Star Trek (1966–1969)
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A Taste of Armageddon 

Kirk and Spock must save their ship's crew when they are declared all killed in action in a bizarre computer simulated war where the actual deaths must occur to continue.

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Episode complete credited cast:
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Dr. McCoy
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Miko Mayama ...
Tamula
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Galloway
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DePaul
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Sar 6
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Storyline

On a mission to establish diplomatic relations at Star Cluster NGC321, Kirk and Spock beam down to planet Eminiar 7 to learn that its inhabitants have been at war with a neighboring planet for over 500 years. They can find no damage nor evidence of destruction but soon learn that their war is essentially a war game, where each planet attacks the other in a computer simulation with the tabulated victims voluntarily surrendering themselves for execution after the fact. When the Enterprise becomes a victim in the computer simulation and ordered destroyed, Kirk decides it's time to show them exactly what war means. Written by garykmcd

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TV-PG | See all certifications »
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23 February 1967 (USA)  »

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4:3
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Trivia

This episode was assigned to be filmed as Production #23, and "Space Seed" as Production #24. However, as problems arose with the script, needed to be solved by further re-writing by Gene Coon, the staff switched productions with Star Trek: Space Seed (1967), whose script was in a shootable condition. This resulted in "Space Seed" being filmed first, before this one. However, the switch was so quick, they never bothered to change the production numbers, therefore it was believed for decades that this episode was filmed first. Clapperboard images from both episodes also confirm that "Space Seed" was the first to be filmed. See more »

Goofs

Regardless of their local agreements and war rules, any war simulation would necessarily involve all affected parties being aware of the simulated launches, and the simulation would have to calculate each party's capabilities. And since the Enterprise had the technology to detect, evade, or destroy the incoming weapon, the simulation would have shown it to be undamaged. See more »

Quotes

Spock: Yeoman Tamura, you stay here and prevent this young lady from immolating herself. Knock her down and sit on her if necessary.
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Connections

Referenced in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Far Beyond the Stars (1998) See more »

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Theme From Star Trek
Written by Alexander Courage
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They Fight Their War with Computers, Captain
17 July 2006 | by See all my reviews

A clever sf concept on how a different society may wage their wars: totally by computers. In their supposed enlightened method, the buildings and their culture continue - the populace obediently reports to disintegration chambers to fulfill an agreement with the enemy planet after each computerized attack. It all sounds very clinical, very clean, if not a bit on the 'patriotism gone mad' spectrum - but it's probably the clinical aspect which outrages Kirk the most; that and the fact that his beloved starship is declared a target almost immediately. I don't think he even remembers, at this point, that another Federation ship was lost 50 years earlier in this manner - it's his ship what counts. To be fair to this society on Eminiar, they did warn the Enterprise to stay away from their system; but the problem here again is an annoying Federation bureaucrat, ambassador Fox (see also the previous "The Galileo 7" for another such representative). Fox places more value on a successful diplomatic mission than on the lives of all the crew and the ship. This does not endear him to Kirk, Scotty, or the audience, for that matter.

Speaking of Scotty, he had some of his best scenes of the first season here. Placed in command of the Enterprise for most of the episode, he gets to shine in his confrontations with Fox and the 'mealy-mouthed' Anan-7 down on the planet. My favorite scene is when he informs Anan-7 that the Enterprise will destroy the surface of the planet in less than two hours. It sounds horrible when described this way, but it's almost a validation of a starship's power and, by extension, Starfleet, and actor Doohan learned by this point how to infuse as much melodramatic impact on such pronouncements as possible. We secretly thrill to this opportunity Scotty has in throwing his starship's weight around - following Kirk's orders, of course. For Kirk, it's his chance to play God once more (see the previous "Return of the Archons"), literally transforming an entire culture overnight - not in theory, but in practice! To be fair to the captain, one can argue his hand was forced after his ship was targeted but...I, for one, get the sense he's really enjoying himself - give him any excuse; he'll change the way a planet does things soon enough, maybe even as retribution for daring to threaten his ship.

Still, the society of Eminiar poses many questions and problems, despite the outward appearance of prosperity and technological comfort (another nice matte painting here, though not as successful as previous ones for Starbase 11 in "The Menagerie" and "Court Martial"). Anan-7 (Opatoshu in a nicely-layered performance) himself inadvertently suggests where the priorities of this so-called culture lie when he tells Kirk that he'll try to spare his starship but the human beings inside it are definitely goners. Things - material things - definitely take precedence over humanity here. There's something inherently repulsive about living thinking beings marching into oblivion at the 'suggestion' of computer results - another aspect making this similar to "Return of the Archons" - like so much programmed ants. I could understand Kirk's disgust and I noticed Spock was on his side all the way without even a word of debate about something called The Prime Directive.


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