Star Trek/Recap/S2/E21 Patterns of Force

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Series:Star Trek: The Original Series
Episode: Season 2, Episode 23
Title:"Patterns of Force"
Previous: Return to Tomorrow
Next: By Any Other Name
Recapper: Synjo Deonecros


Short version: Star Trek meets Godwin's Law.

Even shorter version: Hitler hates Spock's ears.

Even more shorter version: The Third Reich are actually aliens!

I could keep this up all day, folks. Seriously, it's Kirk vs. Those Wacky Nazis In Space! What do you expect?

Oh, alright, on with the full review:

Once again, the Enterprise crew are headed off to a planet to do something, this time to the planet Ekos to pick up famed cultural observer John Gill, with whom the Federation has lost contact with for some time. In a bit of Hero Worship, McCoy and Spock share a poignant discussion about their relationship with the man, with Spock admiring Gill's take on historical events as causes and effects rather than that boring system of dates and events that normal history teaches us.

Things start to get interesting, though, when a nuclear interplanetary missile is launched at the ship from Ekos - technology that shouldn't even be possible for the planet's primitive inhabitants. Even stranger is the television signal they intercept from the planet, showing off real-world Nazi propaganda video (thanks for keeping it classy, Paramount) with a narration about how the Ekosians are on their way to eradicating the inhabitants of their sister planet Zeon in much the same way the Nazis tried to eradicate the Jews and other hated minorities. Unfortunate Implications doesn't even begin to describe it.

Taking high orbit over Ekos, Kirk and Spock beam down in local attire to see what they can find about this turn of events, only to be more baffled when another televised message reveals that not only is the planet an exact duplicate of Nazi Germany, but that John Gill is the planet's Fuhrer. Ambushing a pair of Nazi soldiers in order to dress as the enemy, they attempt to infiltrate the Fuhrer headquarters to get some answers, but are caught and brought in for interrogation. There, they meet a Zeon prisoner by the name of Isak, who explains that the planet had actually been a rather nice place to visit, during the initial rule of the Fuhrer, but turned into a nightmare once the old Nazi prejudices came up. Using crystal transponders embedded into their flesh (don't ask), Kirk and Spock manage to free themselves and Isak, and escape into the underground that Isak is a member of. However, before they can prove to the underground that they're friendly, a Nazi task force led by a young woman named Daras - crowned a hero of the fatherland in the same transmission that revealed Gill as the Fuhrer - comes in and shoots one of the underground, threatening to kill them all if they don't comply. Dun, dun, DUN!

Kirk manages to overpower Daras, but is prevented from killing her by the man she shot(!); turns out, Daras is a member of the underground, and the raid was an elaborate test to see if Kirk and Spock are friendly. Deciding things are screwed up enough without worrying about the Prime Directive, Kirk comes out and tells the group that Gill is an alien sent to observe Ekosian culture, and that something has gone horribly wrong to make him interfere with the planet's development so radically. With the underground's help, Kirk and Spock break into the headquarters, once more, just in time to catch a televised message from Gill seemingly announcing a "Final Solution" to eradicate Zeon once and for all (jeez, Anvilicious with the Nazi references much, Mr. Roddenberry?). However, with the help of a very reluctant (and Late to the Party) McCoy, they're able to determine Gill is actually being drugged and kept in a stupor; a quick Mind Meld further reveals his second in command Melakon has taken over, using him as a figurehead while he wields the real power behind the swastika.

With some drugs to help stimulate him into light consciousness, they're able to get an answer to the multi-million credit question: why did Gill break the Prime Directive and use Nazi Germany as a template for his interference. As it turns out, Gill just couldn't stand idly by as the Ekosian people were tearing themselves apart by their barbarism, and thought the efficiency of the Nazis could be used to civilize them, if malice wasn't put to the fore (which means Gill fails history forever, despite being a history buff himself. Go figure), and it somehow worked until Melakon took over. I guess With Great Power Comes Great Insanity, after all. Well, eventually, Kirk manages to get Gill lucid enough to cancel the Final Solution order before Melakon kills him, who is in turn killed himself, and Kirk, being the dick that he is, once again leaves an entire planet in shambles to fend for itself while he continues on his mission to "boldly go where no man has gone before".

Hitler wouldn't have taken his crap.

The Fan Nickname for this episode is "The One With... The Nazi Planet".