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Some Men Just Want the Battle: Patterns of Force, Star Trek, Season 2

stock here: some comments on YouTube are extremely astute. I don’t remember this one, but I used to write my own Star Trek episodes.


Gene Roddenberry was 100% spot on with his Star Trek episode Season 2 Episode 21 ” Patterns of Force”

The “Star Trek” episode “Patterns of Force” (Season 2, Episode 21) is notable for its provocative storyline, where the crew of the USS Enterprise discovers that a Federation historian, John Gill, has imposed a Nazi-like regime on the planet Ekos. This episode explores the dangerous consequences of attempting to use a fascist system to create order, showcasing how such ideologies can be twisted to justify atrocities and totalitarian control.

Plot Summary

The episode begins with the Enterprise arriving at the planet Ekos to investigate the disappearance of Federation cultural observer John Gill. The crew is shocked to find that Ekos has developed a society mirroring Nazi Germany, complete with swastikas and Nazi-style uniforms. They discover that Gill, attempting to bring order to a chaotic society, modeled Ekos’ government after Nazi Germany, believing it to be the most efficient system. However, his intentions are perverted by his deputy, Melakon, who uses the regime to promote xenophobia and genocide against the neighboring planet, Zeon.

Kirk and Spock infiltrate the regime, eventually finding Gill drugged and used as a puppet by Melakon. With the help of the resistance, they manage to awaken Gill temporarily, who then denounces the regime and cancels the planned genocide before being killed by Melakon. The episode ends with the Ekosians and Zeons beginning to rebuild their societies without the oppressive Nazi influence.


The episode is a stark commentary on the allure and danger of authoritarian systems, demonstrating how even well-intentioned actions can lead to horrific outcomes when such ideologies are employed. It also critiques the idea of imposing external governance systems on other cultures, highlighting the ethical breaches and unforeseen consequences of such actions.


“Patterns of Force” was controversial, especially in Germany, where it was banned from broadcast until 1995 due to its depiction of Nazi symbols and themes. This underscores the sensitive nature of its content and the powerful impact of its anti-fascist message.

Overall, Gene Roddenberry’s vision in this episode was to use science fiction as a lens to critique real-world political and social issues, a hallmark of the “Star Trek” series.

For more detailed information, you can check the episode’s summaries and analyses on sources like Wikipedia and Memory Alpha.

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