Star Trek: The Original Series

"Who Mourns for Adonais?"

2 stars

Air date: 9/22/1967
Written by Gilbert Ralston
Directed by Marc Daniels

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

The Enterprise is grabbed by a giant "hand" in space and rendered immobile, at which point an entity claiming to be the Greek god Apollo invites Kirk to come down to his planet. Kirk accepts this invitation, lest his ship remain stuck in space for all eternity, and beams down with a landing party. Apollo informs Kirk that he and his crew will become his "children," living on this planet where he can take care of them. When Kirk resists, Apollo's wrath ensues.

The premise for this episode is a tad silly, yet somewhat interesting: What if the Greek gods were actually alien beings with powers that gave them god-like status in the human eye? Unfortunately, this bright idea can't save a story overwrought with half-baked exposition and a general tendency for dramatic excess. Scotty's hot-headedness is way overdone, making him look like an idiot. Meanwhile, Shatner's "urgent" performance goes overboard; Apollo's powerful bag-o-tricks turns old very fast; and the love story between Apollo and Lt. Palamas (Leslie Parrish) is just plain bland.

Michael Forest as Apollo also chews too much scenery; with that posturing voice, he seems like he belongs in a Shakespeare-in-the-park festival. And the episode grows tiresome with repetitive scenes and dialog. The ending sends the show off nicely with a statement mourning Apollo's plight, which is one of obsolescence, but it can't make up for a lackluster hour.

Previous episode: Amok Time
Next episode: The Changeling

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54 comments on this review

Strider
Fri, Jun 1, 2012, 1:18am (UTC -6)
I was glad that for once we had a female officer who did her duty, rather than tossing it over for love (ala McGiver and Khan).
Lt. Yarko
Tue, Oct 22, 2013, 11:39am (UTC -6)
I hate hate hate Scotty in this one. How he didn't lose his commission after the crap he pulled on this one...
DutchStudent82
Thu, Mar 13, 2014, 10:27pm (UTC -6)
One thing that I wonder : why would a being like this be so depended on HUMANS.

There are many planets just leave for oneother one aye?
-> it even said this region of space has very UNDERdeveloped species (may be apollo's influence, than again.. why would he live on a planet without people? with so many save havens nearby.

What happend to the original members of this spiecies (that small band cannot have been all of them, unless they were a minority genetic variation within a larger race without these same abiity's) still there must have been many more of them, or at least have been, they cannot have left all for earth, what did happen with the others?

Why would such a race EVER leave.. it was not like worship of these gods ceased because of greek uprising.. and even roman conquest did not completely wipe it out (since roman Gods were the same as greek Gods, only with different names mostly).. So they would have left when rome became christian on a large scale and perhaps not even untill the rise of islam who wiped out the last remaining greek pockets outside of roman influence.
why would they have left 5000 years ago... while that religion was very alive and kicking untill 2000 years ago??

and why would they not just have presumed new names and go visit say - the indians - or any primitive tribe on earth... plenty to go around.

and after that why not leave for oter planet repeating the heist?
and if they could not leave, how did apollo even get here?
and if he could get there, why did he not land on any of those tasty INHABIITED worlds
and why would he be so stupid to try to force obediance of modern humans, while he could have hitched a ride with them to any of those tasty primitive sociery planets nearby?

And what the HECK was kirk thinking with his human above all else speach. (not that I don't like the terra prime concept... I do in fact) but it seems very discrimination, like the ferengi say : we ALL know the federation is just a homo sapiens fanclub.
(for a federation of hundres of planens.. should not spaceships represent that aka should not like 390+ of those 400 crew members be alien of dosins of different spiecies? and if so why is the entire leadership of the ship all human + 1 half-human? how's that for racism!
William B
Tue, Apr 22, 2014, 12:38pm (UTC -6)
I actually liked Kirk's "your duty is to humanity" speech, but that's partly because I think it's wise with the original series not to take certain episodes too literally. This episode is a great case in point: the crew is going up against "Apollo," who apparently is the real Apollo whom the Greeks used to worship. This bombshell that human civilization was partially created by these aliens is never mentioned again, nor does anyone seem all *that* astonished by it within the context of the episode. This isn't like TNG's "The Chase," which also ends with a reveal that is never mentioned again but is treated within the show as a momentous occasion, and a few moments are given to contemplate the implications for the various species within the show. Here, the actual import is buried, and "Apollo" seems to be more of an abstraction.

I think the episode is about the death of religion in the twentieth century, and its gradual substitution with secular humanism. That read is *sort of* undermined by the reference to finding "the one" quite adequate (presumably the Abrahamic one), but I think there we can still view the Abrahamic God as a different type of idea than the pantheon of antiquity. In any case, this episode is not really about aliens, and while that's mostly always true in Trek (the aliens generally represent certain ideas), this one seems more metaphorical than most, and so Kirk's speech about the value of humanism and the responsibility of humans to each other ends up, within the context of the *episode*, not so much being parochial and "humans only" as representing a wide reaching dedication to the whole of humanity, which, in the 20th century, is a pretty difficult thing to argue. The thing that is lost in the transition from worship of other beings (whether they exist or not) to the emphasis on humanity is that abstracting certain virtues into external beings like gods were able to give humans focus and represent concepts at a time when believing these traits were within humans was impossible. We lose some of our innocence in recognizing that we are masters of our fate, and thus are responsible for what happens to us. The person who sacrifices the most, according to this episode's (pretty sexist) conception of things, is Lt. Palamas, who could have been treated as a goddess and have all her needs taken care of, instead of "having to" fend for herself; the early suggestion that the senior staff seem to believe that she's going to ditch the ship the moment she gets married suggests that others at least believe that what she wants is to have the chance to be taken care of by a man rather than make her own way. We all have that impulse to be taken care of, to some extent, and to put our faith in something besides ourselves; the cost of freedom of awareness of our choices is that we lose that sense of security. I think that's why Kirk wonders if they should have gathered a few laurel leaves.

Apollo's sadness at being jilted by humans is partly, then, projection onto an abstract, fictional character what it must feel like to be abandoned; it reminds me, weirdly enough, of the "Toy Story" movies, which put a lot of focus on the (nonexistent in real life) inner lives of toys formed from the bond that children forms with them. I think this is a decent enough way of expressing the real sense of personal loss that comes with losing one's emotional connection to fictional beings -- even if the fictional beings can't feel, the people who formed attachment to them can. It also connects to a parent recognizing their children having grown up and no longer being needed, a connection which Apollo makes explicitly. In any case, the ending where Apollo mourns the loss of connection to humanity is one of the two moments (the other being Kirk's humanity speech) that stood out to me and which I liked.

The rest of the episode *is* pretty blah; not too much of it is outright *bad*, except of course, as everyone has mentioned, for the Scotty material. Dude, calm down, what is *wrong* with you? The sexism on display in the Palamas subplot is, as others have mentioned above, somewhat mitigated by the fact that she sides with her crew rather than the god who flatters her at the end; it doesn't make her story all that compelling though, which is a shame since she's given something like the episode's emotional centrepiece, as the only person who was *really* tempted to join with Apollo and who ends up betraying him. Like Jammer, I think this probably earns 2 stars, but no more than that.
Beth
Wed, Dec 17, 2014, 12:43pm (UTC -6)
Ohh this episode... I just wanted to smack some sense into Scotty-the-Suddenly-Thick-Brained-Caveman, and give Lt. Palamas (aka Lt. Pajamas) another few whacks in the head. (And why the heck do all these pretty and easily-manipulable officers with "specializations in myth and antiquity" keep popping up on a ship of deep-space exploration? Ahhh, plot convenience, of course. Or as some might call it, poor writing).

