In The Return of the Archons, this titled episode of Star Trek does not prepare you for what the episode is about. In fact, the subject is not as eerie as the screen play in this episode.
I will explain further the above.
On this one planet of Beta 3, the people’s every aspect of their lives was in control by the ruling government right down to how and when to express emotions; even on the most debased of levels.
When you are introduced, really caught off guard, to the Red Hour on this world, the rude awakening of what happens in this world during these times caused the hair to raise on some of our necks and the jaws to drop.
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During the 1960’s there were concerns about how totalitarian some governmental systems had proven to be on people. In this episode not only did the ruling government take over every aspect of the people’s lives, but they also turned all power and system of control to a mainframe mind computer.
See Landru Quotes:
Here are some of Landru quotes that the Trekkies will get a kick out of by thinking about the Borg.
The good of the body is the prime directive.
You have come to a world without hate, without fear, without conflict, no war, no disease, no crime. None of the ancient evils. Landru seeks tranquility, peace for all, the universal good.
You will be absorbed. Your individuality will merge into the unity of good, and in your submergence into the common being of the body, you will find contentment, fulfillment. You will experience the absolute good.Star Trek The Return of The Archons Commentary James PoeArtistry Productions
This computer created a hive mind effect on the whole planet. It would not tolerate persons with different ways of thinking or actions producing a glitch in the program or society.
Captain Kirk and his landing party would have to be absorbed, a code word for the brainwashing process and effect on the outliers, if you will, were put through on this planet. Notice how the disseminators (handlers) were dressed with faces being covered or hidden.
For all the many Trekkies over the years, this episode is a must you should watch. Why is this the case?
Well, at your next Star Trek convention, you can put the following questions to the panel on stage:
What is their take away from The Return of the Archons?
How would they create, remaster if you will, such an episode today?
I would not be surprised to hear that some of the writers of today’s Star Trek stories in books and onscreen have not watched this episode in its entirety.
It will give them an added dimension to Gene Roddenberry’s outlook of that time. The writers will gain insight and inspiration on how to place the eerie, there’s that description again, seriousness of what a badly programmed ruled effect has on a society.
Hey, we are talking about science fiction. Science Fiction is more than technology and space battles; it engages the mind on good and harmful ideologies.
People at times will say, “Well, who is to decide what is a good or bad ideology?”
In The Return of the Archons episode, it at least shows the effects.
I point out to you once again, Red Hour.
1967 to 2020, have you read or seen hindsight comparisons for story ideas? Talk about Truth being stranger than fiction. Well you can still write about it in science fiction.