Star Trek (1966–1969)
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The Return of the Archons 

Seeking the answer to a century-old mystery, Kirk and crew encounter a vacantly peaceful society under a 6000-year autocratic rule that kills all those it can't absorb.

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Harry Townes ...
...
Marplon
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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

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

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23rd century | See All (1) »


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Release Date:

9 February 1967 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The computer that ruled Beta III would be seen again (slightly modified) in the first season episode Star Trek: A Taste of Armageddon (1967). See more »

Goofs

When Kirk records his Captain's Log for star date 3157.4, he's in a holding cell without any Starfleet equipment, yet he enters his log, reporting on the attack of his ship. (Scott could have done this, but not Captain Kirk.) See more »

Quotes

Dr. McCoy: [absorbed] Blessed be the body, and health to all of its parts.
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Connections

Referenced in The Purge (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Theme From Star Trek
Written by Alexander Courage
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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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