I really wished for this episode (as with a few other Trek episodes) to have a stronger-minded woman to stand up and think a little on her own, who's more like the Number One from "The Cage", logical and focused on duty to her ship and crew, rather than some flimsy mimsy, being so easily swayed by some hunky two-bit "god" and a fancy-schmancy dress or robe. GRRR.

At least Kirk was able to put some sense into her and Lt. Palamas FINALLY spurned Apollo's affections with the cold sarcasm they deserved. (Too bad Kirk's speech smacks of, erm, R-A-C-I-S-M, but it gets the plot from A to B effectively enough).

I did feel kind of bad for Apollo at the end - like I felt bad for Charlie X or Trelane or any other god-power-being who meddles too far with the Enterprise crew and meets their sad fate. But as others above have pointed out, what the heck was Apollo DOING - and why would he think "Hey, I know, those humans will just come and worship me again after, um, growing past the whole god thing." And it had to be Apollo that didn't see the end for him coming - so much for his supposed wisdom!
Bill
Sat, Jul 11, 2015, 5:22pm (UTC -6)
I enjoy looking up the images/stories of supporting actors from these episodes to see what else they were involved in over the years, how they've aged, or when they died. Certainly Leslie Parrish and Michael Forest were two beautiful creatures in 1967, much like all the People of Vaal in "The Apple." As for Forest, he truly has been a prolific actor according to IMDB.
CPUFP
Sat, Oct 3, 2015, 2:50pm (UTC -6)
Since William B has already pointed out the most important things about this episode, I'd just like to say that I was amazed by Apollo's lack of nipples. I know that cartoon figures of the era were not allowed to have them (well, not just only this era - even 20 years later, He-Man did not have any), but it was still pretty amazing to me to see that there were no visible nipples at all on the actor. A big thumbs up to the make-up crew!
Emma
Wed, Jan 20, 2016, 6:56am (UTC -6)
Also, as well as having no apparent nipples, it would seem that Apollo was the god that always skipped 'leg day' too! ;)
Sparkina
Sun, May 22, 2016, 5:51pm (UTC -6)
I thought that episode was EXCELLENT and it is a favorite of mine. I liked the love part the best. One thing. I noticed a lot of people here liked that Carolyn Palamas met her responsibility to the ship instead of marrying Apollo as was her desire. Am I the only one who thought that was sad, that Carolyn and Apollo parted, and that Carolyn LIED THROUGH HER TEETH and said she only viewed Apollo as a study specimen and compared him to bacteria?
The Man
Mon, Jul 4, 2016, 4:19pm (UTC -6)
I hated the love part. And considering she "lied through her teeth" to save the crew I didn't have a problem with it at all. As for you being upset that she didn't marry Apollo "as was her desire" maybe Apollo shouldn't have kidnapped the crew. If he had let them go he could have had her. And if she had attempted to convince on this she wouldn't have had to lie to him.
The Man
Mon, Jul 4, 2016, 4:25pm (UTC -6)
And she did not love him she was suffering from stockholm syndrome.
Skeptical
Thu, Dec 1, 2016, 8:20pm (UTC -6)
I love the first Captain's Log after the credits. You can just tell that Kirk is sitting there, trying his best to avoid describing the events. You know the last thing he wants to say in his Log is that a giant floating green hand is holding on to the Enterprise. Despite all of TOS' wacky adventures, even Kirk knows this one is just too ridiculous to be believed.

Also, Agamemnon and company were ~3200 years ago (or 3500 by Kirk's time), not 5000. I guess once you get past a few hundred years, everything counts as ancient, huh?

Oh well, such is life. Ignoring the silliness of the green hand, what was the value of the episode? Sure, the whole "ancient gods were actually advanced aliens" schtick is a classic sci-fi staple, but, well, that's the problem. It's a classic sci-fi staple, and was already old by the time this episode aired. If you wanted to do it, you would need some kind of hook, some kind of spin on the concept rather than just playing it straight. Otherwise, it's just... there. And unfortunately, that's what this episode feels like. Something that is just there, without much meat on it.

I mean, compare that to Mirror Mirror, which at first glance might seem the same thing: just a sci-fi cliche of an evil mirror universe. Except that the episode builds on several subplots. We have the assassination attempts, we have our heroes being forced to play their roles as best as possible, particularly Uhura and Kirk. We have Kirk and McCoy being forced to choose between their own self-interest and their ethics (saving Spock and the peaceniks), we have variations on the theme of evil with Marlene and Spock. It's a sci-fi cliche, yes, but a good one. Here? The threads just don't seem to exist.

On the one hand, we have our subplot with our random yeoman of the week. A subplot which immediately calls to mind Space Seed, in that the powerful superman for some reason falls in love with her and she falls in love back. Sure, she doesn't betray the ship this time, but it was a paper-thin plot that went nowhere and had no payoff. We don't know why Palamas was attracted to Apollo nor vice versa, and frankly we don't care. It was there to fill time and provide another exotic costume for male distraction purposes, nothing more.

And on the other hand, we have a repeat of Kirk and company dealing with an irrational god-like being while trying not to get killed a la Squire of Gothos. And again, it provides some interest, but is overall rather lacking. The big picture, that this guy was on Earth 5000-3500 years ago, is completely ignored. Sure, Lieutenant PlotPoint finally got around to asking Apollo about his past, but even that was mostly just as part of her ruse to make Apollo upset. Yes, fine, Kirk's first duty is to his ship. But surely someone might have asked about the Trojan war, about the blossoming Greek civilization, about when the gods appeared and when they left. About the art, the politics, the music, the history, the architecture, the culture, everything. Archeology is a very inexact science. To have a living witness from that time would be incredible.

Makes me wonder why everyone had to be so obstinate. If Apollo wasn't so obsessed with trying to fit the Enterprise crew into little his little Greek boxes, he might have found a people that would respect and honor (albeit not worship) him. And if Kirk and crew weren't so antagonistic towards Apollo, they might have realized what a wonderful opportunity this was. So Kirk's wistfulness at the end about gathering a few laurels or whatever does make some sense. This was a huge wasted opportunity.

As an aside, what's with Apollo's obsession of being worshiped? Was it just what he wanted, or (much like Pratchett's idea in Discworld) did he require worship in order to survive? It wasn't clear to me.
RandomThoughts
Fri, Dec 2, 2016, 12:00am (UTC -6)
Howdy Folks

@Skeptical

As I recall from my mythology course and later involvement, the gods of Greece were more powerful the more believers/followers they had. In one of the mythos, the gods were able to defeat the titans (their forebears), because they had followers, which gave them more power. The titans could only use the power they had, as they were not worshiped, and were defeated because the gods were gaining power from the people. Of course this is just one telling (a bit simplified), and there are many stories, but this was the one I liked the best. :)

Also, in this episode, Apollo didn't seem to have real power of his own, he had a building that supplied him power, which he was able to convert to use with/against the Enterprise crew. Without that building/power source, he was much reduced. Perhaps it was just old habits, and he wanted to Feel the power of adulation again...

Now, Scotty. Hmm... Small spoiler alert, if watching TOS for the first time straight through, skip to the **'s.

