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Return to Tomorrow

Review

Series : The Original Series Rating : 2
Disc No : 2.6 Episode : 52
First Aired : 9 Feb 1968 Stardate : 4768.3
Director : Ralph Senensky Year : 2268
Writers : John Kingsbridge Season : 2
Guest Cast :
Cindy Lou as Enterprise nurse
Diana Muldaur as Doctor Ann Mulhall
Diana Muldaur as Thalassa
Eddie Paskey as Lieutenant Leslie
James Doohan as Voice of Sargon
Leonard Nimoy as Henoch
William Shatner as Sargon
Moral :
Loan : Be careful what you lend to people, you may not get it back
YATI : Supposedly, the aliens transfer their host's personality into the spherical containers when they take control of the body. Yet at the end Sargon and Thalassa occupy Kirk and Mulhall for a last moment, after all the containers have been destroyed. So where do the host's minds go?

In Kirk's quote, he asks whether McCoy wishes that the first Apollo mission hadn't reached the moon. In point of fact the first Apollo mission didn't reach the moon - it never even launched, thanks to the tragic fire which killed the astronauts. Several more flights tested various systems and procedures, and although some of these orbited the moon - which may be close enough to count as reaching it, in Kirk's mind - it was not until Apollo 11 that a landing took place.

Great Moment : Scotty's incredulity at the plan to lend Sargon his friend's body.
Body Count : Kirk, but he comes back alive again. All three of the super-aliens end up dead.
Factoid : Diana Muldaur who plays Dr. Mulhall and Thalassa in this episode, will later play Dr. Pulaski in TNG season 2. She also appears as Dr. Miranda Jones in TOS episode "Is There In Truth No Beauty".

Writer John T. Dugan's original script had Sargon and Thalassa become disembodied spirits who would float around the universe. Roddenberry changed the ending to have them fade into oblivion instead, which prompted Dugan to use his pen name John Kingsbridge for the episode.

George Takei's returned to Star Trek in this episode, having taken a few months off to film his role in the John Wayne movie "The Green Berets". In all he missed ten episodes following his appearance in "I, Mudd".

James Doohan performed the voice of Sargon, one of many voiced he did during the series.


Plotline

The Enterprise is probing out far past the limits of previously explored space when some mysterious force begins to affect the ship's systems. They head for the apparent source of the signal, a planet in a nearby system. It is far older than Earth, and long dead after the atmosphere was ripped away in some great cataclysm about five hundred thousand years ago.

As they scan the planet a voice suddenly speaks, asking the Enterprise to come into orbit of the planet. The voice claims to be dead, and promises that if the crew let what remains of him die then mankind will likewise perish. Kirk decides to investigate despite this ominous-sounding warning.

The voice identifies itself as Sargon, and once they arrive it directs them to a chamber more than a hundred miles beneath the surface of the planet. Although this is far beyond the usual capability of the transporter, Sargon assures them that he can make it possible for them to beam down.

Kirk leads a landing party down to the planet, with Spock and Doctor Mulhall both added to the party by Sargon. On arrival they find the chamber occupied by a glowing sphere, apparently containing some form of energy without substance - the remains of Sargon. Sargon explains the history of the planet; 600,000 years ago his people were travellers and explorers, colonising throughout the galaxy. He suggests that the Adam and Eve story of Earth legend may have referred to two of his people, though Doctor Mulhall states that the evidence indicates that Humans evolved naturally on Earth. Spock notes that some elements of Vulcan history might be explained by Sargon's story, though.

However, eventually a great conflict began amongst Sargon's people - "A struggle for such goals and the unleashing of such power that you could not comprehend." Details are slim, but Sargon states that the conflict was driven by a crisis Human civilisation has not yet reached, when "our minds became so powerful, we dared think of ourselves as gods."

Kirk asks Sargon why he wanted them there, and the being responds by occupying Kirk's body briefly. He shows them two other glowing spheres, his wife Thalassa and Henoch, from the opposing side in the conflict. The three are all that remains of his entire race.

McCoy notes that Sargon's presence is drivingn Kirk's heartbeat to an incredible 262 beats per minute, threatening his health. Sargon gets to the point, stating that the three aliens want to occupy corporeal bodies of Enterprise crewmembers. They will then use these bodies to construct advanced androids which can serve as permanent hosts for their essences, releasing the crew.

