Star Trek: The Original Series

“A Piece of the Action”

3.5 stars.

Air date: 1/12/1968
Teleplay by David P. Harmon and Gene L. Coon
Story by David P. Harmon
Directed by James Komack

Review Text

A Prime Directive issue becomes a lively comic piece when the landing party beams down to a planet to correct the social damage inflicted upon the culture, which is based on the Chicago gangsters of the 1920s because of a single book left behind by a Federation starship a century before.

Unfortunately, after beaming down, Kirk & Co. constantly find themselves on the business end of several machine guns, in the middle of the war between leading gangsters Bela Oxmyx (Anthony Caruso) and Jojo Krako (Victor Tayback), who both want a supply of Kirk's "heaters" (phasers).

The running gag of Kirk and Spock getting guns pulled on them proves quite amusing; every time it looks like they've gained the upper hand, ka-chack—two more goons with guns. Meanwhile, we get to see Kirk and Spock in gangster suits, a hilarious game of "Fizzbin," Spock saying "Check!", and Kirk in full role-playing mode, chewing the scenery in some genuinely funny scenes as he tries to work out everybody's piece of the action. It's an enjoyable gem with sharp dialog and good timing, as well as an undercurrent that still manages to say something relevant about intervening in other societies.

Previous episode: The Gamesters of Triskelion
Next episode: The Immunity Syndrome

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45 comments on this post

    You pretty lose track of how many times Kirk, Spock and McCoy get the upper hand on the gangsters or vice-versa. Guess you just have watch whose holding the tommy gun at any given moment. No matter. This is just one of those fun comedic dress up episodes. It really gets going when Kirk throws reason and protocol out the window and he just cuts a deal like a gangster complete with a suddenly proficient Chicago accent. Sharp suits, gangster slang and a Vulcan trying gamely to keep up his part of the improvisation. What's not to like? It's all just great fun like The Trouble With Tribbles.

    Generally I dislike episodes where our heroes end up on planets that look like earth at various times so I didn't expect I would enjoy this episode. But, what a pleasant surprise, I did! It was pure comedy gold. From Kirk's lackluster driving skills to him talking like a 1920s gangster - highly entertaining and very very funny.

    Not a bad episode not great either. It's entertaining in all of its silliness. I'm usually not a fan of TOS episodes were Kirk and company clown around in some facsimile of earth's past. I realize they did it for budget reasons. The creative staff would basically event a story that would allow an episode to be filmed on whatever sets that were lying around the Paramount lot at the time. So I can't be too harsh on it.

    Too late to meet the 1992 publication date, but the market still has room for a book about Chicago mobs of the 1920s that not only is morally ambivalent or outright admiring of the gangsters' outlaw but also -- and this is important -- contains blueprints for fabricating all the buildings, clothing, vehicles, and weapons necessary to emulate them, plus a primer on their slanguage.

    Of course, for all we know, Iotia was already mostly a parallel for 20th century Earth before Horizon visited. Wouldn't be the first time.

    My favorite part of of this episode, and I'm not sure the scene survives the syndication cuts every time:
    Kirk's on the blower -- sorry, communicator -- to Scotty and he's outlining the telephone-transporter scam about to be pulled.
    Camera angle is on Scotty standing next to the captain's chair, Uhura visible behind him at her console.
    As Kirk outlines the scam and what it entails from the Enterprise's end, Scotty's not quite catching on -- but Uhura is. And the delighted and satisfied grin that slowly spreads across Uhura's face is priceless.

    Ouch. I guess I stand alone on this one. I found the plot aimless yet repetitive, and the ganster theme just annoying. The only good part was the game of "Fizzbin." Spock, as usual, was used to good effect, but no one else was. DeForrest Kelley actually looked embarassed to be in several of the scenes. When I saw the three and a half star rating Jammer gave it, I was looking forward to this. Unfortunately, it did not hold up. Not nearly as much fun, nor as clever, as "The Trouble With Tribbles."

    Pam, you're not alone. I just saw this one again and thought it was insipid. Yes, there were some cute comic moments. But the whole "who's got the upper hand" changing every five minutes isn't an amusing running gag; it drained any momentum and plausibility from the plot. Worst of all is when suddenly it's The End and we have (a) no resolution to the planetary situation which set this whole thing up in the first place and (b) an additional Prime Directive issue because of an irrelevant piece of goofiness -- McCoy left his communicator behind. Kirk cracks a funny and we cut to credits. So WTF was the point of the whole story?

