Star Trek: The Original Series
"Who Mourns for Adonais?"
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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113 comments on this post
Fri, Jun 1, 2012, 1:18am (UTC -5)
Tue, Oct 22, 2013, 11:39am (UTC -5)
Thu, Mar 13, 2014, 10:27pm (UTC -5)
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!
Tue, Apr 22, 2014, 12:38pm (UTC -5)
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.
Wed, Dec 17, 2014, 12:43pm (UTC -5)
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!
Sat, Jul 11, 2015, 5:22pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Oct 3, 2015, 2:50pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Jan 20, 2016, 6:56am (UTC -5)
Sun, May 22, 2016, 5:51pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Jul 4, 2016, 4:19pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Jul 4, 2016, 4:25pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Dec 1, 2016, 8:20pm (UTC -5)
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.
Fri, Dec 2, 2016, 12:00am (UTC -5)
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
Tue, Feb 21, 2017, 4:44pm (UTC -5)
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.
Tue, May 16, 2017, 7:28pm (UTC -5)
(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.
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 7:42pm (UTC -5)
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.
Thu, Oct 19, 2017, 10:32am (UTC -5)
Mon, Feb 19, 2018, 2:16pm (UTC -5)
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).
Mon, Feb 19, 2018, 3:25pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Feb 19, 2018, 5:49pm (UTC -5)
@ 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.
Mon, Feb 19, 2018, 11:57pm (UTC -5)
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.
Tue, Feb 20, 2018, 6:47am (UTC -5)
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).
Wed, Mar 27, 2019, 9:11pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Apr 17, 2019, 4:05pm (UTC -5)
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.
Wed, Jun 12, 2019, 6:15am (UTC -5)
Wed, Jun 12, 2019, 9:03am (UTC -5)
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.
Wed, Jun 12, 2019, 11:11am (UTC -5)
" 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.
Wed, Jun 12, 2019, 11:41am (UTC -5)
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.
Wed, Jun 12, 2019, 12:56pm (UTC -5)
"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? :)
Wed, Jun 12, 2019, 2:23pm (UTC -5)
"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.
Thu, Jun 13, 2019, 1:25am (UTC -5)
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.
Thu, Jun 13, 2019, 5:40am (UTC -5)
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.
Thu, Jun 13, 2019, 7:53am (UTC -5)
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.
Thu, Jun 13, 2019, 10:39am (UTC -5)
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. :)
Thu, Jun 13, 2019, 11:13am (UTC -5)
"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.
Thu, Jun 13, 2019, 11:52am (UTC -5)
" 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?
Thu, Jun 13, 2019, 12:24pm (UTC -5)
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?"
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.
Thu, Jun 13, 2019, 2:22pm (UTC -5)
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.
Thu, Jun 13, 2019, 2:47pm (UTC -5)
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.
Fri, Jun 14, 2019, 1:48am (UTC -5)
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.
Fri, Jun 14, 2019, 6:35am (UTC -5)
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.
Fri, Jun 14, 2019, 8:28am (UTC -5)
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.
Fri, Jun 14, 2019, 11:03am (UTC -5)
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.
Fri, Jun 14, 2019, 11:39am (UTC -5)
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.
Fri, Jun 14, 2019, 11:44am (UTC -5)
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.
Fri, Jun 14, 2019, 12:07pm (UTC -5)
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. :)
Fri, Jun 14, 2019, 12:26pm (UTC -5)
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.
Fri, Jun 14, 2019, 12:38pm (UTC -5)
"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".
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.
Fri, Jun 14, 2019, 1:57pm (UTC -5)
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:
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%
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)
Fri, Jun 14, 2019, 2:03pm (UTC -5)
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).
Fri, Jun 14, 2019, 2:57pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Jun 14, 2019, 3:50pm (UTC -5)
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. :)
Tue, Jun 25, 2019, 12:30pm (UTC -5)
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.
Sat, Oct 5, 2019, 5:27am (UTC -5)
Sun, Apr 19, 2020, 5:45pm (UTC -5)
Also helps that they got the original guest actor for Apollo back -- despite his age, he's still a commanding presence. One thing I noticed is how Apollo's hair kept changing -- I think it had to do with his condition. When he was more sick, he'd basically be bald on top and when he was healthier, he'd have a full head of grey, curly hair.
As for the story, it's a good one and I actually think the STC episode is a better tale than the original. The idea of self-sacrifice serving as a substitution for human worship as nourishment to a God is an interesting idea and one that would seem to fit well into the kind of idea behind a TOS episode.
2.5 stars for "Pilgrim of Eternity" -- quite enjoyed this one, although the story is fairly understated but still worthy. Definitely felt more like Trek, more gratifying than PIC. Would love to hear Jammer's thoughts on this episode.
Sun, Apr 19, 2020, 9:31pm (UTC -5)
They get the camera work, compositions and retro lighting right as well. They even get the flamboyant titles right ("PILGRIMS OF ETERNITY!"). "Discovery" tried to do this, but its deliberately overwrought titles came off as cringey.
"Who Mourns For Adonnais" is one of my favorite Trek episodes, so when I heard "Continues" opens with a "sequel", I had to see it. It's a really well done show, and you get over the different actors fairly quickly.
Sun, Sep 13, 2020, 8:57pm (UTC -5)
Sometimes, people's choices about what to spend their time and passion arguing about leave me scratching my head. I'm amazed how long anyone could invest time and passion in defending the assumption that a woman 's career is obviously over when and because she gets married (and a man's career even more obviously isn't) or in claiming that such an assumption somehow ISN'T sexist or isn't clearly a manifestation of 1960s attitudes.
I really don't think it takes a radical feminist to recognize from a twenty-first century perspective that this snippet of dialog is a result of 1960s sexism. Just your basic twenty-first century non-misogynist.
Wed, Nov 25, 2020, 10:12am (UTC -5)
Star Trek season 2 episode 2
Gentle Adonis is dying, O Cythera, what shall we do?
