The computer rules the world in this episode that originally aired on October 13, 1967.  This is The Apple.

The Episode:

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

For more reviews I have a weekly series called Key Movies Of My Life that comes out every Thursday and for more retro TV goodness check out the rest of the Retro TV Reviews here.

As always, please feel free to comment below and share your experiences with these episodes as well. If you just happened by, tell me what you think! Don’t Forget To Follow me if you like the blog!

Late To The Game 2/25/2022

So, let me get this straight, you ‘set us free’ so we can work, suffer and grow old and that’s okay because we are ‘free’? That seems kinda lame if you ask me.

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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3 thoughts on “Retro TV Review: Star Trek the Original Series: Season Two: Episode 9 The Apple

  1. First, Vaal looks like the head you have to open in Dodongo’s cave in Legend of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time. Don’t know if you’ve played that or if you’ve played video games.

    Second, I don’t like this episode either. It was clear that Kirk and McCoy’s opinions about destroying Vaal were one-sided for two reasons. One; they’re prejudiced against machines even the ones that are clearly helping the people. Though I don’t know how that machine got there in the first place. Two; the machine wouldn’t allow hugging and kissing but the people didn’t seem to mind so I think they might be asexual. I mean, if you could stop sex by forbidding it, there’d be a lot less teenage pregnancies going around.

    The episode forgot about these people but I once played a fan created Star Trek Online episode (which takes place in the 25th Century) set in the Klingon Empire where the player character references that episode and say that disease is rampant on that planet and most of the citizens don’t live past thirty. So the race is still alive, but their lives are hell. Don’t know if that’s canon but it’s better than they all got wiped out.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I used to play the game religiously as a kid and, whenever I ran into a problem in the later levels, I’d start the game all over. I’ve played Dodongos Cavern many times, so I recognize Vaal. I actually reviewed that game on my blog, if you want to check it out.

        Liked by 1 person

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