    I know this is generally considered a good episode, but even with that in mind, I think this is still a guilty pleasure of mine. One of my favorite episodes. There's a lot of cliches about the original series, things like cheap sets, silly period costumes, and human-like aliens. Usually, those stories tend to be the dumb ones, but this is an exception. Sure, the 20s gangster set was probably used to save money with something CBS or Desilu or whoever had on hand, but thankfully the plot was actually quite clever and ends up being perhaps the best Prime Directive piece in the series, perhaps of all the shows. And the use of the gangster atmosphere gave it a wonderful sense of levity and humor to keep the pace moving and enjoyable the entire way through.

    Don't get me wrong, there's obviously a giant logical leap here. One would assume the book left behind didn't have so much detail as to describe the suits, the accents, the intricacies of how Tommy guns work, to say nothing of 1920s style and architecture. And the throwaway line that the aliens are very imitative still makes it hard to swallow that they would radically change that much. But who cares? It set up an interesting plot, so I can willingly suspend disbelief for the sake of the action.

    On the Prime Directive side, this works better than the "dying peoples" storylines. We see how something as simple as a book can contaminate a culture. Yes, this is an extreme example, but if they assumed that that book was how the Federation actually operated, and they saw how advanced the Federation actually was, maybe they would try to incorporate those ideals into their life. It's interesting, too, that the problem isn't actually interference in this case, but rather limited interference. If the Horizon stayed behind and talked to the Iotians more, they would certainly explain to them that this culture is just one of many that sprung up on Earth, that was a short lived culture, and is certainly not one that should be emulated. If the Federation decided to be fully invested in this planet (as they are after Kirk's visit), then there could certainly be some positive ramifications. But a fly-by visit? We can see how the lack of full communication could cause the other culture to get some wrong ideas. And so one could argue that unless the Federation was interested in a permanent presence on this planet, it is better to simply stay away entirely. It does not fully justify the Prime Directive, but that's ok. It tells one little piece of the Prime Directive story, and does it well.

    And one reason why it does it well is because it's in the background. We don't get into a philosophical debate on the PD like what seems to happen too often. Instead, the situation is presented simply: these people were contaminated, and we can see pretty quickly that the contamination is a negative. Instead, the plot is, besides all the twists and turns of who has the drop on who, about Kirk trying to find a way past this mess and to get it to work. I'm a bit confused about wanderer's statement that there was no resolution; I thought the resolution was very clever. We saw that scene where the two women complain about services while pointing out that they pay their cut. It showed Kirk that, as messed up as the situation is, the Iotians were making it work somehow, and that things were still functioning. It showed that the mob bosses were actually performing as a government. We also see that both Oksmyx and Krako did have grander aspirations, and we could see why Kirk thought he could use them. And naturally, given the reverence the people had for The Book, any reversion to normal would have to be gradual. Kirk couldn't just give a speech and expect everyone to abandon their ways. So his subtle solution, to basically declare that he is the top mob boss and that the rest of them would have to work together to give him his cut, serves the primary purpose of unifying the people and stopping all the "hits". The secondary goal, moving away from a gangster culture, would take more time, and Kirk even got a head start on it by basically creating a tax that would be reinvested in changing their status. I'm not necessarily on board with the solution, but it is in fact a resolution to the story. And a good one. It solved both of the two major plot issues (Kirk must fix what once was wrong, and Kirk must outwit the two mob bosses) quite effectively.

    And yeah, it was funny. Shatner, Nimoy, everyone seemed to be at their best here. The levity involved made the obviously silly concept a lot of fun to watch, and the jokes and humorous moments hold up well I think. I even like Spock's grimace at the end when Kirk declares that his solution was completely logical. Like he didn't want to admit Kirk might have had a point. Especially since he was probably embarrassed about the whole outing the entire time. Well, he may have been mortified at having to dress as a gangster and talk in slang, but his loss was our gain.

    In the vein of "The Trouble With Tribbles" this is another episode that shows how TOS could pull off humor. It's an interesting plot - obviously with some good twists and turns - unpredictable.
    Great how Kirk/Spock start talking like the gangsters and Spock tries adapting. Some convincing supporting roles from Oxmyx/Krakow etc. Good script / good acting.
    Ultimately, I'm not sure what Kirk and the crew accomplish with the Iotians but it's one of those episodes with some suspension of belief and flexibility with the PD that is a success.
    This one is full value for 3 stars out of 4. Not quite on the level of Tribbles but plenty of comedy gold that shows what TOS could do.