Beat your breasts, O maidens, and rend your garments.
- Sappho the Lesbian, circa 500 B.C.
3 stars (out of 4)
The Gods have not had the best of luck these last few hundred years.
Long gone are the days when important men loved and worshiped their gods, the way Shakaar and Bariel and other Bajorans are known to do on Star Trek even today. We may not have gone as far as the Klingons (Worf: "Our gods are dead. Ancient Klingon warriors slew them a millennia ago. They were more trouble than they were worth.”). But so many of our Gods are none the less - as a philosopher once put it - dead. Kirk has room in his heart for only one ("Mankind has no need for gods. We find the one quite adequate.”).
Scotty doesn’t even believe in one.
What if some of those gods came back? How sad would they be to see their temples in ruins, their churches empty, their names forgotten, or worse - their names dragged through mud? Season 5 of Angel does a good job imagining the return of Illyria ("I lived seven lives at once. I was power in the ecstasy of death. I was god to a god.”). The scene where Illyria finds herself back at her temple is very sobering,
Her temple lies in ruins, her worshipers long dead. No one remembers her name.
The episode doesn’t tell us how long ago Apollo’s compatriots left. Some faded away into the wind. But others, presumably, went off to find other worlds, other peoples who would worship them. Whatever may have happened, Apollo was left all alone.
But why was Apollo all alone? @Peter G., in his unparalleled write up (please read it!), says it is because Apollo had the power of prophesy. But then so did Zeus.
I believe Apollo stayed behind because of all the gods, Apollo loved us the most. He couldn’t leave. That’s the story of Daphne, Cupid & the Laurel (Kirk: "Would it have hurt us, I wonder, just to have gathered a few laurel leaves?”). In this episode, Apollo is the one god who had an abiding faith that one day - some day - he would be reunited with his people. That they would worship him again.
When you read the old stories, either from Greek mythology, or the Bible, or other tales of other gods (Loki, Raam, Baal), do you ever wonder what those gods would be like if you ever met them?
Would they be grand? Or would they be disappointing? Would they be generous? Or would they be jealous? Would you feel yourself drawn to them like Lt. Carolyn Palamas (Palamas is a town in Greece), or repelled by them like Scotty. Or fascinated (Bones: "To coin a phrase, fascinating.")? Or annoyed (Kirk)? Would they make you laugh and sing like Dionysus, or cry out in awe like Jupiter.
This episode imagines Apollo not unlike an aging celebrity longing for the lost love of his adoring fans. The most beautiful of all the gods, Apollo had many lovers, but he never married. At the end of this episode, Apollo dies of a broken heart.
How many of our heroes/celebrities/gods - if we met them - would live up to the idea of them we have built up in our minds?
"Who Morns for Adonias” is a key marker on a long-running TOS omnipotence arc. What started with an examination of a man, Gary Mitchell, as a god, and continued on through Charlie X (an adolescent as a god), and the Squire of Gothos (a child as a god), culminated in Season 1 with the Organians in “Errand of Mercy”. Now we look at things from the other side. From the point of view of the gods themselves. They have everything. Power, so much power. But if the stories are right, what they crave is devotion.
Without it, they die.
Five thousand years ago, man ran off with another lover. We weren’t cast out of Paradise, we eloped. The old gods died of a broken heart.
Very few stories include a credible point of view of the gods. I, for one, am supremely grateful for this one.
Wed, Nov 25, 2020, 11:20am (UTC -5)
Thu, Apr 1, 2021, 2:20am (UTC -5)
3.5 stars for potential but only 2.5 for the actual episode.
Thu, Apr 1, 2021, 2:59am (UTC -5)
“ someone who was in for a brief stint but didn't seem interested in being a career officer. ” Uh? How does that fit with a ’5 year mission’? Lt. Palamas (note the Greek name!) was a professional who had signed on for a long voyage.
I’ve just seen that most of the comments since are a long discussion about women and feminism so I will just respond to this:
“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 the “average man” (liberal or otherwise) is completely immune to a shapely pair of legs or breasts? Oh, come on!
Fri, Jul 9, 2021, 9:33am (UTC -5)
Fri, Jul 9, 2021, 9:40am (UTC -5)
Mon, Dec 13, 2021, 11:52pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Feb 10, 2022, 8:27am (UTC -5)
For a woman watching in the 1960s, this could have been pretty inspiring, especially if she had personal pressure to settle down and leave her job. This episode shows a future in which women are ENCOURAGED by their male bosses to stay in their careers because they are seen to have value in the workplace.
Even now, a lot of women struggle with urges to leave work and settle down. I am absolutely an ardent feminist, and i have a master’s degree. When I graduated I really struggled with a period of ennui and uncertainty, where I really just wanted to get married and have kids and stay at home. I pushed past that, got a job in my field, and now realize that I wouldn’t be satisfied just staying at home, even if my partner fit the divine love ideal of Apollo. And I’m 24, so this is a modern problem for young women of all times. Reading these comments has made me realize that this episode holds that meaning for me, so I think it is actually done very well, even if some of the dialogue has a 1960s way of expressing things.
Thu, Feb 10, 2022, 10:07am (UTC -5)
Thu, Feb 10, 2022, 10:41am (UTC -5)
Thu, Feb 10, 2022, 12:42pm (UTC -5)
Yeah - we're into the "60s fashion, in story time" thing again. That reads as sexist to you watching it now. But in the 60s when that was broadcast, that is young people's fashion and reads as making the show trendy. Sure, people weren't "mandating" young women to wear the mini-skirts in the 60s, that was what they wanted to wear. The older squares thought it was a tad indecent.
Thu, Feb 10, 2022, 12:50pm (UTC -5)
You can see it as anything you want, and if you want to interpret it that way, that’s fine. I am speaking to why this episode has personal meaning for me, as well as my view on one of the messages that I see the show as conveying.
Kirk/Spock/McCoy are the authority figures and voices of reason on the ship. They are male because the show was made in the 1960s. We can engage with the show on the level that yes, the power dynamics and authority in the show do in fact put women under the authority of men. I am definitely critical of the behind-the-scenes factors that made the show male-dominated. But I can also engage with the story with the understanding that the captain is the person who gives orders to subordinates (function within the universe of the story) and is also the person who generally conveys the moral (function within the story structure). Kirk tells her what to do because that is his job as a character, and I personally think that what he tells her to do conveys a good message for women. Do I wish that there had been better roles for women in TOS? Of course! The new shows have much better gender equality. But I can also enjoy the episode as an art piece from another time that does not have an inherently sexist message.
Thu, Feb 10, 2022, 1:11pm (UTC -5)
I don't know if I'm telling you something you already know, but Gene Roddenberry originally wanted the first officer to be a woman, played by his wife Majel Barrett, who was a hard-headed scientist and not "60s feminine", and was to be known by the nickname "Number one". You can see her in the "Pike" parts of the original pilot which were cannibalised to make a new episode later in the run. Network people didn't like the female second in command (I think they didn't like Spock either, but Roddenberry dug his heels in over keeping him) - but the fact that Spock got promoted to first officer, and became less emotional turns out to be an excellent thing for the series overall, albeit it's partly because "you can't have a woman as second in command" was a thing for a 60s serial.
"Number One" eventually got passed on to be Picard's affectionate name for his first officer Riker in the Next Generation.
Thu, Feb 10, 2022, 1:42pm (UTC -5)
I love Number One! I’m very excited to see what they do with her character (and Uhura and Chapel) in ST: Strange New Worlds.
I think the dismissal of Number One as a viable character is something that we can talk about as having misogynist motivation (although it is up in the air whether it was also because the network just didn’t like Majel as an actress/she was sleeping with Gene Roddenberry). And I think we can definitely be critical of the limited roles for women in the series (e.g. no command positions, etc.). But I just get so annoyed when people dismiss the actual roles that were given to women because they don’t fit our better understanding of gender relations today. There are flaws in the portrayal of many of the female characters in TOS, but the women still got to be explorers! They got to do science work with men, they got to go on dangerous missions, they got to impact the plot in meaningful ways, they got to be heroines or villains… There’s a lot of good stuff there, even if there are flaws.
The same goes for the uniforms. Yes, the miniskirts are super short, and I did really like the pants uniforms women had in Where No Man Has Gone Before. From our outside perspective, the outfits do show off the female crewmembers’ bodies, and there is very little variation in styling for women crewmembers - everyone fits a certain mold. I think that’s definitely something that later shows improve on. However, within the text of the show, the uniforms are as comfortable and practical as the men’s uniforms (assuming those tights are made of some kind of durable material). They are equivalent to a tunic and leggings. For the most part, the women just wear the uniforms and go about their business - the camera doesn’t ogle them. It is a flaw that women HAVE to wear that uniform to be a crewmember, because that does force women into femininity, but the uniforms themselves aren’t outrageously sexist, just a bit short. I’m probably biased because I think the uniforms are really cute and I would totally wear the blue dress version if I ever went to a star trek convention, so generally, I just see it as the styling of the times.
Thu, Feb 10, 2022, 2:27pm (UTC -5)
I think one can say that Star Trek was quite a few times sexist. The more important question one should ask is, was it more or less sexist than the dominant culture it was made in.
Here is the description of Number One from the Cage script:"Female, slim and dark in a Nile Valley way, age uncertain, one of those women who will always look the same between the ages of twenty and fifty [....] Almost glacier-like in her imperturbability and precision. From time to time we'll wonder just how much female exists under that icy façade."
Fri, Feb 11, 2022, 4:25am (UTC -5)
Sat, Apr 23, 2022, 10:25pm (UTC -5)
The weird thing is I feel really bad for Apollo while his temple is being destroyed despite the complete dangerous pompous ass he is.
Sun, Apr 24, 2022, 7:10pm (UTC -5)
Not because I'm unfamiliar with the Greek gods, but it's been quite a long time and the name has so thoroughly been used throughout our culture, I would never guess someone was claiming to be a Greek god.
If anything, I would expect Kirk to think of the Apollo lunar missions.
I finally saw the Star Trek Continues episode "Pilgrim of Eternity" episode mentioned above, which is a sequel to this set two years later and features Michael Forest reprising his role.
HIGHLY recommended. It's impressive at first for the technical merits of making it really look like it was made alongside the rest in the 60s.
But I was really surprised that the story also felt like a TOS story. It really did and was actually a good one! I think it's actually a better story than this one.
You do have to get used to new actors playing everybody (including James Doohan's son playing Scotty) and a lot of the acting is weak, but it's not too bad. Kirk's actor is really good and Forest of course nails Apollo.
Sun, Jun 12, 2022, 6:06pm (UTC -5)
As many of you probably know, Adonais, a proxy for Greek god Adonis, lover of Aphrodite, is the subject of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s elegiac poem “Adonais: An Elegy on the Death of John Keats.” Keats died at the ripe old age of 25, from what Shelley believed to be--get this--the trauma from a few anonymous critics mercilessly review-bombing his poetry (today we might call them “trolls”). Really, it was a nasty bout of tuberculosis, but Shelley didn’t learn that until after “Adonais” was released.
While the episode “Who Mourns for Adonais?” doesn’t connect much to the Greek mythology it seems to be so vested in, it does connect to the elegy. Shelley uses Adonais as a stand-in for Keats to demonstrate his feeling that Keats himself was like a literary god unto man. Though Keats died young, the gifts of his poems still linger in memory even if he himself doesn’t. The line “Who mourns for Adonais?” itself occurs in the part of the poem where Shelley suggests that such mourners visit Rome, where Keats’ grave is. Of course there are many other reasons to visit Rome, but in this case, it’s simply a great place because such a fine poet is buried there. Of course, Keats was a flesh-and-blood human. All you need to do in order to honor him is read his works or visit his resting place--essentially, remember him. That’s enough for a person. But is that enough for a god? “Who Mourns for Adonais?” posits that a god needs unconditional devotion and worship. And in Apollo’s case, that’s just, well, too tall of an order.
