The Return of the Archons
Episode

021

The Return of the Archons

Are you of the body? Are you here for Festival? Is this technology run amok or order so stringent, it’s killing the society it was set up to protect? Much to consider as Mission Log returns with “The Return of the Archons.”

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Discussion

  • Will Wright

    According to Issue #1 of the now dead publication title Starlog Magazine:
    “If you look just beneath the surface of the gripping Archons story, you’ll find some of the most daring and best ideas ever presented to this day on television. The events take thematic pot-shots at both communism and organized religion, at self-inflicted slavery, and at the non-productive mindlessness of unquestioned brotherhood.
    Most daring, perhaps, is the story’s equating of political collectivism with traditional religious ethics – carried to an extreme.!” There is even more than one creepy foreshadowing of a Borg like hive mind. Didn’t you know – “Resistance is futile! ”

    • It’s still one of those episodes where I feel like there’s a lot going on and so much fodder for discussion. Love to revisit it one day.
      Oh – and did you hear Starlog is coming back?

      • Will Wright

        Say what ? !!!

  • Talk about “The Red Hour!”

  • Clive Blanston

    My impression was that the “Red Hour” was simply a release valve to make up for for the stifling conformity of the rest of the time spent babbling about “The Body.”

    It was also interesting how fear worked so powerfully in anyone who was immune, or somehow avoided absorption; “No! I submit to the will of Landru!” It would be nice if someone did a parody of this episode and Landru was instead L. Ron Hubbard!

    • Canadian liberal

      The Red “Hour” was 12 hours long. Which to me never made sense.

  • Low Mileage Pit Woofie

    So Kirk lands on a planet of comparative peace and harmony, and out of a flimsy circumstance where his ship is threatened, he makes a specious argument about it not being a thriving society, destroys its controlling computer and leaves the survivors to an uncertain future.

    Thank goodness this will never happen again…

  • Canadian liberal

    Three questions not answered in podcast:
    a) How can ANYONE possibly be “immune to absorption”?
    and 2) Why is age a factor in determining who celebrates during the Red Hour? Reger doesn’t appear to be much over 40.

    And iii) Is Kirk PART HORSE??? It’s bad enough Spock sleeps with eyes open but HE SLEEPS STANDING UP!!! WHO CAN DO THAT?!?!!?

    Lou

  • Jason Williams

    How did we miss Spock LAYING OUT one of the guards with a FULL ON ROUNDHOUSE?!?

    Kirk’s smug reaction : “That was a it old fashioned, wasn’t it?”

    LOL

  • John H Reiher Jr

    Sounds like the folks of Beta III had the same problem as the Vulcanians (sic) did in their early years. A warlike race bent on destroying itself. The Vulcans turned to the teachings of Surak in using logic to control their emotions.

    On Beta III, Landru moved to an anti-technology stance, but enforced it with _technology._ It’s a nice contrast in philosophies.

  • Robert Hackett

    I saw this on METV recently, and I must say this was a lot better than I remember it being. Yes, there are flaws, but I really like the acting overall. What really stands out is the only female of note in the episode is NOT a romantic interest of Captain Kirk. The away team actually stays relatively focused on the mission of getting the heck out of there. Of course, that is after deciding to destroy the native society.

  • Commissar_Bob

    Way late to this but thought I would offer some insight why the Festival was done. Simple such festivals increase social control and order. This is a common sociological phenomenon.

    https://mardigrastraditions.com/mardi_gras_history/
    http://eprints.brighton.ac.uk/1400/1/ravenscroft.pdf

    Just thought I would share some sources. Love the podcast!

    • M Oja

      Interesting. I was thinking that maybe that’s the only time that they had sex, whether consensual or not. And a society can’t survive without sex (assuming that they procreate like humans)!

  • M Oja

    I’d be really interested to hear your thoughts on how this episode would play out differently if the computer was run by a human/alien. There could be a line of Landrus, with Landru 600 running the show now. How would Kirk have handled that, if it were controlled by a person? As was discussed in the podcast, this doesn’t have to be about technology. It’s about social control.
    Similarly, I think a huge underlying theme of this episode was CONSENT. No one consented to anything. It didn’t seem like you could opt out of the festival, there definitely appeared to be non-consensual sex (e.g. sexual assault) going on during the festival, no Starfleet crew consented to be absorbed into The Body (did anyone really have a choice?), no one alive now consented to have a computer run their lives, and no one consented to having the computer *stop* running their lives.