    Ah yes, Star Trek does gangster movies in "A Piece of the Action," and it's one of the funniest Trek comedies out there -- no small feat coming so soon after "Tribbles" in this same Season Two. It's not quite as effortlessly original and sublimely funny as "Tribbles," but this one is quite entertaining. I give it 3 1/2 or 4 stars.

    The scene of Spock fussing at Kirk for his driving gets me in stitches just about every time; it feels so genuine and unforced. The fish-out-of-water comedy of watching the crew muck about Iotia's gangster society is great, but it especially gets funny when Kirk and Spock start playing along as gangsters themselves. The slang, patter, and dialogue (love the use of "Feds" for the Fedaration) are especially good in this show.

    Despite all of the silliness, there's a serious kernel to the story, as the crew embarks on a mission to identify and remove cultural contamination left behind by the USS Horizon in violation of the prime directive. That the contamination turns out to be a book on 1920s Chicago gangs is a nifty twist, giving us a society that resembles what the US would have looked like ruled by mafia gangs. The final throwaway moment where McCoy realizes he may have left his tech behind leaves the show on a sober note, as we can only imagine what a culture that treated a "Chicago gangs" book as its holy Bible will do with a communicator, but the sublime chemistry of the whole cast (including great guest roles here for the mobsters, molls, ad other Iotians) is the real scene-stealer here.

    It's a great Kirk-Spock showcase too: From Kirk's "Fizzbin" improv and put-on mob boss persona to Spock's reluctant embrace of a gangster accent, we see the two leads at their most iconic here. McCoy is a bit more along for the ride in this one, and the other regulars (Uhura, Chekov) barely register. But that's okay because the Kirk-Spock chemistry feels so natural, seamless, and entertaining; it's a good bromance story for their friendship.

    Alright, I’m just past the first few minutes and they are pulling the earth clone with humans - err I mean “aliens” nonsense AGAIN?! How many earth clones are there? Oh well...

    I watched the entire episode (yes, I am bit late posting this) and the extent of the contamination caused by a book and a few manuals is quite honestly absurd to the extreme. For example, you could hear a dog barking in the background, did those manuals tell those aliens how to make dogs appear out of nothing? By the episode's very admittance the planet was in its early industrial stages. Oh, and that must have been one heck of a dictionary that came with those books. And yes, without some artistic license there would have been no Star Trek for me to bash at all. :-)

    Absolutely hilarious! I've seen this episode goodness knows how many time and I still crack up. Imagine! a planet whose culture and civilization were based on a book about the Chicago mobs of the 1920s---that alone is enough to set one to laughing until one's sides ache, because I have seen a lot of films about said Chicago mobs (such as the original "The Untouchables" with Robert Stack as Eliot Ness) and so I could really appreciate the humor with which Star Trek parodied the concept. Also imagine! Captain Kirk's attempts to drive an old jalopy with a stick shift---this was the one time, I believe, where the usually unflappable Spock was scared stiff! And here's a serious note which was not without humor: Back in the last century there was an innovative psychiatrist named Milton H. Erickson, M.D. who pioneered some unusual---and extremely effective---approaches to working with hypnosis. One of these was---and is---the "confusion" technique, and I don't know if he ever watched "Star Trek" but he definitely would have enjoyed the "fizzbin" scene in this episode. Watching it I suddenly realized that Captain Kirk, in his improvisation, was using one of the most beautiful such techniques I had ever seen. And that made it all the funnier. On a scale of 1 to 4 I give this a 4-plus, to rank with the story about the tribbles. One of the best!

    Let it not be said that star trek doesnt have a good sense of humor, an entire civilization based upon the gangs of chicago 1920's (or the 2000's,not much has changed in good ol chicago)Tayback and Caruso are great as the gang leaders.

    Found the constant switcheroos boring and Fizzbin idiotic (wow, those are some really, really, really stupid aliens). The Fizzbin scene was a variation on Kirk Outsmarts The Machine, but worse. Nothing like "Kirk smugly basking in his own cleverness" to kill a scene.

    Some saving graces in some funny lines, costumes and scenes, in Spock gamely trying to fit in, and in good performances.

    Average overall.

    I thought this was one of the weakest episodes of the entire show, just so boring, the humour never landed. But then again I thought 'Gamesters if Triskelion' was one of the most entertaining (even though many hate it), just goes to show its all a matter of opinion.

