make arrangements for

Who Mourns for Adonais?

"Who Mourns for Adonais?" is a second season episode of Star Trek: The Original Series. It is episode #31, production #33, first broadcast September 22, 1967 and repeated May 10, 1968. It was written by Gilbert Ralston and Gene L. Coon, and directed by Marc Daniels.

Overview: The crew of the Enterprise are held captive by the Greek god Apollo.


On stardate 3468.1, the starship USS Enterprise, under the command of Captain James T. Kirk, is nearing orbit of Pollux IV, a Class M planet, for a survey. Suddenly, a huge energy field in the shape of a glowing green hand appears and grabs the Enterprise; halting its movement. Kirk tries to wriggle the ship free of the hand by using the ship's impulse engines, but to no avail.

An apparition, wearing a golden laurel wreath on its head, appears on the bridge viewscreen and addresses the ship's crew as his "beloved children". The words of the figure boom with a godlike presence, and he seems impressed with the human species for finally making their way into deep space. Kirk demands that the ship be set free, but the being responds by tightening the grip, threatening to crush the ship. Kirk backs off, and then the apparition invites them down to the planet, all except for Mr. Spock, whose pointed ears remind him of Pan's annoying nature.

Kirk assembles a landing party consisting of himself, Dr. McCoy, Engineer Mr. Scott, Mr. Chekov, and Lieutenant Carolyn Palamas (who specializes in archaeology, and anthropology, and whom Mr. Scott shows growing affection toward). The team arrives in what appears to be an ancient garden from Mount Olympus, complete with marble columns and Greek statues. They soon encounter an attractive male being dressed in a short chiton. The humanoid identifies himself as the god Apollo. He informs the party that he will not allow them to leave, and renders the team's communicators useless. He indicates that he wants the crew of the Enterprise to settle Pollux IV, to serve and worship him as their god, which Kirk instantly refuses.

Annoyed, Apollo grows to a gigantic height as a show of his awesome power, but he quickly shifts his interests toward Lt. Palamas which angers Mr. Scott. Apollo admires her beauty, and Palamas seems flattered as he takes her hand. Scotty steps forward to defend her against Apollo's advances, but he finds his weapon destroyed. Apollo then magically transforms the Lieutenant's uniform into a revealing peplos and announces he will take her as his bride. Scotty protests again, but Apollo repels him with an electrical shock sending him to the ground.

After this display of his power, Apollo appears drained, retiring with Lt. Palamas to his throne, which leads Kirk to the idea that he needs time to recuperate his energy. McCoy scans Apollo, discovering he has an extra organ in his chest, but the doctor isn't sure of its function. He guesses it may have something to do with the alien's powers. Kirk schemes a plan to deliberately anger Apollo to see how far his powers can go. Maybe if he's weakened enough he'll lose his hold on the Enterprise and the party can overpower him once and for all.

Meanwhile, Lt. Palamas, starry-eyed in love, learns all that she can from her divine sweetheart. Kirk and McCoy conclude that he is indeed the real Apollo, who was part of a group of powerful aliens that once visited Earth 50 centuries ago. Eventually all but Apollo realized that humanity had outgrown them. They spread themselves "upon the wind" and faded away into nothing.

Apollo then instructs Kirk to make arrangements for the crew of the Enterprise to come down to the planet. Once that is done he will destroy the ship and begin a new society of humans to rule over. Kirk takes Palamas aside and orders her to reject Apollo if he doesn't comply with Kirk's demands to leave. Reluctantly putting duty before her own heart, a love-sparked Carolyn lies through her teeth and tells Apollo she was only using him to get information and could no more love him than she could love a new strain of bacteria. Angered and hurt, a broken-hearted Apollo calls down thunder and lightning and prepares to punish the landing party.

Meanwhile, in orbit around the planet, Mr. Spock manages to locate the source of Apollo's powers, which is somewhere inside his temple (In what seems to be a continuity error, Spock is aware that the being is Apollo even though the god only revealed this to the landing party, and they haven't been in communication with the ship since that time.) As Apollo's energy unfolds, it weakens the protective shield around the structure. Spock relays the information to Kirk, who orders him to lock phasers on the structure. Spock is able to punch through with the ship's phasers, destroying the temple.

Apollo is stunned when his powers are nullified. Weakened, he turns to the sky, growing gigantic again, and pronouncing sadness that there is no room left in the universe for gods. Before he says this, he tells the Enterprise crew that he would have taken care of them and would have loved them as a father loves his children. He then pleads with his fellow deities to take him away. Rejected by a mortal woman, and bereft of his powers, Apollo fades away.

Kirk remarks with some regret that Apollo and his fellow gods had once been a major inspiration for mankind, driving civilisation to new heights in art and philosophy. With that in mind, he wonders "would it have hurt us so much to light a fire, and gather just a few laurel leaves?"

40th Anniversary remastering

This episode was remastered in 2006 and aired January 12, 2008 as part of the remastered Original Series. It was preceded a week earlier by the remastered version of "Day of the Dove" and followed a week later by the remastered version of "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield". Aside from remastered video and audio, and the all-CGI animation of the USS Enterprise that is standard among the revisions, specific changes to this episode also include:

  • The planet Pollux IV has been given a more realistic, Earth-like appearance.
  • The glowing hand of Apollo was reanimated to look more menacing and given the appearance of a shimmering apparition of energy.
  • The phaser beams fired by Enterprise have been reanimated. Their color – originally red – has been changed to blue to maintain consistency from previous episodes.
  • The attack on Apollo's temple has been modified. Flares of light have been added as the phasers destroy the temple.


  • The title of the episode is taken from a line from Percy Bysshe Shelley's poem Adonais.
  • An earlier draft of the script ended with McCoy telling Kirk that Lt. Palamas was now pregnant. James Blish's short story adaptation of the episode also includes this ending.
  • The 'hand' was featured in the Futurama episode Where No Fan Has Gone Before, when Melllvar attempts to stop the Planet Express crew from leaving Omega 3.


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