Who Mourns for Adonais?

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"Who Mourns for Adonais?"
Star Trek: The Original Series episode
Episode no. Season 2
Episode 2
Directed by Marc Daniels
Written by Gilbert Ralston
Gene L. Coon
Featured music Fred Steiner
Cinematography by Jerry Finnerman
Production code 033
Original air date September 22, 1967 (1967-09-22)
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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"Amok Time"
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"The Changeling"
List of Star Trek: The Original Series episodes

"Who Mourns for Adonais?" is episode No. 31, production No. 33, of the second season of the American science fiction television series, Star Trek. Written by Gilbert Ralston and Gene L. Coon, and directed by Marc Daniels, it was first broadcast September 22, 1967, and repeated May 10, 1968. The allusion is to the 1821 elegy Adonais by Percy Bysshe Shelley.

In the episode, the crew of the Enterprise are held captive by an alien who claims to be the Greek god Apollo.


A huge energy field in the shape of a glowing green hand appears and grabs the Enterprise, halting its movement. Captain James T. Kirk tries to wriggle the ship free, but to no avail. A humanoid apparition appears on the bridge viewscreen and addresses the ship's crew. Kirk demands that the ship be set free, but the being responds by tightening the grip, threatening to crush the ship.

Kirk leads a landing party that includes Lieutenant Carolyn Palamas. The team arrives in what appears to be an ancient garden from Mount Olympus, where they encounter the humanoid who identifies himself as the god Apollo. He informs the party that he will not allow them to leave, and renders the team's communicators and transporter room nonfunctional. He indicates that he wants the crew of the Enterprise to serve and worship him as their god. Kirk defiantly refuses.

Apollo's attention shifts toward Carolyn, angering Mr. Scott, who steps forward to defend her against Apollo's advances. Apollo destroys his weapon and announces he will take Carolyn as his consort. After displaying his power, Apollo appears drained and retires with Carolyn to another area of the planet.

Kirk schemes to provoke Apollo to test the limits of his power, and perhaps weaken him enough to allow the landing party to overcome him. Meanwhile, Carolyn learns that Apollo belonged to a group that were god-like, though not in the sense that the ancient Greeks believed them to be. Kirk and McCoy conclude that he is indeed the real Apollo, but was part of a group of powerful aliens that visited Earth 50 centuries ago, and thrived on the love, worship, loyalty and attention of the ancient Greeks.

Kirk's plan to provoke Apollo is frustrated when Carolyn intervenes to protect the landing party. Apollo instructs Kirk to begin making arrangements for the remaining crew to come down to the planet. Kirk takes Carolyn aside and tells her to reject Apollo if he does not comply with Kirk's demands, to save them all from slavery. She reluctantly agrees.

Meanwhile, still frozen in place with the rest of the crew above the planet, Mr. Spock manages to find the power source for the force field holding the Enterprise. Sorrowfully putting responsibility before her own romantic desires, Carolyn rejects Apollo. Angered and hurt, Apollo calls down thunder and lightning to intimidate her. Kirk orders Spock to destroy the power source.

Apollo is stunned when his powers are nullified. Weakened, he turns to the sky, growing gigantic, and pronouncing that there is no room left in the universe for gods. He then pleads with his fellow deities to take him away. Rejected by a mortal woman and bereft of his powers, Apollo fades away.

Although they appreciate their freedom, the landing party shows remorse for Apollo, with Carolyn devastated. Kirk remarks that Apollo and his fellow gods had once been a major inspiration for mankind, driving civilization to new heights in art and philosophy.


Zack Handlen of The A.V. Club gave the episode a C+ rating, noting that it was occasionally memorable, but "undone by lazy scripting and bizarre dialogue".[1]

Cultural references[edit]

The title is a quotation from the poem Adonais by Percy Shelley, which is loosely based upon A Lament for Adonis by the Greek poet Bion. A part of the episode is shown in a scene in X-Men: Apocalypse.

See also[edit]

  • "How Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth" – An episode of the animated Star Trek series about an alien that had long ago visited Earth and now demands worship as a god by the Enterprise crew.
  • Star Trek: New Frontier, a series of novels written by Peter David. One of the characters, Mark McHenry, is a descendant of Apollo. (In the novelization of the episode, but cut from the final shooting script, Carolyn Palamas is pregnant with Apollo's child, whom she names Athena. Athena is Mark McHenry's grandmother.)
  • In the photonovel Star Trek: New Visions issue #11 "Of Woman Born" John Byrne re-tells the episode's ending and continues with the events during Carolyn Palamas' pregnancy.[2]
  • The first episode of Star Trek Continues, entitled "Pilgrim of Eternity", was a 2013 fan based sequel to the episode. In it, Michael Forest reprised his role as an elderly Apollo who asks the Enterprise crew for help.


  1. ^ Handlen, Zack (May 1, 2009). ""Amok Time" / "Who Mourns For Adonais?"". The A.V. Club. Retrieved July 12, 2016. 
  2. ^ Star Trek New Visions: Of Woman Born. IDW Publishing. 

External links[edit]