Star Trek: Season 2, Episode 21

Patterns of Force (16 Feb. 1968)

TV Episode  |   |  Action, Adventure, Mystery
7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 948 users  
Reviews: 16 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)

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

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

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16 February 1968 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?

Trivia

This takes place in 2268. See more »

Goofs

Spock refers to Nazi Germany as a "tiny country" which rose to dominate Europe. In fact, Germany was already the largest country in Western Europe in 1933 when the Nazis took over. See more »

Quotes

Abrom: Isak. Uletta... is dead. Shot down in the streets.
Isak: [after a pause, explaining to Kirk and Spock] Sh-she would've... been my wife.
Abrom: She lived for five hours, while they walked past her. And spat on her. Our own people were unable to help her. Now you ask me to... help strangers.
Isak: If we adopt the ways of the Nazis... we're as bad as the Nazis.
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Referenced in Futurama: Where No Fan Has Gone Before (2002) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Kirk and Spock vs. the Nazis
3 December 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Following on the heels of "A Private Little War," this is another serious stab at presenting the dire consequences of interfering with the natural progression of a culture. This time, the contamination is Nazism, a plague of thought / speech spread on a planet called Ekos. The Ekosians, a warlike primitive people, are subverted to channel their aggression against their peaceful neighboring planet, Zeon. The Zeons were more advanced up until a few years ago; but now, Ekos has the same technology and plans are made to exterminate the Zeons. It all started innocently enough. It's a bit strange. The Federation has had this non-interference directive, the Prime Directive, in place for at least a century or more. I understand a sometime aggressive hotshot like Kirk rationalizing around this directive at times of intense situational imperative, but now an elderly Federation historian, a supposed expert on what tampering with history means, decides to re-arrange a culture's status quo on what appears to be a whim - a chance to play God, as McCoy puts it.

The main problem with episodes such as this has to do with constraints related to budget, make-up and so forth. The show is unable to capture the atmosphere of an actual alien planet or culture. Rather, it appears as if Kirk and Spock have transported themselves into Earth's past yet again, to Europe during World War II when it was dominated by Nazi Germany. There is no make-up involved for the supposed two alien races here; they are, for all practical purposes, other humans. The Ekosians are the Nazis here, where-as the Zeons are stand-ins for the persecuted Jews. The episode does succeed in capturing some of that brutality associated with the Nazi regime and there's plenty of suspense as Kirk & Spock attempt to infiltrate the Nazi HQ to see their Federation rep, now Fuhrer. If anything, this is the serious version of "A Piece of the Action" - the scary contemplation of how an entire society can be deluded into following a certain doctrine. But, did we need a sf version of actual history to get the point across? The most intriguing aspect is Melakon, the deputy Fuhrer who is, in fact, the actual incarnation of Hitler or Himmler - take your pick.


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