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 920 users  
Reviews: 14 user | 10 critic

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 the two hooded guards use their sticks to absorb one of the council members, both guards are pointing their stick towards the body and one of the guards then raises his. However, in the next frame, both guards are pointing their sticks toward the body. See more »

Quotes

Captain James T. Kirk: You'd make a splendid computer, Mr Spock.
Mr. Spock: That is very kind of you, Captain.
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Referenced in The Purge (2013) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The will of Landru
3 August 2013 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

One of my favorite of the Star Trek prime episodes is this one. A great lesson to be learned when humankind thinks it has found the perfect society and seeks nothing else.

This story has Lieutenant Sulu getting beamed back aboard the Enterprise in a rather dreamy like state like he was a member of some cult. When a larger away team led by William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy go down they find a society frozen in time and completely submerged in a philosophy of peace and non-violence. Except of course for the 'festival' when ones baser impulses get to run amuck.

The people on Beta III as this planet is known to Star Fleet are held in thrall by the will of an ancient philosopher named Landru. And before Landru died he found a way to see his teachings were carried out. What it involved was nothing less than the stamping out of individuality.

Back when I saw this episode in its first run I was taking Far Eastern history in college and we learned about Confucius and his influence on Chinese culture. He did not speak in fortune cookie aphorisms as those old Charlie Chan films would have you believe. But he did have a lot of wise things to say and we in the west could profit by some of it. So great was his influence that it guided the culture. And so great was the respect he was held in that it was thought in that society all wisdom began and ended with him. I don't think Confucius himself ever thought so and he certainly did not have the advance technology that Landru had and built 6000 years earlier for his planet.

Only with individuality comes new ideas, bad and good and over time we find out what the good is. A great lesson taught to us by Gene Roddenberry, courtesy of Star Trek.


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