Volume 11 in the classic Star Trek
series on DVD contains the delightful episode "Tomorrow Is Yesterday," a time-travel story with an infectious blend of suspense and humor. After dropping into a black hole, the Enterprise
ends up orbiting the Earth in the late 1960s, and is spotted by U.S. Air Force Captain Christopher (Roger Perry), who happens to be flying by in his jet. Inadvertently giving poor Christopher an unwanted glimpse into the future, and wrecking his jet with an overpowering tractor beam, Capt. Kirk (William Shatner), not having a good day, beams him aboard the Federation starship. The collision of sensibilities and reference points between characters born several centuries apart has a fresh, urgent tone that subsequent Star Trek
series have never captured (though Deep Space Nine
came close with its dazzling episode "Trials and Tribble-ations"). The problem, of course, is what to do about Christopher now that he knows what he knows, and history demands that he stay put in his own world: the pilot's unborn son, it seems, will one day make a space flight of historic importance. Terrifically entertaining and something of a precedent-setter for Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
(the theatrical feature set in contemporary San Francisco), "Tomorrow Is Yesterday" is Trek
at its best.
Also on this disc is "Return of the Archons," a cautionary story about mind control written by Gene Roddenberry. The tale begins when Ensign Sulu (George Takei) is taken hostage on an Earth-like planet with a primitive culture. Zapped by a weapon that leaves him under the control of someone or something named Landru, Sulu is then pursued by Kirk and Spock (Leonard Nimoy), who discover that Landru has the same grip on everyone else. Once Landru becomes aware of efforts by the captain and first officer to interfere with its bidding, Kirk and Spock become the target of a massive hunt by locals. A minor episode with a somewhat obvious scenario, "Return of the Archons" does have novel appeal in its heightened role for the ever-charming Sulu, and in Roddenberry's characteristically humane interest in elements that make people (and intelligent aliens) everywhere free to fulfill their destinies. The solution to the who-is-Landru mystery won't surprise anyone, but it may strike you as a prototype of several future episodes, from all the Trek series, involving centralized caretaking on various planets. --Tom Keogh
"Tomorrow is Yesterday," Ep. 21 - The U.S.S. Enterprise is sent back to the 20th century by a black star, where it is sighted by the Air Force as a U.F.O. Kirk is forced to beam the Air Force's jet pilot aboard. Now he must somehow manage to return to the future without changing history. "The Return of the Archons," Ep. 22 - The U.S.S. Enterprise finds a planet of blissful people ruled by a computer called Landru. The computer now wants to destroy the U.S.S. Enterprise in order to protect what it believes to be its perfect society.