Star Trek - The Original Series, Vol. 26, Episodes 51 & 52: Return to Tomorrow/ Patterns of Force
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RETURN TO TOMORROW has some wonderful acting performances by the cast which tends to overshadow the story. Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Dr.Ann Mulhall (played by Diana Muldaur) discover a lost race of beings on a distant planet. The only surivivors left of this race are Sargon, his wife and Henoch (an old enemy of Sargon's). The aliens ask for the use of Kirk, Spock, and Mulhall's bodies to construct robot structures for themsleves to live in. In return the beings will give the Enterprise crew all the advanced knowledge they possess. Things work at first but Henoch decides he likes Spock's body and turns against Sargon in order to keep the vulcan's body. Now it's up to Kirk and Sargon to try and get Spock back into his own body! RETURN TO TOMORROW has some memorable performances particularily by Diana Muldaur whose character was excellent and I thought she should have been a regular on the show. With all do respect to Nichelle Nichols and Majel Baret but I don't know if they could have pulled this performance off. This episode really brought out the fact that Star Trek lacked a strong female role indeed, and perhaps Dr. Ann Mulhall was the character the series needed. Unfortunetly her character was never used again and Muldaur only returned in the third season as a different character. RETURN TO TOMORROW is a very good Star Trek episode and it's priceless to see Kirk's bonding with Sargon because we get to see Wiliam Shatner overreacting at his best.
PATTERNS OF FORCE is one of my favourite Star Trek episodes and I am amazed at how many reviewers have lamb-basted this episode.Read more ›
The second episode, "Patterns of Force" is the stronger episode here and shows why the Prime Directive is so emphatically expounded by the Federation when yet again well intentioned but misguided members of Starfleet institute plans that go horribly awry. We already know that the cell phone was inspired by the communicators but I also noticed in this episode at the beginning what appeared very much like a plasma tv set! I wonder if that was inspired by Trek as well!
To conclude, one good episode combined with an average one makes this a 4-star volume which is nice to have but not essential if you are picking volumes to collect.
Star Trek has touched upon the concept of non-corporeal life before, but in Return to Tomorrow the issue is more fully explored. Sargon's race is a cross between the Talosians and the Organians. Kirk's pep talk in the briefing room has been lampooned in the movie Free Enterprise--but it is actually well acted, well written, and encapsulates everything Star Trek is about. Diana Muldaur, who would later appear during the second season of The Next Generation, makes her first appearance here. The voice of Sargon was supplied by James Doohan, Trek's best all-around vocal talent.
Patterns of Force is a standard action-adventure story which never should have made it past the first script-reading. Setting the story in an alien version of Nazi Germany offered no historical lesson, and only served to rub salt into what was then a rather fresh wound. By using Nazi Germany as the historical example for this story, the writer has managed to trivialize both the Nazi regime and the Holocaust almost as badly as Hogan's Heroes did. In addition, the handing of the historical parallels is fatuous, substituting the phrase "final decision" for "final solution" and "Zeon" for "Zion." (This remains the only Trek episode to be banned in Germany.) One wonders how William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, both of whom are Jewish, felt about the dubious proposition of donning Nazi uniforms and participating in such fluff. Kirk's "lesson" at the end of the episode, to the effect that the problem with the Nazi's was not that they were evil, but rather that "power corrupts," is dead wrong.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Star trek great series. Buy the complete set unless you are like me filling in a partial set.Published 8 months ago by Michael D Yust
ok episode, not one of my favorites. good quality of dvd and quickly mailed to me. excellent jewel case with all literature included.Published on November 24, 2012 by christopher peyko
I realize this is a forum for product reviews and not for people to argue with each other, but the comments made by Mr. Drake motivated me to do just that. Read morePublished on June 19, 2008 by M. G Watson
John Gill was observing and interacting in the planet system M34 Alpha System on the outer planet Zeon. John Gills speciality was "causes and motivations". Read morePublished on August 24, 2006 by Golden Lion
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