Sunday, April 5, 2009

Springtime for John Gill

Star Trek. I haven’t watched it since the late 80s. It’s been Remastered. Now it’s being Re-viewed.

“Patterns of Force”

It’s Star Trek meets Hogan’s Heroes, when Kirk and Spock are captured on a planet of Nazis and have to outwit Col. Klink and Sgt. Schultz. Not really, but they do encounter a world called Ekos whose warring factions were united under their own Fuhrer, Kirk’s former Starfleet Academy teacher John Gill, and given the purpose of eliminating their hated enemies the Zeons.

I always thought this episode was more than a bit heavy-handed. It’s one thing for John Gill to take certain philosophical points from the Nazis and try to govern a people, but to LITERALLY call them Nazis and DRESS as Nazis, well, wouldn’t that just remind you of EVERYTHING the real Nazis did wrong? (George Lucas even patterned the Imperial officers’ uniforms in Star Wars after Nazi uniforms, because you can’t mistake that cold, cruel, brutal and efficient look for ANYTHING else.) When you wear jackboots, you can only march one way.

The oppressed people here are called Zeon - good grief, that’s just ONE LETTER removed from Zion. Here the Nazis are attempting a Final Solution with their very own Space Jews. (And some people think the actions of the half black/half white aliens in "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" were a bit too obvious. Just be glad John Gill wasn't jogging around the Enterprise in a leotard like Frank Gorshin did.)

Like Hogan’s Heroes this episode finds time for some humor, and it’s some pretty good stuff involving Kirk and Spock mostly, and even Dr. McCoy. The scene in the prison with Spock having to climb on Kirk’s back, after both have just received a whipping, in a jail break attempt is priceless. William Shatner knows how to deliver a funny line, it’s a shame he only concentrated on dramas his whole early career and never ventured into comedies – he could have brought the house, or the TV screen, down.

Skip Homeier plays Melakon, the real power behind John Gill’s drugged Fuhrer. Homeier goes from uber-man to uber-hippie in the third season episode “Way to Eden” as the funky-earred, tie-dyed-robe-wearing Dr. Sevrin.

New CGI: “if you look out your port windows you’ll see the ringed planet Zeon.” Plus the Ekosian nuclear missile looks more missiley.

Disclaimer: Star Trek is Copyright 2009 and a Registered Trademark of CBS Studios, Inc. No infringement of those rights is implied.

Thanks to for the Star Trek screencaps.


  1. I always kinda liked this episode (especially the comedy bits). As you mention, far-fetched (why would they copy EVERYTHING about the Nazis) and subtle as a sledgehammer. Even so, entertaining. Now, what is the name Ekos a reference to?


    Grandpa (three mics - never noticed that before!)

    Pancake house (of course)

    Nazi Nuts (of course)

    Plus any reference to Sybok is always welcome (you might want to make a cartoon of Bill's famous comment about "Sybok's Gas and Go").

  2. Gotta love John Banner :)

    The last Yo-Yo Nazi on the right appears to be played by Paul Dooley.