They show him with a full-on infatuation/love for Lt. Palamas, which seems to nearly drive him mad. I mean, he does some really stupid things. Thinking about the later episode Wolf in the Fold, of course they thought he was the culprit (after a head injury caused by a woman), because he'd been shown to be a nutjob here when a lady said "Hello" to him or showed some mutual interest. Then, third season, The Lights of Zetar, he once again is a bit off the rails when it comes to the lady he had his eye on, who ends up being the person the baddies wanted. Now, I loved, loved Scotty, especially when he was in command of the Enterprise from time to time, but he was written very poorly when it came to women, and that is a dis-service to Scotty. We cannot do anything about it of course, but looking back... wow.

**

Overall, from the first time I saw this episode in the 70's as a young'un until now, I always thought it was so sad Apollo decided he had to spread himself on the wind. But it seems you cannot have an emotional, pull-the-heartstrings ending if he just sails off to Starfleet and tells them what he knows of the past, or his people... that's why it's a tragedy...

But most of us kinda/sorta wish that could have happened...

Happy trails everyone... RT
Rahul
Tue, Feb 21, 2017, 4:44pm (UTC -6)
Overall, a mediocre episode and quite similar to "Charlie X" and "The Squire of Gothos" with the Enterprise crew having to deal with a powerful being wanting to control them, with the alien lacking wisdom and an understanding of them. It is an interesting twist with the idea that the Greek gods of 5,000 years ago were in fact aliens and, given the primitive nature of humans, were worshipped. I certainly don't think Trek is advocating atheism here - as Kirk mentions "one god".
So, it's a fairly well-worn theme and what drags it down is the portrayal of Scotty -- just losing it over Palamas. He was terrific in "A Taste of Armageddon" however his character regresses here.
I liked Kirk's speech to convince Palamas of her duty -- that is perhaps the moral of this lacklustre episode. I though the ending is well done -- similar to "Charlie X" where one has to sort of feel for the antagonist's point of view.
But overall, I think Jammer's review nails my sentiments pretty well. It's 2/4 stars for me - it got a bit silly at times, but does have some small redeeming qualities.
Vanessa
Tue, May 16, 2017, 7:28pm (UTC -6)
Even as a kid, I was annoyed that yet another Enterprise female crew member was once again going belly up when some hawt guy shows up. Sure he wanted to imprison and/or kill her shipmates, but he's like a God and he's into her and she's in love with him cuz it's been like a whole hour already. (I guess the men on the ship can be almost as dumb at times--see next paragraph.)

(And should Star Fleet really encourage their officers to date? This is still a quasi-military mission.)

And then not only was Scotty repeatedly charging at Apollo like he grabbed the last PlayStation on Black Friday, but he disobeys a direct order. I want to do so much firing right now.

Having said all that, this episode always entertained me when I was a kid. The right mix of unintentionally silly and intentionally thoughtful Trek I guess.
Trek fan
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 7:42pm (UTC -6)
I go back and forth on this episode, but I'm landing in the favorable category as I rewatch the series in order for the first time on DVD. While all-powerful aliens are common on Trek, this episode gives "Ancient Aliens" before their time, positing that the Greek gods (as opposed to the Egyptian gods ala Stargate) were actually powerful aliens who lived for awhile on earth. And "Who Mourns for Adonais" is one of the better ensemble pieces in the series. I give it 3 or 3 1/2 stars.

First, I think the plot is really clever here, and it's one of the most memorable TOS outings. Actually, I find something memorable about most TOS episodes, as the series overall is just a really fun pulpy adventure show -- there's always a good mix, even when it's so-so, of clever Sci-Fi conceits (i.e. Ancient Aliens) with colorful characters and situations. The giant space hand, temple, and Apollo's gigantic size are all memorable bits.

Second, I'm realizing Season Two is much better than Season One for ensemble stories that involve the whole cast, and the change is perhaps symbolized by adding Kelley's name to the main credits. Here we have not only Kirk, Spock, and McCoy, but Chekov and Scotty and Uhura (nice bit with Spock as she repairs her system) and Sulu and Kyle playing significant roles in the plot -- very nice to see the writers focusing on the show's regulars over bit-part crew members in this season. And even with all of that, two guest stars -- Lt. Palamas and Apollo -- cut striking figures. Consider me a fan of the way this season spreads out the dialogue: We'll consider to see great ensemble episodes this season like Mirror Mirror, Tribbles, By Any Other Name, Gamesters, and on and on. After a Kirk-Spock dominated Season One, I really like seeing the minor character emerge into their own a bit in this season, even if Sulu had to miss half of it because of Takei's movie commitment.

And yes, the "lonely god" ending remains memorable, coming across as something that both religious believers and atheists will find satisfying. I have to say that TOS, despite being less aware of religion than later Treks like DS9 and Discovery, tends to treat the subject quite deftly. Finally, I thought it was nice how Palamas sees through the charm and betrays Apollo in the end.
Trent
Thu, Oct 19, 2017, 10:32am (UTC -6)
I love William's analysis of this episode, but ultimately side with Trekfan's positive review of it immediately above. Whilst the episode resorts to familiar Trek conventions (powerful God-like aliens who can be defeated only by draining their energy), I like the pulpy surrealism of a giant hand literally plucking the Enterprise from space, and the sheer audacity of having Roman Gods be aliens. There are also two good speeches here, one in which Kirk attempts to convert Palamas, and one in which Palamas finally snubs the Alien God. Agree that Scotty is woefully written here.
Trent
Mon, Feb 19, 2018, 2:16pm (UTC -6)
I just watched this a third time. It seems to get better each time, and I think I now view it as a masterpiece. It plays like a great, simple theatrical play. And such a bold message.

I love how bombastic Apollo is (summoning fire and brimstone and hurling lightning bolts!), yet he can't faze Kirk, who remains cool and cocksure as he methodically tries to solve the problem.

The best thing is the episode's message. This is an episode about secular humanists literally rejecting God. It's about man refusing to submit, to bow down and be enslaved by false tyrants and beliefs. What to replace phony metaphysics and superstitious promises with? Kirk makes it clear: with real flesh and blood. With real connection, brotherhood, togetherness, man working together, on a messy, corporeal, materialist level, to solve his problems. It's a great message, and a testament to Gene Coon's (a Christian) writing abilities and intelligence and soulfulness. You wouldn't expect something so "atheistic" coming from him. (yes, I know the episode's "one God is enough" comment points toward a believe in "God", but this was done to appease censors and audiences).
Peter G.
Mon, Feb 19, 2018, 3:25pm (UTC -6)
I don't recall ever perceiving an atheistic statement being made in this one, but as I haven't watched it in a good, long time I'll try to find time tonight to watch it again and listen to the specifics of the text.
Rahul
Mon, Feb 19, 2018, 5:49pm (UTC -6)
@ Trent
@ Peter G.

Apollo is quite the character and the performance makes the episode interesting however it is anything but a masterpiece. One does feel bad/pity/sorry for him in the end. This episode actually gets less tolerable the more I watch it.

But this is not humans rejecting a God -- it's humans rejecting what they see as a false God, a pretender. Kirk & Co. have an idea of how a God should be (perhaps compassionate etc.) So I don't think there's an atheistic message here -- it's yet another example of Kirk & Co. fighting for escape from a superior being (a common theme in TOS). I think it's as simple as that although the superior being has an interesting story and is taking on the form of what would be considered a God by the ancient Greek.

I mentioned in my earlier comment:
"I certainly don't think Trek is advocating atheism here - as Kirk mentions "one god"." I think that still rings true.
Peter G.
Mon, Feb 19, 2018, 11:57pm (UTC -6)
I'm watching it right now, and came across this exchange:

Caroline: You really think you're a god?
Apollo: In a real sense we were gods. We had the power of life and death. etc.

