8

Watching it again with adult eyes and knowledge of the times it appears now to be critical of people who are all dreamy and talk about peace and love. It's interesting that it is flower spores that causes the change in the crew - flowers being one of the main symbols of the hippy movement.

Towards the end when one of the main characters from the planet comes out of the spores' influence he states that they have wasted all their years on the planet and haven't done anything useful (or something along those lines).

Edit: Was this an intentional critique by the writers/producers?

  • Are you asking if it was meant intentionally to be a critique by writers/producers, or if it was percieved as such by a large # of reviewers/viewers independently of intent? – DVK-on-Ahch-To Mar 22 '13 at 13:27
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    @DVK - meant intentionally to be a critique by writers/producers. I'll edit to make it clear. – camden_kid Mar 22 '13 at 13:30
5

It was very much indeed an allegory meant to provide commentary on the hippie commune and drug culture that was so much a part of American culture in the 60s. As described in this review:, it is "a close look at the potential benefits of a peaceful, sedentary lifestyle." This is in stark contrast to Kirk's viewpoint that without conflict and challenge, humanity doesn't evolve or expand, and that strong emotions are a part of what makes us who we are.

It's debatable just how effective either argument is as the episode is considered fairly poorly written and presented. And there are quite a few contradictions in dialog, action, plotline and directing, which I think fail to convey the story and intent in an effective manner. One perfect example is the whole plot point that strong emotions make someone immune or "cured". How is it possible that of all the crew and colonists, Kirk was the only one to be cured and figure it out? Did no one else ever feel any strong emotions? Not even Spock, the Vulcan, a race filled with very strong emotions, even if suppressed?

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    Maybe Kirk's psychological make-up, personal strengths and training which single him out to be the captain explain this? – camden_kid Mar 22 '13 at 13:13
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    I don't think this answers what OP was seeking, sorry (see comments on the question) since it doesn't show what the creators intended. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Mar 22 '13 at 13:33

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