Star Trek

Star Trek

Monday, March 17, 2014

Season 2, Episode 33 "Who Mourns For Adonais?"

"Who Mourns For Adonais?"
Production Number: 33
Air Order: 31
Stardate: 3468.1
Original Air Date: September 22, 1967

Happy St Patrick's Day!


It's probably best if you skip the Irish karaoke.

*******


Our opening shot this week is the one seen from the nacelles. I love this shot. It's creative.
On the bridge Blue Lieutenant Carolyn Palamas is turning in a report on the system they are currently in, and she admits to having been up all night working on it. Scotty eagerly asks her out for coffee. She accepts and briefly moves to another part of the bridge so Bones and Kirk can make fun of Scotty, who tells them to eat a bag of dicks.


When Scotty and Carolyn leave the bridge, Bones remarks that someday she'll find the right guy, settle down, and Kirk will lose an officer. I want to object here. But I won't because I'm reminding myself that in the late sixties it was still commonplace for a girl to have a career only as long as it took her to find a husband and have kids. I could point out that this show is set in the future, and that they should have projected out that things would not remain the same in that aspect, but it actually ties back quite nicely to a conversation that my friend Teacup and I had last week.
Star Trek seems to be a time-capsule for the era in which it was filmed, not only in aesthetics, but in attitudes and social constructs. teacup is making her way through DS9, and has noticed that the show perfectly illustrates the sensibilities of the late nineties/early 2000's. While my more-modern viewpoint wants to call out Bones for his sexist remark about Carolyn's career lasting only until she finds a man, my general knowledge of social conventions of decades past tells me that no one would bat an eye at this idea.
Wait, I hopped on the Tangent Train again. Sorry.
Anyway, so we're floating in space near-ish a planet when the E is approached by a hand. Yeah, that's not a typo. If it's weird, it's happened on Star Trek.
"WTF?" asks Sulu.
Dramatic music and credits break!


When we come back, the hand is holding the E. I'm not shitting you. The first time I watched this episode, I was with a group of people, and we all burst out laughing at this sight.
Kirk's Log 3468.1: "A giant hand is groping my girl! That bastard!"
"So... it's not a hand," says Spock. "It's just energy that looks like a hand."


Unfortunately, now Sulu sees something new: a head in space. The head tells Kirk in a reverberating voice that he is pleased that humans have made their way into space, and that they are adventurers. He names off explorers from Greek antiquity. He's excited to see humans after 5000 years.


Kirk gets argumentative, and the pressure on the hull increases, as the head supposedly closes the hand.
"Okay," says Kirk. "We'll beam down to chat."
"Don't bring the dude with the pointed ears," says the head. "He reminds me of Pan."
WTH? Pan is awesome! (Only let's not watch that Spanish movie again, okay?)
So Kirk beams down with Scotty (what?), Chekov (maybe he needs away team experience?), Bones (why?), and Carolyn Palamas, who actually asks why she was included.
"You specialize in archaeology, anthro, and ancient civilizations," says Bones. "And this guy knows stuff about humans in ancient Greece."
Ah, gotcha. She's who replaced Marla McGivers (only she's in Blue rather than Red). Why is it that the chicks who are history majors always seem to end up on away missions where they encounter good-looking douchebags? Do not be another Marla, Carolyn.


The away team approaches a sort of Grecian temple, and sitting on a throne is the Douchebag du Jour, Apollo. He's wearing laurels, sandals, and a sparkly gold toga. The toga is Grecian, but the fabric is sparkly gold because it's Star Trek, and something had to be sparkly or shiny.
When he announces that he is Apollo, Chekov replies, "Yeah, and I'm czar of all the Russias." I love you, Pavel.
"So, I'm a god, and you're going to worship me," says Apollo. "All of the other people on your ship should get down here and worship me, too."
Kirk tries to call the E to get beam-ups, but the comms aren't working. Apollo grows to a giant size to intimidate them.

I'm pretty sure he's standing in the table.

He disappears, and everyone starts talking. Carolyn gives background info on the god Apollo, Chekov and Scotty talk about how he can control certain things with unknown powers, and Bones says that the scanners say that he's basically human.
"I have a conspiracy theory," Kirk says to Bones. "What if, 5000 years ago, this dude and his friends came to Earth?"


Apollo appears again, and demands that they worship him, in exchange for living in paradise.
"Nope," says Kirk. When Apollo calls him "proud and arrogant like Hercules", The Shat makes this face at his friends like, "Can you believe this shit?" It's a pretty fabulous face.
"I think you're hot," Apollo tells Carolyn.
Scotty loses it over Apollo hitting on her, and pulls out his phaser. But God Boy melts it, and causes the other phasers to melt as well.


