Sunday 26 June 2016


TOS 2-22) Return to Tomorrow
Captain Kirk vs. Space Ghosts

I think the episode order's gone wonky somewhere along the line, but here goes another episode!

The Mission: Explore the far reaches of unexplored space and answer that mysterious signal...

Planets visited: Unnamed in the broadcast episode, the planet is named Arret in the script (which is, of course, Terra backwards). Class-M once, it's had its atmosphere ripped away leaving it desolate and uninhabitable. It's significantly older than Earth. The only area with an atmosphere is deep below the surface. It lies in a system three weeks' signal time from Starfleet.

Alien life forms: Sargon and his people once had a great and advanced civilisation, but destroyed themselves in war after they began to think of themselves as gods. They were originally humanoid, but when their bodies died, the last three of them - Sargon, Henoch and Thalassa - stored their minds in orbs below the planet's surface. Sargon stayed awake for the last half million years, sending out his thoughts to try to find someone else in the universe. Sargon and his lot are basically ghosts; he even says he is "as dead as my planet." They need bodies to rebuild their lives and ask to borrow the crew's bodies so that they can build new android frames, but the human form isn't capable of maintaining their minds for long without burning out.

Six thousand centuries ago, the Arretians began colonising the galaxy. Sargon thinks they may have been the ancestors of humans and Vulcans. While this is dismissed by the human representatives, Spock says that it would explain some holes in Vulcan prehistory.

Captain James T: Kirk risks the potential dangers of beaming into a planet to make contact with the source of the psychic signal. He also seems surprisingly keen to let Sargon borrow his body, making a big speech about how "risk is our business," even though it's pretty clear that it will go horrendously wrong. He says he'll only go head if it's a unanimous decision, but then talks everyone round with some flair. He's convinced that the Arretians will propel humanity ten thousand years into the future. He ends up dead, but gets better.

Captain James T:  Sargon is a noble, idealistic individual, still in love with his wife, Thalassa. He's clearly used to his orders being obeyed, but swears he will let the Enterprise go free if Kirk and his colleagues are against the idea. Shatner reaches new levels of thespian intensity as Sargon.

Green-Blooded Hobgoblin: Spock is keen to explore the ancient civilisation below the planet's surface. His body is more capable of supporting the alien energy forms than the pure humans'. He is able to hide his mind in Chapel's body to help give Henoch the runaround, perhaps giving a look ahead to The Search for Spock. Nimoy is absolutely brilliant at playing a completely new character.

Green-Blooded Hobgoblin:  Henoch is an out-and-out villain from the get-go. He's flirtatious, arrogant and excitable. He uses his powers, enhanced by Spock's own telepathy, to take control of Chapel so that she sabotages Kirk/Sargon's medication so that his body will fail and he can take over. He turns Thalassa against him and basically sounds like he wants to rule the galaxy.

The Real McCoy: Bones is, understandably, frightened of being through miles of solid rock. He's also the voice of reason here, pointing out that allowing unknown aliens to borrow your body is clearly insane and that it's just a little concerning that they've demanded the captain and the first officer. Beneath all that, he feels it's just indecent.

Great Scott: Initially against the bodyswap idea, Scotty is the most swayed by the promise of technology. Kirk promises him a starship engine no bigger than a walnut. James Doohan also provides the booming voice of Sargon (he'll be doing a lot more of this sort of thing in the animated series).

Future Treknology: The aliens create android bodies that use blobs of jelly to perform bodily functions, but will be far more limited than human bodies.

Trek Stars: Diana Muldaur plays one-off character Dr. Ann Mulhall, and her possessor, Thalassa. Mulhall is an astrobiologist, so it's a bit of a surprise she isn't seen before or since.As a lieutenant commander, Mulhall is the highest ranking female Starfleet officer seen in the original series. Muldaur makes a slight character very memorable, and is equally good as the corrupted Thalassa. She'll be back in the following season as Miranda Jones, and throughout the second season of The Next Generation as Dr. Pulaski.

Sexy Trek: As soon as Mulhall arrives, there's romantic music. Thalassa and Sargon get it on in Mulhall's and Kirk's bodies. Henoch, in Spock's body, flirts like hell with Chapel, before hypnotising her.

Cliche Count: Averted when the redshirts are left behind on the transporter pad.

The Verdict: If you accept the conceit of the crew being utterly idiotic, this is a strong episode with a great performance from Leonard Nimoy, getting to be a villain and clearly having a whale of a time.

No comments:

Post a Comment