A Taste of Armageddon
|"A Taste of Armageddon"|
|Star Trek: The Original Series episode|
|Episode no.||Season 1|
|Directed by||Joseph Pevney|
|Story by||Robert Hamner|
|Featured music||Alexander Courage|
|Cinematography by||Jerry Finnerman|
|Original air date||February 23, 1967|
"A Taste of Armageddon" is the twenty-third episode of the first season of the American science fiction television series Star Trek. Written by Robert Hamner and Gene L. Coon and directed by Joseph Pevney, it was first broadcast on February 23, 1967.
In the episode, the crew of the USS Enterprise visits a planet engaged in a computer-simulated war against a neighboring planet.
The Federation starship USS Enterprise travels to Eminiar VII, bringing Ambassador Robert Fox (Gene Lyons) to establish diplomatic relations. Little is known about Eminiar VII, beyond the fact that they have been at war with a neighboring planet, Vendikar.
Nearing Eminiar VII, the Enterprise receives a message from the planet warning them not to approach, but Ambassador Fox orders Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner) to proceed. Kirk, First Officer Spock (Leonard Nimoy), and additional security personnel beam down to the planet, where they are met by representatives Mea 3 (Barbara Babcock) and Anan 7 (David Opatoshu). During a supposed attack by Vendikar, the landing party learns that the war is conducted as a computer simulation, and that the Enterprise has been "destroyed" in the attack. The crew are expected to report to Eminiar's disintegration chambers for execution per the treaty, and Kirk's party is taken captive.
The Enterprise receives a message, allegedly from Kirk, ordering the crew to transport down. Scotty (James Doohan), skeptical of an order to beam the entire crew down, has the ship's computer analyze the message and confirms it is fake; Kirk's voice was impersonated. Soon after, the ship is fired on, but the attack is deflected by the ship's shields. Anan 7 then contacts the Enterprise, claiming the attack was due to a malfunction. Ambassador Fox, deciding to believe Anan, beams down and is quickly taken captive and ordered to a disintegration chamber along with Mea 3, who had also been "killed" in the war simulation. Spock and the security officers, having escaped, rescue them.
Kirk, meanwhile, is taken to the Eminian council chamber and told to order the crew to beam down. With the channel open, Kirk instead orders Scotty to execute General Order 24 before being cut off. Kirk explains that he just ordered the ship to destroy everything on the planet within two hours. Panic ensues, which Kirk takes advantage of to disarm the guards. Spock arrives and destroys the war simulation computers. Arguing that the simulated war insulated both societies from the horrors of real war and had given them little reason to end it, he convinces Anan 7 to call a ceasefire and begin peace negotiations, and Fox agrees to act as a neutral mediator between the planets.
As the Enterprise prepares to leave orbit, Kirk defends the logic of his actions to Spock: the people of Eminiar VII had enjoyed order and stability for so long that they would do anything to avoid an actual war.
Zack Handlen of The A.V. Club gave the episode a 'B+' rating. He described the story as "one of Trek's classic allegorically powerful, common sense implausible scenarios." Handlen criticised a premise that had "a few too many holes to sustain its attempts at profundity" but praised the story's ambition.
- Handlen, Zack (March 27, 2009). ""The Return Of The Archons" / "A Taste Of Armageddon"". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2009-05-28.
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