"Return to Tomorrow," Ep. 51 - Kirk, Spock, and Dr. Ann Marshall allow noncorporeal beings to inhabit their bodies so that these aliens can prepare androids for themselves. But one entity secretly plans to remain in Spock'... more »s body. "Patterns of Force," Ep. 52 - On a routine check of planet Ekos, nuclear missles are fired at the U.S.S. Enterprise. Kirk and Spock investigate and find the planet is controlled by latter-day Nazis.« less
RETURN TO TOMORROW
Has a very nice plot. I found the characters of the Alien Husband and Wife quite nice. Also has some clever twists with the supposed Death of Kirk and Spock. Fun episode that really showcases Nimoy's talent as an actor... He makes a very convincing "Bad Guy."
PATTERNS OF FORCE
I swear this episode literally came about because someone stumbled into the "Hogan's Heroes" wardrobe room and decided to use the props from that TV show.
The plot isn't totally believable (I know that sounds silly in reference to Star Trek) but it is still fun to watch... not bad at all really!
How can you throw stones at an episode with Nimoy and Shatner shirtless?
Typical "World War II" feel to this episode.
Great with one possible problem
C. B. Curtis | Indiana, USA | 06/20/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD is very good. Picture quality is excellent, but I did notice one possible problem with the sound in the episode "Patterns of Force". About 43 minutes in, when Kirk is trying to get Gill to respond, Kirk slaps Gill, but no slap sound can be heard. I also have this episode on VHS, so I know that there should be a slap sound. There is one other sound problem I noticed 2 minutes later when one of the Nazi guards is banging on the door to the booth where Kirk and Gill are. You don't hear the cound of the banging on the door. That sound is also on the VHS tape, but not the DVD. I have e-mailed Paramount Home Video about this but haven't heard back from them. I would be interested in knowing if anyone else had this same experience."
TWO MORE EXCELLENT SECOND SEASON EPISODES!!!
Jared Insell | Canada | 10/27/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Volume 26 of the Star Trek DVD collection contains two more excellent episodes from the second season. Both the episodes here are very well written and are classics!RETURN TO TOMORROW has some wonderful acting performances by the cast which tends to overshadow the story. Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Dr.Ann Mulhall (played by Diana Muldaur) discover a lost race of beings on a distant planet. The only surivivors left of this race are Sargon, his wife and Henoch (an old enemy of Sargon's). The aliens ask for the use of Kirk, Spock, and Mulhall's bodies to construct robot structures for themsleves to live in. In return the beings will give the Enterprise crew all the advanced knowledge they possess. Things work at first but Henoch decides he likes Spock's body and turns against Sargon in order to keep the vulcan's body. Now it's up to Kirk and Sargon to try and get Spock back into his own body! RETURN TO TOMORROW has some memorable performances particularily by Diana Muldaur whose character was excellent and I thought she should have been a regular on the show. With all do respect to Nichelle Nichols and Majel Baret but I don't know if they could have pulled this performance off. This episode really brought out the fact that Star Trek lacked a strong female role indeed, and perhaps Dr. Ann Mulhall was the character the series needed. Unfortunetly her character was never used again and Muldaur only returned in the third season as a different character. RETURN TO TOMORROW is a very good Star Trek episode and it's priceless to see Kirk's bonding with Sargon because we get to see Wiliam Shatner overreacting at his best.PATTERNS OF FORCE is one of my favourite Star Trek episodes and I am amazed at how many reviewers have lamb-basted this episode. I always thought this episode was one of Star Trek's finest. It dealt with a real life Nazis and the fear of a Holocaust. It was well written and well acted and in my opinion it may be on of the best Star Trek episodes ever. The Enterprise crew arrives at Ekos where Federation cultural observer John Gill was working to find a planet run by a Nazi government and John Gill being The Furor. The Zeon people, from a neigbouring planet of the same name, are considered to be a plague to the Ekosians and the Nazi government will stop at nothing to wiped this race of people off the galaxy. Kirk and Spock beam down to find themselves sneaking around in Nazi uniforms trying to figure out what caused this madness and how to correct it. PATTERNS OF FORCE tackles the holocaust issue head on and that may be the reason why some reviewers were offended by this episode. However PATTERNS OF FORCE is an excellent episode of Star Trek. The hatred that Ekosians have for Zeons is simliar to that of the hatred the Nazis had for Jewish peope. Keep in mind that this was the 1960's and it's amazing that PATTERNS OF FORCE was even excepted passed first script reading, being as offensive as it was (especially to Shatner and Nimoy who are both Jewish and being asked to run around in Gestapo outifits). To this day it remains the only Trek episode banned in Germany but PATTERNS OF FORCE is still one of Star Trek's gutsiest scripts written. This episode's message comes on strong and clear and the story is quite compelling. This makes PATTERNS OF FORCE one of the finest Star Trek episodes ever in my opinion.Overall Volume 26 is wonderful. Both episodes are some of the best and PATTERNS OF FORCE must definetly be seen. I found that episode fascinating and it brought out the sad truth of how absolute power corrupts even with the best intentions. A few sounds problems in the episode apparently but other than that this one is a keeper! Highly recommended!"
