The computer rules the world in this episode that originally aired on October 13, 1967. This is The Apple.
Captain’s Log Stardate 3715.3
After discovering a primitive civilization on a planet, Kirk and team soon find that there is an unseen force at hand. As the ship is being drained of power and several crewmembers dying off on the planet, Kirk pleads with the leader of the civilization to speak to their ‘god’ only known as Vaal.
They soon discover that Vaal is a highly intelligent machine that has been taking care of the people of Gamma Trianguli VI. However, even though the original intent was to help these people, they have begun serving Vaal and have since stopped advancing. With less than an hour before the Enterprise is without power, Kirk, and team manage to destroy Vaal and free the people of the planet so they can begin to think for themselves. Kirk assures the natives that they will be able to survive without their ‘God’ since humans too had once been driven out of paradise.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
This is not one of my favorites. At it’s core it’s another ‘let’s save the natives’ episode that, not only horribly violates the Prime Directive in every way possible but also perpetuates the whole ‘advanced people are better’ myth. The entire time I watched The Apple, I found myself wondering if this was not just a throwaway episode made to fill space. Sure, it fills the classic ‘something is hunting us’ and ‘the ship is in danger’ trope that works despite itself, but still this one is cringeworthy at best.
What bothers me most about this episode is that Kirk and his crew not only violate the Prime Directive, but, in doing so, leave an entire species of people on their own without any sort of guidance to survive on their own. I mean, these people have literally relied on Vaal for everything from sustenance to even their own propagation, at best they will die down to a handful and manage to survive for a short time. At worse, well, Kirk just committed a small case of genocide.
Overall, The Apple is a very rough parable to the Bible story of Genesis, but this time The Enterprise crew is the Snake and instead of Adam and Eve, there is an entire culture about to find out the hard way what it means to be on their own.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
- According to Chekov, the Garden of Eden was just outside of Moscow.
- Spock makes mention of the amount of ‘money’ that Star Fleet has invested in him…although they don’t use money anymore.
- This episode features the most crew deaths of any episode so far, mostly ‘Red Shirts’.
- We never find out what happened to the people of Vaal. They might have survived…or not. Maybe this is one of the case studies in the future of ‘what not to do’ when regarding the Prime Directive. Again, Lower Decks, make it so!
Thanks for reading the Retro TV Review, I look forward to discussing the rest of the series with you, one episode at a time every Monday, Wednesday and Friday! Next Review: Mirror, Mirror
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Late To The Game 2/25/2022
Special Thanks to Memory Alpha as they are one of the best sources for details on Star Trek information available. Although I have a pretty deep knowledge on the subject, they have proven invaluable as a regular resource.
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