Recap / Star Trek S2 E2 "Who Mourns For Adonais?"

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Apollo wants YOU... for lifelong worship!!
It starts off as just a peaceful morning on board the starship Enterprise when suddenly, as they approach Pollux IV, a giant green hand pops up and holds the Enterprise in place by the saucer section. While everyone is trying to figure out what the hell is going on, a face wearing a gold crown of laurel leaves materializes, claiming to be Apollo, and name dropping those such as Agamemnon, Hector and Odysseus. He insists some crew members come down to the planet to visit him. He specifies that Spock not come as he reminds him too much of Pan.

So, it's Kirk, Chekov, Bones, Scotty and Lt. Carolyn Palamas to beam down. Carolyn, it should be noted does not wear red though we've never seen her before or will again. (She survives though.) Apollo makes his grand appearance, giving everyone the good news. They're all going to leave that stuffy old starship, come down to this crisp, green planet and worship him! Won't that be fun? Nah, didn't think Kirk would agree.

Apollo makes show of his cosmic powers and demands respect that he just isn't getting. He woos Carolyn, and is not wholly unsuccessful in turning her. However, Kirk convinces her that it isn't right to condemn everyone on the Enterprise to a life they don't want, even if she is made a goddess. She gives Apollo the shaft, and he throws the mother of all tantrums. In the meantime, Spock has managed to locate Apollo's power source (his temple), and destroys it. Broken and defeated, Apollo follows his fellow gods into oblivion. While Apollo was unable to get the worship he desired, he did manage to inspire pity.

Note: This episode got something of a sequel, courtesy of fan-made web-series Star Trek Continues, entitled "Pilgrim Of Eternity." It features a cameo by Apollo's original actor in this episode, Michael Forest.

Tropes for this work include:

