Star Trek: Return to Tomorrow

“Not even a Vulcan can know the unknown.”

Star Trek

So when I saw the title of this Star Trek episode (yes, we’re still on the Original Series) I thought, “Oh goody, a timey-wimey one with interesting alien beings!”

Well, one out of two ain’t bad.

Randomly exploring the furthest reaches of the Galaxy, the Enterprise is hailed by a voice that apparently speaks from nowhere: a mind without a body. It turns out that this mind is one of the last of an ancient alien race that may or may not be the ancestors of the human race, or possibly the Vulcan race, and that it needs the help of the crew of the Enterprise to find a body again. “If you let what is left of me perish,” says the voice, “then all of mankind shall perish too.” I still don’t know why, because Kirk never bothers asking.

Of course, the good-hearted crew of the Enterprise offer their help to Sargon the Disembodied Mind and his two remaining companions, and everything seems to be going swimmingly until one of the ka-tet (I think it may have been Kirk during a terribly acted would-be stirring speech) points out that the knowledge of these ancient beings “could advance humanity 10,000 years”. And that’s when you know something’s going to go wrong. Because humanity’s knowledge is never advanced 10,000 years in science fiction. It’s too big a break even for Star Fleet.

And, in fact, it turns out that one of the ancient beings has an Evil Plan to take over the crew’s bodies and kill Sargon. And so balance is returned to Star Trek-land. The crew has an evil alien to defeat and cunning plans to make.

Actually, I enjoyed this episode much more than the last couple of episodes I’ve watched. A genuinely alien race that isn’t conveniently humanoid, a glimpse of humanity’s past, or possibly its future, and no blowing up robots? Excellent. More of the same, please.

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