Apollo goes back to hitting on Carolyn, and changes her clothing to a sparkly pink toga, which appears to be held together by toupee tape. This is actually a pretty cute outfit, but also a warning: girls, if a guy wants to tell you how to dress, he's either gay, or a controlling dick. Learn the difference. Only one is fun to shop with.


"Let's go make out behind the bushes," Apollo suggests
"Fuck that!" yells Scotty, and Apollo blasts him back, knocking him out.
Carolyn hesitates, then agrees to go with the alien. They disappear.
When Scotty comes to, Kirk tells him to quit starting shit with Apollo, cuz he's afraid Scotty's going to get hurt. Then he talks to Bones about his conspiracy theory again.
"Like, what if a bunch of these whatever-he-is came to Earth, and were changing form and shooting lightning bolts in front of Grecian goatherds and shit?"
"Maybe," says Bones.

Upstairs, Spock is trying to dislodge the Disable the Ship hand, to no avail. Uhura can't get the communication channel open to call the away team. A Red named Kyle has found the team, but says that one has separated from the herd. Sulu says that he has detected a power source on the planet, but can't pinpoint it.


On the surface, Apollo and Carolyn are talking. She asks about his experiences, and he says that the humans used to worship him and the others, but that the humans stopped doing it and turned away from them. The "gods" then returned to their home planet. But they needed to be worshiped, and there was no one on their planet to do it. Eventually, the other gods each "returned to the cosmos", so Apollo is the last one left. But now he's stoked because humans have returned to worship him.
He and Carolyn kiss. On Star Trek, every kiss is the same. The guy always starts out kind of aggressive, as though he's forcing the kiss on her, then she seems to acquiesce and kiss him back. It's...not my cup of Earl Grey. And this chick is starting to go Marla.

Seriously, dude: too much bronzer. What are you, a Klingon?

Back at the temple, the boys are chatting at the marble picnic table. Why there's a marble picnic table, I have yet to determine.
"He's tapping a power source," says Scotty.
"Some animals do that," offers Chekov. "The electric eel can draw on power without hurting itself." He lists other creatures as well, and Bones gets on his case for being too Spock. Shit, dude. Why does everybody pick on Chekov?
"That's brilliant, Chekov," says Kirk. "Bones, STFU. Tell me something useful."
"Apollo has an extra organ," says Bones. "Damned if I know what it does, though."
"Energy filter," guesses Kirk.

Bones is thinking that he'd like some of that wax fruit.

Golden Boy shows up again.
"Where's Carolyn?" demands Scotty.
"None of your beeswax," says Apollo.
Scotty charges him again, and Apollo blasts him across the courtyard. I know he likes Carolyn, and he's feeling all protective, but this seems out of character. He's usually measured and calm. Oh, Scotty, why are you being so Kirk-y this episode?

There was some animated lightning in this pic as well, but it was hard
to get the shot with both the action and the animation.

"You asshole!" screams Kirk. 
"I'll learn you!" Apollo yells back, and he chokes Kirk with The Force. Then he sits on his throne and fades away.
Chekov helps a weakened Kirk to the picnic table and says that he noticed that when Apollo disappeared, he looked like he was in pain.
"Bet he needed to rest," says Kirk. "That sounds like Greek myth canon to me, gods needing to rest after using their powers too much. I have an idea. Let's get him to attack us again. If he's wasting power upstairs with that hand, and then using more power to attack us, he'll be weak, and we can jump him."

Upstairs, Uhura is working to bypass the communication system to try to contact the away team. There's this great shot of her working behind a panel with this tool that sparks, and the set guys went to the trouble to build the shot out with electrical parts.
Spock ducks into the shot. "This is taking a long time."
"Boy, don't rush me, or it'll all go FUBAR," she replies.
"You're the shit, Uhura. I believe in you." Dude can be really encouraging when he wants to be.
Spock decides to try to punch holes through the hand so he can shoot through them.


Back in the temple, Kirk and Apollo start another fight.
"Get your asses into the garden to sacrifice a deer for me," says Apollo. "Also, gather laurel leaves."
The boys step forward to point and laugh at him. They're trying to trick him into attacking them, and he almost does, but then Carolyn jumps in front of Kirk and begs Apollo not to hurt them.
"Okay," says Apollo grudgingly. "But somebody better start worshiping me soon." He and Carolyn disappear. 
"Dude, Carolyn fucked up our plan," complains Bones.
"'sall good," says Kirk. "I got another."


