Star Trek: Season 1, Episode 21

The Return of the Archons (9 Feb. 1967)

TV Episode  -   -  Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 942 users  
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The Enterprise travels to Beta III to learn the fate of the U.S.S. Archon, gone missing a century earlier. One member of the landing party disappears, and one returns in a strangely ... See full summary »

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Harry Townes ...
Torin Thatcher ...
Marplon
...
Brioni Farrell ...
...
First Lawgiver
Charles Macaulay ...
Jon Lormer ...
Tamar
Morgan Farley ...
Karl Held ...
Lindstrom (as Christopher Held)
...
...
...
Sean Morgan ...
Lt. O'Neil
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Storyline

The Enterprise travels to Beta III to learn the fate of the U.S.S. Archon, gone missing a century earlier. One member of the landing party disappears, and one returns in a strangely blissful state. Kirk beams down with another landing party; amidst the chaos of "Festival" their hosts asks if they are "Archons." To learn more, Kirk must convince Betan citizens to disobey Landru, the man who has ruled them for 6,000 years - or find those who already resist. But with the Lawgivers everywhere, that task is going to be difficult... Written by CommanderBalok

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23rd century | See All (1) »


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9 February 1967 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Trivia

The word Archon was the title of certain Greek heads of state, most famously in the Athenian Republic. It comes from Greek root "arch", meaning "leader, highest, chief", which can also be found in the English words monarch, hierarchy, and anarchy; all of these are present in Landru's society. See more »

Goofs

When Kirk's landing party are running from falling rocks, one of the rocks bounces off the head of a crewman. See more »

Quotes

Captain James T. Kirk: [Spoken to two lawgivers, after Landru's self-destruction] You can get rid of those robes. And if I were you I'd start looking for another job.
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Spoofed in Sex at Six (2001) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Self-defense, conflicting Prime Directives and how to outsmart an omnipotent power
16 April 2007 | by (Vulcan) – See all my reviews

Return of the Archons is one of those episodes of TOS which, whether you like it or not, sticks with you. It is one of the franchises first attempts to deal with dystopian subjects and takes place almost entirely on a planet inhabited by people whose lives are regulated in all respects by the mysterious force known as Landru. Sulu sets this up by becoming the first member of the crew to become absorbed by 'the body'. He is transported back to the ship in the same state of idiotic bliss as the inhabitants of the planet, and begins babbling the praises of Landru. Takei's acting makes this opening scene very memorable and sets a disturbing tone.

The Archons were crew members of the USS Archon, a federation ship which arrived at this planet long ago. Today, the Archons live only as a legend of resistance to Landru and 'The Body' - his regulated, brain-washed society. The story is well written and smartly conceived. Within the first 20 minutes, the episode gives us a taste of the body's folk-lore, language, and regulatory systems.

This episode incorporates some comic elements early on - mostly the typical human vs vulcan theme - but the humor dies down as the bridge crew begins to understand the threat they are facing. Landru sees all, is beginning to absorb all, and is pulling the ship out of its orbit. Kirk, Spock and a small landing party must violate the prime directive to save their ship and the catatonic society they have encountered. But they frankly don't even know where to start.


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