It just wouldn’t be Star Trek without the occasional superbeing encounter, and this time, Kirk and McCoy muse that the Greek gods may have actually been alien visitors. That kind of makes sense--back then in the Classical Age, advanced technology would appear to simply be magic, the work of the divine. The aliens enjoyed being worshiped as gods, but then moved on when the need for them dried up. One wonders if they simply found a new planet with people to win over. If they did, Apollo is the one that couldn’t do that because of his abiding love for humanity or insatiable desire for their devotion to him (take your pick). Well, Kirk tries to convince him that he should finally stop pining over us because humanity now unquestionably thinks he’s obsolete--we revere our own people, like Keats, and don’t give the gods a second thought.
Apollo’s most pointed moment of panic is when Lt. Carolyn Palamas, after Kirk’s pleas, switches from reverence for him to going all “scientist” on him, grilling him on his “evolutionary patterns,” his history, his essence--in effect, deconstructing him down to a level comparable with humans that makes him not a god among men, but an alien being among other alien beings. His reaction to this is so telling. He protests that he is a god, and is supposed to be loved by Carolyn as much as he purportedly loves her. Look what he’s offering her, he argues--the power and devotion of a goddess for herself, a life of ease rather than one of toil, and of course a HAWT GUY who will cater to her every whim. She should be devoted to him, and certainly not studying him. She counters, rather pricelessly, that “I could no more love you than I could love a new species of bacteria.” Damn!
It’s no wonder why Apollo cut off communications between the landing party and the Enterprise. Science, logic, and technology all gets in the way of devout and unquestioned worship of him. Of course, he also can’t bring himself to ever crush the ship like an egg in fury, even though he has the power to do so--deep down, he still loves humanity and there are too many humans on the Enterprise to simply destroy it. But these are also humans that have “outgrown him.” They don’t want a god’s benevolent care. More to the point, they don’t need it. As Star Trek has demonstrated many times, these humans in the future can take care of themselves just fine without any meddling superbeing’s interventions, thank you very much. Far from being a god, Apollo is now just another powerful alien whose jig is up. Science and logic (and by the way, weapons) win the day, and Apollo finally disappears once he realizes how futile his existence has become.
In an odd way, this makes “Who Mourns For Adonais?” its own worst enemy--its message is obvious and trite and its plot formulaic. It falls into that old, classic superbeing episode trap: the crew has to survive an encounter with this all-powerful being that could destroy them with a single thought. And while the episode is rooted in literature (but more Shelley than Homer), it is ultimately a science fiction story set in the future, utterly incapable, by design, of taking full advantage of the magical trappings of mythology. Ironically, the episode’s own cold detachment from myth makes me appreciate the actual myths and epics a lot more, hence my going right to Shelley in the start of this post.
@Rahul and @Peter G said it best -- the largest objection among Kirk’s crew isn’t the concept of gods, but the penchant of more powerful aliens embracing this label as their own. We’ve seen it many times on this show. If there’s one thing Kirk hates, God love him, it’s a powerful entity or computer system using him and his crew like playthings. But unlike Trelane, Landru, the Organian council leader or the smug Metron in a Harry Styles dress, here we actually get into the superbeing’s head somewhat.
It’s said that we all must face two deaths--first the obvious one, and then the death where we cease to be remembered by anyone and are utterly forgotten. I mentioned earlier that “Even gods can die.” To them, when they can’t be gods because no one worships them or even remembers them anymore, they cease to be gods. They cease to have a purpose. They die.
Apollo -- “We shall drink the sacramental wine. There shall be the music of the pipes. The long wait has ended.”
Kirk -- “Are you responsible for stopping the ship?”
Apollo -- “Yes. I caused the wind to withdraw from your sails.”
Kirk -- “Give it back, then we’ll talk.”
My Grade: C+
Mon, Jun 13, 2022, 12:18pm (UTC -5)
>It’s said that we all must face two deaths--first the obvious one, and then the death where we cease to be remembered by anyone and are utterly forgotten.
This sentence reminds me of TNG's "The Inner Light", I mean isn't it what that episode is about? Accepting death and the inevitable loss of your civilization, with some futile hope that may be a small part of your culture will remain (what the flute symbolizes).
The thought of everything that I care about being lost in time is really upsetting to me...but I have to accept it.
Mon, Jun 13, 2022, 1:16pm (UTC -5)
Watched it last night with friends. It's surprisingly poetic and was especially good after the early large green hand segment Michael Forest (Apollo) was made for role and really shone forth. Leslie Parrish also did a great job as Lt. Carolyn Palamas. Still effective in the final acts. I got choked up.
It is Lt. Palamas who early on delivers the immortal line about the surprising absence of intelligent life in the section of space then being patrolled. Not sure what that was referring to but could have been a veiled reference to the network execs of the period. Can anyone confirm or otherwise explain this for me?
Notes: John Keats October 31, 1795- Feb. 23, 1821; Percy Shelley August 4, 1792- July 8, 1822). As for Adonais, never doubt that he will live on.
Mon, Jun 13, 2022, 2:48pm (UTC -5)
Am I understanding correctly from your review that Shelley that the titular line is meant to be unironic? Meaning, Shelley believed people should mourn for Keats and were insufficiently doing so and recognizing his beauty?
If so that would lead me to conclude that the crew (and perhaps humanity) too quickly dismissed Apollo without giving him his due honor. If indeed he treated mankind lovingly, and if he was for all intents and purposes a god to us, then it should stand to reason that even if his time should eventually come we should mourn the loss of such a beautiful being. Instead we proudly trumpet how we "no longer need" gods, as if being more capable as a species means we should also turn out nose up at the things which sustained us in the past. I don't know if the episode is making this point, but it would be a valid one, since there is indeed a trend of people to sneer at anything from the past as being morally or culturally inferior and to crown ourselves today as the smartest and the best. Even if in fact we *are* the smartest and the best, for argument's sake, it would still seem to be ungrateful to tell our old gods that they suck.