    A lot of TOS is a real chore to watch, and sometimes it seems like its formidable reputation was created on the back of a handful of standout episodes. This outing does little to change my mind about that. About the only good thing to come from "A Piece of The Action" is the inclusion some 40 years later of Vic in DS9, leading to the incredible "Its Only a Paper Moon". After the Scooby Doo / TOS crossover that came before this one, I am struggling to keep up my enthusiasm.

    Did not like the episode though it had potential. Suits are an exception however 😍 Kirk and Spock were looking toight.

    Plot goes:
    Sent to planet to fix mess of their interference < fixes mess < interferes again with Bone's communicator < makes a joke and laughs it off < The End
    Left the way it started.

    Cool. Legit just an episode of cat and mouse.

    "We dont want to use our technology" ....
    Uses transportation and phasers towards end.
    Legit could have saved 30 minutes of "action" . Wanting those 30 minutes back thanks 😂

    In a time before holo-decks were invented...

    I won't lie, this is incredibly silly and to a great extent: downright stupid.

    But there's also no denying in that it's absolutely hilarious.

    Sawbones, Spocko and the last scene with my favorite quote "Captain. I'm also curious as to how you propose to explain to Starfleet Command that a starship will be sent each year to collect our cut."

    III / IV

    If only the Horizon had left behind a copy of Jurassic Park, there could've been a planet of dinosaur zoos.

    The most inspired part of this episode was the alien gangster names -- especially "Jojo Krako"; that's top-shelf.

    Zero technobabble. Lots of humor. No special effects.

    Could it be that The Orville is Star Trek's true heir in the modern era?


    Both of you have a good point.

    TOS wasn't afraid to mix in different elements to build and release tension. The comedy often elevates the seriousness of what surrounds it.

    I like this. Comedy gold. Yes, the plot — such as it is — is repetitive, but it’s worth it to see the Enterprise crew hamming it up in Hollywood-style gangster paradise. Kirk learning to drive (badly), the game of Fizzbin, Kirk adopting Noo Yoik modes of speech and behaviour, several instances of the Spock “noiv” pinch, Scotty’s gradual understanding of what’s going on...

    Sure, there is little to reflect on, no great talking points, but if you accept it on its own lighthearted terms, it’s ¾ of an hour that flies by and provides laughs galore.

    3 stars, maybe slightly more.


    I wanted to give this episode more than a 6 but it has no sci-fi theme & no moral dilemma. It doesn't make you think but it's a fun episode with lots of action. Kirk learning to drive was great. At one point Scotty set the ship's phasers to stun & took out a block, I've never seen this used again in Star Trek but it sure would have been useful. In the first draft script there were Romulans in this episode which I think would have been better. The first use of a site to site transport was in this episode.

    One of the best of the series, very entertaining!

    "I have seen a lot of films about said Chicago mobs (such as the original "The Untouchables" with Robert Stack as Eliot Ness)....."

    Spock: Captain, perhaps we should purloin a taxi ---
    Kirk: Nooo, that's just what they'd be expecting us to do.

    I wonder if some fan-novel has been done describing the book-bering Horizon's first encounter with Iotia.

    The planet here is basically the Planet of the Fanboys, and that’s a priceless metafictional idea. I take my kids to local events like FanExpo at least once a year, and we even went to the most famous one (San Diego ComicCon) once. As you probably all know, these are all filled to the brim with overly enthusiastic geeks, nerds, and hard-luck cases dressing up as their favorite comic-book heroes and pop-culture characters. And they’re *serious* about it. Some of them get every detail correct. They embrace the camp and immerse themselves in their roles, ultimately because it’s fun. Sure, most people who dress up as The Joker don't agree to commit murder to honor their character's pedigree as these mob aliens do, but that's where the satire and commentary comes in. And while these Sigma Iotians have their Book, cosplayers have dozens of movies and perhaps hundreds of episodes and comic books to follow to the letter. It’s even, you might say, a religious or spiritual experience. “A Piece of the Action” is Star Trek making fun of cosplay before cosplay was even a huge thing.

    There are obvious parallels to The Book and The Bible. Not so much its content (although like a treatise about Mob Chicago in the 1920’s, the Bible has plenty of murder, thievery, greed and fornication for sure) as much as its legions of faithful followers and the way they approach it. It’s also interesting how Kirk fixes the planet’s cultural contamination in a way that adheres coherently and strictly to that very contamination’s own “rules.” He never once attacks the Sigma Iotians for what they believe. He simply accepts their belief system and finds a way to cleverly manipulate them into making improvements that still follow The Book’s logic.

    While this episode isn’t as madcap or funny as “Mirror Mirror” or “The Trouble With Tribbles,” it’s entertaining. It has some great lines, some reliably hammy acting by William Shatner (his Chicago accent isn’t half bad), priceless Leonard Nimoy reaction shots, and even playfully goofy character names--I’m sorry, but I can’t hear Krako’s without thinking it’s “Crack Ho.” There are times that it tries too hard (Fizzbin) and gets repetitive (we get it--mob bosses are murderously funny, pardon the pun).

    Is it oversimplified? You betcha, pally. You’d think there would be one or two “factions” or villages on the planet that wouldn’t be subscribing to The Book. An entire population all in full agreement about enacting the roleplay and its real-life executions (pun intended this time) involving murder, gambling and illicit commerce is intellectually hard to believe, but this quirk of Star Trek (ten to twenty people representing an entire cohesive civilization) is certainly not unique to this episode. And I’m willing to hand-wave this away as a nitpick anyway--they’re aliens after all. They may simply have more coherence or different approaches to stimuli than we do.

    Ultimately, “A Piece of the Action” isn’t meant to be asking too much of us. Sometimes things aren’t meant to be analyzed and picked apart like a vulture’s meal. This is one of those Star Trek episodes that’s best to simply kick back and watch without much of a critical eye, to be sure. The episode’s only wish is to simply entertain us, offering us a little piece of the action ourselves vicariously.

    Speak Freely:

    Krako -- “What do you think, we’re stupid or something?”

    Kirk -- “No, I don’t think you’re stupid. I just think your behavior is arrested.”

    Krako -- “I haven’t been arrested in my whole life!”

    My Grade: B-

    I admit that if you like this one or not really depends on how funny you find it. Of course it’s silly and absurd, but at least that’s intentional and you know from the beginning that absolutely nothing should be taken seriously here.

    So for me, it works perfectly. I like how the story arc is based on Murphy’s law… every time Kirk et al. apparently manage to get out of the mess, something else goes wrong, and in the final scene, the problem they have just solved starts again. I love the humour and the wordplay… the dialogue is crackling with puns and jokes and hilarious misunderstandings (Kirk: “No, I don't think you're stupid. I just think your behaviour is arrested.” - Krako: “I haven't been arrested in my whole life!”).

    There are many great character moments which manage to be funny without making fun of the characters: such as Spock bravely struggling with the illogic of the situation and everyone around him, or Kirk learning to drive (which is particularly hilarious since in "The Doomsday Machine" we’ve seen him pilot a wrecked starship single-handedly, but then, realistically, how should he know how to drive a 20th century car?).

    And there are countless funny little details. Just to name a few: when I recently watched the episode, I noticed that in the showdown scene in Oxmyx’s office, the two men Kirk and Spock have disrobed earlier are still in their underwear… and I love the bit when Oxmyx first uses the communicator to call the Enterprise; he looks up at the ceiling as if expecting to see the ship there, and that glance, full of amazement and suspicion, cracks me up every time. Which brings me to praise the acting which really elevates the episode; this could have been just another dress-up episode, but everyone’s just having so much fun, it’s infectious…

    This show is a relatively good retelling of conventional historical imperialism, complete with stunboat diplomacy.

    THe feeling-superior civilization demands in name of its civilizing mission a "percentage" of the output, compels it by superior firepower intimidation, and rules through clients from the local tyrant elite.

    Bizarre and far out story plot. It seems to be the earlier version of other episodes of the same ilk. Bread and Circuses, Patterns of Force, and The Omega Glory have similar themes. This one at least is lightly comedic and a fun watch, whereas the others have a more serious tone. Overall, a good episode with the comedy sprinkled in. I liked Mr. Scott in this one. What's a heater and his concrete galoshes responses were gold. Knocking out city blocks with the phasers on stun was epic too.

    Another fairly well executed ‘comedic’ episode, an interesting broadcast order choice following not too shortly after Tribbles. A Piece of the Action is pretty blatantly absurd, obviously if you apply any real scrutiny to its sci-fi elements it can’t hold up at all, however, the show itself seems to be comfortable with that so why bother? This is more of a “sit back and enjoy” kind of episode.

    I will say that this might be the first real “prime directive” outing. The PD has been alluded to and mentioned plenty, but here it’s really the central issue, and this episode tries in its own goofy way to explain the core reasoning behind the non-interference policy. Whether that explanation is satisfactory or not remains quite debatable.