Sargon releases Kirk to show good faith; Kirk's own mind had spent the time "floating in time and space" in the sphere. The exchange gave Kirk knowledge of Sargon, reassuring him of his good intentions.

Back on the ship Kirk argues in favour of Sargon's plan, but notes that he will not order anybody to comply with it. He notes that Sargon's people would be willing to share incredible science and technology with the Federation in exchange for their help, leaping them forward by millennia. Scotty salivates over the idea of starship engines the size of walnuts, whilst Mulhall says that she is willing to co-operate in the interest of science. McCoy is more cautious, but ultimately agrees with Kirk's idealistic arguments and his statement that whilst the plan may be risky, "risk is our business."

Thalassa is allowed to occupy Doctor Mulhall, Sargon returns to Kirk, whilst Henoch occupies Spock's body. He decalres himself pleased with his host, since Spock's body is significantly superior to a Human one, and thus able to withstand the rigours of the possession far better. He is able to create a drug which will supress the worst of the effects on the Humans, allowing their possession to last much longer than would otherwise be possible. However, when he gives the formula to Nurse Chapel she notices that Sargon's is different to the others. Henoch casually notes that he intends to kill Kirk, so destroying Sargon, and uses his mental powers to make her go along with the plan.

Sargon and Thalassa begin work on the android bodies, but Henoch gloats over the superiority of their biological forms. Thalassa in particular dreads the idea of living inside a machine, as compared to the lovely form of Doctor Mulhall, and Henoch plays on her feelings. She finds herself tempted to keep Mulhall's body, wondering if perhaps it would be justified given all that the aliens have to offer humanity.

Eventually Sargon calls McCoy, relaising that he cannot keep inflicting this amount of stress on Kirk's body. Thalassa arrives, arguing for keeping the Human hosts rather than transferring to the androids, but Sargon rejects the idea as he collapses. McCoy and Chapel arrive and McCoy announces that Kirk/Sargon is dead.

In sickbay cCoy puts Kirk's body on life support to keep it functional, though he believes that Sargon's essence has died, leaving the body an empty shell. Henoch continues to needle Thalassa, showing her an ugly, unfinished android body and informing her that it will be the one she will live in.

Thalassa goes to McCoy and offers a deal - she will move Kirk's mind from the sphere back to his body, in return for being allowed to keep Mulhall's for herself. When McCoy refuses, she angrily tells him that she can take anything she wants, and kill him with a single thought if he tries to interfere - demonstrating her point by putting McCoy in immense pain. However, her own actions leave her repelled, and she apologises to McCoy and tells him she is sorry. Sargon's voice speaks; he transferred himself from Kirk into the fabric of the Enterprise itself. He is still alive, and has a plan to deal with Henoch.

Shortly afterwards, there are explosions in the lab; Kirk and Mulhall have apparently regained their bodies, but the three spheres have all been destroyed, apparently killing Sargon and Thalassa and Spock. Kirk states that they need to kill Spock's body in order to destroy Henoch, and orders McCoy to prepare a hypospray of "the fastest, deadliest poison to Vulcans".

Meanwhile Henoch is terrorising the bridge crew when Kirk, McCoy and Mulhall arrive. He instantly sees through their scheme to kill him, and forces Nurse Chapel to inject the hypospray into McCoy. She moves to obey, but then turns at the last moment and injects Spock. He gloats that he will simply transfer to another body, but suddenly senses Sargon's presence preventing him from doing so. As Spock's body collapses, Henoch is forced from it - and with nowhere left to go, he is destroyed. Spock's body stands up; Chapel explains that his consciousness was transferred into her by Sargon, allowing it to survive the destruction of the spheres. The hypospray wasn't really loaded with poison, but rather a plot to trick Henoch. Sargon and Thalassa occupy Kirk and Mulhall for one last kiss, before releasing them both and consigning themselves to oblivion.

Analysis

It's an okay episode, but it's one that just gets kind of silly in the end. And basic premsie is interesting, and the first two thirds are good enough, but all the body and mind swapping towards the end just gets kind of arbitrary and silly. Sargon can occupy the ship? Spock's mind can be put into Chapel? They just throw this stuff out to make the ending work. Still, not a terrible episode, but not a good one either.
Copyright Graham Kennedy Page views : 3,538 Last updated : 12 Jan 2015