Tue, Jun 14, 2022, 4:33pm (UTC -5)
I agree with your conclusion, and I think the episode does in fact make this point when Kirks says in the final scene: “They gave us so much. The Greek civilisation, much of our culture and philosophy came from a worship of those beings. In a way, they began the Golden Age. Would it have hurt us, I wonder, just to have gathered a few laurel leaves?”
What Apollo wanted for them is a simple life where they will be “provided for, cared for, happy” in exchange for their worshipping him. The human striving for progress disturbs the divine order, as we can see in many of the ancient Greek legends: Men like Ikarus or Prometheus earn the wrath of the gods by defying them, just like the crew does here. The progress which humanity has made since the Greek antiquity does not necessarily render faith and belief superfluous, but there is no way a civilization as advanced as theirs can still “bow” to a godlike being in the naïve, child-like way Apollo wishes for. Kirk says: “We've outgrown you. You asked for something we could no longer give.” But even though he seems to think that mankind no longer needs gods, he does concede in the last scene that during many centuries, religions have been of great cultural and social importance and have indeed helped human societies to evolve into what they are. Admittedly, the influence of religions has not always been positive – for every good deed and every work of art they have inspired, there are just as many atrocities committed for the sake of religion – but “mourning for Adonais” means to acknowledge the merits of religions even though the guidance of gods like Apollo is no longer needed.
In this sense, thanks for having helped me to understand at last what the title of this episode is supposed to mean…
Tue, Jun 14, 2022, 5:08pm (UTC -5)
Phew bummer for China and India, none of their stuff made it. Oh and much of our culture and philosophy came from the worship of the greek gods?? Not really.
Tue, Jun 14, 2022, 6:07pm (UTC -5)
Good posts @Lannion and @Peter G. for really nailing it down -- and @Proud Capitalist Pig for kicking things off.
But to this -- "but “mourning for Adonais” means to acknowledge the merits of religions even though the guidance of gods like Apollo is no longer needed."
I think what Kirk really means is being subservient to Gods, as Apollo wished, is no longer needed. It's not that their guidance isn't needed -- but certainly Apollo was prepared to "offer" a lot more than guidance!
In this instance the Greek God Apollo is broad representative for the divine or religions / spirituality -- no matter what culture. I think that's another wrinkle that permits the universality of the message here that we modern humans think we know it all and have nothing to gain from reflecting upon anything from the past, but we ought to reconsider.
Tue, Jun 14, 2022, 6:10pm (UTC -5)
"Oh and much of our culture and philosophy came from the worship of the greek gods?? Not really."
While it would be a great thing to be able to say that the culture and philosophy of the West directly incorporated elements derived from the Upanishads, Confucian thought, and Buddhist teachings, we simply cannot.
Greece and Rome did form the basis for western thought and institutions.
The episode puts it rather well.
Wed, Jun 15, 2022, 1:16am (UTC -5)
-Yes, western philosophy was obviously hugely influenced by Greek philosophy, Greek culture. Not so much. Apart from Sparta where women essentially controlled the economy, women in Greece were living like 1950's Saudi Arabia. Pedophilia, ostracism, slavery, constant warfare, citizen armies/Militias, animal sacrifice. Sports is no longer done in the nude. :) Our democracies also work a lot differently. To name a few things that are very different and one could name many more.
- Kirk does say culture and philosophy came not just from ancient Greece but from the worship of those beings aka Greek religion. No, Greek religion was influential but saying that Greek culture and especially Greek philosophy came from worship of the Greek gods and goddesses is just nonsense.
- Kirk is a representative of a 100+ planets Federation. Saying that Federation culture in the 23th century is hugely influenced by Greece or worse worship of Greek religion is so extremely eurocentristic, it is laughable.
Wed, Jun 15, 2022, 1:23am (UTC -5)
Very good for male lower parts. Think about it guys. Especially with the heat waves. ;)
Wed, Jun 15, 2022, 8:08am (UTC -5)
Thanks for your additional thoughts. I sometimes push back simply in order to get more discussion from you. It's worth the effort, because your ideas are interesting.
Sure, if we are speaking about how Kirk's statement would sound to members of the 23rd century Federation, we can conclude that he's an insufferable bore. Kirk's remark sounds chauvinistic, since there are a panoply of belief systems represented in the Federation, not just tired out 'old white guy stuff' from the time of Bishop Ussher.
However, he is talking to the members of the landing party who, in this case, are all Europeans and might share his view. It would be infinitely tackier if Sulu, Uhura, M'Benga Sulu, Singh, Spock, Rhada, had been with him when confronting Apollo.
Btw, I agree, Lykurgus was always tops when it came to warm weather wear! :)
Wed, Jun 15, 2022, 9:57am (UTC -5)
"the landing party who, in this case, are all Europeans and might share his view."
They are actual two Americans, only Scotty is from Europe. Palamas could be from Ceti Alpha X. Still I doubt that any of them thinks that 23th century culture and philosophy was strongly influenced by the Greek pantheon. It is also a strange idea that Greek gods and goddesses were real and jump-started a "golden age" on earth and the Greek religion didn't just fade away, it was annihilated. I guess the history books of earth have to be rewritten. Greek gods were real. Also the fact that China, India and the middle east could become highly sophisticated civilizations without the help of supernatural beings is a little insulting. Or are Buddha and Vishnu also real??
It's als pretty stupid when you really think about it. Fun with gods, I guess. Or gods, how do they work?
Wed, Jun 15, 2022, 10:44am (UTC -5)
Don't forget Mr. Chekov.... from "Minsk perhaps." or maybe from just outside of Moscow, where he believed the Cheshire Cat hung out.
In the period when 'Who Mourns' was written, ideas like those found in von Däniken's Chariots of the Gods (1968) were spreading like wildfire.
