The Return of the Archons
Star-trek tos-season1-21
Season 1, Episode 21
General Information
Series Star Trek
Air date February 9, 1967
Written by Boris Sobelman, Gene Roddenberry
Directed by Joseph Pevney
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The Enterprise travels to the planet known as Beta III to find what had happened to U.S.S. Archon. What they find is a society run by a computer named Landru.

Plot Summary

Stardate: 3156.2 - 3158.7   Sulu is absorbed The Enterprise explores the planet known as Beta III to find what had happened to a starship called the U.S.S. Archon which had disappeared after visiting the planet. When the recon team begins exhibiting strange behavior, Captain Kirk and his crew beam down to investigate. They soon find out that the society is controlled by the lawgivers. The lawgivers are in turn controlled by an omnipresent being known as Landru, who controls the society to measure that the Body or the whole of society remains peaceful and healthy. When Landru is not in control of the people, there is a riot as people let out their aggression. When Kirk and his crew arrive on the planet, they witness what is known as the festival, a part of the day where Landru has no control over the people. Riot gets worseDuring festival, Kirk and his crew find Archon survivors who give them shelter. After the riot in the street, Kirk and his crew leave the building. They are quickly spotted by Landru and the civilians begin to attack Kirk and his crew under Landru's influence. ONeil, who was helping Sulu recon the planet is found to be absorbed into the body and is controlled by Landru. Kirk grabs ONeil after he is stunned and they make their escape. Once the crew is in a safe place, Kirk learns that the USS Archon was pulled out of orbit and absorbed into the Body. He then contacts the ship and learns that the Enterprise is being dragged down to the planet to be absorbed. Suddenly, Landru appears in the form of projection and knocks the crew out with a sonic sound wave. When Kirk and the others regain consciousness, they find that their phasers had been taken. The lawgivers arrive and take Kirk to a machine so he can be absorbed into the Body. Waiting in ambush Then Mr.Spock is taken to be put into the machine. However, Spock is immediately taken off the machine just as he is put on it. The person in charge of the machine reveals himself to be a member of the resistance. He explains that he had done nothing to Kirk and that Kirk is only acting like those controlled by Landru as a disguise. Spock soon adopts the same facade, but their facade is quickly blown and lawgivers are sent to fix the problem. Spock and Kirk ambush the lawgivers and take their robes for another disguise. With the help of the resistance member, they are taken to Landru. Kirk and Spock soon find that Landru is a computer created by a being of the same name 6,000 years ago. The original Landru had wanted a peaceful and the computer fulfilled his master's wishes to the point where the civilians are given no room for free thought. Landru's true formWhen Kirk and his crew confront Landru, they realize is Landru is being projected somewhere. They shoot through a wall and they find Landru's true form. Kirk tells Landru that he has been harming the body and Landru, who wishes to help the body, destroys itself. With Landru gone, all those absorbed into the body are free. Kirk beams up and promises to send a sociologist and a crew to help set up the society of Beta III.

Production Notes

Star Trek was written in the 1960's and during the time, there was much fervor against the idea of Communism. This episode is a reflection of such ideas. In the episode, the society on Beta III had taken many elements from communism and socialism.

This episode also marked the first mention of the Prime Directive of Non-interference. It is a rule that guides the universe. It states that members of Starfleet cannot interference with growing civilizations. In this episode, Kirk deemed that the society of Beta III was not a growing society and intervened.

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