Tuesday, August 03, 2021

Star Trek -- Season 2 Episode 20 (Return to Tomorrow)

There were a few Star Trek episodes where I wondered about the implications.  It’s easy enough to write a scenario into a script, but it’s another thing to have actually gone through it or to have to carry it out. As they say, it looks good on paper.  One has to wonder what it actually means to have been implemented.

The Enterprise comes across a planet that’s lifeless and barren.  Except that the crew is greeted by the voice of Sargon, who invites them to a subterranean chamber where he and two others are stored in several orbs.  (The other two are his wife, Thalassa, and his former rival, Henoch.)  The three of them want to use the bodies of Kirk, Spock and a third crewmember to build permanent android bodies for them to live in.

Yes, it’s a risk.  In fact, there’s no good reason why the ship’s top two officers have to volunteer.  There are plenty of security officers onboard.  But, Kirk eventually agrees to let the survivors build their androids.  The androids could last for thousands of years, but will be limited in sensation.  This leads to Henoch wanting to keep Spock’s body.  In the end, the survivors realize that their time has passed.  They agree to depart their respective bodies in peace.

It’s hard to imagine that their consciousnesses were stored in orbs for however many centuries.  It must have been a boring existence.  I can hardly take being trapped indoors for 18 months with COVID.  I can’t imagine what it would be like to be contained in such a small space.

You’d think that they would have just gone ahead and built the android bodies.  True, that would have required resources.  The android bodies would require power and they could have been trapped underground anyway.  But, you’d think they’d maybe build a few anyway just to have them ready when a ship came along.

For that matter, it’s stated that their race seeded several other planets elsewhere.  This would mean that they had their own ships, or at least the capability of building them.  Why not build a ship and leave the planet themselves?  Even if they didn’t have warning that their planet would die, they could build enough android bodies to build a ship.  (There were originally more survivors.  Only three orbs made it to the episode’s present day.)

Ultimately, it’s a shame for the race to die out like that.  To spend all those countless years underground in orbs only to give up.  The tantalizing thing is that this is the first real mention of a race that seeded the galaxy.  There were other episodes that alluded to this, although there’s no mention if this is the same race that was seen in The Chase.  Just to have the three survivors pass on some information would have been nice.

I don’t really dwell on this episode, but I often wonder why more wasn’t done to preserve the last of that race.  I also wonder how the three survivors survived for so long and what actually happened to the others.  It would have been nice to know.


IMDb page


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