Star Trek

Season 3 Episode 23

All Our Yesterdays

7
Aired Unknown Mar 14, 1969 on NBC
8.0
out of 10
User Rating
152 votes
12

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

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Kirk, Spock, and McCoy become trapped in the past of another world.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Tic Toc

    9.0
    This isi one of my favorite episodes of TOS. While investigating a dying planet the Trio go through a time doorway and are separated by thousands of years. Kirk get imprisoned and it quite boring wile McCoy and Spock end up in a glacial age and Spock starts to regress into a more emotional Vulcan
  • Works well as a dramatic story with interesting science fiction. A few flaws in believability, but nothing too serious.

    8.0
    Spock, McCoy, and Kirk become trapped in a planet's past with time running out until the world's star goes nova.



    The storyline here works well enough that I forget the problems I have with some details - this is probably my first or second favorite episode of Season 3.



    The idea that a planet's people would retreat to their own past is really fascinating, the set of "the library" is fun, and the writing does a good job setting up a sense of past, present, and tragedy in all times. Things that bother me are the idea that the planet's "middle ages" are so much like Earth's and the fact that individuals have to be "prepared" to live in the past. Plenty of previous episodes have time travel without being altered by a machine and it doesn't add much to the story. The concept is important in Spock somehow "reverting" to a savage state, but this makes no biological sense anyway. For once, the writers could have just had the Human/Vulcan Spock fall in love because he meets someone. If the writers just HAD to have a plot device, they could have made up some mumbo-jumbo about how all Vulcans (of any time) are in psychic contact (as told in "The Immunity Syndrome") - or better, just forget it. Finally, and rarely mentioned, is the fact that the time paradox here is immense, this world's people are literally all their own ancestors.



    But, I'll overlook all this for a good story with good lines. The Ice Age scenes are great, featuring the drama of time running out and memorable lines from McCoy ("my life is back there, and I WANT that life!"). Zarabeth's baleful glance back as Spock and McCoy return to the library has a ton of pathos. The music, while not original, heightens the sadness. The best of Season 3 was characterized by exploring the human condition, and this one rings the bell.moreless
  • Kirk, Spock, and McCoy discover a library with a portal leading to historical periods from the past and become trapped back in time.

    6.5
    This episode has an excellent premise reminiscent of "The City on the Edge of Forever" but unlike that one, "All Our Yesterdays" is a bit of a let down, due to a lack of story (or stories) in the past time periods. Instead of Captain Kirk involving himself in some story in his historical era, his character is simply given the task of escaping. Instead of Spock and McCoy having to work together to survive, their story simply involves a lot of bickering before they, too, attempt to escape. That said, it is a treat to see Spock and McCoy share the stage for the bulk of the episode without Kirk to mediate; Nimoy and Kelley, of course, are great together when they're engaged in the material.moreless
  • In the library on a planet about to be destroyed by a supernova, Kirk is accidentally sent back in time to the world's middle ages in the midst of witch hunts, while Spock and McCoy are transported to the planets ice age. Bar some plot holes, very good...moreless

    8.5
    This review contains spoilers.



    At first, I thought this episode was going to be a lightweight offering, nothing more than standard than we often sadly became accustomed to in the third season. But the story sort of sneaks up on you, and ends up as one of the far better episodes of the season.



    The library, complete with the many android clones of 'Mr. Atoz' (A to Z – get it?) is an interesting setting. But I did feel that the key point of the episode – the arch that transports people back in time (yes, you read correctly!) to not be designed of explained very well, and maybe is the weakest part of the story. And why could Kirk still hear Spock and McCoy if he stood close enough? The whole thread of the transportation is sadly underdeveloped and not fleshed out enough.



    But that is a minor point, as the story turns up some great scenarios.

    Kirk being accused of being a witch (obviously another very Earth-like planet) is good, if somewhat predictable, but the real pull of this episode is Spock's relationship with the lovely Zarabeth back in the planet's ice age.

