Star Trek: Season 2, Episode 21

Patterns of Force (16 Feb. 1968)

TV Episode  |   |  Action, Adventure, Mystery
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 939 users  
Reviews: 15 user | 6 critic

Looking for a missing Federation cultural observer, Kirk and Spock find themselves on a planet whose culture now models the German Nazi Party of old Earth in the 1930's.



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Title: Patterns of Force (16 Feb 1968)

Patterns of Force (16 Feb 1968) on IMDb 7.6/10

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Evans ...
Skip Homeier ...
David Brian ...
Patrick Horgan ...
William Wintersole ...
Gilbert Green ...
S.S. Major
S.S. Lieutenant (as Ralph Maurer)
Ed McCready ...
S.S. Trooper


The Enterprise tracks the missing Federation's cultural observer, Professor John Gill, to the reportedly primitive and peaceful planet of Ekos. When Kirk and Spock beam down, they find the Ekosians have turned into a Nazi society, with Gill as its Fuhrer, and are at war with the peaceful people of neighboring planet Zeon. They steal uniforms to enter the headquarters; but when Spock is forced to remove his helmet, his ears betray them and they are led straight to the torture chamber. After a flogging as 'Zeon spies,' they manage to escape with the Zeon prisoner Isak, who takes them to the Zeon resistance. The resistance tests them, and plots with an Ekosian defector to get to Gill, posing as a Nazi propaganda film crew. Inside they discover things are not quite as they appear. Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


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Release Date:

16 February 1968 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The character Eneg (Patrick Horgan) is Gene Roddenberry's first name, spelled backwards. See more »


It is never explained why John Gill had to introduce actual Nazi symbols (the swastika, specific uniforms, the word Fuehrer) in order to have the society emulate certain Nazi principles.

Also, although it makes sense that someone like Gill could introduce certain technological advances that would take root and blossom very quickly, it makes no sense that the planet looks exactly like 1930s or 1940s Germany. Why would Gill waste his time introducing old specs for thinks such as Tommy guns and automobiles? See more »


Eneg: There's been enough killing. Now we'll start to live the way the F├╝hrer meant us to live.
See more »


Referenced in Futurama: Where No Fan Has Gone Before (2002) See more »

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User Reviews

Space Nazis!
1 February 2013 | by (The San Francisco Bay Area) – See all my reviews

When I was younger and first saw this episode I was watching a lot of "Hogan's Heroes", catching "Tobruk" and "Guns of Navvarone" every now and then, and a number of other films and TV shows that had Nazis as the bad guy dujour. I drew American tanks and planes and all other manner of things kicking the crap out of Nazi this and Nazi that. Cool huh? And when you see Kirk and crew take on the space Nazis, it just drives home the point that much more.

"Patterns of Force" explores the notion that fascism itself was not the lead cause of the diabolical industrialized slaughter of a people that had done nothing but to help a weakened Germany develop. It offers to the audience that it was not the leadership of the national socialist party that lead them to murderous policies, but the centralization of power that could not be checked nor questioned by anyone. True.

The episode parallels the formula that lead Germany to war under the Nazi regime, and also parallels the policy of mass killing of the Zaeons by the Ekosian military leadership. The episode suggests that under the proper leadership things could get done, and for the benefit of all, but, when the wrong leadership gets into power, even those who are benign but are surrounded by "self seeking adventurers" like Melakon (probably a sociopath), things go awry, and common people, people who are too busy putting bread on the table to think about national policy, will blindly follow that twisting of leadership.

True, but under the condition that the people in question know not enough to question the leadership's roles and policies. But, that's what the ceremony of the Nazi regime is designed to do; unify the super- majority of the masses into a cohesive unit that trumps and dominates all.

Kirk reminds the characters and professor who and what the Nazis were, and where he doesn't destroy the Nazi regime, he helps remove the cancer within, and steer a totalitarian state towards a more moderate existence. Good? I have my doubts, but there's only so much a starship captain can do.

Me, I'm a little tired of hearing about Nazis in movies, TV shows, comic books, radio, novels and even on the net. My personal commentary is that maybe we should move beyond obsessing about Nazis, and learn to avoid unchecked power structures. I think that was missed in this episode of Trek, for even though Kirk sets things aright, things could go wrong once again. But, is that a result of the power structure or the power base? Is is the supporters who fail to check their own social order to correct and remove malefactors, or is it really an unsolvable problem with that kind of social regime?

Me, I really don't care to dedicate too many brain cells to the problem, but, needless to say, Kirk and Spock have yet to come across a corrupt parallel of the United States of America ("The Omega Glory" not withstanding).

Well acted, so-so typical 1960's era Trek SFX, some outstanding thesping (as usual from the series), with a great plot but iffy execution. I'm tempted to call it hackneyed because of the use of Nazis, but that's the 2013 person speaking here, and not the younger 1968 viewer.

Give it a shot.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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