Wednesday, 16 October 2013

TOS - 2.21 - Patterns of Force

Star Trek - Patterns of Force
Spock:   Should I address you as captain or major, sir?
Kirk:     Either way, I out rank you. Just call me sir.
Spock:   Can I call you Jim sir ?                                    
Kirk:     You know the deal. Only when my life is in   
serious danger.                                   
This episode is a cross between episode 2.17 "A Piece of the Action" and 2.19 "A Private Little War".

While I mentioned a few times before that Star Trek TOS has changed tack in Season 2 to stay away from the serious contemporary issues around the mid 20th century, but these 3 episodes show that it couldn't leave it behind for too long. At least, it's weaning away from it gradually. These topics are too important and relevant to simply drop it completely.

This episode is similar to 2.17 "A Piece of the Action" in that an alien society is modelled on a particular human society at a particular period, in this case the Nazi Germany in WW2. While in "A Piece of the Action", it's about cargo cults. That is, the alien society run their society according to a book left behind by the crew of the Horizon.

Only in this episode, the alien adopted the Nazi Germany model because John Gil the brilliant historian thinks that the Nazi provides the model for most efficiently run state. In short, he turns himself from being a cultural observer into an interventionist.

This brings us to the similarity between this and episode 2.19 "A Private Little War" in that it deals with the civil wars in alien world, and the human intervention that conflicts with the Prime Directive. And in number of incidences, the American involvement in a particular country ended up in the installation of a puppet government, which isn't necessary backed by the Uncle Sam. This episode is showing that scenario.

As I mentioned in 2.19 "A Private Little War" that the writer was obviously taking a clear pro-Vietnam War and anti-Communist political stance. And I pointed out how similar is episode 2.19 "A Private Little War" and The Green Berets (1968) in terms of its political position on the American involvement in the Vietnam War.

This episode seems to send a cautionary tale about the interference policy. It's entirely possible that Star Trek doesn't want to be seen as interventionist. After all, Star Trek TOS has been making strong emphasis on the Prime Directive. Episode 2.19 "A Private Little War" seems to overturn that. This episode at least tries to remedy the perception that if it doesn't take a non-interventionist stance, at least it doesn't take an interventionist position either.

With the warlike Eskosians inhabitants playing the Nazi German, their peaceful neighbouring planet Zeon, whom are victims of the Ekosian ethnic cleansing policy, is of course allusion to the Jews. After all, the name Zeon is hardly a subtle veiled name for Zion, which could be referred to the people of Israel. This is further enforced by the planet's preoccupation of "The Final Solution", a Nazi euphemism for the genocide of the Jewish people.

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