This was undiluted diffusionist stuff, which had the following characteristics: first, nothing was off limits or needed to be proven. Second, nothing was believed to have been created by humans. Rather some god or other (i.e., ancient astronaut) it was supposed, had come to Earth to show the "monkey boys" how to think. Third, it fed the popular imagination, allowing authors who rarely paused to write a footnote supporting their ideas, to rake in needed dollars.
Apollo in 'Who Mourns' was conceived of as one such ancient astronaut, who posed as the god of light. Maybe he was actually the god of pseudoscience. :)
Sun, Jun 19, 2022, 10:25am (UTC -5)
>> "This sentence reminds me of TNG's "The Inner Light", I mean isn't it what that episode is about? Accepting death and the inevitable loss of your civilization, with some futile hope that may be a small part of your culture will remain (what the flute symbolizes)."
I can't speak for "The Inner Light," as I haven't gotten to TNG yet (but thanks, and I'll make a note to myself to pay attention to that episode when it comes up in my list).
But in terms of "Who Mourns for Adonais?" I think that's what exactly what Apollo is forced to think about at the end. And even though Kirk has taken the piss out of them, I think the last line of Kirk's, about how the Greek civilization still contributed something meaningful, is meant to acknowledge this. Apollo is certainly not worshiped in Kirk's time, but he's still remembered. His contribution was meaningful.
>> "The thought of everything that I care about being lost in time is really upsetting to me...but I have to accept it."
I think that's a very normal and very common feeling. Apollo certainly feels it here. It's part of the reason why we all endeavor to leave something of ourselves behind--bodies of work, lasting contributions, children, etc. One of things that's a comfort to Percy Bysshe Shelley in his elegy to Keats is that Keats, even though he died young, still left his poetry behind. Even Kirk acknowledged Apollo's contributions at the end. The more contributions you make--good and bad--the less likely you are to be lost in time. Except, of course, for when everything is lost in time (which is the point that you touched on in your comment).
Sun, Jun 19, 2022, 10:41am (UTC -5)
>> "Am I understanding correctly from your review that Shelley that the titular line is meant to be unironic? Meaning, Shelley believed people should mourn for Keats and were insufficiently doing so and recognizing his beauty?"
Yes, partly! I also think that it's more that Shelley is conveying his feeling that Keats' contributions and poetry were almost godlike for the literary world. One thing I forgot to clarify was that while Adonis was one of the Greek gods, he started as a mortal. So having a mortal poet held in the same esteem as an immortal god (or in this episode's case, a powerful alien) speaks to the humanism Kirk is indicating when he tells Apollo, "We've outgrown you."
>> "If so that would lead me to conclude that the crew (and perhaps humanity) too quickly dismissed Apollo without giving him his due honor."
I think that's why they included Kirk's last line where he acknowledges that "maybe we should have left a few laurel leaves."
>> "Instead we proudly trumpet how we "no longer need" gods, as if being more capable as a species means we should also turn out nose up at the things which sustained us in the past. I don't know if the episode is making this point, but it would be a valid one, since there is indeed a trend of people to sneer at anything from the past as being morally or culturally inferior and to crown ourselves today as the smartest and the best."
Yes this is a great point, and I think the episode is saying two things here. Kirk objects more to powerful aliens co-opting the term "gods" for themselves rather than the idea of even having a god/gods. But when he tells Apollo, "We've outgrown you," it can be seen as both a triumphant advancement for humanity but also a cynical indictment of it--we're messing ourselves up just fine without the input of gods. The power is all ours now.
Sun, Jun 19, 2022, 10:45am (UTC -5)
"It is Lt. Palamas who early on delivers the immortal line about the surprising absence of intelligent life in the section of space then being patrolled. Not sure what that was referring to but could have been a veiled reference to the network execs of the period. Can anyone confirm or otherwise explain this for me?"
Love that crack about network execs! I can totally believe inter-dimensional space aliens observing Earth and passing it over as being not worth their time. But seriously, I think in the context of "Who Mourns for Adonais?" it's conveying that Apollo is alone. He hasn't found another planet full of people who will worship him. He's still only waiting for humanity.
Sun, Jun 19, 2022, 11:02am (UTC -5)
Good thoughts there. I'm fascinated by episode titles as well. I think that line from Shelley's poem was perfect for this one. The last time they went for a literary title, "The Conscience of the King," it was also very apt. It's too bad if later Star Trek series has less inspiring titles.
Thanks for your shout-out. It's too bad that I'm showing up this late to my own party that I started.
Sun, Jun 19, 2022, 11:10am (UTC -5)
>> "Kirk is a representative of a 100+ planets Federation. Saying that Federation culture in the 23th century is hugely influenced by Greece or worse worship of Greek religion is so extremely eurocentristic, it is laughable."
Yes that's our wonderful 1960's American television trappings at work. The message might indeed have been a little more nuanced if it had been filmed today. In Kirk's defense, if the Federation began on Earth, I guess it makes sense that a lot of it is rooted in Earth's history.
I also rolled my eyes little when the miners in "The Devil in the Dark" all spoke with thick New York working-class Archie Bunker-style accents. Come to think of it, I'm pretty sure that head miner was even in an actual "All in the Family" episode. You can't hold it against a show that was made in the 1960's, but sure it's a tad unbelievable for a representation of the 23rd century.
Sun, Jun 19, 2022, 4:55pm (UTC -5)
"Come to think of it, I'm pretty sure that head miner was even in an actual "All in the Family" episode."
Nice catch: Chief Vanderberg played by Ken Lynch was indeed in two All in the Family episodes. Once as a cop; once as a refrigerator repairman, apparently.
Lynch had a hoarse voice which set him up to be a 'heavy'. Once saw him play a boss thug ordering his Neanderthal 'assistant' to beat up a bishop in a hotel room to extract information, after turning up the radio so no one next door could hear. He was perfect in Devil in the Dark, representing a cranky hardass almost devoid of sentiment. "Get it fixed, we have tons of pergium to deliver."(paraphrase). Nice 23rd century type. 'Get er done.' What a Federation!
