Star Trek-A-Day (Day 7) April 27th, 2013. TOS: Who Mourns for Adonais?

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‘Mankind has no need for Gods.’ That pretty much sums up the entire episode. I’ve always loved it when Star Trek tackles the God(s) issue. Captain Kirk remains one of my heroes for his attitudes towards false prophets. One of my favorite Kirk quotes comes from the horrible, The Final Frontier where he asks the question, ‘What does God need with a starship?” In this episode, the crew of the Enterprise encounter a being claiming to be Apollo. Yes, the Apollo of Greek mythology. It turns out that Greek mythology is not actually mythology at all and they all visited Earth once upon a time.
Now, people were less civilized and were more willing to believe anything at that time so they just assumed that these beings were Gods. Mankind has grown up however, and as Kirk says, they’ve outgrown those silly ideas and will not worship Apollo. Worship being the only thing Apollo seeks from them. The episode begins with one of the most ridiculous images we’ve seen on the show which is a giant hand is space. It traps the Enterprise and threatens to crush it if Kirk and the crew do not worship Apollo.
It’s a ridiculous image but of course it’s not really a hand at all, but rather a huge energy source. Call me an optimist but for every ridiculous thing that I see, I try to create something to justify it. An also outrageous thing that happens in the episode is Apollo’s ability to make himself huge and back to regular size at will. For some reason though, this doesn’t look too bad and I just went with it.
I love Apollo’s need for worship and how wounded he has become in solitude just waiting for Mankind to catch up and find him. Where the episode asks me to feel sorry for him however, by having him shed tears at the end of the episode, I wasn’t feeling it. Much like Kirk, I just wasn’t buying it. The poor little God shedding tears because of a lack of worship will probably not garner too much sympathy from anyone. So while it was a good idea and a lasting image, I shrugged it off, not really even wondering where Apollo has gone to.
Whether Kirk is agnostic, atheist, or even something else, above all, Kirk is not an idiot and will always go with his instincts. He will never just buy the idea of an all-powerful God at least not without certifiable proof. Kirk has seen many things in the universe, many different beings with many different abilities. He has realized that to the uncivilized, any advanced person can call himself a God and have entire races believe that. Mankind, at least during the time Star Trek takes place, has outgrown that and will not be impressed by just anybody waving around lightning bolts or making themselves taller.
Of course, Mankind today is still stuck in a rut and believing in childish fairy tales. I love the optimist of Star Trek and how we can one day let go of those childish things. Star Trek has always been about optimism and about what we can be. Those are the episodes and ideas that I cling to the most.

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