Director: Joseph Pevney
Writers: Max Ehrlich
Cast: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, Keith Andes, Celeste Yarnall, James Doohan, David Soul, Walter Koenig, Jay Jones, Jerry Daniels, John Winston, Mal Friedman, and Shari Nims
Composer: Gerald Fried
Air Date: 10/13/1967
Production #: 60338
After beaming down to the planet Gamma Trianguli VI, landing party members Captain Kirk, First Officer Spock, Dr. McCoy, Ensign Chekov, and Yeoman Martha Landon (Celeste Yarnall) explore the surrounding area. Initially mesmerized by the alien world’s paradisiac beauty, the Enterprise crew soon realizes that things are not as perfect as they appear.
A forgettable season two entry, “The Apple” lacks a compelling narrative to compensate for its cringe-worthy dialogue. In addition to its hackneyed plot, this episode struggles to maintain a serious atmosphere because of the Vaalians’ uncanny resemblance to Oompa-Loompas.
Though used more effectively in “Metamorphosis,” Gerald Fried’s poignant score gives a much-needed emotional quality to the Vaalians and their childlike culture.
Gamma Trianguli VI contains a variety of unique dangers, including killer flora, stones that explode when thrown, and lightning bolts capable of vaporizing planetary trespassers. While fascinating on paper, none of these natural threats serve to enhance the conflict facing the main characters. Perhaps if fewer “red shirts” had accompanied the landing party, viewers would be less able to predict which crewmembers fail to survive their ostensibly hazardous environment.
Star Trek fans will notice a striking parallel between the Vaal entity and Landru. However, whereas “The Return of the Archons” explored the implications of a computerized dictator in remarkable detail, “The Apple” never provides sufficient backstory/motive to explain Vaal’s desire for control. In spite of this incredible flaw, science fiction enthusiasts should appreciate the commentary on absolute freedom as a means of overcoming stagnation. Likewise, Kirk’s decision to challenge the Prime Directive when confronted with a morally ambiguous situation creates enough conflict to carry the story, even though this subplot also borrows heavily from the aforementioned episode.
Despite numerous clichés and unanswered questions, “The Apple” might be worth a look for those who possess more than a passing interest in the material outlined earlier. Though Kirk’s ability to literally talk a computer to death will forever remain one of Star Trek’s greatest highlights, many fans of the original series may wish to view this episode for the captain’s innovative, albeit less awe-inspiring, solution to the Vaal problem.
Overall Quality: 5/10
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