Star Trek: Season 2, Episode 20

Return to Tomorrow (9 Feb. 1968)

TV Episode  |   |  Action, Adventure, Mystery
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 876 users  
Reviews: 10 user | 5 critic

The Enterprise is guided to a distant, long-dead world where survivors of an extremely ancient race - existing only as disembodied energy - desiring the bodies of Kirk, Spock and astro-biologist Ann Mulhall so that they may live again.



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Title: Return to Tomorrow (09 Feb 1968)

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Episode complete credited cast:
Cindy Lou ...


From a planet bereft of life for half a million years, the Enterprise hears the voice of Sargon, who is able to control the ship and tells them to transport to specific coordinates which target them to a subterranean chamber. The away party consisted of Kirk, Spock, McCoy and astro-biologist Ann Mulhall; the security guards they planned to take along were prevented from de-materializing. Sargon is one of only three survivors of the planet's intelligent race - pure energy, matter without form. They tell the away party that they once started life on Earth and many other places. Suddenly Sargon possesses Kirk's body, saying he requires Spock and Ann Mulhall's bodies, too, in order to give the only other survivors of his race new life. He promises the bodies will be returned after they build superior mechanical robots as their definitive bodies, then leaves Kirk's and allows them to beam up and freely make up their minds. McCoy isn't tempted by curiosity and potential benefits, but Kirk ... Written by KGF Vissers

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Release Date:

9 February 1968 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


In Kirk's speech on risk, he states "Do you wish that the first Apollo mission hadn't reached the moon?" At the time of the original airing, only one year after the launch pad fire that killed the Apollo 1 crew, reaching the moon was far from certain and the risks were enormous. See more »


When the two security guards fail to beam down with the rest of the team, Kirk asks Scotty if the security guard (singular) is still on the ship, just after Spock and just before Scotty each refer to them as security guards (plural). See more »


Sargon: Your probes have touched me, Mr. Spock.
See more »


Featured in William Shatner's Star Trek Memories (1995) See more »

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User Reviews

Glory Days of Half-a-Million Years Ago
25 November 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This one just misses being one of the great ones, concluding a bit too neatly and perfunctorily, but it still catches some fantastic concepts in a bottle, not to mention a chance to see Shatner & Nimoy act out new personalities. In a region of space where no other Federation ship has yet been, the Enterprise comes across a planet with three impressive survivors. All that remains of these beings is pure energy, their bodies lost in some cataclysmic war fought 500,000 years ago. They're somewhere between the Metrons ("Arena") and the Organians ("Errand of Mercy") in terms of unimaginable power, their minds capable of feats that 23rd-century humanity can scarcely dream of. So they've been waiting around in these containment globules for half-a-million years, waiting for their probable descendants to start exploring the spaceways (this is one of those episodes, echoed in a TNG show, which might explain the proliferation of similar humanoid lifeforms throughout the galaxy).

So what were they waiting for? To simply borrow three humanoid bodies in order to construct android shells for themselves. They borrow Kirk's (now call him Sargon), Spock's (now Henoch,from the 'other' side) and Dr. Mulhall's (now Thalassa); have no fear, Sargon is here. All very simple, as McCoy sarcastically puts it. But, there's a kink in the plans. Apparently, Henoch hasn't spent the past half million years contemplating peaceful pursuits; we learn this in short order when Spock's face assumes an uncharacteristically evil grin as Henoch confidently makes plans to remove Sargon from the equation and take over (I guess) everything. Now, for purposes of this story, Henoch, for all his supposed brilliance, proves to be very short sighted and impatient. If he really wanted to rule the galaxy...but, I suppose Sargon just stuck in his craw and he couldn't wait (half-a-million years of frustration spilling out). And we get to see Nimoy act out a sadistic villain - there's a creepy chilling tone to at least one scene.

I was also puzzled as to why, for all their amazing abilities, these beings were unable to construct androids with receptors for feeling. This was the crux of their ambivalence at the halfway point in the story, that the sensations experienced by their temporary human bodies would be lost in android form (see "Catspaw" and "By Any Other Name" as other examples of aliens becoming seduced by our surprisingly addictive bodies). And with Henoch out of the way, shouldn't that have opened the door for Sargon & Thalassa to proceed? Oh, well. Then we have Kirk's speech, about risk - yes, this endeavor was risky, no kidding. Others may jump at the chance to point out Shatner's over-emoting. But, it's a great speech. It sums up the goal of the entire series, the TNG series, and, to a lesser extent, the subsequent follow-ups - all in one fell swoop with about 5 minutes of wondrous trailblazing and preaching to a faltering choir. Hell, it summed up the true destiny of all mankind. Where else on TV can you hear such a speech? 'If Man was Meant to Fly...'

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