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 904 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.



(created by), (as John Kingsbridge)
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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

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


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Release Date:

9 February 1968 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The voice of Sargon was played by James Doohan. Sargon of Akkad was a Mesopotamian king, who by most accounts, began ruling around 2269 B.C. In the show the year is around 2268 A.D. See more »


Dr. Ann Mulhall wears a red tunic, but she is described as a astrobiologist, which should put her in the Sciences division and have her wearing a blue tunic. See more »


Thalassa: Oblivion together does not frighten me, beloved.
See more »


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

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User Reviews

And you thought that letting someone borrow your underwear was bad . . .
10 August 2006 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

As in the previous episode in production order, By Any Other Name, we again encounter superior aliens, but this time, they're slightly more benevolent--or at least they appear to be--even though they've been existing merely as disembodied energy (Star Trek getting mystical again) for 500,000 years.

Like usual, the ideas of the premise are interesting, although the reason for this episode not getting a "perfect score" from me is that the premise remains just a bit unexplored by the time the final credits roll.

The main attraction of Return to Tomorrow is the opening for William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy to stretch their acting chops a bit. Shatner, as we'd expect, hams it up, but that's what I like. It's sublimely enjoyable to watch him writhe in agony, build up to an eventually shouted, crazy monologue in even more bizarrely stilted speech than normal, and sweat like an overweight nerd on his first high school appointment with the backseat of a car. As good as that is, Nimoy's performance is even more fun, because he has another excuse to wallow in emotions, and he takes advantage of it to treat us to one of the most twisted but cordial and smiling psychopaths ever. Other performances in this episode are just as entertaining, even if they're not stretching as much. DeForest Kelley has many opportunities to fly off the handle as McCoy, and Majel Barrett gets to play the ultimate "wooden" towards the end of the story.

On a smarmier hormonal note, I know I just commented on how gorgeous Barbara Bouchet was in By Any Other Name, but holy cow, Diana Muldaur is just as breathtaking here. I guess Star Trek had more clout by the middle of the second season to snag unbelievably beautiful actresses for one-off parts.

By the way, am I the only one who thinks that the Kiss song, "100,000 Years" may have been influenced by this episode? I'm probably the only one who cares, at any rate.

14 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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