"The Changeling," Ep. 37 - Nomad, a deadly robotic space probe, is on target for Earth. Can Captain Kirk outsmart the killer computer? "The Apple," Ep. 38 - Vaal, protector of Gamma Trianguli VI, tries everything is its po... more »wer to destroy Kirk and the U.S.S. Enterprise during an ill-fated visit to the strange planet.« less
Ok... this would have been a pretty good episode... had Roddenberry NOT added the Uhura part to the story. I'm sorry... it is LUDICROUS! She gets her memory wiped irreversibly so... they just "retrain" her. She starts out learning to speak English and read a First Grade book. Dr. McCoy says that in a week she can be back to her station as a communications officer... uh... yeah in a week you are going to train her to speak "All three dialects of Romulan" and all the other important stuff she spent years at an Acadamey learning... Yeah... right.
Oddly enough Roddenberry used this episode to make another flop in Star Trek History... "The Motion Picture." Frankly this episode is better than the movie mainly cuz it is a heck of a lot shorter. :)
Like I said, other than the obvious FLAWS. It isn't a bad episode. The idea was pretty good and the ending was well done too. Just the obvious defects makes it a silly episode, that I don't take seriously at all.
This episode has a high Red-shirt Death Rate. Plus Spock is pretty accident prone too. He gets poisoned, zapped by a forcefield, and struck by lightening. Good thing he wore a Blue shirt and not RED! Sheesh!
Actually a pretty decent episode with some humorous dialogue and not a boring plot.
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Breaking Computers and Killing God
Hank Drake | Cleveland, OH United States | 03/02/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Paramount continues its release of the complete Original Series with these two typical episodes from Season Two.The Changeling features Captain Kirk battling wits with a computer, and winning. This is not the first time this plot device was used (Season One episode The Return of the Archons springs to mind) nor would it be the last--parts of this plot were recycled for Star Trek The Motion Picture. The voice of Nomad is supplied by Vic Perrin (best known as the "we are in control" voice from The Outer Limits, Perrin also appeared in the Star Trek episode Mirror, Mirror, as the leader of the Halkan Counsel).The Apple is an allegorical story touching on Adam & Eve's expulsion from the Garden of Eden. The writer laid on the biblical symbolism pretty thick here. Vaal, this primitive culture's "God," is a computer (another parallel with The Return of the Archons) festooned with a serpent's head. At the end of the episode, Kirk orders the Enterprise--which is trapped in a decaying orbit due to interference from Vaal--to destroy the machine. Spock's line, "Vaal is dead" is reminiscent of the "God is dead" philoshophy being perpetrated by college professors in the 1960s. David Soul, who would later be featured in the popular 1970s series Starsky & Hutch has a small guest role.These two episodes are of middling quality and will probably be of interest to die-hard Trekkers. Aside from the original episode trailers, there are no extras. (The reason no bloopers have been released with the series is that a Star Trek cast member sued Roddenberry in the 1970s for showing the blooper reel at Star Trek conventions, and Paramount has agreed not to release them commercially.)Picture and sound have been superbly restored."
Not the best Original Series episodes but stil enjoyable.
Michael Hickerson | 06/12/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"At this point, in the TOS run, the number of truly great episodes is starting to dwindle a bit and being replaced more and more by episodes that have good intentions but they aren't always realized on screen. Case in point is "The Apple" (or as I call it--"Spock's Really Bad Day") which is once again an examination of the theme that humanity wasn't intended for a paradise we don't work to achieve and the classic Trek theme of Kirk vs. Computers. Yes, this one has some great moments--Kirk firing Scotty, Spock getting repeatedly abused by plant spores/darts and lightning and Kirk using the Enterprise's phasers to destroy Baal. It's campy at times, but it's still always entertaining (a claim that certain modern Treks can't always claims--namely Voyager).The other episode on this disc is The Changeling which is an interesting storyline. It's one of about three or four episodes that influenced the storyline of Star Trek: The Motion Picture. It's got nice performances and it works fairly well as a ship in the bottle type of story (done to save money as Trek was an expensive show). However, compared to other ship in the bottle classics such as the Doomsday Machine it falls a bit short."