Sun, Jun 19, 2022, 8:26pm (UTC -5)
"Nice catch: Chief Vanderberg played by Ken Lynch was indeed in two All in the Family episodes. Once as a cop; once as a refrigerator repairman, apparently."
That was it! The refrigerator repairman. "Are you--Bunker? I'm here to fix your icebox." Classic episode; it was all in the delivery. Thanks!
Mon, Jun 20, 2022, 3:28pm (UTC -5)
3 paws for this episode
Mon, Jun 20, 2022, 8:03pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Jun 21, 2022, 2:46pm (UTC -5)
There is some implication that Apollo's attack on her after she spurns him includes rape or at least threat of rape, but unlike the violent relationship between Khan and McGivers, there is no implication that she finds this at all exciting or alluring.
I remember reading the James Blish adaptation of this story, based on an earlier draft of the script, in which the ending has McCoy revealing that Palamas is pregnant by Apollo. I am glad this was edited out. It would have muddied the waters of Palamas' choice to do her duty.
Wed, Jun 22, 2022, 8:17am (UTC -5)
"I remember reading the James Blish adaptation of this story, based on an earlier draft of the script, in which the ending has McCoy revealing that Palamas is pregnant by Apollo. I am glad this was edited out. It would have muddied the waters of Palamas' choice to do her duty."
Not to mention it would also be needlessly superfluous. There was no reason to give Palamas any more "stakes" in her decision making. "I could no more love you than I could a new species of bacteria" said it all beautifully in one sentence of dialogue.
Wed, Jun 22, 2022, 4:06pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Jun 22, 2022, 5:18pm (UTC -5)
I think the way she falls for Apollo and has to be reminded of her duty is an example of an idea that comes up a lot in Trek, especially TOS, that sexuality is a distraction from duty.
They do seem to see this as more inevitable with women than with men, but men, too, including Kirk and even, more rarely, Spock, are often portrayed as needing to force themselves back to work after falling head over heels for a woman. Heck, in "For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky," McCoy even abandons his wife to return to the Enterprise as soon as her civilization cures his terminal illness, and this is somehow portrayed as noble rather than sleazy.
Indeed, I have always seen Scotty's behavior in this episode as falling into that category. He is so worried about defending Palamas that he momentarily but repeatedly forgets they are all there as Starfleet officers, with a job to do. The two of them don't even seem to have any romantic relationship, at least as far as Palamas is concerned, but Scotty's recklessness is clearly connected with her being a woman. It's not as if he's falling all over himself to protect Checkov.
Mon, Sep 26, 2022, 5:41pm (UTC -5)
"There is some implication that Apollo's attack on her after she spurns him includes rape or at least threat of rape, but unlike the violent relationship between Khan and McGivers, there is no implication that she finds this at all exciting or alluring."
Saw the episode tonight and absolutely agree, especially when Palamas staggers out of the bushes at the end looking absolutely traumatised and with a contusion on her head, to be helped by Scotty. Must admit I find Apollo a bit of a sociopath with self pitying tendencies.
Tue, Sep 27, 2022, 3:34pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Oct 5, 2022, 11:42pm (UTC -5)
However I must say, while earlier in my life I judged this as a fairly average episode, I now think it's really much better than that. For one thing, I never noticed how much of an ensemble piece this is. All of the characters get screen time, Sulu perhaps getting the least, with the newly minted Chekhov getting a ton and Scotty too. Even Uhura at least has a close-up scene and some dialogue with Spock.
And then there's Apollo, whose performance by Michael Forest is really every bit as magnificent as Ricardo Montalban's is as Khan. What sets the two apart is really the writing and the intellectual material Khan offers an actor playing him. But Forest not only displays incredible speech and diction, but command presence, sensitivity, and one of the most credible scenes of sorrow I've seen. Even the looks on his face as he's being defied, the hurt he shows, is really quite excellent. We didn't get guest stars this good on TNG, to be honest, as even the late great David Warner (Chancellor Gorkon, Gul Madred) didn't have this kind of range.
Beyond the performances, the conceit of turning the Greek gods into a sci-fi examination has more meat than appears at first glance. What might be taken to be a mere annoying-god-of-the-week appearance is in this case saying more about humanity than about the villain, which I don't think Apollo is. In fact, what it says about humanity is precisely the reason Apollo isn't a villain: what he offers is legitimate, there's no trick or self-serving reason other than the fact that he innately requires worship. And the reason Kirk says humanity can't offer it anymore isn't because humans are more stubborn and arrogant than they used to be, but because they no longer worship power alone, nor do they offer payment for the privilege of being less than what they now are. True, both points are made in other episodes; not worshipping power comes up in Space Seed, and not wanting to merely live on pleasure and be taken care of comes up all over the place. But this episode does both at once, and with a 'villain' who if we're being honest we should feel quite bad for. And of course there's Kirk's throw-in line implying not that they are all atheists but merely denying that they're pagans. I'd also like to note that I'm 100% sure that Lt. Palamis really did love Apollo and that her protestation to him that she was merely studying him was meant to be a barely-believable sham, put on only only to follow Kirk's orders. She did love him, and frankly there was decent reason to, despite the arguments by many that a god should be hated on principle.
There's one more - and perhaps the most - interesting thing I noticed, which is when Kirk tells Palamis she's the only hope for the entire crew. It's her answer that fascinates me:
KIRK: We can't give him that worship, none of us can. Especially you.
KIRK: Spurn him. Reject him. You must. You're special to him.
CAROLYN: Yes. I love him.
KIRK: Lieutenant. All our lives, here and on the ship, depend on you.
CAROLYN: No, not on me.
KIRK: On you, Lieutenant! Reject him, and we have a chance to save ourselves. Accept him, and you condemn all of us to slavery, nothing less than slavery. We might never get help this far out. Or perhaps the thought of spending an eternity bending knee and tending sheep appeals to you.
