be anything like human conception, pregnancy, and childbirth? How will the people act to finally being able to 'touch' and 'hold' one another? will they become a planet of wantonness? Will they be able control sexual urges as one who has grown up learning to suppress those urges (and we know there are those who still have a hard time at suppressing them)? Even though it seemed wrong for those people to be under the service of a machine, they had no problem with that way of life, it was a paradise. Was it really right of Kirk to decide when to end the innocence of the People of Vaal? The People of Vaal knew nothing else, they did not know their culture was 'wrong'... but was it really wrong?
    You see, this episode is a prime example as to why I love Star Trek. The grey... we all know life is not just black and white, there is infinite grey area and I love that Trek delves into that grey headfirst. Thank you Trek for giving me much to think about.