Episode 34 – TOS 2×05: “The Apple”

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This week’s episode… I’m gonna be honest with you: it asks no coherent questions, provides no lucid answers, but does involve a massive, probably-malevolent snake-computer. So… there’s that.

We couldn’t agree whether this was the best or the worst set so far.











There’s a lot of Garden of Eden metaphors sprinkled vaguely throughout this story, though the operative word here is “vague.” Our brave (and frankly kind of stupid) away team beams down to a planet that they liken to paradise: constant, hospitable temperatures from pole to pole, fertile soil “ripe for husbandry” (and the awkward sex references just keep on coming), beautiful flowers that will murder you as soon as look at you (and will happily do both), exploding rocks, and a small but thriving population of spray-tanned slaves/worshipers who would look more at home in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory than the stereotypical grass-hut village they’ve been placed in for… whatever reason. It’s unclear. To feed Vaal? Vaal apparently really likes space melons.

The Oompa-Loompas learning about murder
Also they make a handy stand-in for demonstrating how to inflict crushing skull injuries.












If you couldn’t tell, the consensus was that this was a pretty bad episode. On the face of things, it seems like the kind of episode that at least two of us should enjoy: evil computers! Wacky hijinks in an alien wilderness! Enterprise-threatening peril on a countdown clock! But it all comes apart before it even begins, largely because nobody involved in the writing of this episode could decide what metaphor they wanted to explore.

And unlike previous similar stories where the heroic Enterprise crew comes in and rescues a “primitive”/enslaved/oppressed population from evil computers/”barbaric” cultural practices/themselves, in this case the child-like Feeders of Vaal are left, at the end of the episode with basically a “good luck, see you never!”

The Feeders of Vaal, looking confused
Wait, so, now what?









We spend a lot of episodes just trying to figure out what painfully-transparent moral we’re supposed to be left with at the end, and while the Eden imagery was coming on strong, we’re only like 45% that the metaphor fits. We can agree on one thing, though: perfect innocence is overrated, and nobody really wants to live in a garden forever.

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