Return to Tomorrow-In this offbeat episode, aliens change venue from giant spheres to crewmember bodies. Most of this episode lacks the action feel of many of its neighbors; it has an operatic, schmaltzy feel more akin to Metamorphosis or several 3rd season shows. Yet, I actually feel the episode takes a turn for the worse when the plot takes several predictably threatening turns. The action and drama are turned up, but at the expense of some of the episode's uniqueness; it becomes just another Enterprise in danger episode. It might not have been so bad to have the occasional feel-good show in which an interaction with aliens was synergistic from the get go.
Tidbit: This episode must beat out Spectre of the Gun for the 'longest teaser' award. Doohan, as was so often the case, played the voice of Sargon here. Muldaur would reappear in the superior Is There in Truth No Beauty?, as well as on The Next Generation. (3 stars)
Patterns of Force: The Nazi episode has to rank near the bottom of Trek offerings, if only because it is in such poor taste. What were they thinking? I'm tempted to give the episode at least some support for the fact that it has plenty of action, but after being reminded by other reviewers just have off-base Kirk's speech was (the one that seems to equate the Nazis with other holders of absolute power), I can't give the episode any extra props. There could be no better example than this episode of the dangers inherent in drifting too far away from the tenets the show was founded upon. At times it worked, like in A Piece of the Action, but you can almost watch things getting out of hand as the second season progressed. Bread and Circuses flirted with the line; Patterns of Force crossed way over it. (1.5 stars)