Here he basically says outright that as far as their relationship to humans was concerned they were like gods, but clearly from this and the rest of his story they're just very advanced life forms with the peculiar characteristic that they need conscious attention from mortals in order to stay alive; maybe some kind of parasitic non-corporeal entity. So pretty much I think the takeway here isn't that Kirk and the crew reject the idea of literal god or gods, but that they reject worshipping power beings *as gods*. In other words, they no longer worship mere power, and this theme in a way hearkens back to the story of Khan and how humans used to respect and worship powerful men by instinct. But now in the future that instinct is largely a thing of the past and power for its own sake is seen as a threat rather than something to idolize. And yes, Kirk does mention "one God", which is relevant, but in a way it's only tangential to the point that humanity doesn't need to be tended to to find its contentment.

The amazing thing about this story is that it's Apollo who remains of all the gods, and he says he alone knew the humans would find him one day. This is neat because as the god of prophecy and invention he would indeed be the only Olympian to foresee man in space. Of course Zeus also had the power of prophecy, but in his case I assume his seat of power lay in the kingship over the gods and so when departing Earth I assume that only Apollo would retain the ability to see the future.

The episode also features this incredible quote from Kirk to Caroline:
"Who and what you are: a bit of flesh and blood afloat in a universe without end, and the only thing that's truly yours is the rest of humanity. That's where our duty lies." Wow, this is truly some statement about Starfleet like we rarely hear. And the thing of it is that it's not really a question of "we don't need a god" but more that we don't need a carefree life. On the contrary, the pursuit of the unknown and the difficulties and dangers that come with it have replaced comfort as the primary currency in the Federation. Or, one might say, "risk is our business." This theme emerges again and again in TOS, and to whit is frequently forgotten in TNG, where Robert Picard astutely says that humanity has grown too soft and life too easy. In TOS they had technology, but rarely is life on the Enterprise ever depicted as being easy. What Apollo represents is the appeal to that old craving for creature comforts, which humanity by this point rejects as being of primary importance, and *that* is why they reject him. I see no atheistic message here. What we might read, however, is a rejection of the notion of a return to Eden, where the very exile from paradise has become an opportunity rather than a burden; where work can be a vocation rather than mere toil. And likewise I think that's a very Trek message, that in the future work will feel meaningful rather than be an exercise in drudgery, and I very much like to believe in that vision.

While on a pure entertainment level this episode certainly wouldn't be in my top 15, nevertheless it's almost unparalleled as an ensemble piece, and is quite the treatise on Starfleet values. I'll even bring up the at-first-glance sexist comments made at the start about Caroline being "all woman" and it only being a matter of time before she quits the service to get married. I momentarily wondered whether this was a sexist view of women in Starfleet, but quickly realized that, with Uhura sitting right there in the frame, this couldn't have been the intent. Then I figured it out: they were referring to the fact that they were concerned that she was less interested in difficulty and more interested in finding ease. We can see this clearly later on when Apollo's offer of giving her everything appeals to her, which indeed validates Kirk's concern that a life of constant effort may not quite be for her. In this case the issue may be the writer's phrasing rather than the sentiments expressed; I think "all woman" might have meant to imply that she was more interested in the traditional woman's role of being at home with a family (as it would have been understood in the 60's). So the term as used is probably a mere ideosyncratic reference to 60's culture rather than any kind of statement about women in general. And this interpretation fits in with the theme as well, about how Starfleet is about struggle and not ease, and that her draw towards Apollo was a sign of those remnants of the old desire to just have the easy life which must be a constant struggle for people in the future to push away. We can see how much effort it took her to finally reject the idea of paradise, and this kind of internal struggle must have been a major part of Federation life. It's nice to get a look at that struggle instead of always seeing perfect officers like Kirk and Spock.
Rahul
Tue, Feb 20, 2018, 6:47am (UTC -6)
@ Peter G.,

Excellent analysis -- enjoyed reading what you had to say.

I think what you wrote is quite insightful:
"What Apollo represents is the appeal to that old craving for creature comforts, which humanity by this point rejects as being of primary importance, and *that* is why they reject him. I see no atheistic message here."

Also I'd add that an initial show of force certainly would put off Kirk & Co. -- make them far less likely to accept Apollo's proposition.

One last tidbit I'd like to add about this episode -- it has a wonderful musical score that gives the sense of awe of the power of Apollo but also the uniqueness of the situation (in the presence of a Greek God/temple).
hifijohn
Wed, Mar 27, 2019, 9:11pm (UTC -6)
Great episode and Im guessing its anti-god message must have been a bit shocking for 60's viewer.
Springy
Wed, Apr 17, 2019, 4:05pm (UTC -6)
Pretty good concept, though the spoon-feeding exposition dialogue from Kirk was a bit over-the-top.

A lot of it was over-the-top: Apollo's lonely angst and complete inability to reason, Carolyn's instant great love for Apollo, Scotty acting like Carolyn was his woman (after she agreed to a cup of coffee with him) . . .

Sort of silly. Average ep overall - maybe slightly below.
saffron
Wed, Jun 12, 2019, 6:15am (UTC -6)
Here we got a contender for the Laziest Exposition Ever, when upon arrival, the woman just literally asks "so what am I doing here?", and McCoy helpfully explains her profession. To her.
Peter G.
Wed, Jun 12, 2019, 9:03am (UTC -6)
@ saffron,

You've got me thinking, and I needed to rewatch again to figure out what the context was of that remark. Earlier they had said that she was "all woman" and would leave the service sooner or later to marry. On the one hand we could call that a sexist piece of writing, but on the other it may have been a realistic appraisal of someone who was in for a brief stint but didn't seem interested in being a career officer. Either way we don't get an explanation for it at the time. But once the landing party beams down we have her ask, sort of unenthusiastically why she's there, and Bones reminds her of her qualifications. Could it be that the actress was meant to be portraying fear or something, and she just wasn't doing it? After all, a literal god was sitting in eyesight of their landing position maybe 100 feet away. But the acting doesn't really portray that, anyhow. Or could it be that she fancied herself a scholar of some kind and didn't have any desire to be on away missions, dangerous or otherwise, which would then require Bones to remind her that she's a Starfleet officer and that the Enterprise isn't her personal travelling office?

Whatever the intention was her flat delivery of the line makes it very hard to figure out exactly what the script-writer intended with it. Maybe it was just as simple as "I'm not a star of this show, so why am I here?" and McCoy's answer is a fig leaf for "because the plot has requirements of you that will only be apparent later." Sadly, this last possibility now strikes me as being the most likely one. But I really don't see sexism in that particular exchange; it had no air of him needing to explain her own career to her.
Booming
Wed, Jun 12, 2019, 11:11am (UTC -6)
@ Peter G.

" she was "all woman" and would leave the service sooner or later to marry. "

That is always sexist because of the all woman line. She is "all woman" in other words real (or normal) women are like that and that is why she will find a husband and leave service soon, implying that this is seen as the social norm (which at that time it was). It indicates that a married woman does not work outside of the household but have children and care for them.

From her behavior there is no indication that she is not serious about her job. She worked into the night to finish a study. She has apparently degrees in archeology and anthropology. She went through Starfleet Academy (she is a lieutenant). That's a lot of effort to become a housewife in the end.

To be fair, they balance it out a bit with Kirk realizing that he loses an officer. A prospect that seems to displease him.

What makes this all a little uncomfortable to me is that these three guys talk about a young woman like that. They are not only her superiors, Scotty is almost 50 and so is Bones.