Two super machines - Two different kinds of fun classic trek
Rottenberg's rotten book review | nyc | 08/06/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A great pair of episodes - exemplifying both the campy and the genuinely creepy aspects of sci-fi on classic trek. First, the creepy...The Enterprise encounters a machine (small enough to be towed though the Enterprise's corridors with a virtually invisible wire, yet powerful enough to wipe out both whole civilizations and Lt. Uhuru's voice). Though unrecognizable and sentient beyond any human technology, the machine identifies itself as "Nomad" - a robot probe launched from Earth in the 21st century. Even stranger - the probe identifies Kirk as its creator. Thinking quickly, Spock convinces Kirk not to correct the machine's error (though since the mistake saves the ship from destruction, it was more instinct than inference) and, though unsure of the machine's true nature at first, Kirk keeps Nomad in the dark. We learn that Nomad, to some extent, is the same Nomad created in the 21st century - a unique experiment combining space exploration and artificial intelligence, and cooked up by an eccentric inventor whose name sounds like Kirk's. We also learn that Nomad had encountered and merged with an alien probe with a seemingly similar mission, but far greater powers. The mind-meld in which Spock learns the horrific truth adds a chill and also some depth to the machine, which is one of the most perfect examples of coldly calculating AI on any major science fiction program. Though Classic Trek repeatedly concocted alien superbeings based on computers that had evolved to the point where they thought themselves gods ("For the world is hollow"; "Return of the Archons"; "The Ultimate Computer" and "The Apple"), this episode rose from the pack, and remains conceptually indistinguishable from "Star Trek, The Motion Picture" despite the far superior FX of that film. If "The Changeling" was creepy, then "The Apple" is a campy treat - we've got a primitive yet beautiful race on a wild and dangerous planet who are completely ignorant of matters of love (but not innocent enough to keep from laughing when first hearing Spock's name); we've got the Enterprise in peril and Scotty unsurprisingly predicting disaster; we've got Spock and Checkhov play acting to trap a suspicious spying alien ("what do you expect, wy-olins?") and we've got an army of starfleet personnel in red shirts dropping like flies. First finding a lush alien world when landing, the crew quickly realize that the planet is a death trap - full of flowers shooting poisonous spores and prone to storms that pepper the planet with precisely aimed lightning bolts. It's no surprise that the planet is "managed" by a huge and powerful computer which the natives worship as a god. When the god, Vol, commands annihilation of the intruders - an order issued via telepathy to the tribal leader played by Peter Graves - the crew fight back. In the end, phaser power settles the argument, though that's still more convincing than in other episodes where the all-powerful machine is blasted out of existence merely because somebody asked the ultimate question. On a side note, DC comics published monthly adventures of Star Trek, including a three-issue sequel to this episode which was fun but also reminded me how much fun the show was. Next Generation was never this enjoyable."
Filler Eps from an Otherwise Great Season!
Frederick Baptist | Singapore | 10/24/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"If you are picking and choosing which volumes to keep, you can safely give this one a miss without missing too much. The first episode is interesting though because the theme is very similar to the V'ger story from the first Star Trek movie. The tension and tight plot are redeeming factors to an otherwise average episode.
The second and weaker episode shows an emotionally vulnerable Kirk who questions himself and his abilities when a number of his crew die on an Eden-like planet behaving as if he is a rookie captain who has only just lost members of his crew on dangerous assignments. The rest of the episode is very forgettable and ranks among the worst of all 3 seasons combined."
David C. Hill | Centennial, CO USA | 02/21/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"These two episodes are great summaries of the original series. "The Changeling" is an inexpensive ship-bound script, with a standard defeating-computers-through-logic riff. It still stands better in its own way than the first motion picture, which used the same theme. Ironically, it stands as an example of what happens when one lets personal criteria determine whether or not an encountered culture should survive -- something Star Fleet's Prime Directive is supposed to prevent, and which is no more clearly violated than in the other episode, "The Apple," where Kirk decides that having a computer make you contented nature children is somehow "unnatural" and therefore has to be ended. This episode is noteworthy both for the number of "red shirts" killed (they have to beam down in two groups there will be so many), and for having a female crewman actually do some hand-to-hand fighting. Good entertainment to be had by all."