5/21/12

Star Trek: Asterisk "Return to Tomorrow"

Vital Information
Series: The Original Series
Episode: S02E20
Air Date: February 9, 1968
Written by: John Kingsbridge
Directed by: Ralph Senensky

Premise
A group of beings who learned to exist outside of body need to use Spock, Kirk and Lt. Commander Mulhall's bodies to build new robot bodies. Sargon uses Bluff. It's super effective.

Review
So, the Enterprise is traveling hundreds of lightyears farther than anyone has gone before, normal day at work, and whatnot. When suddenly they get a distress call. From a dead planet. And then they get audio transmission from some guy named Sargon. Apparently, he's dead, too. Somehow? It's all very creepy, but they are Starfleet personnel, right? It's their mission to explore new things. So they go down to investigate. Spock starts to come with, but Kirk tells him to stay. And then Sargon tells Spock to come by turning off the power until he does. It's like a little kid holding his breath.

They go meet Bones in the transporter room and Lt. Commander Mulhall meets them there, too, along with a couple of redshirts. Mulhall says she was summoned directly by Sargon. Don't get excited about the redshirts, though, 'cause when they start beaming down, the redshirts are left behind. Kirk, Spock, Bones and Mulhall find themselves in a cavern hundreds of feet below the surface of the planet. Inside the cavern is a big glowing ball inside of which is, apparently, Sargon.
WHO DARES TOUCH SARGON'S BALL?
Through the glowy ball, Sargon explains that his race, seeing a great catastrophe coming, learned how to transfer their consciousness into glowy balls. He then jumped his consciousness into Kirk and started talking through Kirk. He explained that his companions were in the other room in other glowy balls, but only Thalassia and Hennoch had survived through the years. The rest of the glowy balls were no longer glowy. Kirk starts to feel fatigued from the transfer, so Sargon goes back into his glowy ball and they take all three glowy balls up to the Enterprise.

The plan is for the three entities to use Spock's, Mulhall's and Kirk's bodies temporarily to create robot bodies to remain in the rest of their lives. But this can only be accomplished when Hennoch, through Spock's body, can devise a serum that will slow down the metabolism in the human bodies to allow the beings to stay in them longer. When Hennoch goes to do this, however, Nurse Chapel calls him out for making a serum that will kill Sargon and Kirk's body along with him. Fortunately for Hennoch, he has the ability to erase this memory from Chapel's mind.
As if Spock didn't already have all the control over Chapel.
Well, then Hennoch and Thalassia start talking about how great it would be to have humanoid bodies in stead of robot bodies. Spock's body is alright for their higher metabolic needs, but Thalassia can't stay inside of Mulhall forever. She talks it over with Sargon, who is having difficulty in Kirk's body because of the serum Hennoch made for him, but Sargon tries to talk her out of it, stating that it's wrong to take Mulhall's body. Thalassia tries to talk him into it by giving him a nice kiss which a robot supposedly wouldn't be able to do, but then Sargon falls victim to the faulty serum that Hennoch gave him.

Well, Bones confirms that Sargon is no longer in Kirk's body, being forced out by the hyperactive metabolism. Without a body, he is likely dead. And Kirk's essence is stuck inside Sargon's glowy ball. Thalassia says she can transfer Kirk back to his body, but she wants to make a deal to keep Mulhall's body. After a bit of posturing and god-like threatening, she becomes disgusted by her own ego. And then Sargon, WHO IS NOT DEAD, speaks. Apparently he transferred into the ship like he was going to transfer into a robot body. And now that he's there, he calls Nurse Chapel in, says he has a plan and tells bones to leave.
Banging behind the door... oh... THAT'S his plan.
Nurse Chapel comes wandering out after a few explosions are heard and Bones enters to find that Kirk is up and well, and so is Mulhall. The glowy balls, however... are destroyed. And Spock's mind was in one of them. Kirk explains that the loss was necessary and now, in order to destroy Hennoch, Bones needs to make a hypo that's lethal to Vulcans. They go to the bridge and Hennoch reads Bones' mind. Thinking he has Chapel under his command, Hennoch takes the hypo and gives it to her. But then Chapel "betrays" him and sticks him with the hypo. He's forced to leave Spock's body and, consequently dies. And then Spock gets up, unharmed. Sargon explains that he only let Bones THINK that he was preparing a lethal hypo, and that Spock's mind was hitching a ride inside of Nurse Chapel. Thalassia goes into Mulhall and Sargon into Kirk one last time, for one last kiss and then they left into eternal oblivion.

Overall Thoughts
I really like the way this story twists and turns. A lot of the time in Star Trek you have a story that's all about the main characters, but every once in a while the aliens take the main role... literally. And when you have characters that are so developed, and yet different from the characters whose bodies they're inhabiting, it's just a refreshing variation on a theme. I feel like I'm rambling, but I just love how well this episode is written!