In this episode of Trekking Through Compliance, we consider the episode Who Mourns for Adonais? which aired on September 22, 1967, Star Date 3468.1.

Story Synopsis

Scotty falls in love with Lt. Carolyn Palamas, a specialist in archaeology, anthropology, and ancient civilizations. Carolyn has stayed up all night preparing a report on Pollux 5, in preparation for the Enterprise entering orbit around Pollux 4. While approaching Pollux 4 in the Beta Geminorum system, an energy field in the shape of a giant green hand stops the Enterprise dead in space. Kirk tries to wiggle free and to apply forward tractor beams but is unable to break the grip of the force field. An apparition wearing a laurel wreath then appears, addresses the crew as his “children,” and congratulates them for venturing forth from the hills and valleys of Earth. When Kirk demands to be set free, the apparition causes the hull pressure to rise, and Kirk is forced to back down. The apparition invites Kirk and a landing party down to visit, but specifically excludes Spock, who he says reminds him of Pan.

The landing party consisting of Kirk, McCoy, Scott, Carolyn, and Chekov discovers a humanoid who identifies himself as the god Apollo. He tells Kirk that he will not allow the landing party to leave, renders their communicators ineffective, and demands worship. When Kirk refuses, Apollo causes himself to grow 20 feet tall. Apollo makes advances towards Carolyn which Scotty finds offensive. However, when Scotty tries to take a poke at Apollo, his phaser is instantly mangled. Apollo clothes Carolyn in a toga, again angering Scott. When Scott tries to intervene, he is electrically shocked by Apollo and thrown back.

Carolyn falls in love with Apollo and questions him about history. Carolyn finds out that Apollo was indeed one of the ancient Roman gods. McCoy says he has an extra organ whose function is a complete mystery to him. Apollo tells Carolyn that he and the other gods left after the ancient people of Earth stopped worshiping them. Without worshippers, even the immortal gods weaken, and all but Apollo have “spread themselves to the wind” and faded away.

After Kirk and company again defy him, Apollo zaps them all in rage, and then fades away. Kirk suspects that use of his godly powers tires him and theorizes that he requires time to recuperate. He decides to deliberately anger Apollo. Unfortunately, this scheme comes to naught when Carolyn intervenes and convinces Apollo to be lenient. Apollo instructs Kirk to make arrangements to bring the Enterprise’s crew down, after which he will destroy the ship.

Although Carolyn is in love with Apollo, she puts duty ahead of self when, acting on Kirk’s instruction, she rejects Apollo, telling him she was only interested in studying him in order to weaken him. Meanwhile, Uhura has been able to reestablish contact with the landing party, and Kirk and Spock formulate a plan. Apollo’s power is destroyed when his energy source in the temple is located and blasted out of existence by the Enterprise’s phasers, despite Apollo’s attempts to destroy the Enterprise with lightning bolts. A sorrow-stricken Apollo appeals to the other gods to take him away now that he has realized that there is no room left for gods anymore. Kirk, too, is saddened, wondering if it would have hurt them to have gathered just a few laurel leaves.

Fun Fact:

In a reverse of the usual Hollywood fare, the actor who played Adonais, Michael Forest was called in for an audition, where he first had to take off his shirt, to let them see if he had the muscled physique needed for the part. Next, they asked him to read some lines in a British accent. Forest refused, claiming he couldn’t do it, but is able to speak in a Mid-Atlantic accent, probably more suitable for the character. He did it, and they gave him the role.

 Compliance Takeaways:

  1. What is your role in an investigation?
  2. How does your senior management demonstrate tone?
  3. What are the true incentives in your organization?

Resources

Excruciatingly Detailed Plot Summary by Eric W. Weisstein for Who Mourns for Adonais?

MissionLogPodcast.com-Who Mourns for Adonais?

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