Jammer's Review

Star Trek: The Original Series

"The Apple"

**

Air date: 10/13/1967
Written by Max Ehrlich
Directed by Joseph Pevney

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

While scouting what seems to be a planet of "paradise," the landing party encounters trouble that results in several of Kirk's men (read: red-shirts) being killed. The party subsequently stumbles upon a primitive but peaceful civilization that lives to serve Vaal, a machine worshiped by the planet's inhabitants as a god.

Where did Vaal come from and why was he put there? Beats me. "The Apple" doesn't seem to know or care, either. This is a lackluster analysis of a stagnant, naive society whose existence is dictated by a machine. For once, however, Kirk doesn't make this machine blow up by offering it a circular argument; instead he has Scotty open fire on Vaal with the phasers.

The only real aspect of any real interest in "The Apple" is the wonderful (but regrettably brief) Spock/McCoy debate on the Prime Directive, proving that Trekkian polemics can be interesting. Other than those few short scenes, the episode is basically a bore. Everything from the ship being put in routine jeopardy to a half-baked theme about physical love, "The Apple" just doesn't work.

Previous episode: Mirror, Mirror
Next episode: The Doomsday Machine

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12 comments on this review

J'ole - Mon, Aug 19, 2013 - 3:26am (USA Central)
You know, after watching this recently, I think it edges out "Spock's Brain" as one of the worst. Kirk is at his most Zap Brannigan-esque here. They had me at "exploding rocks."
Adara - Thu, Oct 17, 2013 - 8:02am (USA Central)
I have to agree with Spock here. I find it strange to see anyone in the Trekkian universe preaching capitalist and imperialist propaganda. The people on the planet were happy, healthy, and lived forever. So what was the problem then? Oh, right. They didn't act like Americans. Lordy.
Josh - Sat, Mar 8, 2014 - 4:33pm (USA Central)
The worst ever.
1. Spores kill 1st redshirt and Kirk continues mission.
2. Planet has same atmosphere globally. Non-sequiter.
3. Exploding rocks.
4. Kirk threatens and then fires Scott. Is that what a captain does to his top guy when the ship is under attack?
5. Vaal has almost infinite power by eating a few heads of lettuce.
6. Scotty uses every last power source on the engines, yet, amazingly the next minute phasers blast away on Vaal.
dgalvan - Mon, Apr 7, 2014 - 1:12pm (USA Central)
This one was goofy for sure, but oddly I actually enjoyed watching it. Would have preferred they delved into the origin of Vaal, rather then wasting time on the spore-shooting plants and exploding rocks, which had nothing to do with anything else.

I will say that, as kid, I played the 8-bit Nintendo Star Trek game, and one of the levels was essentially this episode, which I hadn't seen at the time. So it was kind of fun to see the origin of that video game level in this show.

(I took the firing/re-hiring of Scotty as essentially a running joke between Kirk and Scotty. Not to be taken seriously.)
Markus - Tue, Jul 29, 2014 - 11:15am (USA Central)
Why the hell did they not take down a shuttle to rescue the away team? It is again so obvious.
William - Tue, Sep 9, 2014 - 12:02am (USA Central)
This is another TOS that worked for the kids.

I loved this one growing up -- LOTS of action, various ways to get killed, etc. It was very adventurous.

As an adult, yeah, this pretty well sucks.
Jeff - Wed, Dec 3, 2014 - 5:54am (USA Central)
The entire episode from start to finish was unbearably hokey.
Star Trek goes to Gilligan's Island. "Vaal" is obviously "Baal."
Actually there were two great moments: 1) when the woman crew member did those Aikido throws of the two guys wearing beach towels, and 2) when Kirk and Bones suggested that Spock looked like the devil (he does, sort of).
Beth - Thu, Dec 18, 2014 - 11:46am (USA Central)
I hated this episode when I first saw it, and I still hate it. It's only fun is for a few good Red Shirt deaths, and the Yeoman actually kicking the ass of some People of Vaal instead of doing the usual things she does in this episode, such as whining, asking a question that no one can really answer (how reproduction happens on this planet - cue unnecessarily awkward *SEX* speculation), and being the stereotypical blonde git whose idea of seducing Chekov (LOL, "Pav") is to ask him dumb blonde questions.

Actually, everyone is annoying in this episode, except maybe Spock, who seems to be the sole voice of reason. Like, why is their way of life so reprehensible? Ohhh right, because the "plot" demands some forced conflict. I kind of wanted to slap McCoy for his stupid arguments, and Kirk for his asinine speech to the People of Vaal at the end on how they'll just enjoy this new life of toil so much ("HEY GUYS! You get to have the SEX now! Maybe you'll figure out how to reproduce! *crowd laughs at this for some reason*).

I especially wanted to phaser McCoy and Kirk for their dumb joke that Spock looks like Satan. Like Spock's NEVER heard that one before. Or maybe he hasn't, considering that pointy ears and arched eyebrows doth not the Devil make!
Jeff Bedard - Tue, Apr 21, 2015 - 11:49am (USA Central)
And we never do find out what the People of Vaal find so humorous about Spock's name, do we? :)
NCC-1701-Z - Wed, May 20, 2015 - 1:32am (USA Central)
I found it unintentionally hilarious how Kirk beamed down with one group (which included two redshirts) and then McCoy beamed down with two more redshirts. It's as if someone said, "Hey, I'd like to up the body count this week, send in more redshirts!"

Did anyone honestly expect any of those guys to live? (You in the back, put your hand down. You obviously haven't seen enough Star Trek episodes.)

Yeah, not a particularly great episode but it did give us some classic lines/exchanges between the characters.
Bill - Sat, Jul 11, 2015 - 3:57pm (USA Central)
Loved how Spock literally took a "bullet" for Kirk. You'd assume he'd do that, of course, but here he actually did.
mike - Sun, Aug 16, 2015 - 8:47am (USA Central)
I'd give it 1 and a half stars. It's the same tired formula it's just a matter of how silly the dialogue and costumes will be. A landing party goes down, immeadiately there's fatal redshirt blunder, "Jim, don't blame yourself", encounter some locals, and Kirk says "blah, blah, these people shouldn't... be... living like... THIS!".

You know the ship is going to be in trouble because Scotty is still on aboard to struggle with it. He reports that something on the planet is messing with the dilithium crystals and we're gonna burn up in atmosphere.

How many times have we seen this? The solution is always the same. Destroy something the locals think is precious,now the ship is okay. Kirk tells the locals it'll be rough without your idol your megacomputer, oracle, or whatever you serviced but you're gonna like struggling and boinking each other. Bye now.

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