This is a far from perfect 'Star Trek' episode, but I still like this one. Not only does it have a reasonably story, but I have always loved tales of the Greek Gods, and am a huge fan of later, such themed shows such as 'Hercules: The Legendary Journeys' and 'Xena: Warrior Princess' (all episodes of which I have reviewed on this site, by the way). So an episode that revolves around a powerful alien claiming to be Apollo instantly appeals to me.
The special effects highlight of the episode is undoubtedly the giant hand which literally grabs the Enterprise. For the limited special effects and budget of the time, it is a great image (note that I am reviewing the original version of the episode; I have not seen the enhanced remastered versions as yet).
The episode also has some good moments for the supporting crew members. Chekov comes across as very intelligent (I like the line about Spock "contaminating him") and likable, and proves to be a good addition to the cast; Uhura gets to do some space-age soldering, and – although I didn't find his attraction to 'guest crew member of the episode' Lt. Carolyn Palamas all that convincing, Scotty also had some good moments. He did seem a little dumb to keep trying to attack Apollo, only to be repeatedly sent flying with a 'thunderbolt', but that's love for you!
This is another episode that deals with a powerful alien being 'toying' with the Enterprise and her crew, something which had already been done in several first season episodes ("The Squire of Gothos" immediately springs to mind), and something that even by the early second season was becoming something of a cliché of the series. It is true that it does have somewhat of a 'seen it before' feel, but at the same time, it still makes for a watchable episode.
The only downside of the story is that it does seem a little stretched to fill the episode. The giant hand in space is thrilling, and the first scenes down on the planet surface as the landing party meet Apollo are intriguing – could it be that he really is the ancient Greek God, who visited Earth thousands of years ago? But later on, the story does lose momentum slightly. I would have liked to have seen the possibility of it being the real Apollo being dealt with in more depth.
At the end of the story, I was unsure if the being really was Apollo or not – it was indicated that he may well have been, but never felt to be truly decided one way or another.
All-in-all, a good episode. I'm not sure if it's quite strong enough to be considered a classic of the series, but I like it all the same.