    Spock is a great character, but I have to confess – dare I say it – I can find him to be very slightly grating at times. But here, Leonard Nimoy is really given something to work with, and this is one of my favourite episodes in terms of Spock's character.



    This episode is also unique in that absolutely none of it takes place onboard the Enterprise. We hear Scotty's voice over the communicator a couple of times, but other than the shot of the ship warping away from the supernova in the final moments, the Enterprise is not featured at all here.



    A good as the episode is, I did find there to be further plot holes – why (as another reviewer has also commented) did Spock start to devolve but Bones didn't (it can probably be explained away by Spock's more intricate Vulcan past?), and I never fully understood why Spock and McCoy could leave the ice age, but Zarabeth was unable to, unless I missed something. Also, I found it to be a sudden turn for McCoy to reveal Zarabeth as the effective villain, willing to "murder the entire crew" (of the Enterprise to keep Spock there with her; though this can maybe be put down to her doing anything to not have to spend the rest of her life alone in the ice age.

    I also found it a bit over-convenient that the trio returned to the location of transport just as Kirk was in the library looking for them.



    But ignore those niggles, and this is a highly enjoyable episode. I wasn't expecting much from it, but on hindsight, it is one of the third season's best.moreless
  • Kirk keeps a frightened old man in a half Nelson to avoid riding on a dolly.

    8.5
    (With apologies to Hrtsonslv - the style of my single summary line above is shamelessly redolent of his own)





    Three hours before a sun blows the Enterprise decides to pay a visit to its orbiting planet - that's cutting it kind of close, don't ya think? Despite the consistency questions in this episode, it still ranks as one of my all-time favorites. The whole notion of Zarabeth's isolated loneliness, mirroring Spock's own brand of desperate solitude, forever strikes a chord.







    "Do you know what it's like to be alone....really alone?" Zarabeth asks Spock. "Yes," he replies simply. Had McCoy not been along, we most likely would have seen the last of Spock, and who could blame either him or Zarabeth?





    As an adult, the questions raised about this episode were never there when I was a kid, though - maturity robs one of so much! For example, where exactly does the lighting in Zarabeth's cave come from? We see three or four candles throughout the area, but that's hardly enough to give it the stunning ambiance which eventually aids in her and Spock's mutual seduction. Another thing: if Zarabeth existed 5,000 years ago, and Spock consoles himself with the knowledge that she is now dead and buried (who would have undertaken her funeral arrangements, by the way?) how was it possible that she heard the voice of Kirk along with Spock and McCoy through the other side of the portal?



    Of course, the cynic in me shouts the following kinds of things at the television: "Nice outfit, Zarabeth - whatever did you skin to get those skimpy little threads? A rabbit?"



    Then there's the woman who Kirk gallantly tries to rescue from her taunters. She's not unattractive, but the Captain's only would-be female target in this episode has a few too many lines around her eyes to be compelling for Jim. Therefore, Kirk does not try to enlist her help, and it is Spock who gets lucky in this episode.



    If anyone is a great fan of this episode, I would highly recommend its sequels, which I read as a young adolescent: Yesterday's Son in which Spock meets the product of his union with Zarabeth for the first time, and Time for Yesterday is even better.moreless
William Shatner

William Shatner

Captain James Tiberius Kirk

Leonard Nimoy

Leonard Nimoy

Mr. Spock

DeForest Kelley

DeForest Kelley

Dr. Leonard Horatio "Bones" McCoy

Mariette Hartley

Mariette Hartley

Zarabeth

Guest Star

Ian Wolfe

Ian Wolfe

Mr. Atoz

Guest Star

Kermit Murdock

Kermit Murdock

The Prosecutor

Guest Star

James Doohan

James Doohan

Lt. Cmdr. Montgomery "Scotty" Scott

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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  • TRIVIA (19)

    • The mechanics of the portal are unclear. Kirk, Spock, and McCoy are able to communicate across two different time eras, suggesting that the portal is open to both eras simultaneously. There's no reason for that to be the case, and it seem unworkable: if the portal is open to both eras simultaneously, where would something going through end up? What if people entered their portals from two different eras simultaneously? Also, both portals remain open at least long enough for Kirk to find his way back. This may mean Atoz left them open once the landing party realized they needed to be "prepared" and come back to do so. However, he's not there when Kirk returns, waiting to prepare him. What else does Atoz have to do?

