Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Star Trek--"Return to Tomorrow"

I am in a tough position here. “Return to Tomorrow” is very similar in plot to Friday’s episode, “By Any Other Name.” Normally, I would complain that essentially the same episode was aired within two weeks of each other, but I just cannot. Believe me, it hurts. I will address “By Any Other name” at the appropriate time, but suffice to say, I like both for different reasons in spite of the lack of originality.

“The Enterprise encounters a planet that has been destroyed for half a million years. A landing party is compelled to beam down by a disembodied voice naed Saragon. Sargon, his wife Thalassa, and rival Henoch are incorporeal beings, the last survivors of their civilization, and they require solid bodies to inhabit in order to build premanent android bodies to house their consciousnesses. They choose Kirk, Spock, and a female science officer played by the future Dr. Pulaski, Diana Mulduar.

The plot is surprisingly not Invasion of the body Snatchers, but a tense story of survival. Human metabolism is incompatible with the aliebs while the likelihood of the android bodies is also I question. The ultimate twist comes when Henoch prefers Spock’s body and refuses to leave. Much of the time Spock is possessed is meant to be an excuse for him to act humorously out of character, but his salvation at the end is both exciting and tragic, as it leads to the permanent deaths of the three corporeal beings. In one of the few genuinely touching emotional moments of TOS, Sargon kisses Thalassa one last time in solid bodies before they dissipate forever.

I appreciated the genuine tension and emotion of “Return to Tomorrow.” As a history buff, I also appreciated the historical significance of the names Sargon (a Greek king0, Thalassa 9asea goddess), and Henoch (a variation of the Old Testamrnt name enoch..) That said, I had a tough time with the idea Saragonand Thalassa were the inspiration for the Adamand eve “myth.” I do not think it was necessary for the three characters to consider humans their children. It would have made more sense for them to have been completely alien considering the metabolic issues and the apparent unfamiliarity with Vulcans. Why would they know human prehistory, but no so much about Vulcans? humans cannot be that special in the universe, can they?

One last point, we welcome back George Takei as Sulu. He took off for ten episodes in the second season in order to film The Green Berets with John Wayne. I happen to like the jingoism of The Green Berets in spite of it having little bearing on the reality of the Vietnam War, but you can make up your own mind whether Takei made the right choice there.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

No comments:

Post a Comment