And the whole bit down on the planet is not much better. "Apollo" saying that "she seems wise for a woman" or her gushing about being put in skimpy clothing. Apollo then kidnaps her which of course makes her completely fall in love with him. She also has no problem to live with fake Apollo forever and only the mojo of Kirk can save her. He turns her around in 30 seconds. She basically always does what the last man told her. She also cries about fake Apollo even though he kidnapped and beat her up pretty badly. Yikes.
Peter G.
Wed, Jun 12, 2019, 11:41am (UTC -6)
@ Booming,

You'll get no argument from me that Palamis is a poorly written character. They give us little to no background on what she's like, nor does her veering through the story serve much of a purpose for her own characterization other than to show a power struggle between the old and the new; Apollo and Kirk. That she's occupying the role of 'worshipper' in a loose sense is unfortunate, but I'm not sure it's sexist. I think it's just lazy writing.

Regarding the "she's all woman" line, it did make me cringe. However, I try to give it the benefit of doubt in context rather than to ascribe to it all sorts of characteristics that a feminist approach might do. I *think* what they were trying to get across is that some people place career first, and others place their social identity first, and in her case "woman" trumped "officer". You point out that these need not necessarily be at odds, and I'm sure that sometimes that's true. But at other times it really is true that a person's social needs will trump their career needs, whether those social needs be in form of male/female relations, friends, social circle, etc.

As an employer, btw, it's a very real-world thing to note that someone may seem like they're going to get married and/or be having babies sooner or later and that they probably won't stick around for that long. In a modern outlook we don't want to frown on such things or penalize them, but likewise it's foolish not to be aware of such things. We may note that Bones and Kirk were having this exchange in confidence, and it in no way constituted an 'official position' of the Captain and Doctor. And as you mention, Kirk did regret the thought of losing an officer, which should imply that it wasn't actually his desire for her to go home and be a housewife. Rather he seemed to be implying that this was what it appeared she would eventually want. I don't think it's fair to say that this statement was about women as a whole in that era, because there are plenty of career women shown in TOS about which this is never said, especially Uhuru who is certainly portrayed as feminine.

I'll also note that the idea that career and family can be balanced is a modern notion and actually one not held by TOS in general. Both Kirk and McCoy at various times have made it pretty clear that they had to make a strict choice between being an officer and having a family. This isn't a sexism thing, but rather a general premise about being in Starfleet that's so important that it actually became a central plot point in ST: II WoK. Only in TNG do they make a special point of mentioning that families can be on ships and that career and family are now compatible in Starfleet.
Booming
Wed, Jun 12, 2019, 12:56pm (UTC -6)
@ Peter G.
"some people place career first, and others place their social identity first, and in her case "woman" trumped "officer"."
During the 60s women more or less never placed their careers first, first and foremost because they couldn't get well payed jobs. Second, social identity is constructed by society but I don't want to bore you with structural functionalism (with which I have great problems; look up Talcott Parsons if you are interested).

Very simply put it states that people act the way they do because it is beneficial for them and society. A central part of society certainly in 1968 was the breadwinner family were the man would work and the woman would stay at home caring for the offspring which left the woman completely dependent on the man. Many systems in western societies were (and often still are) created in a way that discourages women to work.

The USA while being pretty modern in a legal sense when it comes to gender equality compared to continental Europe was still a deeply sexist society and Star Trek reflects that. I highly doubt that you will find a show from that era that isn't somewhat sexist. It was still 50 years until the USA almost elected the first woman to the highest political office.

"As an employer, btw, it's a very real-world thing to note that someone may seem like they're going to get married and/or be having babies sooner or later and that they probably won't stick around for that long."

That is one of the more important contributors to the gender pay gap. An employer assumes that a woman could have children and therefor does not promote her which then leads to lower salaries and so on. If a woman actually wants children is immaterial.

"I don't think it's fair to say that this statement was about women as a whole in that era, because there are plenty of career women shown in TOS about which this is never said, especially Uhuru who is certainly portrayed as feminine."

I guess you mean the era of TOS and I would agree. In that context it doesn't make much sense. Even though all the important jobs are done by men it seems that women can have a career. As others have mentioned TOS sometimes struggles between portraying a far future and portraying the late 60s in a far future setting.

To end this with a kind of funny comparison because you mention Uhura being portrayed as feminine. That is all a construct, too. Femininity.
Compare that to the ultra machos of Sparta. They wore basically skirts(tunics, no underwear), cared very much for their long hair (They were famous for combing each others hair) and took over the upbringing of the male children at a very young age. Admittedly, mostly to torture them but what can you do.
Just think about these muscular guys sitting there in tunics combing each others hair. Very masculine, isn't it? :)
Peter G.
Wed, Jun 12, 2019, 2:23pm (UTC -6)
@ Booming,

"During the 60s women more or less never placed their careers first, first and foremost because they couldn't get well payed jobs."

TOS is not set in the 60's. It is inescapable, true, that some stuff from the 60's was going to seep into any product made in that time, but TOS was decidedly *not* portraying a society where women were expected to just stay at home, and I see no reason to presuppose such a premise for this episode (notwithstanding that they're all written by different people).

"Second, social identity is constructed by society"

That's a theory, not a fact. But putting aside the various arguments that could be made on this topic, my point is that social identity doesn't merely have to do with artificial convention. Being on a good basketball team is a social activity, but what makes a person good at that isn't a social construct but rather a physical reality. Other social scenarios may have some combination of social and baked-in elements. In the case of a woman wanting to have a family, there's not much to say about it being a social construct that women are the ones who have the babies.

"I highly doubt that you will find a show from that era that isn't somewhat sexist."

Most likely you're correct.

"That is one of the more important contributors to the gender pay gap. An employer assumes that a woman could have children and therefor does not promote her which then leads to lower salaries and so on. If a woman actually wants children is immaterial. "

I have seen considerable arguments claiming to have debunked this, but I also have no doubt that there as a**holes all around that do things most people would wince at. But I've never heard a cogent argument to the effect that the gender pay gap is sexist strictly on the basis of employers fearing to lose the women to family and therefore holding them back. Or at least this isn't the common explanation given for the supposed pay gap. In any case even if your statement was true it would seem to have little bearing on this ep, since Kirk never says he's going to avoid promoting her due to being "all woman".

"To end this with a kind of funny comparison because you mention Uhura being portrayed as feminine. That is all a construct, too. Femininity."

You're missing my point on this one. My point is that the women on TOS aren't portrayed as successful *because they behave like men*, which is often what happens in shows featuring successful women. Here they're shown to be able to retain their femininity (whatever that is in a given society) and yet confuct professional jobs.
Booming
Thu, Jun 13, 2019, 1:25am (UTC -6)
@Peter G.

I'll try to keep this short.

"but TOS was decidedly *not* portraying a society where women were expected to just stay at home" Isn't that what they are talking about on the bridge? Women leaving jobs to do care work.

"there's not much to say about it being a social construct that women are the ones who have the babies." Having the babies and caring for them after birth are two different things men often confuse. In other words. The social construct is that men aren't expected to give up their hard earned careers to care for the children. It wasn't until 1978 that the USA forbid pregnancy based discrimination. (The Pregnancy Discrimination Act )

"I have seen considerable arguments claiming to have debunked this" from sociologists?? It is one explanation for an important contributing factor. That women with comparable skills and experience are promoted less. I wrote a paper about it a few years back. About Western Europe, though. The USA show some significant differences.

"But I've never heard a cogent argument to the effect that the gender pay gap is sexist strictly on the basis of employers fearing to lose the women to family and therefore holding them back." The gender pay gap consists of several factors. I never said that "fear to lose women after pregnancy" is the only reason. There are more important factors for example what jobs men and women choose.