Apollo is pissed off, ranting about how he's trying to make a paradise for the E's crew, but they aren't cooperating. He then tells Carolyn that in this awesome new world, she will be revered like a goddess. They kiss again.
Carolyn appears before the boys by herself, sans Apollo. She wants to talk to Kirk.
"Hello, have you heard the good news about our lord god Apollo? I have some brochures."
"Nope," says Kirk. "You need to knock that shit off and be a member of the crew again. If you don't push Apollo away, you'll be responsible for enslaving 430 people."
Though Carolyn is loathe to break up with Apollo (who is "lonely") and forfeit her chance to be sort of all-powerful, she agrees. Wow, Kirk. Did you actually learn something from that Marla-Khan debacle? Good job, dude.
Uhura's bypass works and Spock calls Kirk to let him know that a structure in their area houses the power supply. They've punched some holes through the hand and can fire phasers through them. (But you can't beam up the away team through said holes?)
"Cool," says Kirk. "Lock on phasers and fire when I say."

In the garden, Carolyn is making out with Apollo when she asks about his social development.
"Huh?" he asks.
"I'm a scientist," she explains, "and I've been studying you and your culture." Also, the inside of your mouth. With my tongue. 
She even layers it on by calling him a specimen. Ouch. Then she walks away, telling him that she's not some dumb shepherdess who is impressed by his tricks.


Super pissed off now, he grows into giant Apollo and starts a lightning storm. Carolyn is not dressed for inclement weather, and ends up throwing herself on the ground, terrified.


Kirk gives the signal to fire the phasers and they all dive for cover. When the phasers are fired, regular-sized Apollo appears and begins throwing lightning bolts at the Enterprise, but he is weakening.


Carolyn stumbles out of the garden, muddy and bruised. Scotty shelters her. Upstairs, the E is rocked by the lightning strikes. Pan has zero fucks to give.


The temple (and oddly, the picnic table) glows, wavers like a Scooby Doo projection ghost, and disappears, to be replaced by rubble. Despite the fact that his power source was destroyed, Apollo appears to have just enough left to become giant Apollo again so he can stand in the ruins and sob.
"I would have given you everything if you had just worshiped me," he cries.
"Sorry," shrugs Kirk. "We outgrew you."
Apollo looks at Carolyn, who seems battered. "I loved you. I would have made you a goddess. Look what you've done to me."
Annnnnndddd, there goes any sympathy I might have had for this guy. That last line is straight-up abuser shit. "Why did you make me do that?" asks a batterer, standing over a bleeding partner. That's fucking manipulative, and I have no qualms when dude opens his arms and calls to his long-lost friends that they were right, before disappearing for good.
A command gold star to you, Carolyn, for not completing the Marla McGivers cycle.


"Wish we hadn't had to do that," says Bones.
"Me too," says Kirk. "His people gave so much to our culture. Would it have really hurt us to just gather some laurel leaves for the guy?"
Gee, Kirk. Maybe you should think of these questions before you kill the space buffaloes.

*******

Some interesting Hmmm Moments in this episode. Unintended is the idea that this show and it spin-off franchises are time-capsules for the period in which they were filmed, and how they showcase ideas and concerns that were relative to that time period, rather than the time period in which they are supposed to take place. A branch from those ideas is the question of whether or not one should hold the past responsible for faux pas that are no longer considered to be acceptable. For instance, should I call out Bones' "until she meets the right guy" remark as being sexist, because in this day and age, that remark is considered sexist? Or should I chalk it up to "just a sign of the times" and shrug it off?
The conspiracy theory brought up by Kirk is interesting when thought of as a sort of inception. Theories abound about how this or that ancient culture or structure could not have come about by lesser humans than ourselves, and must have therefore been made by more-advanced aliens. Here, now, in our "are we alone?" society, these theories seem ridiculous. But placed within the context of Star Trek, where contact has already been made with not one, but a great many alien species, this ridiculous theory moves from "dude, you're high" to "that's a distinct possibility". And it makes for an interesting story. I'm willing to bet that there's a great deal of fascinating fanfic written about this episode. And if there isn't, why? Seriously, somebody write that shit.

RIP Roll Call

This alien-god

This innocent picnic table

Death Toll:
Red deaths this episode: 0
Red deaths this season: 1
Gold deaths this episode: 0
Gold deaths this season: 1
Blue deaths this episode: 0
Blue deaths this season: 0
Total crew deaths this season: 2
Total crew deaths thus far: 18


*******

This week's tea is Orange Spice black tea by Stash. It's a good black tea with nice burst of orange, but not so much that one is left thinking, "I should have just had juice." Also, the spice palette is not obnoxious, which is always something that I look for.




Someone pointed out, that as this is the third month of the year 2014,
every day of this month is technically Pi Day. Do with that as you will.


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