Star Trek (1966–1969): Season 1, Episode 21 - The Return of the Archons - full transcript

The Enterprise travels to Beta III to learn the fate of the U.S.S. Archon, gone missing a century earlier. One member of the landing party disappears, and one returns in a strangely blissful state. Kirk beams down with another landing party; amidst the chaos of "Festival" their hosts asks if they are "Archons." To learn more, Kirk must convince Betan citizens to disobey Landru, the man who has ruled them for 6,000 years - or find those who already resist. But with the Lawgivers everywhere, that task is going to be difficult...

O'Neil, we've gotta keep going.
Come on, get up.

It's no use. They're everywhere.

Captain gave us an order.

We've gotta find some clue.

It's no use, Mr. Sulu.
Look, there's one of them.

There's another one.

Scouting party to Enterprise.

Come in.

What is it, Mr. Sulu?

Captain, beam us up quick.

Transporter Room,
lock onto Sulu and O'Neil.

Beam up immediately.

We've gotta make a run for it.
We can't just stand here.

Mr. O'Neil, stand tight.
They'll beam us up any minute.

Run. We've gotta get out of here.

- You know what they're capable of.
- O'Neil!

Sulu, what is it?
Where's Lieutenant O'Neil?


- Who?
- Lieutenant O'Neil. Where is he?


You're not of the Body.

Dr. McCoy.

Dr. McCoy.
Transporter Room, quickly.

You. You did it.

They knew we were Archons.

These are the clothes they wear.

Not these.

Sulu, take it easy.



Sit down.

What happened?

They're wonderful.

They're the sweetest,

friendliest people in the universe.

It's paradise, my friend.

- Paradise.
- Lieutenant O'Neil. Where is he?



Space, the final frontier.

These are the voyages
of the starship Enterprise.

Its five-year mission:
To explore strange new worlds,

to seek out new life
and new civilizations,

to boldly go where no man
has gone before.

Captain's log, stardate 3156.2.

While orbiting planet Beta III,

trying to find some trace
of the starship Archon

that disappeared here
100 years ago,

a search party consisting
of two Enterprise officers

was sent to the planet below.

Mr. Sulu has returned,

but in a highly agitated
mental state.

His condition requires I beam down
with an additional search detail.

Materialisation completed.
Kirk out.


The expression on that man's face.

The mindlessness.

Vacant contentment.

Like Sulu.

If everybody on this planet
is like him...

Let's go.

Joy to you, friends.

Joy to you.

You be strangers.

- Come for the Festival, eh, yeah?
- Yes.

Got a place to sleep it off yet?

Go round to Reger's house.

He's got rooms.

But you'll have to hurry.
It's almost the Red Hour.

This Festival, it starts at 6:00?


These folks come for the Festival.

Your daddy can put them up,
can't he?

You're from the valley?

We've just arrived.

My father will be glad
to put you up, though.

It's right over there.

Tula! Come!

Let's get out of here.

I'm sorry to break in on you like this.
We didn't expect that kind of welcome.

You are strangers?

Yes, that's right.
We're from the valley.

- You came for the Festival?
- Yes.

And how come you here?

- Are you Reger?
- Yes.

- You have a daughter named Tula?
- Yes.

Well, you'd better do something.
She's outside.

I know. It's Festival.

It's the will of Landru.

Reger, these are young men.

They're not old enough
to be excused.

- They are visitors.
- Have they no Lawgivers in the valley?

Why be they not at the Festival?

We heard that you might
have rooms for us.

There, you see, Hacom?

They've come looking for a place
to rest afterwards.

The Red Hour has already struck.

Hacom, these be strangers.

The valley has different ways.

Do you say that Landru
is not everywhere?

No, of course not. It's simply that
they may have different ways.

They've come looking for shelter.

Can I turn them away?

Come, please.

But the girl, out there.

She is in Festival,
as you should be.

Come, please. Hurry.

The Lawgivers should know.

Surely, Hacom, they already know.

Are they not infallible?

You mock them.
You mock the Lawgivers.

And the strangers are not
of the Body.

You will see.

But, Hacom.

You can return here
at close of Festival.

It's quiet.
You will have need of rest.

We have no plans to attend
the Festival, sir.

The hour has struck.
You can hear.

I'd like to hear more about
this Festival.

And Landru.


You ask...

You are strange.

You scorn Festival?

Are you..?

Are you..?

What about Landru?

Festival! Festival!


My guess is we have until morning.
Let's put the time to good use.

Doctor, atmospheric readings

to determine whether there's anything
in the air to account for all this.

Mr. Lindstrom, correlate
all that you've seen

with any other sociological
parallels, if any.

Mr. Spock.

You and I have some
serious thinking to do.

When we leave here
tomorrow morning,

I wanna have a plan of action.


Spock. Spock. Lindstrom.


No, no, it's all over now.
It's all over now, child.

It's all right. Quiet.

Excuse me. Come on.

It's all right.

It's all over.

He'll give her a shot.
It'll calm her down. Trust us.

You didn't even try
to bring her back.

What kind of father are you?

It's Landru's will.

What about Landru? Who is he?

It is true then.

You did not attend the Festival
last night.


Then you are not of the Body.

You couldn't be.

She is asleep.

Are you..?

Are you Archons?

What if we are?

It was said more would follow.

- If you are indeed...
- We must hide them.

Quickly. The Lawgivers.

We can take care of ourselves,

Landru will know. He will come.

He is the one. He mocked
the Lawgivers. I heard him.

No, Hacom. It was a jest.

The others, they were here,
but they scorned the Festival.

I saw it.

Tamar, stand clear.

I hear and obey the voice of Landru.

You attack the Body.

You have heard the word
and disobeyed.

You will be absorbed.

What do you mean, "absorbed"?

There, you see?

Not of the Body.

You will be absorbed.

The good is all.

Landru is gentle.

You will come.

We're not going anywhere.

It is the law.

You must come.

I said we're not going anywhere.

Evidently they are not prepared
to deal with outright disobedience.

- How did you know?
- Everything we've seen here so far

seems to indicate some sort

of compulsive involuntary stimulus
to action.

Your analysis seems logical.

It is clear that you simply
did not understand.

I will rephrase.

You are ordered to accompany us
to the absorption chambers.

- Why did you kill that man?
- Out of order.

You will obey.

It is the word of Landru.

You tell Landru

that we'll come in our own time

and that we'll speak to him.

You cannot.

It is Landru.



This is merely a hollow tube, captain.

No mechanism.

They're communing.
We have time. Come with me.

- Where to?
- To a place I know.

You'll be safe there.
But we must hurry.

Landru will come.

Quite a Festival they had.


What do you make of all this?

Totally illogical.

Yesterday, without apparent cause
or reason, they wrought total havoc.

Yet today, now...

Now they're back to normal.

- Morning, friends.
- Good morning, Bilar.

Your daughter, that's the man.

No. It wasn't Bilar.
It was Landru.

Let's hurry.
We haven't much time.

It's too late. Look.

What is it?


He's summoning the Body.

Telepathy, captain.

Phasers on stun.

Which way, Reger?

Perhaps through there,
but Landru...

We'll handle Landru.
Just get us out of this.

I don't wanna hurt them.
Warn them back.

They're in the Body.
It's Landru.

Phasers on stun.
Wide field.



- Security.
- Captain.

Lieutenant O'Neil.
He's one of our men.

- Not anymore. He's been absorbed.
- Bring him along.

But he's one of them. When he wakes,
Landru will find us through him.

Leave him there. He's our enemy.
He's been absorbed.

We've got Lieutenant O'Neil.
Let's beam up out of here.

We still don't know what's happened
to the Archons. Which way?

Bring him along.

- Put him over there.
- A lighting panel.

Amazing in this culture.

Comes from a time before Landru.

Before Landru?

- How long ago was that?
- Nobody knows positively.

Some say as long ago
as 6000 years.

Captain, it took
a very advanced technology

to construct a device like this.
Inconsistent with this environment.

But not inconsistent
with what we've seen. Security.

Those staffs.

Hollow tubes.

Antenna for some sort
of broadcast power.

What is it, Mr. Spock?

Immensely strong
power generations, captain.

Near here, but radiating
in all directions.

He'll be coming around soon,

He must not.

He's been absorbed.

- Absorbed?
- The Body absorbs its enemies.

It only kills when it has to.

When the first Archons came,

they were free, out of control,
opposing the will of Landru.

Many were killed.
Many more were absorbed.

When he regains consciousness,
Landru will find us through him.

- And if the others come...
- What others?

Well, those like you and me
who resist Landru.

An underground?

How are you organised?

In threes.

Myself, Tamar, who's dead now,

- and one other.
- Who?

I don't know.

Tamar was my contact.

Give me a decision, captain.
He's coming out of it.

He must not regain consciousness.

He'll destroy us all.
He is of the Body.

Give him a shot.

Keep him asleep.


I want some answers.

This underground.

If Landru is so powerful,
how do you survive?

I don't know, captain.

Some of us escape the directives.

Not many, but a few.

It was that way when
the first Archons came.

The Archons.

Tell me about them.

They had invaded the Body,
but they resisted the will of Landru.

You see, Landru had pulled
them down from the skies.

Pulled them down from the skies?
A starship?

Mr. Spock, those power readings
you took, are they..?

Powerful enough to destroy
a starship?


Kirk to Enterprise. Come in.

Captain, we're under attack.

There are heat beams of some kind
coming up from the planet's surface.

- Status report.
- Our shields are holding,

but they're taking all our power.

If we try to warp out, or even
move on impulse engines,

we'll lose our shields,
and we'll burn up like a cinder.

- Orbit condition?
- Checking.

We're going down, captain.

Unless we can get those beams off us
so we can use our engines,

we're due to hit atmosphere
in less than 12 hours.

Keep your shields up.

Do everything you can
to maintain orbit.

We'll try and locate the source
of the beam and stop it here.

Impossible to break away.

I tried the emergency bypass circuits,
but they haven't been effective.


- What is it?
- Sensor beams.

Very strong. We're being probed,
in this direction.

- Landru.
- Block them out.

Too strong, captain.
Can't be blocked.

I am Landru.

Projection, captain. Unreal.

But beautiful, Mr. Spock.
With no apparatus at this end.

You have come as destroyers.

You bring an infection.

You're holding my ship.
I demand that you release it.

You have come to
a world without hate,

without fear,

without conflict.

No war,

no disease,

no crime.

None of the ancient evils.

Landru seeks tranquillity.

Peace for all.

The universal good.

We mean you no harm. Ours is
a mission of peace and goodwill.

The good must transcend the evil.

It shall be done.

So it has been since the beginning.

He doesn't hear you, captain.

- Maybe he'll hear this.
- Put that away.


- Listen to me.
- You will be absorbed.

Your individuality will merge
into the unity of good.

And in your submergence
into the common being of the Body,

you will find contentment
and fulfilment.

You will experience
the absolute good.

Captain's log, stardate 3157.4.

The Enterprise, still under attack
by some sort of heat rays

from the surface of Beta III,

is now being commanded
by Engineering Officer Scott.

The shore party has been taken
by the creature called Landru.

Mr. Spock.

Wake up.

Mr. Lesley.

Where's Dr. McCoy?

He was gone when I woke up,
along with the other guard

and Mr. O'Neil.

I should say they've been here
and been removed.

But where is here?

a maximum-security establishment.

- Are you armed?
- All our phasers are gone. I checked.

That's locked.

Oh, does my head ache.

The natural result of being subjected
to a hypersonic.

- Oh, is that what it was?
- Sound waves.

Stronger, they might have killed.
They rendered us unconscious.

Enough analysis.

Let's think of a way
to get out of here.

What about the Lawgivers' inability
to cope with the unexpected?

I shouldn't depend on that
happening again, captain.

In a society as well organised
as this one seems to be,

I cannot conceive of such
an oversight going uncorrected.

Interesting, however.

Their reaction to your defiance
was remarkably similar

to the reaction of a computer, when
fed insufficient or contradictory data.

Are you suggesting that
the Lawgivers are mere computers?

That they aren't human?

Quite human, captain.

It's simply that all the facts
are not yet in.

There are gaps.

- Doc.
- Oh, hello, friend.

We were told to wait here.


Can I help you, friend?

- Don't you know me?
- We all know one another in Landru.

Like Sulu.

Think, man.

The Enterprise. The ship.


You speak very strangely, friend.

- Are you from away?
- You do remember!

Ask Landru.

He remembers.

He knows, and he watches.

You are strange.

Are you not of the Body?

- Come.
- No.

Then you will die.

They've been corrected, captain.

You'd better go.

All right.

Work on Bones.

- See if you can...
- Come.

Dr. McCoy, what will happen to him?

He goes to joy.

Peace and tranquillity.

He goes to meet Landru.

Happiness is to all of us
blessed by Landru.

I am Marplon.

It is your hour.

Happy communing.

With thanks.

Happy communing.



He's under
extremely powerful control.

Are we just gonna stand here?

Little else we can do,

unless you can think of a way
to get through that door.

Well, this is simply ridiculous.

A bunch of Stone-Age characters
running around in robes.

And apparently commanding powers
far beyond our comprehension.

Not simple.

Not ridiculous.

Very, very dangerous.



Joy to you, friend.

Peace and contentment will fill you.

You will know the peace of Landru.

Have no fear, friend.
The effect is harmless.

My name is Marplon.

I was too late to save
your first two friends.

They have been absorbed.

Beware of them.

- What about the captain?
- He is unharmed. Unchanged.

I am the third man in Reger's triad.

We have been awaiting your return.

We are not Archons, Marplon.

Whatever you may call yourselves,
you are in fulfilment of prophecy.

We ask your help.

- Where is Reger?
- He will join us.

He is immune to absorption.


- We have not much time.
- Who is Landru?

I cannot answer
your questions now.

Landru, he will hear.

Here are your weapons.

You may need them.

Behave as you saw
your captain behave.

It is done.

Joy be with you.

Peace and contentment.

- Captain.
- Peace and tranquillity to you.

Are you all right?

Quite all right.
Be careful of Dr. McCoy.

I understand.

- Landru?
- I am formulating a theory, captain.


Not here. The doctor.

You speak in strange whispers.

This is not the way of Landru.

Joy be yours, and tranquillity,
my friend.

And peace and harmony.

Are you of the Body?

The Body is one.

Blessed be the Body,

and health to all of its parts.

My friends.

What is your theory, Mr. Spock?

This is a soulless society, captain.

It has no spirit, no spark.

All is indeed peace and tranquillity.

The peace of the factory,
the tranquillity of the machine,

all parts working in unison.

And when something
unexplained happens...

...their routine is disrupted.

Until new orders are received.

The question is,
who gives those orders?


There is no Landru, captain.

Not in the human sense.

You're thinking the same thing I am.

Mr. Spock, the plug must be pulled.

- Sir?
- Landru must die.

Captain, our prime directive
of non-interference.

That refers to a living,
growing culture.

Do you think this one is?

Joy to you all, friends.

It is the gift of Landru.

I brought your signalling devices.

You may need them.

What we really need is
more information about Landru.

You said you wanted us to help you?

- Prophecy says...
- Never mind what the prophecy says.

If you wanna be liberated
from Landru,

- we'll need your help.
- Captain.

- You're not of the Body! You're not!
- Peace to you, friend.


Lawgivers! Traitor! Traitors!

- I don't wanna hurt you.
- Traitors!

- Doc, I don't wanna hurt you.
- Traitors!

Oh, doc.


Isn't that somewhat old-fashioned?


Where is Landru?

- No. No.
- Where do we find him?

We do not see him.

We hear him,

in the Hall of Audiences.

In this building?

- Yes.
- You're gonna take us there.

- No.
- Spock, call the Enterprise.


Snap out of it.

Start acting like men.

Spock to Enterprise. Status report.

Mr. Spock, I've been trying
to reach you.

- Report, Scott.
- The orbit's still decaying.

Give it six hours, more or less.

Those heat beams are still on us.
You've got to cut them off, Mr. Spock,

or we'll cook one way or another.

Scotty, stand by.
We're doing the best we can.

How's Mr. Sulu?

He's peaceful enough,
but he worries me.

- Put a guard on him.
- On Sulu?

That's an order.

Watch him. Captain out.


All right.

About Landru.

Well, there was war.

The world was destroying itself.

Landru was our leader.

He saw the truth.

He changed the world.
He took us back.

Back to a simple time.

A time of peace and tranquillity.

What happened to him?

He's still alive.

He's here now.

He sees, he hears.

We have destroyed ourselves.

Please, no more.

You said you wanted freedom.

It's time you learned that freedom
is never a gift. It has to be earned.

Come on.

We're going to find Landru.

No! No, I was wrong!
I submit.

I bare myself to the will of Landru!

- It's too late for that!
- No. Lawgivers! Help!

Help me!

All right, it's up to you.

Take us to Landru.

This is the Hall of Audiences.

- Open it.
- But this is Landru.

Open it.

Landru speaks here.



We are the Archons!

We are the Archons.
We've come to speak.

We are the Archons.
We wanna talk to you.

Landru. He comes.

Despite my efforts to save you,

you have invaded the Body,
and you are causing great harm.

We have no intention
of causing harm.

Obliteration is necessary.

The infection is strong.

For the good of the Body,

you must die.

It is a great sorrow.

We do not intend to die.

All who saw you,

all who know of your presence here,

must be excised.

The memory of the Body
will be cleansed.

- Listen to me.
- Useless, captain.

A projection.

Yes, Mr. Spock.

Let's have a look at the projector.

Of course.

It had to be.

- Landru.
- A machine.

This whole society is
a machine's concept of perfection.

- Peace, harmony.
- But no soul.

I am Landru.

You have intruded.

Pull out its plug, Mr. Spock.

Your devices have been neutralised.
So it shall be with you.

I am Landru.

Landru died 6000 years ago.

I am Landru! I am he!

All that he was, I am.

His experience, his knowledge.

But not his wisdom.

He may have programmed you,

but he could not have
given you a soul.

You are a machine.

Your statement is irrelevant.

You will be obliterated.

The good of the Body
is the prime directive.

Good of the Body, captain.

That's the key.


What is the good?

I am Landru.

Landru is dead.
You are a machine.

A question has been put to you.
Answer it.

The good is
the harmonious continuation

of the Body.

The good is peace, tranquillity.

The good of the Body
is the directive.

Then I put it to you that you have
disobeyed the prime directive.

You are harmful to the Body.

The Body is...

It exists. It is healthy.

The Body is dying.

You are destroying it.

Do you ask a question?

What have you done

to do justice to the full potential
of every individual of the Body?

Insufficient data.

Without freedom of choice,
there is no creativity.

Without creativity, there is no life.

The Body dies.

The fault is yours.

Are you aiding the Body,
or are you destroying it?

I am not programmed
to answer that question.

Landru, guide us.


Not necessary, captain.

They have no guidance, possibly
for the first time in their lives.


answer the question.

Peace, order and tranquillity
are maintained.

The Body lives.

But I reserve creativity to me.

Then the Body dies.

Creativity is necessary
for the health of the Body.

This is impossible.

- Is this truly Landru?
- What's left of him,

after he built and programmed
this machine 6000 years ago.

You must create the good.

That is the will of Landru,
nothing else.

But there is evil.

Then the evil must be destroyed.

That is the prime directive,
and you are the evil.

I think! I live!

You are the evil.

The evil must be destroyed.

Fulfill the prime directive.

- You are the evil.
- Landru, help me.

Fulfill the prime directive.

Help me! Help me!
Help me! Help me!

Well, Marplon, you're on your own
now. I hope you're up to it.

You can get rid of those robes.

If I were you, I'd start looking
for another job.

Kirk to Enterprise. Come in.

- Captain, are you all right?
- What about the ship?

The heat rays have gone, captain,
and Mr. Sulu's back to normal.

Relieving you.

Excellent, Scotty.

Stand by to beam up landing party.

Let's go see how the others are doing.
Marplon can finish up here.

Captain's log, stardate 3158.7.

The Enterprise is preparing to leave
Beta III in star system C- 111.

Sociologist Lindstrom is remaining
behind with a party of experts

who will help restore the planet's
culture to a human form.

- Marvellous.
- What?

The late Landru, captain.

Marvellous feat of engineering.

A computer capable of directing
the lives of millions of human beings.

But only a machine, Mr. Spock.

The original Landru programmed it
with all his knowledge,

but he couldn't give it his wisdom,
his compassion,

his understanding, his soul,
Mr. Spock.

Predictably metaphysical.

I prefer the concrete, the graspable,
the provable.

You'd make a splendid computer,
Mr. Spock.

That is very kind of you, captain.

Captain, Mr. Lindstrom
from the surface.

Yes, Lindstrom.

Just wanted to say goodbye,

- How's it going?
- Couldn't be better.

Already this morning we've had
half a dozen domestic quarrels

and two genuine
knockdown drag-outs.

It may not be paradise,
but it's certainly human.

Sounds most promising.

Good luck.

How often mankind has wished
for a world as peaceful

and secure as the one
Landru provided.

Yes, and we never got it.

Just lucky, I guess.