Star Trek: The Apple   Rewatch 
March 14, 2015 8:11 AM - Season 2, Episode 5 - Subscribe

The Enterprise crew beams down to the planet Gamma Trianguli VI, and find what appears to be an idyllic paradise. They quickly discover, however, that the planet is deadly, sporting plants that shoot thorns, rocks that explode, and incredibly accurate lightning bolts all controlled by an intelligent computer named Vaal.

"The Apple" is episode No. 34, production No. 38, of the second season of the original science fiction television series Star Trek. Written by Max Ehrlich, and directed by Joseph Pevney, it was first broadcast on October 13, 1967 and repeated July 12, 1968.

In this episode, the crew of the Enterprise visits a mysterious paradisical planet controlled by a computer that is served by the local inhabitants.

Memory Alpha Link

The Episode can be viewed on Netflix and Youtube.
posted by Benway (5 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I was just thinking about this episode! My favorite bits -- and boy is it a hard choice:

1. Of killing: "It is a thing to do, like feeding Vaal." A colleague of mine likes to start with this sentence when asked about practically anything.

2. When Yeoman Landon drops a guy with a spectacular kick. (Seen here at 0:44.)
posted by George_Spiggott at 4:10 PM on March 14, 2015

Heh. Interesting colleague. As for the kick, and the preceding flip, they're both painfully obvious stage-fight setup moves for the stunt man to flip himself (and boy, did women get kicking and banging guys on the head with pots as fight moves, back in those days).

This is yet another iteration of a classic John W. Campbell theme that so many TOS, and a few TNG, episodes took out for a spin. Two, really -- the machine controlling a culture, and a culture on some sort of perpetual motion infinity run, the latter especially here suggesting the currently popular issue of Oceania cultures that turned into cargo cults after World War II, while missing the notion that even such "backwards" cultures can themselves evolve within the constraints that seem bizarre to us with our starships and/or jet planes. The more interesting question for me, a half century later, is how blinded we humans are in such encounters, and how often such stories reduce a people to the object of a parable. The culture in the opening scenes of Star Trek Into Darkness are a real throwback in that regard.
posted by dhartung at 12:31 AM on March 15, 2015

This episode is not good for red shirts. According to this list, there are two episodes that match or beat this for the number of red shirt deaths, though they don't make every death unique like in this one.
posted by RobotHero at 10:11 AM on March 15, 2015

Also they set up this philosophical question of is it better to be free and grow and change on your own or to be under the control of the machine but be free of death and pain. What would have happened if they decided on the answer that contradicted what they needed to do to save the Enterprise?

I expect a Next Generation episode dealt with that. Kirk would never consider sacrificing the Enterprise for the sake of an abstract principle. (He'll do it for a more concrete "save millions of lives" situation.)
posted by RobotHero at 10:20 AM on March 15, 2015

Just once I'd like to see a place in TOS described as "paradise" actually resemble paradise instead of the remainder section of a Home Depot nursery.

I wondered why Kirk was wearing a green shirt instead of a gold one, and I was the 10 millionth person to do so, apparently. The answer is complicated (lighting on the set) but can be found here.
posted by acrasis at 11:56 AM on January 31, 2021

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