Director: Joseph Pevney
Writers: Robert Hamner and Gene L. Coon
Cast: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, David Opatoshu, Gene Lyons, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, Barbara Babcock, Miko Mayama, David L. Ross, Nichelle Nichols, Sean Kenney, and Robert Sampson
Composer: Alexander Courage
Air Date: 2/23/1967
Production #: 6149-23
After Ambassador Robert Fox (Gene Lyons) orders the Enterprise crew to establish diplomatic relations with the civilization on Eminiar VII, Kirk and Spock are held captive by a warring society. Unlike other hostile cultures encountered by the Federation, the Eminians have designed a clever method for eliminating collateral damage while maintaining high casualty counts.
Though Kirk’s blatant disregard for the Prime Directive may offend certain viewers, “A Taste of Armageddon” offers an intelligent commentary on the Cold War doctrine known as mutual assured destruction. Additionally, writers Robert Hamner and Gene L. Coon should be commended for allowing Scotty the chance to demonstrate his awesome command abilities during a tense situation.
Whereas modern adaptations of Star Trek frequently depict Scotty as a bumbling buffoon, this episode serves as a testament to the chief engineer’s capacity for commanding the Enterprise in Kirk’s absence. Even when confronted with a foolish, overbearing bureaucrat, Scotty keeps the ship safe from harm by relying on logic and intuition instead of blindly following orders. Overall, fans of James Doohan’s character should be more than satisfied with his first onscreen performance in the Enterprise command chair.
While Kirk’s influence on the Eminiar VII civilization results in a smooth conclusion to Hamner’s narrative, observant viewers may question how such rapid social progress could possibly occur in what amounts to a decidedly brief timeframe.
In a similar fashion to many Star Trek episodes, “A Taste of Armageddon” showcases hypothetical technology as a means of shedding light on real-world issues. By creating a scenario in which disintegration chambers and computer-calculated death tolls act as substitutes for more devastating combat methods, the writers offered an intriguing analysis on a potential outcome of perpetual cold war. Through their fear of annihilating one another via conventional warfare, both the Eminians and their adversaries embody the realistic concerns expressed by the United States and Soviet Union during a time when mutual assured destruction kept both superpowers in check.
“A Taste of Armageddon” contains another brilliant political commentary coupled with a timeless narrative enjoyable by Star Trek enthusiasts young and old. Those who prefer the original Scotty over Simon Pegg’s portrayal should appreciate this episode for its respectful treatment of the Enteprise’s chief engineer, whereas Kirk fans will admire the captain’s diplomatic, albeit unorthodox, solution to the unceasing conflict between both alien factions.
Overall Quality: 9/10
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