Open main menu

"Who Mourns for Adonais?" is episode No. 31, production No. 33, of the second season of the American science fiction television series Star Trek. Written by Gilbert Ralston and Gene L. Coon, and directed by Marc Daniels, it was first broadcast September 22, 1967, and repeated May 10, 1968. The allusion is to the 1821 elegy Adonais by Percy Bysshe Shelley.[1]

"Who Mourns for Adonais?"
Star Trek: The Original Series episode
Episode no. Season 2
Episode 2
Directed by Marc Daniels
Written by Gilbert Ralston
Gene L. Coon
Featured music Fred Steiner
Cinematography by Jerry Finnerman
Production code 033
Original air date September 22, 1967 (1967-09-22)
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
← Previous
"Amok Time"
Next →
"The Changeling"
List of Star Trek: The Original Series episodes

In the episode, the crew of the Enterprise are held captive by an alien who claims to be the Greek god Apollo.

Contents

PlotEdit

A huge energy field in the shape of a glowing green hand appears and grabs the Enterprise, halting its movement. Captain James T. Kirk tries to shake the ship free, but to no avail. A humanoid apparition appears on the bridge viewscreen and addresses the ship's crew. Kirk demands that the ship be set free, but the being responds by tightening its grip, threatening to crush the ship.

Kirk leads a landing party that includes Lieutenant Carolyn Palamas. The team arrives at what appears to be an ancient Greek temple, where they encounter the humanoid who identifies himself as the god Apollo. He informs the party that he will not allow them to leave, and renders the team's communicators and transporter room nonfunctional. He indicates that he expects the crew of the Enterprise to worship him as their ancestors had done. Kirk defiantly refuses.

Apollo's attention shifts toward Carolyn, angering Mr. Scott, who steps forward to defend her against Apollo's advances. Apollo destroys his weapon and announces he will take Carolyn as his consort. After displaying his power, Apollo appears tired, and then vanishes along with Carolyn.

Kirk and McCoy speculate that their captor was one of a group of powerful aliens that visited Earth millennia ago and became objects of worship to the ancient Greeks. Having noticed Apollo's apparent fatigue, Kirk decides to try to provoke Apollo in order to test the limits of his power, perhaps weakening him enough to allow the landing party to overcome him. Meanwhile, Carolyn learns that Apollo belonged to a group of travelers, god-like in the sense of having the power of life and death, but unable to exist without love and worship. He is the last of their kind, the others having given up hope that humans might one day turn back to them.

Kirk's plan to provoke Apollo is frustrated when Carolyn intervenes to protect the landing party. Apollo instructs Kirk to begin making arrangements for the remaining crew to come down to the planet. Kirk takes Carolyn aside and tells her that she must reject Apollo to save them all from slavery. She reluctantly agrees.

Meanwhile, Mr. Spock locates the power source for the force field holding the Enterprise, and finds a way to fire phasers through it. Sorrowfully putting responsibility before her romantic desires, a broken-hearted Carolyn rejects Apollo by lying through her teeth and telling him she was only using him for scientific work and likens him to a specimen of bacteria. Angered and hurt, Apollo calls down thunder and lightning to intimidate her. Kirk orders Spock to fire on the power source.

Defeated, Apollo addresses his fellow gods, admitting that there is indeed no room left in the universe for them, and begs to be taken away. Carolyn is devastated, and Kirk shows some remorse, remarking on the debt owed by human civilization to Apollo and his kind.

ReceptionEdit

Zack Handlen of The A.V. Club gave the episode a C+ rating, noting that it was occasionally memorable, but "undone by lazy scripting and bizarre dialogue".[2]

Cultural referencesEdit

The title is a quotation from the poem Adonais by Percy Shelley, which is loosely based upon A Lament for Adonis by the Greek poet Bion. A part of the episode is shown in a scene in X-Men: Apocalypse.

See alsoEdit

  • "How Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth" – An episode of the animated Star Trek series about an alien that had long ago visited Earth and now demands worship as a god by the Enterprise crew.
  • Star Trek: New Frontier, a series of novels written by Peter David. One of the characters, Mark McHenry, is a descendant of Apollo. (In the novelization of the episode, but cut from the final shooting script, Carolyn Palamas is pregnant with Apollo's child, whom she names Athena. Athena is Mark McHenry's grandmother.)
  • In the photonovel Star Trek: New Visions issue #11 "Of Woman Born" John Byrne re-tells the episode's ending and continues with the events during Carolyn Palamas' pregnancy.[3]
  • The first episode of Star Trek Continues, entitled "Pilgrim of Eternity", was a 2013 fan based sequel to the episode. In it, Michael Forest reprised his role as an elderly Apollo who asks the Enterprise crew for help.

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit