Star Trek: Season 1, Episode 21

The Return of the Archons (9 Feb. 1967)

TV Episode  -   -  Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.3/10 from 908 users  
Reviews: 14 user | 8 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 »



(teleplay), (story), 1 more credit »
0Check in

Watch Now

$0.00 with Prime Instant Video

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 36 titles
created 22 Oct 2011
a list of 1980 titles
created 29 Nov 2011
a list of 23 titles
created 10 Apr 2012
a list of 30 titles
created 19 Aug 2012
a list of 44 titles
created 03 Jun 2013

Related Items

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: The Return of the Archons (09 Feb 1967)

The Return of the Archons (09 Feb 1967) on IMDb 7.3/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Star Trek.
« Previous Episode | 22 of 80 Episodes | Next Episode »





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


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

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

23rd century | See All (1) »


See all certifications »


Official Sites:



Release Date:

9 February 1967 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In the "Next Voyage" preview-trailer, Landru appears solid, the transparent "ghost" effect not having been added in yet. See more »


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


Mr. Spock: [speaking of the robed lawgivers] Their reaction to your defiance was remarkably similar to the reaction of a computer when fed insufficient or contradictory data.
Captain James T. Kirk: Are you suggesting the lawgivers are mere computers, that they aren't human?
See more »


Featured in Cosmic Thoughts (2003) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Better Hurry - it's almost The Red Hour
14 July 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Some rather deep and sophisticated concepts were presented in this episode, quite sophisticated even for this show; the drawback was an unexciting narrative, even a drab pace. The Enterprise had already arrived at a planet before the episode begins, on one of those investigative searches for a lost Federation ship from a century prior. The planet's inhabitants all seem to be in a perpetual state of vapid, almost mindless contentment, walking about in a happy daze on the streets of a pleasant town. Well, perpetual until the big clock strikes a certain hour - then everyone goes crazy raping & pillaging (I wonder who cleans up these messes afterward?). The people here are no more than wind up toys, following the telepathic command of a hidden ruler named Landru. It's one of those 'group-mind' premises prevalent in sf, especially in the sixties. There are no real individuals left, only a 'body' composed of many cells, each pretty much the same as the next one. This proposes that when free will becomes too intoxicating and mankind nearly destroys itself (i.e. self-induced holocaust), then something may step in to regulate our will to avoid extinction - a cosmic Gandhi turned benign dictator, if you will.

However, as with every body, there appear certain strains or viruses attacking from within. The rebels here work in groups of 3 and are apparently resistant to the absorption techniques imposed by Landru. It's interesting that these rebels are all old men, perhaps having developed some immunity over time, but they're not so much into rebelling as crying for some saviors to come - like the 'Archons' from a 100 years ago. Kirk has to coerce these guys into helping him find this mysterious Landru, while avoiding being absorbed. My favorite scene lets actor Kelley show what a good actor he really was after McCoy gets absorbed into the body. No one else was able to capture that self-satisfied contentment as well as he did and it was all the more unsettling when, after pointing an accusatory finger, he attacked Kirk in rage ("You're NOT of the BODY!") - I tell you, you can't pay for better entertainment sometimes. The 4th act, unfortunately, is anti-climactic, with a pat use of anti-machine logic by Kirk to get some circuits sputtering (see later episodes such as "The Ultimate Computer" and "The Changeling"). I did appreciate the guest turn by actor Thatcher who appears late in the episode - I'll always remember him from the best Sinbad movie.

Now we come to the real crux of this story - the complete disregard of the Prime Directive, that supposedly unyielding law which governs the ethics of the Federation. It states that such Federation envoys as the Enterprise crew may never interfere with or change another culture. Well, maybe it wasn't a COMPLETE disregard: Spock does remind Kirk of the directive towards the 4th act. Kirk dismisses this law with a couple of sentences, that it only refers to a growing culture, which this isn't. Oh, really? Perhaps now we understand the attraction of going off into space as a starship captain - you get to play God on occasion. Not a bad way to spend one's time - as Kirk would do again; remember "The Apple" and, very soon, "A Taste of Armageddon"?

13 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Spock and The Bangles Wasteland_Vault_Boy
Great lines in lesser episodes Ruddfactor-2
Do remember your first Star Trek episode you ever watched? Deputy_Fife
Designed like a garbage scow aaron_daly
Anyone else think 'Space Seed' was just average? riverkwai-1
Subtle problem with The Doomsday Machine david-h-downing
Discuss The Return of the Archons (1967) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: