Monday, March 2, 2009

Master of Puppets

Star Trek. I haven’t watched it since the late 80s. It’s been Remastered. Now it’s being Re-viewed.

“Return to Tomorrow”

TeeVee Guide logline: “Kirk, Spock and guest babe Diana Muldaur have their bodies taken over by alien beach balls in an outer space version of bunraku theater.”

The aliens, lead by Sargon, want to borrow the Enterprise crewmen’s bodies that they might use them to build android bodies to house their noncorporeal consciousnesses. Well, the idea looked good on paper, right? Of course no good deed goes undone on Star Trek and alien Henoch, in Spock’s body, not only plants the seed of doubt in Thalassa, Sargon's gal pal, that living in androids will suck asteroids, he irrigates the land, then crop dusts that sucker. (Guessing Henoch was a farmer in his previous job.) Don’t worry boys and girls, Kirk and Sargon save the day.

This must have been a fun one for the actors, having to play their characters as though possessed by alien intelligences. William Shatner gets the first scene showing how Sargon intends to take over their bodies, and it is a bit over the top. At the start of the “possession” scene, he’s hunched over and it looks like he’s going to launch into some kind of interpretive dance routine. Martha Graham, watch out. Leonard Nimoy gets to smile and laugh and flirt as Spock never could. Spock would occasionally do some of these things in roughly the first half dozen episodes, before Nimoy and the writers nailed the character, so this could be construed as a look at the Spock that might have been. Diana Muldaur, guesting as Dr. Ann Mulhall, literally lets her hair down when she is taken over by Thalassa.

This episode takes place on the Enterprise and one planet-bound set, so there's not much new as far as visual effects from the CBS Digital team.

This episode has Kirk’s famous “risk is our business” speech, which I happen to dig. If you’re ever in doubt about trying something new or potentially risky, give this speech a listen. It just might give you that extra little push you need.

Disclaimer: Star Trek is Copyright 2009 and a Registered Trademark of CBS Studios, Inc. No infringement of those rights is implied.

Thanks to for the Star Trek screencaps.

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