3/18/12

Star Trek: Asterisk "Return of the Archons"

Vital Information
Series: The Original Series
Episode: S01E21
Air Date: February 9, 1967
Written by: Boris Sobelman
Directed by: Joseph Pevney

Premise
After Sulu falls under a strange kind of hypnosis, Kirk and the gang explore a civilization run by Landru and the Lawgivers, which is the name of my Star Trek parody band.

Review
So normally the Enterprise wouldn't get involved with the civilization on Beta III because it's a post-warp civilization and there's that little thing called the Prime Directive. I imagine that's what kept Starfleet away for the hundred years following the disappearance of the USS Archon over Beta III, but they finally decided that there's someone who can go investigate. And as soon as Sulu takes the time to look around, he gets chased down by a robed creeper who shakes a stick at him and turns him into a smiling idiot. This probably isn't the first time this has happened to Sulu.

When they see the state that Sulu is in, they send a party to investigate. Kirk, Bones, Spock and Ensign Rickey beam down and look around. They find the culture to be in a state of stagnation. They all seem brainwashed and obsessed about being a part of "The Body." One of the dudes warns that the "Red Hour" is near, but Kirk decides it's more important to find some kind of leader. Before they know it, Red Hour is upon them.
Because they're worth it.
Suddenly the docile culture runs amok in the streets. People making out, throwing riots, and making a general mess of things. It's as if all this pent up frustration is saved for this single festival in which they tear off their clothes and become wild animals. The landing party tries to get out of the streets and just happens to run into a house where the leaders are. They explain that Landru has been in charge of everything for six thousand years. And that a hundred years ago the USS Archon crashed and was absorbed into The Body. Meanwhile, the Enterprise is being tugged down onto the planet, probably the same way the Archon did.

One of these guys admits that he's not so sure that Landru is all that. He says he's part of an underground of rebels that oppose Landru, but are still pretty scared of him. This is partly because Landru can project his image to wherever he wants. He does so, scares all the locals and warns the landing party that they need to be part of The Body.
David Bowie has really let himself go.
When Kirk refuses to comply, some more robed creepers come and take them to jail. Meanwhile, Bones is taken to be absorbed into The Body. They try to absorb Kirk and Spock, but one of the rebels comes in and stops the process from happening. So Kirk and Spock pretend to be absorbed for a while while they figure out how to escape.

When they do, they demand to be taken to see Landru. And that's when they shoot phasers through the wall and discover that Landru is really just a computer. It was created by the real Landru who decided that life was better when the world was all non-technological. So he created a computer that put everyone in an Amish state of mind and kept them there. Frankly, I'm surprised Kirk didn't use this contradiction to destroy it.
"YOU WILL UNPLUG ALL... ELECT-... TRICITY... WAIT..."
Instead, Kirk makes the argument that while the Landru-bot was made to care for the people, it didn't allow creativity and, therefore, was actually harming them. This seemed to be enough of a contradiction for Landru- bot to blow his circuits and then everyone was free!

Oh, yes, and the Enterprise was able to attain a stable orbit.

Back on the bridge, Kirk tells Spock that he'd make a wonderful computer and Spock takes the compliment nicely. Ending the episode on a smile.

Overall Thoughts
There were a few logical problems in this episode, but overall it was a classic sci-fi trope with a Star Trek spin. All I'm sayin' is I want the technology to build my own Landru-bot. Not so I could use it in the same way... just so I could make projections and win arguments by literally changing people's minds.