This is easily the best episode of the animated series and sometimes even makes those lists in magazines and websites of the top Star Trek episodes of all time. And why not? "Yesteryear" ties directly into three episodes of the best episodes of original series ("The City of on the Edge of Forever", "Amok Time", and "Journey to Babel",) guest stars Mark Lenard, who reprises his role as Spock's father, and is the only Star Trek episode to deal with an issue that anyone who has ever owned a pet cares greatly about. The episode, written by D.C. Fontana, has great pacing and dialogue and features some excellent voice acting by Leonard Nimoy.
Automatically, I knew this episode would be great when I discovered it was written by DC Fontana, arguably the best of all of the Trek writers. I thought right. We really do get a good look into Spock's past and the sad story about his pet sehlat. For those who know, the worst part of the episode is the battle with the Le-Matya. The Le-Matya's roar was Godzilla's roar. It's not that it was similar, it was the same exact roar. But, that is not a big deal compared to the genuinely fantastic story. This is the episode that Gene Roddenberry liked the most out of all of them, and it really is a great episode.
A fantastic episode that really shows off good plots that Star Trek could come up with. Nimoy does a fantastic job as always.
If I had to find a problem with the episode it is a few minor nit picks. The creature that attacks little Spock uses Godzilla's exact roar. Guess it was on hand from the other animated series the studio was making.
The other is little Spock's voice actor. It is obvious he is been fed the lines a few words at a time. The words come out in an unsmooth manner. It is a minor problem, but it show that they used an actual kid for the role.
After returning to the Guardian of Forever to observe historians using it for research, the crew suddenly discovers something has gone wrong and history has changed, and Spock must go back to fix what went wrong.
A personal favorite and semi-sequel to D.C. Fontana's other favorite effort - the original series episode Journey to Babel, this episode follows Spock back in time to his childhood and reveals some of his trials and tribulations as a half-human/half-vulcan child on a world that enforces ritual and conformity.
This poignant story was the one submitted for Emmy consideration and it won the show a daytime Emmy for Best Children's Programming. In its short running time, we meet I-Chiya, the fearsome yet lovable and loyal sehlat that Spock had as a pet, who saves young Spock's life during an ordeal involving a deadly creature in the Vulcan desert while going through a manhood ritual known as the Kas-wan. Yet Spock's earlier travel through time for research using the Guardian of Forever, had altered that history, where his young self ends up dying during the ritual. And this change not only wipes any knowledge of Spock's existence out of the current time that he returns to, but results in the non-aligned Andorians suddenly appearing as members of the Federation among other major changes discovered during the current time. So he must go back in time once more to fix what changed, saving his own life and restoring the proper timeline. But doing so comes at the cost of his young self going through the heart-breaking experience (at least for his human side) of watching his pet sehlat die after saving him. This particular outcome of showing the death of a child's pet during the Saturday morning cartoons, was considered controversial at the time, but was allowed to air (and was most likely the first time such did).
It was nice to see Sarek and Amanda again and to learn Amanda's maiden name. It was also nice to actually see the Kas-wan ritual played out, as it was an important milestone for a young Vulcan as he begins to mature, and mention of it would come later in both Voyager and Enterprise.
There was alot packed into the episode and it was and continues to be deserving of its many accolades and outstanding rating.
Yesteryear starts off rather abruptly on a planet capable of letting users pass through time with the help of a vortex-like being. As Spock & Kirk return from a trip into the past, it is established that the future has been changed and Spock is no longer remembered by any of the crew.
Performances for this episode from the regular actors remain top-notch with Nimoy proving to be more than capable of playing the leading role in the animated series. There are some minor problems with the performances here and there, but luckily nothing too distracting.
The story is as fascinating and well written as it is important to the history of Spock and his species. Even though we hardly get a good view upon the Spock’s city, what we do see is fantastically animated and represented on-screen, especially for 1973.
Overall, Yesteryear is a highly enjoyable and significant episode of Trek history with brilliant character development, story-telling and animation. If you see one anmated episode of Trek, it should probably be this.
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