Star Trek TOS: Bible References Aplenty and No Sex Allowed in Paradise
Star Trek: The Original Series
Season 2, Episode 5
The episode began on a planet resembling the Garden of Eden, and all of the Enterprise crewmembers gushed over its atmosphere. But then the vegetation started killing people. The mood changed.
The group suspected the existence of humanoids on the planet, warning one another to be careful while doing reconnaissance of the environment. Kirk called the place a Garden of Eden with land mines.
Back on Enterprise, the anti-matter pods were acting up. And all signs pointed to the planet, Gamma Trianguli VI, as the culprit. When Spock was shot with thorns from a plant, the stakes changed. This was a big deal. Meanwhile, the Enterprise was totally disabled.
McCoy revived Spock, so crisis was averted there. His quick recovery was another testament to the superiority of hi Vulcan biology — the plant’s poison stood no chance against Spock’s superhuman blood.
Then, a thunderstorm struck the planet, killing two more of Kirk’s crew. The damn place was nightmarish. Shortly after the storm, Kirk encountered a person who looked like a troll just returning from a tanning booth. The sunburnt troll talked about a guy named Vaal, and Kirk insisted on meeting him. The troll man, Akuta, took the group to Vaal — but Vaal was merely a mysterious something inside a snake altar. While waiting for Vaal, a dozen or so sunburnt trolls arrived to socialize. They were hospitable and lighthearted. Would it last?
Vaal — whatever it was — was worshipped like a God. And that confused Kirk and the crew because a) They did not know what Vaal really was b) The Enterprise crew was fairly lukewarm on anything God-related. To date in Season Two, Star Trek was pretty hands-off on anything religion-oriented.
Oddly, the inhabitants of Gamma Trianguli VI (the trolls) maintained perfect health as observed by McCoy. They also had no children. A Yeoman even pointed out the trolls have no sex organs, a goofy moment in the episode of pregnant pause when the topic surfaced.
The trolls are also creepers. While the Yeoman kissed Chekov, two trolls watched on, speculating what kissing or sex might entail. Naturally, the trolls began smooching. A mini-orgy on Gamma Trianguli VI. A where were you when? moment in early Star Trek.
Well, Vaal was not a fan of his tenants’ departure from asexuality, so he asked for the death of Kirk and his friends. The trolls tried to figure out how to kill people, a concept unfamiliar to the culture.
Vaal was only a force — an idea. Kirk, with help from Scott back aboard Enterprise, killed Vaal. The trolls, albeit a bit flummoxed by Vaal’s death, did not really care about Vaal’s demise. It was their turn to evolve socially, just like humans did per the story of the Old Testament.
The Apple is a parable on the unfettered devoutness to religion. This was broadcast early on with the Garden of Eden reference. A genuinely cordial, harmless society was shamed into believing sex was naughty or shameful. Their response? A pivot to violence at the blind behest of their invisible God. Sound familiar?
There was no actual apple in the episode. The title was a metaphor for the sex experimented by two of the Gamma Trianguli VI trolls.
Themes: Religion, Sex
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. His odyssey with Star Trek starts from beginning to finish, watching ‘The Original Series,’ all the way to the present day. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).