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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.


Joseph Pevney


Boris Sobelman (teleplay by), Gene Roddenberry (story by) | 1 more credit »




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
William Shatner ... Capt. Kirk
Leonard Nimoy ... Mr. Spock
Harry Townes ... Reger
Torin Thatcher ... Marplon
DeForest Kelley ... Dr. McCoy
Brioni Farrell ... Tula
Sid Haig ... First Lawgiver
Charles Macaulay Charles Macaulay ... Landru
Jon Lormer ... Tamar
Morgan Farley ... Hacom
Karl Held Karl Held ... Lindstrom (as Christopher Held)
George Takei ... Sulu
James Doohan ... Scott
Nichelle Nichols ... Uhura
Sean Morgan Sean Morgan ... 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


TV-PG | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


This is the first time Scotty is shown to be in command when Kirk and Spock are off the ship. See more »


When Kirk and the crew run for shelter at Reger's house, they enter a door which has windows and curtains. But in the very next scene of them inside, the doors are completely different with no windows. See more »


Landru: The good of the body is the prime directive.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Special Enhanced version Digitally Remastered with new exterior shots and remade opening theme song See more »


Theme From Star Trek
Written by Alexander Courage
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User Reviews

Ladru knows this is my Favorite Star Trek episode.
13 February 2017 | by thejcowboy22See all my reviews

One of my great joys as a child of the sixties was to watch Star Trek on Friday nights at Mark Strauss' Baldwin Harbor Home on their RCA color Television set. The "STANDARD" precept for the Star Trek show is "The Prime Directive". This is the guiding principle of the United Federation Of Planets which prohibits Starfleet personnel from interfering with the internal development of alien civilizations. This particularly applies to alien worlds which are below the threshold of technological scientific and cultural development. The Star Ship "Enterprise" travels to Beta III in hopes of learning the fate of the missing Archon ship 100 years earlier that landed there with their crew. Crew members of the Starship Enterprise, Sulu (George Takai) and O'Neil (Sean Morgan) were sent, beamed down to the planet for reconnaissance to find information, answers about the Archon crew. Sulu returned aboard the "Enterprise" in some what of a trance to the crew's disbelief. The Captain James T. Kirk decides to send down a second landing party including himself to find out what happened to Crewman O'Neil. Upon their arrival wearing local garb the planet resembles an old 19th century western town. The crew of the enterprise is startled as the locals walk slowly as if they were floating by. One of the locals Bilar approached the crew and says, "Joy to you friends." Captain Kirk obliges by repeating, "Joy To You." Bilar adds..." You be strangers? Come for festival are ya? Got a place to sleep it off yet? Go around to Reger's house. He's got rooms, but you'll have to hurry it's almost red hour." The confused crew couldn't comprehend those bizarre statements. Then the huge clock in the town square strikes six and the Zombie like residents turn into wild savages starting fires, screaming and throwing rocks through store front windows as the startled crew heads for the aforementioned hotel of Reger. As they head inside the establishment for safety there stands Reger's accompanied by Tula (Brioni Farrell) and an agitated Tamar Jon Lormer who is questioning the loyalty of these new visitors. Reger and Tula are the exceptions in this world of order. Reger asks if they are from the Valley or are they Archons. Kirk replies, "What if we are?" Meanwhile an aggravated Crewman Lindstrom (Carl Held) complains to Reger as his Daughter was caught in the fracas of the Red hour. Reger replies by saying "It's the will of Landru." Tamar was skeptical and realized the crew is not of the body. A perturbed Tamar runs out of the lobby into the street and summons two men in hooded robes and long tubes. They enter but Tula in defense gets zapped by the henchman. Falls to the floor and Dr. McCoy (DeForest Kelly) says, "He's dead." An image appears and it's a man in a robe from a time past. It's Landru played by Charles Macaulay who tells the startled crew that they are invading the body and must be absorbed and if they refuse they will be obliterated. Landru did not personally respond because Spock (Leonard Nimoy) tells the Captain (William Shatner) that it's only a projection. Meanwhile up in orbit Scotty, (James Doohan) the ships engineer, tells the Captain that there's a tractor beam hitting the ship and pulling the Enterprise slowly into Beta III atmosphere. Back on the planet the crew fights the henchman and escape the tubes and now head for safety elsewhere provide by Reger but the locals under the direction of Landru Grab wood, clubs and Stones as they attack the crew . Luckily armed with Phazers they use the wide field beam on stun and knock out the attackers. The crew heads for cover in another building free from Landru until they notice crewman O'Neil among the attackers . Rendered unconscious by the phazer, the crew takes him along against Reger's wishes. Reger explains that you can't take him because he was already absorbed Landru will use him as tracking devise and find us. Doctor McCoy give comatose crewman a sedative as Reger explains the world they entered is controlled by Landru for 6000 years. Linstrom complains,"This is simply ridiculous, A bunch of stone aged characters running around in robes?" and Spock replies,"And apparently commanding powers far beyond our comprehension. Not simple,not ridiculous. Very very dangerous." As usual the crew of the Enterprise is in a very dicey situation with Landru and the ship drifting into the planet. I particularly liked this story. Some classic quotes come to mind, for example when Spock and the Captain Kirk are fighting the robes and Spock instead of using his famous Vulcan neck pinch. He give a right cross to the jaw of the recipient. Kirk looks over in amazement and says "Isn't that a bit old fashioned?" The teleplay by Gene Roddenberry and written by Boris Sobelman cleverly transcribing the man against computer genre. One of four instances throughout the Star Trek series. The final confrontation with Captain Kirk and First Officer Spock against the machine is sheer genius. Defining what a living growing culture consists of. Baffling the mighty computer/ Landru and how to disable the machine with out weapons or punches thrown and applying the Prime Directive. I personally enjoyed the epilogue as Spock blushes as the Captain tells him that he would have made an excellent computer. Conversely you see helmsman Sulu return to normal and back at the helm. Warp factor ONE! Time to say "Good Night" to the Strauss Family head back to Elmont and my ugly black and white television.

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9 February 1967 (USA) See more »

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