A Mixed Bag
Hank Drake | Cleveland, OH United States | 07/25/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Volume 26 of Paramount's complete reissue of Classic Trek contains one of the series' finest stories, coupled with an episode which never should have been made. Star Trek has touched upon the concept of non-corporeal life before, but in Return to Tomorrow the issue is more fully explored. Sargon's race is a cross between the Talosians and the Organians. Kirk's pep talk in the briefing room has been lampooned in the movie Free Enterprise--but it is actually well acted, well written, and encapsulates everything Star Trek is about. Diana Muldaur, who would later appear during the second season of The Next Generation, makes her first appearance here. The voice of Sargon was supplied by James Doohan, Trek's best all-around vocal talent.Patterns of Force is a standard action-adventure story which never should have made it past the first script-reading. Setting the story in an alien version of Nazi Germany offered no historical lesson, and only served to rub salt into what was then a rather fresh wound. By using Nazi Germany as the historical example for this story, the writer has managed to trivialize both the Nazi regime and the Holocaust almost as badly as Hogan's Heroes did. In addition, the handing of the historical parallels is fatuous, substituting the phrase "final decision" for "final solution" and "Zeon" for "Zion." (This remains the only Trek episode to be banned in Germany.) One wonders how William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, both of whom are Jewish, felt about the dubious proposition of donning Nazi uniforms and participating in such fluff. Kirk's "lesson" at the end of the episode, to the effect that the problem with the Nazi's was not that they were evil, but rather that "power corrupts," is dead wrong. History has been filled with leaders, from Augustus Caesar to Franklin Roosevelt, who could wield great power, without needing to "play God." The problem with the Nazi's was, indeed, that they WERE evil, motivated by racial hatred, led by a lunatic, and had no redeeming value. The picture has been restored and looks fine. The sound is mostly fine, except for some deleted foley near the end of Patterns of Force, where a slap across the face and pounding on a door are curiously silent. But, as I have indicated, it's best to skip this episode anyway."
Frederick Baptist | Singapore | 12/09/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"After a major slump in episode quality which lasted the previous few episodes, we get a major quality improvement here with this volume which for those of you who are picking which volumes to collect, this would fall under the "nice-to-have but not essential" category. In "Return To Tomorrow", we get an alternative take on the origin of humanoid life in the galaxy. Now the "founding fathers" require human hosts temporarily while they produce android hosts for their "spiritual essences". What's bewildering is why these guys didn't think of this idea while they still had corporeal bodies but they had to wait half a million years for the Enterprise but I guess this is one of the reasons why this is the weaker of the two episodes here and is overall an average episode at best.
The second episode, "Patterns of Force" is the stronger episode here and shows why the Prime Directive is so emphatically expounded by the Federation when yet again well intentioned but misguided members of Starfleet institute plans that go horribly awry. We already know that the cell phone was inspired by the communicators but I also noticed in this episode at the beginning what appeared very much like a plasma tv set! I wonder if that was inspired by Trek as well!
To conclude, one good episode combined with an average one makes this a 4-star volume which is nice to have but not essential if you are picking volumes to collect."
Not Must Haves...but still TREK
M. G Watson | Los Angeles | 06/19/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
I realize this is a forum for product reviews and not for people to argue with each other, but the comments made by Mr. Drake motivated me to do just that.
To be blunt, Mr. Drake misses the whole point of the episode he is reviewing. "Patterns of Force", while certainly a flawed episode in the TREK canon, is not an attempt to "trivialize evil", but an earnest attempt to ask why ORDINARY people get behind fanatic, extremist movements. (That was the stated intention of the writers, who revealed as much in 1975 book, THE WORLD OF STAR TREK, by David Gerrold.) The question posed by the episode is: "How could such a radical group of bloodthirsty adventurers convince millions of normal men and women that they should be entrusted with absolute power?" And the answer - which Mr. Drake and people of like-mind seem to spend a fantastical amount of time training themselves not to face - is: "Because people who are powerless and desperate will line up behind any cause that promises them stability, influence and a convenient scapegoat for their lot in life." Simply boxing the Nazis in the category of "evil" and asserting that is is the end of the story is a cop-out which lets humanity off the hook for producing them in the first place. Under their stagy uniforms they were ordinary men, not demons, and people who refuse to face that fact are treading on very dangerous ground. Kudos to the writers for not being intimidated by those - like the modern day German government - who want to make this or that aspect of history unassailable out of "respect" for the dead. The best way we can respect them is not to emulate their fate.
Now, for the reviews proper:
"Patterns of Force" (also known as "Prime Directive, What's That?") is a bit of a clunker, hobbled by a stilted script, heavy-handed moralizing and more WW2-clichés than you can shake a Luger at, but it remains entertaining nonetheless. The story finds Kirk and Spock unravelling the mystery of how earth Nazism established itself whole and breathing on a primitive planet called Ecos. Natch, one of Kirk's old Academy friends is responsible, which makes me wonder at the sheer number of future criminals JTK palled around with in his youth. In any case, it's up to Kirk and Spock to - once again - undo the damage the Federation has done on a primitive planet. (One of the intriguing questions left unanswered by this tale is whether or not the Nazi system on Ecos actually survived in some more moderate form after Kirk left, or whether there was a civil war between hard-liners of the Malikon stripe and the moderates represented by Eneg and Darus).
"Return to Tomorrow" is another half-decent episode, weakened somewhat by its overused premise of body-swapping. One could argue that Kirk and Spock should have expected that beings rendered incaporeal for 500,000 years would enjoy having flesh-and-blood bodies to romp in and not want to give them up. The episode is notable mainly for a humorously villainous performace by Leonard Nimoy as possessed-Spock, for the appearance of perennial Trek performer Dianna Muldaur, Jimmy Doohan's voice acting as Sagon, and for some histrionic acting by William Shatner. In Bill's defense, I wonder how many people who mock him as a ham could have pulled off some of the stuff he was asked to do as Kirk. It is easy, for example, to ridicule his delivery of the speech at the end of "The Omega Glory" but all he can do is chew the lines he was given.
The fact is neither "Patterns of Force" not "Return to Tomorrow" are very good, but as with most TREK episodes from the first two seasons they have enough enjoyable moments to merit a place in the collection. "