"Here they're shown to be able to retain their femininity" What would that entail? Her long nails? Doesn't these make it harder to push the buttons and the uniform is, I suppose, mandatory. And the uniform is very sexist. A year ago I watched the first maybe 10 episodes of TOS again. I saw Uhura's underwear several times.
Feminine in western societies often means women being soft, physically weak and pleasing to the male eye. One could very well make the argument that femininity is a social construct that is not beneficial to women's careers.
To go back to Sparta. Helena, the most beautiful woman, was, as it was the norm for Spartan women, very muscular. Spartan women also had more rights then US women in 1850 (or women in the Ancient Athens).

But don't get me wrong. TOS was certainly pushing boundaries. A black female bridge officer. For many Americans that probably looked like utter madness.
Jason R.
Thu, Jun 13, 2019, 5:40am (UTC -6)
"Having the babies and caring for them after birth are two different things men often confuse. "

I don't think anyone is "confused" about the difference between these two activities. It is just apparent that they're linked in a pretty non-trivial way. If you're a parent and your partner chose to breastfeed then it's asinine to suggest that the mother doing childcare is some arbitrary social construct.

Similarly, there is an obvious synergy in the person who is already taking time off work due to physical changes (which in some cases already led to an early leave) continuing with that leave rather than going back so that the other partner can go off on a second leave, especially if breastfeeding is taking place.

Note I am not discounting the fact that technology or other resources (breast pumps, formula, wet nurses, daycare...) can fill this gap. But that it is there and it is NOT purely socially constructed is pretty well obvious.

"One could very well make the argument that femininity is a social construct that is not beneficial to women's careers."

You're very good at making connections between social constructs (femininity) and physical realities (reduced typing efficiency) in one context, but not in others.
saffron
Thu, Jun 13, 2019, 7:53am (UTC -6)
@ Peter,

well I guess we can give the script credit for at least *giving* her a profession, as opposed to just being a tricorder stand or Apollo demanding a female specimen (which is how many other episodes handle it). I think at one time she's even asked a question relevant to her job, although many more lines about the historical/mythological background could just have been given to her instead of Kirk/Spock.

As for the dialog on the bridge, yes it's cringy and undoubtedly sexist, even for the time. Though I will say Kirk's line about losing an officer is very nicely delivered, as if he's coming to his senses while he hears himself talk.
Booming
Thu, Jun 13, 2019, 10:39am (UTC -6)
@Jason R.
Maybe this happens again and again because of my limited English skills but the social construct I mean is society expecting women to quit their jobs for ever not taking parental leave for a while which is a guaranteed normality in Europe. In many European countries men take parental leave, too.

I'm not debating that breastfeeding exists even though I find your view that fathers should barely participate in the upbringing of their newborn during the first month odd. And it made me think of this scene: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aocZo3oeNxw

"You're very good at making connections between social constructs (femininity) and physical realities (reduced typing efficiency) in one context, but not in others."
This is a false equivalency. Men can have long nails but they cannot breastfeed. In other words long nails are not a "physical reality" exclusively tied to women. But they are part of a social construct called femininity. Like high heels, nail polish and corsets oh and let's not forget the eating disorders. :)
Peter G.
Thu, Jun 13, 2019, 11:13am (UTC -6)
@ Booming,

"Maybe this happens again and again because of my limited English skills but the social construct I mean is society expecting women to quit their jobs for ever not taking parental leave for a while which is a guaranteed normality in Europe. In many European countries men take parental leave, too. "

You tend to make generalizations about what the 'social construct is' but as Jason R. mentioned, you are sometimes takling about things that are arbitrary and sometimes things that are physical realities. If a woman is breastfeeding it won't be convenient for the man to stay at home for the first year (or even more). You may say that she can then go back to work, which is fine, but what if the couple wants a second or third child? You think a company, even in Europe, is going to be able to sustain an employee who is gone for a year, comes back for 6-12 months, and leaves for another year? This is just not common sense. There are many different scenarios that a family can have, and some of them can involve both parents working after having kids, and some may involve one or both taking leave or even living at home. But it is not a social construct that there are physical realities making it more convenient for it to be the woman who does so.

"I'm not debating that breastfeeding exists even though I find your view that fathers should barely participate in the upbringing of their newborn during the first month odd. "

Jason R. never said this. It would advise a bit of caution, because a few times in this conversation you've attributed statements to people that they didn't make.
Booming
Thu, Jun 13, 2019, 11:52am (UTC -6)
@ Peter G.
" You think a company, even in Europe, is going to be able to sustain an employee who is gone for a year, comes back for 6-12 months, and leaves for another year? This is just not common sense."

So you would argue that an employer should have the right to fire a woman who decides to have more than one child?

In Germany, France and Scandinavian countries parents have a right to a place at a daycare centers so that they can continue to work. I guess in America that is something only the well-off can enjoy.

As Jason R. mentioned there are breast pumps.

"Jason R. never said this. It (sic) would advise a bit of caution, because a few times in this conversation you've attributed statements to people that they didn't make."
He said that there "is an obvious synergy" when the person who gets pregnant stays at home while the other person (the man) continues to work. Does this not lead to fathers barely participating in the upbringing?

What were the other times I wrongly attributed statements?
Jason R.
Thu, Jun 13, 2019, 12:24pm (UTC -6)
"I'm not debating that breastfeeding exists even though I find your view that fathers should barely participate in the upbringing of their newborn during the first month odd."

I said that fathers should "barely participate in the upbringing of their newborn during the first month"?

Indeed, that would be an odd thing for someone to say.

"He said that there "is an obvious synergy" when the person who gets pregnant stays at home while the other person (the man) continues to work. Does this not lead to fathers barely participating in the upbringing?"

Nope.

Now I am glad you acknowledge the existence of breastfeeding. Now acknowledge that there are some very practical reasons why women choose to take the lion's share of leave in many families that are not just arbitrary cultural manifestations of sexism.

"So you would argue that an employer should have the right to fire a woman who decides to have more than one child?"

I am going to field this one since Peter was kind enough to call you out for misrepresenting me.

Peter's point was not that women should be fired for having kids and going on leave - indeed he said nothing of the kind. The point was simply that this would be burdensome for the company, which is just obvious.

Is it "unsustainable"? Depends on the resources of the company. Bigger businesses with a lot of employees can certainly afford to accept this burden more than smaller ones.

I don't think feminists even would really argue that it's a burden to have an employee going on leave constantly for year-long stints. It's self evidently so.

It's why there is such a huge push to normalize paternity leave - to take the pressure off women. Yet men just aren't going on leave, no matter how many incentives are thrown at them or how hard governments try to arm twist this into happening.

Families are continuing to make rational choices on this subject, in keeping not just with "social" expectations but biological facts, like breastfeeding and child birth.

But I will say that I do think there is a big social component to the choices families make. As of right now, it is still not socially acceptable for men to be "house husbands" in most milieu and that plays a part to be sure.

But to discount biological facts like breastfeeding is delusional.
Booming
Thu, Jun 13, 2019, 2:22pm (UTC -6)
@ Jason R.
I will respond one last time because this discussion has gone far enough.

You said "Similarly, there is an obvious synergy in the person who is already taking time off work due to physical changes (which in some cases already led to an early leave) continuing with that leave rather than going back so that the other partner can go off on a second leave, especially if breastfeeding is taking place."
To me this sounds like women, because they already leave for a while because of the pregnancy, should continue to stay at home instead of the father. If I, for some reason, misunderstood you then i sincerely apologize.

"Now acknowledge that there are some very practical reasons why women choose to take the lion's share of leave in many families that are not just arbitrary cultural manifestations of sexism."
I'm not sure how to respond to this order of yours. It is such a general statement that one would have to be an utter fool to deny that there are practical reasons why women do these things.

"Peter's point was not that women should be fired for having kids and going on leave - indeed he said nothing of the kind. The point was simply that this would be burdensome for the company, which is just obvious." I asked Peter and if you are not clairvoyant then I would prefer to hear his answer or can he not answer a simple question?

" Yet men just aren't going on leave, no matter how many incentives are thrown at them or how hard governments try to arm twist this into happening." I'm not familiar with the numbers in the States but considering how dreadful things are there these days it certainly wouldn't surprise me. Fathers in several European countries seem to have less fear to spend time with their children, though.

I also want to thank you for always representing my statements correctly and to not make wild assertions about them repeatedly.
Peter G.
Thu, Jun 13, 2019, 2:47pm (UTC -6)
@ Booming & Jason R.,

Since Jason fielded the last one I'll take on the role of clairvoyant on this one and try to field for him:

"To me this sounds like women, because they already leave for a while because of the pregnancy, should continue to stay at home instead of the father."

The reason this isn't an accurate reading of Jason R's comment is because you've addeed some features he didn't include. One of these is your broadening the statement to include "women", as in, *all* women. Jason's phrasing was a hypothetical in the case of a singular woman. The more important change is in your use of the word "should". Jason R appeared to be describing what actually does happen, but you are trying to turn this into what women "should" do, which is not what he said. It might well be what they'd want to do, so if by "should" you meant that it would be advantageous for them, then that would be closer to what it appears he way saying. But out of context "should" looks a lot more like "this should be the mandated system", and so doesn't match what Jason said.

Incidentally, I think attempting clairvoyance (to continue to poke a bit of fun at your term) is a good exercise, since taking up the burden of restating someone else's claims in your words is a good way to see if you've understood them or not.

"I'm not sure how to respond to this order of yours. It is such a general statement that one would have to be an utter fool to deny that there are practical reasons why women do these things. "

The trouble here is that you made a generalized statement that femininity, along with certain practices of women going off work for family, "are" social constructs. My only point, at any rate, was to point to the fact that they are not *entirely* social constructs. To whatever extent there is some social agreement and some necessary advantage in taking a particular strategy it requires being picky about details to avoid making sweeping statements that make it hard to discuss. We're getting a bit bogged down now, but what I want is for people here to be able to discuss concepts like "Uhura retains her femininity" without it being deconstructed into whether that word has any real meaning. I think people pretty much know what I mean when I use the term, and if they don't they can ask.

"I asked Peter and if you are not clairvoyant then I would prefer to hear his answer or can he not answer a simple question?"

Jason has proved himself clairvoyant on this point. I was describing an "is" and you turned it into a "should", which I didn't say. And I especially didn't even bring up the topic of firing anyone. We were talking about what might govern choices a woman would make.

"I'm not familiar with the numbers in the States but considering how dreadful things are there these days it certainly wouldn't surprise me."

Yes, therea are many features of both health care and labor laws in the U.S. that leave much to be desired. There's definitely a case to be made that Europe is ahead on certain fronts. I also agree that there is more room to be had in encouraging stay at home dads, or at least increased paternal involvement. But these goals shouldn't be confused with statements suggesting that there's a natural advantage in having the mother conduct certain duties. And so in this episode I don't think we need to call sexism automatically because it's suggested that the female may leave to have a family. Although I will also submit that it's certainly possble that it is sexism and the writer just wasn't able to imagine the future all that well.
Booming
Fri, Jun 14, 2019, 1:48am (UTC -6)
@ Peter G.
Thanks for being the voice of reason here. My patience was running out.

"And I especially didn't even bring up the topic of firing anyone. We were talking about what might govern choices a woman would make."
That's why I asked you to clarify. About the second sentence I want to say one thing and I don't mean that as an insult but when I present sociological ideas here then they are simplified versions of very complex ideas/theories. Discussing them with people who aren't sociologists can be interesting but I always reach a point where the discussion becomes tedious. Normally when I realize that the other side lacks a deeper understanding of facts and theories but still clings to these relatively uninformed assumptions.
This problem is aggravated by the fact that I mostly discuss these issues with other professionals which leads to me leaving out stuff because I fail to realize that lots of it isn't common knowledge outside of my profession.

You certainly have very specialized knowledge yourself and I hope you can sympathize.
Jason R.
Fri, Jun 14, 2019, 6:35am (UTC -6)
"To me this sounds like women, because they already leave for a while because of the pregnancy, should continue to stay at home instead of the father. If I, for some reason, misunderstood you then i sincerely apologize"

But that is not what you said and not what I objected to. You said:

""He said that there "is an obvious synergy" when the person who gets pregnant stays at home while the other person (the man) continues to work. Does this not lead to fathers *barely participating in the upbringing?*"

I placed an asterix around "barely participating in the upbringing".

"Barely" is defined as "only just, almost not".

This is the part I take issue with. I am a full time worker with my wife staying at home and I don't "barely" participate in my daughter's upbringing. Sociologist or not, that's a risible thing to say. It's ignorant.
Chrome
Fri, Jun 14, 2019, 8:28am (UTC -6)
I really enjoyed William B’s write up for this one; I’m not sure I could say much more. That scene with Kirk advocating the bonds of humanity was pure Trek gold.

As for the “she’s all woman” line, it seems to me that Kirk meant that she didn’t have the (for the 60s) masculine notion of being a full-time career worker and wanted a family. This can certainly be seen as sexist by modern standards where, for many, what it means to be a woman has greatly changed. Nevertheless, I don’t think the line was intended to be sexist. The intent of the scene seems to be that Lt. Palamas was a hard worker but wanted more out of life than her Starfleet career. This sets up the central dilemma of the piece where Palamas gets the opportunity to give up her Starfleet life to be the ultimate object of femininity as an “Aphrodite” - but of course *the episode itself* sees this concept as antiquated.

To be sure, there are far more sexist scenes in this episode including Palamas falling in love with flexing pecs and a smile in seconds. However, there’s a great scene later where she tells Apollo off with “I’m a scientist; did you really think I had interest in you outside of being my specimen?” which, in addition to Kirk’s speech at the end, really saves the episode.
Peter G.
Fri, Jun 14, 2019, 11:03am (UTC -6)
@ Chrome,

I'll even go to bat against this, although perhaps the odds are against me:

"To be sure, there are far more sexist scenes in this episode including Palamas falling in love with flexing pecs and a smile in seconds."

I think there's a lot of misconception about what "women" want, put forward by very vocal bloggers and interest groups, whereas down here on Earth it seems entirely natural to be swept up immediately in a certain circumstance. In order to call that sexist one would have to say to those women point-blank they they are *wrong* to do so, which in turn makes it an anti-feminist argument. I've known plently of liberal-leaning women with strong values about women's rights or sexism, and yet will have no compunction to admit that if a certain dreamboat [insert popular Hollywood star here] they would go ga-ga. And I think these remarks are not incompatiable with each other, and yet is seems to be the case that when a woman is portrayed as falling for a man for reasons other than his portfolio or his doctorate, it's 'sexist TV'. I don't really buy that, as I think it's entirely reasonable to show a woman, especially one who we've been told already may value 'being a woman' more than 'being an officer', as losing it over a literal god.

