Even more cultural contamination of alien species…this time with Nazis.  Originally broadcast on February 16, 1968 this is Patterns of Force.

The Episode:

Captain’s Log Stardate undetermined.

Searching for a missing cultural observer John Gill on the planet Ekors, Enterprise finds itself under attack by weapons the society there should have no access to.  Curious as to what has happened, Kirk and Spock visit the planet only to discover that the planet has taken on the culture and style of 1940’s Nazi Germany.  At war with it’s neighboring planet Zeon, John Gill has declared himself Furher and the world has fallen into chaos.   

Kirk and Spock attempt to sneak into Nazi headquarters but are captured and, after escaping, they befriend some Zeon sympathists who are fighting against John Gill’s Nazi regime.  Soon Kirk and Spock are able to find Gill only to discover that he has been drugged by one of the Ekorian people, Melakon, using him as a puppet leader to push toward the genocide of the Zeonians.  John Gill admits that he tried to use the effenciancey of Nazi Germany to help the people of Ekor only for it to go badly very quickly.  He realizes that he should not have interfered and should have listened to the Prime Directive.   Melakon kills Gill and is in turn killed by one of the Zeon Sympathists who then works with the others to try to fix everything Gill has broken.

Back on the Enterprise, Spock, Kirk and McCoy discuss the events wondering how anyone could consider emulating Nazi Germany especially when history showed just how dangerous it was.  

Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:

While this is an action packed and well told story, I really hate the fact that the Nazi’s in this episode are exact duplicates of those from Earth.  While I understand that John Gill was a historian who modeled this species culture from that of Nazi Germany, it is fairly unreasonable to assume that all of the uniforms, speech, equipment and even architecture and sciences be a direct duplicate of Earths.  Sure, there could have been parallels but even a historian of Gill’s caliber could not have single handedly educated a culture to make a direct copy of the Nazi Party in every possible detail.  That single aspect makes this episode a completely absurd premise that, from today’s perspective, really takes away from the story itself. 

That major nit pick aside, the story is actually another good example of how violating The Prime Directive can be tragic to the culture of a prewarp civilization. While we have certainly seen this story before in previous episodes, this is one that really ratchets up the danger for Kirk and Spock while also, once again, visiting on Kirk’s past with an old teacher he once know, namely John Gill.  While we don’t get to know Gill very well, this is really his story as it is because of his attempt to help a culture using his historical knowledge that caused these issues to begin with.  In a way, I almost wish we had had more time getting to know Gill and his connection with Kirk, but that was not to be.

Overall, this episode has a solid story but done a little heavy handedly.  It’s good in action, but, as I mentioned above, the execution could have been a little less obvious. I mean, sure, this series is know for having human aliens running around everywhere (thanks to the budgets the series had) but, at least make it a little more believable huh?  

Gleanings and Cool Bits:

  • We learn that Vulcan’s don’t gamble and Spock finally understands the love of the activity.
  • Spock once again uses a mind meld, although Kirk refers to it as a ‘Mind Probe’.
  • We never find out what happened to the Ekotians or the Zeons.  I would love a followup on the fate of these people. 

Thanks for reading the Retro TV Review,  I look forward to discussing the rest of the series with you, one episode at a time every Monday, Wednesday and Friday!  Next Review: The Ultimate Computer

For more reviews I have a weekly series called Key Movies Of My Life that comes out every Thursday and for more retro TV goodness check out the rest of the Retro TV Reviews here.

As always, please feel free to comment below and share your experiences with these episodes as well. If you just happened by, tell me what you think! Don’t Forget To Follow me if you like the blog!

Late To The Game 3/30/2022

Kirk regrets suggesting going skinny dipping while on a their current mission.

Special Thanks to Memory Alpha as they are one of the best sources for details on Star Trek information available.  Although I have a pretty deep knowledge on the subject, they have proven invaluable as a regular resource.

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