A Shift in Power, TOS: S2E21 “Patterns of Force”

If “A Piece of the Action” was a cursory view of cultural contamination, this episode’s adventure is a fully realized infection of the worst disease in philosophy.  Much like the mafia planet, the citizens of planet Ekos were introduced to an outside viewpoint by a Starfleet bungle.  This time, a historian and cultural observer John Gill had purposefully established a Nazi regime on Ekos.  The neighbouring planet Zeon (which may or may not be reminiscent of the word Zion) is home to a peaceful society, now finding themselves subjugated by the more war-like citizens of Ekos.  The Nazi influence introduced by Gill prompted the Ekosian society to bring about an ethnic cleansing of Zeon.

The culture and values of planet Ekos may have created the perfect environment for Nazi ideals to thrive and flourish, but much of this was in name and symbol only.  Ethnic cleansing is not unique to Germany, and it is possible they would have been building up to their own unique realization of a common cultural phenomenon.  Demonizing the ‘other’ to create one version of utopia is merely tribal warfare justified with a thin coat of idealism.  Ekos thrived on the idea that all their problems would be solved if they were rid of their one common enemy permanently.  They failed to see that this would not solve anything.  A culture poised ready to hate and exterminate so many would only turn to a new enemy, not toward peace.  They fought a living target and not the natural evil that permeates every creature in the universe.  A hatred not targeted toward hate itself will only seek another target.

Although the ethnic cleansing of Zeon wouldn’t have solved all the problems on Ekos anyway, Kirk and crew made sure it never got that far.  When Kirk and Spock beam down to the surface in search of John Gill, they meet a team of underground Zeon resistance fighters.  They infiltrate the broadcast room where Gill was set to deliver that evening’s announcement on the extermination of Zeon only to find the Starfleet historian drugged into a stupor.  Kirk and Spock revive Gill enough for him to explain that the efficiency of the Nazi system would bring order to the chaotic world of Ekos.  It’s a shame he didn’t realize that a system which does not place equal value on every life would have no obligation to protect the lives of its own.  The skewed set of core values, which readily facilitated a shift in power, reduced Gill to an empty shell, like the system he espoused.


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