CAROLYN: Oh, but you don't understand. He's kind, and he wants the best for us. And he's so lonely. What you ask would break his heart. How can I?
And watch her tone when she says "No, not on me." She is genuinely shocked that anything of this magnitude could depend on her. It's not false humility, but real surprise that she could matter so much to humanity. And this is part of the appeal of Apollo to her: without guile, he did open his heart to her and offer to worship her and give her everything. What more can most people ask of a partner? And yet Kirk, who orders her to go against her feelings, who tells her that the only thing she owns - including her own will - is the rest of humanity, also tells her that she means everything. But to achieve it she has to say no to a god. This all strikes me as being, perhaps unintentionally, Christian in the Marian sense. In the NT as well we have a woman, unable to comprehend how someone like her could decide the fate of mankind, who has to make a decision. In that case the (apparently) correct answer was yes, and in this case Kirk tells her it's no. Is the difference simply what she is saying yes (or no) to? In both cases the woman is asked to give herself over to a greater power, so the devil must be in the details. In any case this is another reason I think Who Mourns for Adonais stands far taller than Archons or maybe This Side of Paradise, because it goes into what's lost by giving up a paradise. Not only does humanity lose the associated pleasure, but in this case it means breaking the heart of a god who does in fact love humanity. It means saying goodbye to parts of the past forever and relegating them to academic study. And it also means having to say no to things which are coded into our DNA to seem undeniably good. We could well imagine Palamis being the mother of a new pantheon of gods, spawning new tales, perhaps even living forever. Did she seriously give that up in order to follow her boss's orders? There would have to be an extremely good reason, and Kirk does give it. But she didn't merely escape some trick or deception. However sad she should rightly be at giving all of that up, is presumably how mournful we should be to give up that which brought us where we are today, even if indeed we need to move on and take account of our own paradise.
Wed, Dec 28, 2022, 6:48pm (UTC -5)
A reverence for Greek culture is not totally unbelievable, nor the worst sin of TOS on this front. Exaggerated, and for the wrong reasons do we see continued reverence for Greek/Euro traditions, sure, but among highly educated people in the world, it isn't uncommon in the same way that highly educated Westerners may find something admirable in Chinese philosophers.
(I know it is totally lopsided today and in the society of this future Trek world, with blithely ignorant Westerners mostly taking their own culture's past for granted as uniquely special, however.)
The real Eurocentrism is the assumption of parallel development. In the nineteenth century, this hypothesis (now seen to be clearly false) scientifically justified racism and colonialism. All societies went through similar steps, similar phases, etc. If people in China did not "yet" wear Western suits, the natural outfit of a technologically advanced society, then this comports with all the other shortcomings of China. Additionally, any other strange things about India or China must be inferior and backward things that we in the West once did, but have since grown beyond. It is still a widespread implicit belief, unfortunately. The default label for bad practices (even ones that are truly bad) of non-Western societies is "medieval," as if 12th century Italy and Persia both flung homosexuals from rooftops with gusto and that Iran stubbornly resists dropping this practice.
Roddenberry had these flashes of archconservatism: sexism, Eurocentrism, anti-Communism. He did aspire to rise above some of that and hope for cosmopolitanism, but Chekhov is the good White Russian we should embrace while Klingons (pre-movies, pre-TNG) are clear Soviet allegories. Only from TNG onward was Trek truly a humanist utopia: free of superstition (i e., atheist), women could wear trousers, post-capitalist, etc.
TOS was still extremely Eurocentric, but not because of this episode.
Wed, Dec 28, 2022, 6:53pm (UTC -5)
But TOS basically name checked the equivalent of phrenology more than once.
Fri, Jan 27, 2023, 1:22pm (UTC -5)
))It is Lt. Palamas who early on delivers the immortal line about the surprising absence of intelligent life in the section of space then being patrolled. Not sure what that was referring to but could have been a veiled reference to the network execs of the period. Can anyone confirm or otherwise explain this for me?((
My feeling is that Palamas' statement has the purely pragmatic function of explaining (later) why Apollo is "lonely." If there had been other civilizations in the neighborhood, that would have made Apollo's demand for "company" (in the form of worshippers) less understandable. Apollo has to be isolated for the plot to "work."
Fri, Jan 27, 2023, 1:32pm (UTC -5)
))It's too bad if later Star Trek series has less inspiring titles.((
"Battle of the Binary Stars," anyone?
If I recall correctly, approx. 40% of the stars in the Milky Way are members of binary (or trinary) systems! Dubbing a military event the "Battle of the Binary Stars" is about as specific as calling it the "Battle of the Red Star."
Fri, Jan 27, 2023, 1:45pm (UTC -5)
))the ending has McCoy revealing that Palamas is pregnant by Apollo. I am glad this was edited out. It would have muddied the waters of Palamas' choice to do her duty.((
Au contraire! It would have emphasized even further Palamas' dedication to duty.
Spurning a suitor with whom one has engaged in a little playful banter and harmless flirtation is one thing - rejecting a partner with whom one has already been "intimate" would require a far greater level of dedication!
(NOTE: In my "head canon," the impregnation would have taken place under circumstances of mutual consent - not after Apollo goes "all ape.")
Sun, Mar 12, 2023, 9:06pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Mar 23, 2023, 12:00pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Apr 8, 2023, 8:38pm (UTC -5)
Fri, May 12, 2023, 12:10am (UTC -5)
Two of our watchers, when Apollo offered to love Palamas and make her a goddess, felt that would be a hard offer to refuse. We all felt the Lieutenant did an excellent job of doing her duty despite conflicting feelings. There is some jarring sexism, not because of when it was made, but because of how it contrasts with the incredibly non-sexist bits of the episode (pretty much the latter half).
The visual demonstration that humans don't just no longer have need for Gods but HAVE BECOME GODS is one of the most powerful scenes in all of Star Trek.
This episode shouldn't work. On paper, it's a typical Lost in Space premise where the family meets a buffoonish superguy. But Michael Forest SELLS it. The episode makes me tear up.
Four stars of five.
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