    Not much else to really dig into. It’s fun to see our crew in 1920s attire, especially Spock. The fizzbin bit was pretty funny, as was the driving sequence. And who knew that the enterprise’s phasers had a stun setting? Sorta weird. Also McCoy leaving his communicator behind, and the communicator having some sort of miracle tech that was the secret sauce of all federation technology seemed an odd beat to end on.

    3/4 heaters.

    Even though I sympathize with (and very much share) the irritation some viewers have with the number of times TOS used the premise of "a place that looks like Earth in the 1960s or earlier," I appreciate that in this case, the writers actually gave us an explanation for it that had real impact on the plot, not just some throwaway line at the beginning telling us that yep, it's another of those past-Earthlike planets, as if that's supposed to make some kind of sense. This planet didn't start out as a "parallel Earth." Its culture evolved to look Earthlike because its inhabitants were deliberately and imperfectly mimicking a specific period of Earth history after the contamination of their culture by visitors who were actually from Earth.

    Still far-fetched, but it is the nature of speculative fiction to stretch the boundaries of imagination, and I don't find this a particularly unfair or lazy way of doing that. I'm comfortable giving the writers the premise.

    Interestingly, this premise also gives us "gangsters" who, strangely, do not come across as unethical, just as having an ethical system confused by messed up conscience formation. They are devoutly, almost piously, committed to the "standards" they believe they have been given by a higher power.

    It's not presented as a theistic religion as if they considered the past visitors gods or emissaries of gods, but even without any metaphysical underpinnings, their devotion to their planet's way of life as laid out in "The Book" is quasi-religious. It is quite literally sacred to them, and the people who have risen to positions of power are not the ones who have flouted the cultural values they all espouse, but the ones who have embraced them most firmly. Of how many of our own leaders in politics and industry could our society say the same?

    The fact that they are not acting out of amoral or outright immoral selfishness makes it seem plausible that with a little help from the Federation, they may be able to grow into a more peaceful, healthy civilization.

    It also helps, of course, that we as the viewers see only cartoonish violence. Despite all the guns being pointed and even fired, as I recall, I don't think we see anyone actually killed, and the "cute kid" is not seen using his knife in a deadly fight with a playmate. I've never been 100% clear on whether the "real" violence in their society is supposed to happen offscreen, or we are supposed to think that they are only imitating the outer trappings of a violent society. Maybe we can choose to imagine that they don't understand that the gangsters in "The Book" ever actually hurt anyone.

    However, when Kirk has the Enterprise stun dozens of people in the street, they immediately get the concept that those people could be dead, and their assumption is that they are. (Kirk tells them they are not, but just as easily could have been.) That, at least to me, suggests that this is an extremely violent society, in which many people do not die of natural causes.

    @ Trish,

    I really like your observation that the book is like a Bible to them, and that their devotion to it is pious. I think the book being biblical to them is intentional in the writing, but I never thought about how devoted their are to it and what that means about their leaders. I took it for granted that they are an "imitative people" and assumed their devotion was a sign of naivete or even ridiculous literalness. It's cool to consider that it may actually be a hidden virtue.

    @Peter G.

    I think (as a religious person myself) I picked up on it from the time I first saw the episode as a child, but it has taken me many viewings over the course of many years to grasp the paradox of it all. These men are devoutly living a life in conformity with their culture's values that, in the history they are trying to imitate, was far from devout and very much not conformist. Perhaps their society does have a few impious nonconformists (whom we don't meet), but if so, they are probably not in gun-toting gangs. They're probably off quietly growing vegetables or something.

    I have always wondered how this kind of culture ended up with anyone doing necessary, nonviolent tasks like growing food and manufacturing everything (including guns), but then, I wonder that about Klingons, too.

    But I'll tell you, if most of their farmers (unlike the hippie nonconformists) buy into the accepted system, then I can certainly imagine them willingly handing over a set percentage of every harvest so the gangsters can "give the Federation their cut." After all, the Federation is stronger than any gang on the planet, and The Book tells them that the strongest are entitled to a "piece of the action." If that action is growing potatoes, well, there you go. They might not enjoy handing over a few bushels, but they'd probably do it without complaint, even considering it a genuinely sacred duty.

    It's a strange world, but somehow it hangs together.

    Has never been exceeded in lightheartedness by any Trek that came later, so it's my go-to episode when I'm in the mood for such. So many memorable scenes and fun dialogue. The poster says Okmyx but everyone here, including me, writes Oxmyx. And, I don't want any more cracks about The Book. 3.5 royal transtators

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