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.
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.
- An early draft of the script reveals at the end that Carolyn is pregnant, presumably by Apollo. This bit survived into the Blish adaptation, complete with McCoy complaining his medical training didn't cover being pediatrician for a god, but was cut by the time the script was shot for obvious 60's-TV-values reasons.
- Ancient Astronauts: The reason given for the Greek Gods
- 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."
- Attention Whore: Apollo. Of course, he's a god, what do you expect?
- Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: Scotty tries to scrap with Apollo several times, only to be knocked ass over teakettle.
- 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.
- 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 sacrafices 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? (It's especially funny if you assume Carolyn is Marla McGivers's replacement, though that raises the question of why their uniforms were different colors.)
- Fluffy the Terrible: Chekov mentions creatures that can produce their own energy, vis a vis, the electric eel, a worm from Antes IV and something he called "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
- 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.
- Half-Human Hybrid: According to the novelisation of the episode, Carolyn's flirtations with Apollo leave her pregnant.
- Instant Costume Change: Apollo turns Carolyn's uniform into a pink toga faster than you can say "Clothes beam!"
- 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: Apollo weeps when he realizes this universe has no room for gods.
- 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.)
- 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.
- Power Echoes: Apollo loves using a booming, echoing voice that would put Princess Luna to shame. His voice softens when he speaks to Carolyn.
- Physical God: Apollo
- Please Spare Him, My Liege!: Carolyn pleads with Apollo not to destroy Kirk and co. for openly mocking him.
- Shock and Awe: Apollo's favorite supernatural power. He loses it when the Enterprise destroys his fancy marble temple.
- Spurned Into Suicide: What eventually becomes of Apollo.
- Theiss Titillation Theory: Carolyn's pink toga.
- Visual Effects of Awesome: Pretty good even before the digital remastering. Subtle but effective: swaying trees and bird song make the studio set look like it really is outside. We really do believe from the arranged shots that Apollo is growing. However, even modern SFX can't keep a giant green hand in space from looking a little silly.
- 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.