What would a society be like if all the wild emotional spark that makes everyone their own unique, individual person was taken away and instead you were left with a drab, soulless personality? Now imagine that across an entire society. That’s what’s going on at the center of “The Return of the Archons.” Well, that is, until the Festival, in which for 12 hours everyone goes insane and loots, pillages and commits atrocities only rivaled by anyone in “The Purge” film franchise.
The idea of this episode isn’t so far fetched. With the current state of affairs in our culture today, there are lots of living beings that wish they could control a society such as this one. The fundamental difference of course is that it isn’t probably what the original Landru had intended. If you’ve seen the episode you know that it isn’t really Landru in control, rather it’s a computer that he programmed 6,000 years prior to the story that is running the show. Of course, a computer doesn’t know how to control a society, as Kirk demonstrates in his always to keen ability to outtalk and outsmart a computer. I always enjoyed that quality about him. It’s one of Kirk’s endearing characteristics.
It’s also fun to see Dr. McCoy after he has been “absorbed” into the body. He gets to play the happy, soulless non-individual.
I’m sure there were people in the audience that couldn’t help but laugh at the silly people running around with long metal poles and in long robes. As unintended as that is, I can’t fault them for that. After all, it’s a weird situation so not everything is what you would expect it to be.
This episode ends up being slightly above middle of the road status for me. I enjoy it, but it’s not the most memorable of episodes.
Next week, a true Star Trek icon makes his first of two appearances in the franchise: