21 October 2016

His gold leaf provider, maybe? (Review: 'Star Trek' 2.2, "Who Mourns for Adonais?")

When I said we needed a hand, this not what I meant...

Forgot to mention something last week - T'Pau also gave her name to a 1980s British band, best known for "China in Your Hand".

Anyway, moving on...

Exploring another planet (Pollux IV), the Enterprise gets grabbed by a mysterious green hand in space, which belongs to a - yep, another one - powerful being. This one, who goes by the name of Apollo, claims to be a god, who wants the crew of the ship to worship and serve him. He's also rather interested in a female member of the ship's crew...

Looking at this episode, it's got a couple of elements that would figure majorly in other franchises - firstly powerful aliens being treated as deities, something that would be a major part of the Stargate universe. Also, attempting to do deal with a problem by 'reversing the polarity', before Doctor Who did it, but that line actually goes back as far as 1968.

Most of the regulars do well - Uhura gets to showcase some new skills for example - but pride of place goes to Chekov, in his second episode. His character beats get established quickly (including a bit involving the Cheshire cat), he has some genuinely good observations and anyone who can answer back a 'god' with the line "And I'm the Czar of the All the Russias" gets my vote. His hair is a bit distracting though...

We have only a few guest stars in this episode. Pride of place goes Michael Forest as Apollo and Leslie Parrish as Lieutenant Carolyn Palamis.

Apollo first appears as a disembodied headshot in space in a scene that reminded me of a 1980s Doctor Who title sequence and then spends the rest of the episode being pretentious while dressed in a chest-baring gold toga. He throws about lightning bolts and can hold a ship in place, but the guy is lacking in menace. Mid-Atlantic accents are probably not the best choice for ancient 'gods', not without vocal treatment at any rate. There are frankly better super beings in the show.

Palamis is not so much remembered for her character (who is pretty but far too 'airy'), but the outfit that Apollo magically puts on her... or the distinct lack of one. The pink dress she wears - and a modern female character would hopefully complain about it (if I was magically undressed without my consent, I'd deem that sexual assault) - is basically draped over her breasts, looking like a wardrobe malfunction waiting to happen... which is almost certainly what William Theiss, a man who seems to have designed costumes using his male urges, was thinking. Parrish (who had chunks of skin torn off by the sheer amounts of double-sided tape used) was apparently completely fine in the outfit... it was everyone else who had concerns about it! Also, 1960s US television had a strange hang-up over showing the female navel... I will also comment that "woman falling in love with a clearly dodgy guy" (and not dodgy in a good way) is the sort of thing that riles feminists and I like to think of myself as well.

Another quick point - Pollux or Beta Geminorum is only 33.72 light years from Sol... that seems rather close for an exploration mission. Did they know it was that 'close' back then?



There's some decent stuff in this episode, but it's overly pretentious and drags something awful at times.  


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