This second season has been hit and miss so far: once again, after a splendid episode (Mirror, Mirror), here comes another weak one: The Apple. Why didn’t I enjoy it? Because it’s a concentration of clichés taken from the first season, its theme feels repetitive, and its rhythm is slow despite being, at least in theory, a 100% action episode.
The USS Enterprise is in orbit around Gamma Trianguli VI and Kirk descends on the planet accompanied by a large group of colleagues including the inevitable Spock and McCoy but, above all, four, and I say four, men in red uniforms. As soon as I saw them I thought that they couldn’t last much, and this is exactly what happened. As usual, Kirk looked desperate for the death of these poor redshirts whose lives could have been easily saved if Starfleet had some minimum safety protocols in place for the exploration of unknown planets.
The story, and I find it useless to get lost in the details, is the following: the planet population lives subjugated by a computer, so there’s no freedom even if everyone seems happy. I know what you’re thinking: it’s the same plot as The Return of the Archons (and, of course, Alphaville, the 1965 movie by Jean-Luc Godard)! And once again the computer, just like the one called Landru in the twenty-first episode of the first season, doesn’t accept the existence of emotions, which gives rise to various (not) funny jokes about the need for the humanoids to learn how to procreate. Even the final solution is the same: destroy the computer, obviously, which here is depicted as a cave with the entrance shaped like a snake’s head with smoke and burning eyes. Not exactly the most science-fiction concept possible, I would say, but it goes hand in hand with the Hawaiian appearances of the indigenous people of the planet.
In short, there’s not much else to say. I laughed out loud when the four redshirts died horribly: Hendorff (Mal Friedman) from a poisoned flower, Kaplan (Dick Dial) electrocuted, Mallory (Jay D. Jones) on a rock-mine, and Marple (Jerry Daniels) killed by the natives with a well-aimed blow to the head with a fearsome polystyrene club. Luckily, the women escape this implacable law of the red uniform, so I am happy to report that the beautiful yeoman Landon (Celeste Yamall) is still alive at the end of the episode, even if continuously harassed by Chekov. Starfleet discipline is still in an embryonic state…
In short, let’s get to the next episode and forget this one quickly!
Previous episode: Mirror, Mirror
Next episode: The Doomsday Machine