Tuesday, 11 June 2013

TOS - 1.21 - The Return of the Archons

star Trek - The Return of the Archons
Behold ! My latest iPad 35!
She's an Apple of my eye.

I camped outside the Apple
store for 3 days to get this baby.

It's better helped me to get absorbed
into the Body !
This episode seems a little 'odd' (or 'off') even for Star Trek series, at first. Most episodes deal with out-of-this-world topics, but its scripts are quite coherent. This plot feels like is somewhat all over the place, leaving the audience somewhat at a lost as much as Spock when it comes to the society depicted in this episode.

Still, it's an important, note-worthy episode for 2 reasons.

While I believe the 'Q' character in TNG is evolved from the Trelane character in episode 1.17 "The Squire of Gothos", I suspect the Borg in TNG is evolved from the idea of Landru in this episode.

The only significant difference between the Borg and Landru is that while human is 'absorbed' into Landru to become a part of the Body only mentally, the human is 'assimilated' into the Borg to become a part of the Collective both physically and mentally.

But then, when your mind is possessed, your body follows. So this isn't a significant difference after all (it isn't like your girl friend says to you that you can have her body but not her mind).

I could be wrong in suggesting that the Borg is born out of Landru, but I think you agree the parallels between the 2 ideas are too numerous, and striking (Landru vs Borg, Body vs Collective, Absorb vs Assimilate).

Like Landru, the core of Borg is an unfeeling machine. And the ultimate goals of both Landru and the Borg is also the same: to create a society that are free of individualism. In both cases, human is the victim. There's no loose ends. Hard to believe that they are all mere coincidences.

This idea of a society that emphasises Collectivism over Individualism is of course Communism.

This episode is an allegory of the very crux of the ideological struggle of the Cold War, between the democratic West and the communist East (as in the Eastern Bloc). The human represents the people while Landru symbolises a communist state.

Of course, the Borg is more complex and sophisticated than Landru because it's a higher evolution of an early concept, and benefited with another 20 years of movie making experience.

The other note-worthy point in this episode is the famous Prime Directive of Non-Interference. Again, this Starfleet General Order Number 1, which is featured quite prominently in TNG has its seed in this episode. This is the very 1st episode where the Prime Directive is ever discussed.

The Prime Directive of Non-Interference is similar to the U.S. foreign policy before WW2. Uncle Sam sits back and watches while the whole world goes up in smoke at the start of WW2. And then, thanks to the Imperial Japanese Navy's biggest military blunder - a blunder of historical proportion - they attack Pearl Harbour. Well, Uncle Sam has no choice but to throw that "Prime Directive" out the window (of the White House) .

Since then, Uncle Sam takes the exact opposite political stance, and put his fingers in every pie, and decides to apply the American ways to every corner of the world (if American Apple Pies or Apple products are so good, everyone should have a slice of it).

I'm wondering what the late Gene Roddenberry's view on the U.S. foreign policy today. My gut feeling says he would disapprove it. By the way, Gene Roddenberry wrote the story for this epiosde.

Landru, a scientist and philosopher, who builds the computer to 'absorb' the human mind doing so out of good intention. The Borg believes they're a higher and a more perfect form of evolution than human. By assimilate human, they're given the human individual a vast identity of the Collective. Karl Marx, a philosopher and economist, who believes he offers an utopia for mankind, freeing the workers from the exploitations of the bourgeois. Yep, it's all for good intentions.

To cite a proverb, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions".

Let me be less extreme and replace "is" with "might be".

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