  • Alas, Poor Villain: Carolyn openly weeps at the virtual death of Apollo. Bones shows some remorse for what they had to do. Kirk ponders if maybe they should've gathered just a few laurel leaves to make Apollo feel better.
  • Ancient Astronauts: Kirk speculates that Apollo's story of being the Greek god of that name may be true, not in a "actually a deity" way but in an "advanced aliens visit primitive Earth and inspire worship" way.
  • And I'm the Queen of Sheba: Chekov responds to Apollo announcing who he is with "Yes, and I am tsar of all the Russias."
  • As You Know: For someone whose job it is to know these things, Lt. Palamas displays a very rudimentary knowledge of the god Apollo.
  • Attention Whore: Apollo. Of course, he's a god, what do you expect?
  • Big Word Shout: "STOOOOP! STOOOOOOP!! STOOOOOOOOP!!!"
  • Bittersweet Ending: The crew effectively eradicate the power source holding them captive, and are free to leave... but don't feel so good about their victory after Apollo's emotional Final Speech, not to mention that in taking down Apollo, they effectively took down the Last of His Kind, and a vital part of their own Earth history.
  • Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: Scotty tries to scrap with Apollo several times, only to be knocked ass over teakettle.
  • Captain Obvious: Sulu identifies huge, glowing, disembodied extremities well.
  • Career Versus Man: Carolyn must choose between Apollo and her duty. Early on, Bones even discussed the trope.
  • Death of the Old Gods: Apollo says that gods "return to the cosmos" when they are no longer worshiped. All the other gods have done this, and now he will too.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: For once, the show gets to claim this in its treatment of women, as Apollo's line "You are very intelligent for a woman" is clearly presented as a relic of the last time he was among humans.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Apollo's defeat by the Enterprise and rejection by Kirk and the others (especially Carolyn) drives him to this.
  • Did We Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?: Apollo pops out of nowhere and casually invites Kirk and co. over for a visit. (It isn't purely social, though.)
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: Kirk and co. turn their back to Apollo and laugh when he demands sacrifices of deer and laurel leaves in hopes of getting their point across.
  • Did You Just Romance Cthulhu?: Carolyn charms Apollo, and is charmed by him.
  • Divine Date: Apollo demands some alone time with Carolyn. She doesn't exactly fight it.
  • Expy: Female Enterprise historian is wooed by superior being and briefly turns her back on the crew? Where have we heard this before?
  • Fluffy the Terrible: Chekov mentions creatures that can produce their own energy, vis a vis, the electric eel, giant worms from Antos IV and something beginning with "The fluffy..."
  • Gilded Cage: The pastoral setting Apollo has conjured looks like Paradise. But, it is still a prison if one is not allowed to leave.
  • Girl of the Week: Carolyn Palamas. And not just any girl, but Scotty's girl.
  • Gods Need Prayer Badly: Gods just can't emotionally deal with not being worshiped.
  • Greek Mythology: Apollo loves to name drop. Among the other Greek gods and Hercules he mentions people from The Odyssey and The Iliad.
  • Instant Costume Change: Apollo turns Carolyn's uniform into a pink toga faster than you can say "Clothes beam!"
  • Insert Cameo: The hand seen stopping and holding the Enterprise belongs to none other than Gene Roddenberry.
  • In the Original Klingon: Inaugurates the Running Gag of Chekov claiming Russian origins for everything, in this case comparing Apollo's vanishing act to "the cat from the old Russian story" and indignantly refusing Kirk's suggestion that the Cheshire Cat is actually English.
  • Love Makes You Dumb: Apollo and Carolyn both lose IQ points upon falling for each other. It makes Scotty a little less bright as well.
  • Manly Tears: A ton of this from Apollo, who's heartbroken when he realizes this universe has no room for gods. If you look close, he even makes a tiny spit bubble.
  • Meddling Parents: In a strange sense, this is what Apollo seems to think he is to the human race. He longs for the days when humanity was dependent upon his protection, refuses to accept that they've moved on as a species, and insists that they stay on his planet with him just like in the old days.
  • Must Have Caffeine: Scotty tells Carolyn that she looks tired. Would she like to get some coffee with him? Then again, it doesn't seem like Carolyn's peppiness is really what he's worried about.
  • Negative Space Wedgie: The weird green hand.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Kirk and Co. openly mock Apollo so that he will attack them, expending his energy and allowing Enterprise to counterstrike. Unfortunately, Carolyn interjects on their behalf and calms Apollo, averting the fight — and causing the away team to remain under Apollo's thumb a bit longer. Kirk even lampshades it with his sarcastic thanks. (In her defense, Kirk never told her what they were attempting.)
  • Obliviously Evil: Apollo essentially holds the crew of the Enterprise hostage, punishes them when they step out of line - nearly killing some of them, and takes Carolyn away from the landing party to have all to himself - not caring about if he has a relationship with anyone (then again, neither does Carolyn very much). He doesn't realise that after thousands of years of cultural development, those actions to 23rd century humans just make him look like a dick, and certainly not like a god worthy of their worship anymore - just earns their hostility. His muttering to Carolyn, and his eventual demise reveal that he was genuinely confused by their antagonism towards him.
  • Outgrown Such Silly Superstitions: In his tantrum, Apollo says he would love Kirk and his crew like children. Kirk comes out and says they have outgrown that need.
  • Physical God: Apollo.
  • Please Spare Him, My Liege!: Carolyn pleads with Apollo not to destroy Kirk and co. for openly mocking him.
  • Plot Hole: Kirk leads a landing party down to the nearby planet, where the alien reveals that he Apollo. Later in the episode, Spock, who had been on the Enterprise the whole time, makes reference to Apollo. There is no way Spock could have known who the alien was as Apollo immediately jammed the landing party's communicators.
  • Power Echoes: Apollo loves using a booming, echoing voice that would put Princess Luna to shame. His voice softens when he speaks to Carolyn.
  • Psychic Strangle: Apollo uses this on Kirk after zapping Scotty.
  • Reverse the Polarity: One of the tactics Spock tells Sulu to do to try to free the Enterprise from Apollo's grasp.
  • Sadly Mythtaken: Kirk seems to have taken some liberty with his knowledge of ancient Greek and Roman mythology. Such stories include no element of gods needing to "recharge" after a good smiting of the mortals.
  • Secular Hero: Subverted with a little Nay-Theist thrown in.
    Kirk: Mankind has no need for gods. We find the one quite adequate.
    Kirk (about Scotty): Scotty doesn't believe in gods.
    • Taken literally, this could mean that no one believes in more than one god. And that some people believe in less than one. Makes sense in a way since polytheism is now associated with primitive civilizations and all of the modern world's major religions are either non-theistic (many Jains, Hindus, Buddhists, Unitarians, some Quakers among others) or monotheistic (Abrahamic religions).
  • Shock and Awe: Apollo's favorite supernatural power. He loses it when the Enterprise destroys his fancy marble temple.
  • Sizeshifter: Apollo can grow to many times his normal height, and uses it to intimidate the crew.
  • Society Marches On: It appears that Scotty will soon be marrying a female crew member, causing Kirk and McCoy to lament the loss of such a skilled crewman, because of course she'll be giving up her job once she ties the knot. Oddly enough, this comes a season after "Balance of Terror" featured a marriage between two crew members where this attitude was completely absent.
  • Spurned into Suicide: What eventually becomes of Apollo.
  • That's an Order!: Kirk orders his people to refrain from attacking Apollo without his say-so. Not that Scotty listens.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Apollo just knew someday humans would go to the stars and has been waiting centuries upon centuries for them, only to find they have no interest in being his followers. No one does. He's so lonely.
  • Wine Is Classy: Apollo invites Kirk and co. to "drink the sacramental wine". He serves no wine, but a bowl of grapes can be seen.
  • You Are a Credit to Your Race: Apollo tells Carolyn she is wise for a woman. She later turns it on him, telling him he's quite good at imitating humanity.
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