I may be fighting upfill on this one, but I'm doing my best to show that it's not the same thing to show a realistic depiction of a woman who loves men falling for a man superficially, compared to arguing that it shows that women are sex objects or only exist to couple up, or anything like that. And I don't even think it's fair to call it weakness on her part to fall for Adonis; it's literally the point of feminism to show that women should be able to make their own choices, whether those are work-oriented, family, or of the more amusing variety.
Booming
Fri, Jun 14, 2019, 11:39am (UTC -6)
@ Peter G.
Nothing wrong with falling in love head over heals with a hot guy. Does anybody really question that outside of very radical circles? I can see Chrome's point, though does Palamar fall in love every time she sees a hunky guy in a golden tablecloth?
I think the worrying part is that she falls in love immediately after being kidnapped and continues to defend him after being beaten up by him.

One could very well make the argument that it is far more sexist to portray women as only interested in the status (portfolio, doctorate) of a man. That would be just another way of being shallow. And being a god certainly trumps being a doctor. So no problem with the portfolio here. Did you meant to say falling for a guy for reasons other than his personality?

In TNG at least we had several a working mothers, including the chief medical officer.
Chrome
Fri, Jun 14, 2019, 11:44am (UTC -6)
The thing is, I don't have a beef with Palamas falling for him per se (hey, Andonais is an attractive guy!) it's just that the whole scene with him magically undressing her proceeding by her falling for him in minutes is extremely goofy. That may be more of a production issue than an attitude issue, though. I think we're supposed to take this episode semi-seriously but the romance is something I've seen handled better by Popeye after he knocks out Bluto.

And we could easily cut the argument both ways: is it really fair that men are considered godlike if they have chiseled mussels and speak with a booming voice? that makes me feel bad for Scotty a little. I think the episode plays both ancient gender stereotypes fairly straight.
Booming
Fri, Jun 14, 2019, 12:07pm (UTC -6)
@ Jason R.
Sorry, just saw your post. You have repeatedly shown the need to insult me. Could you stop that, please.
I'm watching Downton Abbey, a horribly boring show but you can learn a lot about insulting people without using actual insults. For example, I think it is marvelous that your job isn't so demanding and leaves you ample time to spent with your offspring.
Here, you brutish Americans certainly can learn a lot. :)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BvqgboWKV9E
Jason R.
Fri, Jun 14, 2019, 12:26pm (UTC -6)
"Sorry, just saw your post. You have repeatedly shown the need to insult me. Could you stop that, please."

I do tend to be a bit of a bulldog in these debates and sometimes my style is acerbic.

But I never insulted you on this thread. Not once.
Peter G.
Fri, Jun 14, 2019, 12:38pm (UTC -6)
@ Booming,

"Did you meant to say falling for a guy for reasons other than his personality?"

I meant to stay that we shouldn't impugn a woman for falling for a guy for superficial reasons, or call it sexist to suggest she would. That being said, yeah, there's more than just superficial quality to Apollo here. I did mean to say portfolio, because if you ask modern women what type of man they're looking for, or peruse dating profiles, few today would admit to just 'looking fora hot guy', whereas it's quite common to say he should have a good job. Asking what a prospective date does for a living is a very standard initial inquiry, which I've sort of condensed into "portfolio".

@ Chrome,

I do sort of agree that the rapidity and manner shown is a bit goofy, but I think it's to suddenly get out in the open without wasting time what's on the table for Apollo vs Scotty. But I laughed out loud at the Bluto line. I do agree that it's sad to think that Scotty would lose out because the other is cut like a god, but on the other hand I think we *are* supposed to feel bad for Scotty. It is a simple fact that no matter how dignified, educated, or caring you are you might lose out to someone for very superficial reasons. In the performance arts this is even more true, where losing a part may very often have happened for very plastic considerations. That said, I think we're supposed to feel bad for Apollo as well, because the fact of the matter is that in the future there seems less room for simply looking good to count for much, and so Apollo, for all his immediate charm, can't win out in the end in wooing Palamas. He's the guy she goes out with first but not the guy she takes home to meet her family. So in this way I think we're supposed to feel bad for both men, when in different ways each can't compete with the other. And she is necessarily drawn to both, but for very different reasons.

I think this particular issue was actually quite prescient on the part of the show, because it's far more common now than it was in the early 60's to be able to recognize that the hunk has his way with the women initially but that they grow tired of it and move on to someone stable with a good career when they get a bit older. Especially so with the growing trend of marrying and starting families much later in life, which leaves one's 20's for 'dating' and often involves a certain type of standard for dating that is quite different from the one used for settling down. Scotty is the settling down kind of guy, who likely has to eat mud while the Apollos out there can win a girl without even doing anything, but eventually finds someone who's done with all that and wants a family. Apollo, on the other hand, has his due time to be admired for his particular gifts, but finally realizes that this adulation came with a deadline and now he's not what's in demand. The old vs new concept in this episode does still work on a society-level, where "we don't need gods like you anymore", but frankly the way it actually plays out it feels more like old vs new in terms of maturing within one's own lifetime and realizing there are better things than chasing what's only beautiful on the outside.
Booming
Fri, Jun 14, 2019, 1:57pm (UTC -6)
@Peter G.
I'm digging through giant amounts of data and just came across an interesting little data piece from a German family review made in 1968. People were asked: What were the most important reasons for choosing their partner:
Men:
Love 39%
Character 30%
material reasons 5%
same interests, healthiness, proficiency, home behavior (don't ask me how they came up with that category) 29 %
had no choice 3%

women:
Love 41%
Character 33%
material reasons 9%
same interests, healthiness, proficiency, home behavior 14%
had no choice 3%

So for more than two thirds in both genders love and character even in the 60s were the most important reasons. Multiple answers were possible. :)

(You could of course argue that social desirability has influenced the results)
Peter G.
Fri, Jun 14, 2019, 2:03pm (UTC -6)
@ Booming,

I appreciate the effort to find data, but the problem with questionnaires like that is they are deeply flawed. I don't think there's very much to go on based on those, although than that perhaps people don't like to think that they've made decisions for material reasons. Whether in fact they really did or didn't is not data that can be drawn from such studies. Incidentally I wasn't even making an argument about whether material considerations are the final basis of any decision. All I said above was that it seems to be relevant to people upfront (i.e., before love has any chance to develop).
Fakery
Fri, Jun 14, 2019, 2:57pm (UTC -6)
I wish there would be some mechanism here for people to fork off into heir own private nattering back and forth off topic ramblings of brain-vomit and not clutter up these comment sections with irrelevance.
Booming
Fri, Jun 14, 2019, 3:50pm (UTC -6)
@ Peter G.
Yes, from a scientific standpoint that is a bad way to ask such a question and don't worry I reading this stuff for reasons unrelated to this discussion.

I posted it merely for the reason that it is from that period and contains a heartwarming message. :)
Gen. Kenobi
Tue, Jun 25, 2019, 12:30pm (UTC -6)
"I wish there would be some mechanism here for people to fork off into heir own private nattering back and forth off topic ramblings of brain-vomit and not clutter up these comment sections with irrelevance."

The site owner encourages us to have discussions. Some people are just watching these shows for the first and enjoy discussing new things they see with other fans. If you don't wish to participate, you're totally free to scroll past it - a handy feature used in web browsers since the early 90s.
Bobbington Mc Bob
Sat, Oct 5, 2019, 5:27am (UTC -6)
I've not much to add that hasnt already been said, other than man I really hate the sound design of TOS. "Drama = ear damaging screeching sound effects and booming tubas and xylophones". Depressing to see the recycled "lady in soft focus immediately abandons her principles because hot powerful man has his shirt off a bit" plotline from the Khan episode.

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