TOS: S2E02: “Who Mourns for Adonais?”

In which a god-like being isn’t bothering with pretense and that’s refreshing, Chekov begins the glorious tradition of pretending everything was invented in Russia, and Greek gods are not as entertaining when they go nuts as blue lamp-bound djinni. 

…Is that supposed to be “Adonis?” No, in fact, it’s supposed to be a portmanteau of Adonis and Adonai, which some of you may recognize as the Hebrew word meaning ‘Lord.’ Boom, you’ve been classically educated, bitches. The Enterprise is wandering around the Pollux system, and there’s a curious lack of intelligent life. Apparently the whole sector is pretty

McCoy, on the other hand, is the one who started this conversation, and I'm not ready to cut him that much slack yet.

McCoy, on the other hand, is the one who started this conversation, and I’m not ready to cut him that much slack yet.

fallow. But let’s not talk about that when there’s misogyny to be done. McCoy and Kirk are staring up a lieutennant’s skirt and being morose about how someday she’ll get married and leave Starfleet. Although, to be fair, Kirk’s take-away from that is about the loss of a god officer, rather than the loss of some eye candy. So that’s something.

The Enterprise is coming up on an incredibly Earth-like planet that looks to be just about perfect for colonization. They don’t go so far as to mention it, but it’s got green vegitation, vast oceans, and in most respects seems like a perfect Goldilocks planet, except for the giant glowing green hand reaching out into space.

"Wait, what?"

“Wait, what?”

According to Spock, it’s not living tissue. Thanks, Spock. The fact that it’s a transparent floating glowing humanoid hand wasn’t enough of a clue. It proceeds to grab the Enterprise and hold it steady. I suppose we should be thankful it doesn’t form itself into a rude, crude, or downright lewd gesture. (I thought of a joke I should’ve made last post and now I have to wait until the right time happens again. I’m not sure it ever will.)

Kirk orders helm to rock the ship forwards and backwards as if it’s stuck in snow. This seems to imply that the impulse engines use some form of reactionless thrust – Larry Niven has a great principle called the “Kzinti Lesson,” which states that any ship with conventional rockets as propellant, no matter how unarmed they seem, can probably trounce the shit out of you in direct proportion to how fast the ships go.

Also, Adonis or some other greek-looking god with laurels on his headappears as a floating head in space and welcomes the Enterprise with open arms and offers of wine. When Kirk requests (orders) a vast energy being to release his ship, it attacks by squeezing the saucer section. It invites Kirk down, but not Spock. Spock reminds him of Pan, and ‘Pan always bored’ him. Because Pan, a drunken lustful faun, was always noted as being boring. It’s also a lucky coincidence that the lieutennant from earlier just happens to be an anthropologist. I guess they had to replace lieutenant whats-her-name… MacGyvers… when she ran off with Khan.

Well this guy is clearly a fake. His little throne-hutch clearly lacks the classical Greek proportions of the Golden Mean. It's so obvious.

Well this guy is clearly a fake. His little throne-hutch clearly lacks the classical Greek proportions of the Golden Ratio. It’s so obvious.

Okay, so the track record of god-like creatures in Star Trek is a long and storied history of dinkbags, so betting is open on what’s up with this guy, who claims to be Apollo. At least Kirk is properly skeptical. Betting is open as to what this one wants. He’s trapped the crew here to worship him. That seems like a terrible plan. I mean the plan relies by necessity on trying to take a culture that has discovered space-time warping and trying to make them revert to pre-scientific mythology. Even if, as Kirk suggests, this being inspired the legends of Apollo, you’re not likely to get the respect, let alone worship, of a spacefaring culture by pretending to be a guy who claims to ride the sun across the sky in a chariot.

Also, stop hitting on the anthropologist by comparing her to your twin sister, dude.

Also, stop hitting on the anthropologist by comparing her to your twin sister, dude.

Apollo can shoot lightning from his fingers, as evidenced when Scotty tries to phaser him and gets zapped. Kirk has, at least, gotten wiser over the course of his interactions with god-like beings. He’s being slightly more tactful than he was back when he dealt with Trelaine. Speaking of which, Lieutennant Carolyn Palamas also gets magicked into a wildly duty-inappropriate dress, just like Yeoman Ross.

Palamas is being rather clever, using small talk to get information out of Apollo, atrying to find out where the other are. Seems like Apollo needs worship to live, so he’s some sort of psychic energy vampire or whatnot, and all the others starved to death. Or committed suicide when humans turned away from them. So Apollo channels ambient energy blah blah blag something about an extra organ. Hur hur hur.

What’s rather more interesting is that when Chekov comes up with a plausible hypothesis, Kirk says “You’ve earned your pay for the week.” Recall again that by the end of Kirk’s career, he’ll tell someone from 1986 that they don’t use money. It’s clearly a facetious statement to Chekov, but by the end of TNG and the beginning of Voyager, characters will express that the concept of a salary is completely foreign to most of humanity. Kirk’s generation is probably the very last one that thinks of money as anything except ‘that stipend Starfleet gives them when they have to deal with scarcity cultures.’

Also, Kirk says “Mankind has no need for gods, we find the one quite adequate.” I think this is the first reference to any kind of supernatural being (as opposed to high-powered but natural beings) since “The Great Bird of the Galaxy.

They decide he thrives on worship and love, so they decide to start heckling him. Carolyn throws a monkey wrench in the works, since she appears to



have gone quite off the reservation. They have to convince her to spurn him, which she does by trying to convince him (and herself) that she was studying him the whole tome. Apollo is not pleased, and Carolyn is not dressed for the weather that ensues. Fortunately, Kirk has a trick up his sleeve – Spock, in orbit, with some phasers. As Apollo tries to shoot lightning at the Enterprise while the Enterprise, in turn, melts his power generator into slag, Spock could not look more bored. It’s pretty great, actually. He’s sitting in the Captain’s Chair like a goddamn supervillain, fingers steepled together. If he had a cat it would be a perfect tableau.

Apollo gets one last tragic monologue about how much he would have loved to care for humanity, as if he wasn’t behaving like a drunk bipolar abusive nutjob. There’s an ambiguity to this episode – it certainly seems Apollo was the one who inspired the Greek Myths, but he certainly doesn’t act like a scientifically advanced being that used technology to pose as a god in order to kick-start a culture. He acts like he thinks he’s… well.. Apollo. One wonders whether he even knows he was using technology, or if all the years spent as the last of his species drove him completely around the bend.

God-like Beings That Are Really Petulant Children With Too Much Power Count: 4. I gave the Metrons and the Organians a pass because the Metrons were mostly just isolationist and the Organians are a whole other story. Apollo, however, does not get a pass, because he’s a raging psycho.

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