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Lunch » Tags » Tv Shows » Reviews » Star Trek - The Original Series, Episode 78: All Our Yesterdays » User review

Absurd story lines make a bad episode

  • Jun 24, 2004
  • by
The story line of this episode may not be the worst of the entire series, but if it isn't, it is tied for last. Kirk, Spock and McCoy beam down to the surface of Sarpeidon to rescue the inhabitants before their sun goes nova. Of course, the idea that Kirk would first contact the planetary government before beaming down to the surface does not appear to have been considered. They beam down and have no clue where they are, where the inhabitants are or what they are to do. The idea of scanning the planet before beaming down also seems to have been ignored.
Very quickly, they find that they are in a library where one can choose disks and view episodes of the planet's past. Unknown to them, the planet's inhabitants have all been sent back to some time in the past in order to escape the destruction when their sun goes nova. When someone is viewing a disk, that time is active, so if one passes through the portal, they will be transported back to that time. Kirk hears a noise and inadvertently passes through the portal, back to a time of swords and witchcraft. He aids a woman being accosted, but is branded as a witch and jailed.
Spock and McCoy attempt to follow Kirk, but are sent back to the time of an ice age, where they meet a woman who was sent back as punishment. The scantily clad woman, played by Mariette Hartley, is a hot one, so hot that Spock falls for her. After some bizarre tribulations and an absurd fight (of course) between Kirk and the head of the Sarpeidon library, Kirk, Spock and McCoy are returned to their appropriate time and the Enterprise whisks away in the nick of time.
The worst aspect of the story is the idea that all of the inhabitants of a planet would avoid death by "escaping" to the past. Many science fiction stories deal with the paradoxes of time travel; in this case millions of people have gone to the past, which of course would have destroyed their present. While he is in the past, Kirk meets a prosecutor who traveled back from the present, meaning that those who traveled back were actively involved in their worlds. Therefore, they would have dramatically changed the timeline, altering their historical record and changing the world from which they traveled. No sophisticated society would do this.
I rank this as one of the worst episodes in the original series, the plot was not well done, reflecting the fact that the series was about to end and all players knew it and just wanted to get it over with. Unlike "This Side of Paradise" the other episode where Spock falls in love, Spock's emotions appear forced in this one, his kiss with Mariette Hartley has no spark at all.

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Charles Ashbacher ()
Ranked #78
Charlie Ashbacher is a compulsive reader and writer about many subjects. His prime areas of expertise are in mathematics and computers where he has taught every course in the mathematics and computer … more
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The Enterprise prepares for the evacuation of doomed planet Sarpeidon, but Captain Kirk (William Shatner), Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy), and Dr. McCoy (DeForest Kelley) find that all inhabitants have left via a time-travel device that has sent them to different periods of their own choosing. Kirk, Spock, and McCoy accidentally pass through the device, with the captain landing in the middle of an 18th-century-style witch-hunt while Spock and McCoy travel back 6,000 years to the Ice Age.

The script, by UCLA librarian and spec writer Jean Lisette Aroeste (who also wrote "Is There in Truth No Beauty?" for the original series), gives the episode a special charge with its dual story lines set in the past. The dramatic weight of the story, however, is clearly with Spock, who regresses into the savage emotions of his prehistoric ancestors--eating meat, choosing another transportee (Mariette Hartley) as a mate, and nearly killing McCoy when the good doctor insults him. This is a favorite among some Trekkers, made all the more enjoyable by the anxious, White Rabbit-like performance of Ian Wolfe as a Sarpeidon librarian in charge of the time-travel facility. --Tom Keogh

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Studio: CBS Paramount International Television

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