    • Since Atoz knows that the landing party is unprepared, it's not clear why he doesn't call out and help them find their portals so they can come back and be prepared. He has no reason to believe that they want to do anything else, and until the very end seems to think they're natives.

    • Atoz seems deliberately difficult. The disc that McCoy watched was one of only two that were being used. McCoy left it in the viewer. Even if he put it away for some reason, how hard can it be for him to remember where he put it? Instead he and Kirk spend time going through every disc relating to the era.

    • Atoz tries to push Kirk into the portal and send him to another time. However, as established earlier if a time traveller isn't prepared then they'll die. It's also established that if a time traveller is prepared for a historical era, they can't survive in the present. Since Atoz is trying to save Kirk's life, he must have used the Atavachron to "prepare" the captain for whatever era he's sending him too. But... there's no indication and no time available where Atoz can or does unprepare the captain so he can survive in the present.

    • It's not clear why the Enterprise visits Sarpeidon. The Prime Directive would presumably keep them from interfering, and even if it wouldn't they don't have the resources to evacuate an entire planet, much less in the three hours between when they arrive and when the sun goes nova. Apparently they're there just to see why everyone disappeared... three hours before the population would have disappeared for good anyway. And then turn around and do nothing if they do find any survivors.

    • Atoz specifically says that he "personally" sent everyone on the planet through the portal. While no specific population is stated, Sarpeidon appears to be a burgeoning civilization, with advanced technology and at least one era with an equally well-developed and populated society, as well as one dictatorship that felt comfortable banishing whole families into the past. The facility shown, with its relatively small area and limited viewing capability, couldn't possibly handle so large a population in the relatively short period suggested given the Federation's knowledge of the nova and awareness of a civilization on the planet.

    • When first the Atoz replica and then another replica, and then Atoz himself appear, the men don't appear surprised. However, when they arrived Spock informed them he detected no sapient life forms. He apologizes a few minutes later for "miscalculating" but nobody notices his error at the time or finds it at all surprising that he managed to miss someone. There also appears to be no reason for the real Atoz to not show up on sensors, either from the ship or when the landing party first arrives inside the same building.

    • Kirk travels back through time only shortly before Spock and McCoy do. However, when he prepares to return to the library he starts to feel the lethal effects of non-prepared time travel. However, Spock and in particular the ailing McCoy are displaced in time for a much longer period and display no physical illness.

    • Zarabeth's plan doesn't make much sense, as she certainly knows that anyone who goes back without preparation will die. And yet she deceives Spock into staying with her... just so he can die and she'll be alone again.

    • Spock says he intends to build a greenhouse in the cave in the ice age. However, there wouldn't be any seeds or other source of plant material to grow.

    • While in his jail cell, Kirk makes a log entry without moving his lips.

    • The atavachron is identical to the Beta 5 computer in "Assignment: Earth".

    • When McCoy walks into Zarabeth's outer chamber, he speaks but his lips do not move.

    • When Spock and McCoy return from the ice age, they're wearing heavy furs. When they reach the other side of the portal, the furs are gone.

    • Zarabeth's cave walls are rough and unfinished, but the floors are completely smooth and level.

    • When the prosecutor visits Kirk in his cell a second time, between instantaneous camera cuts, Kirk's hands jump back and forth on the cell bars - sometimes he's holding adjacent bars, sometimes there are bars between the ones he's holding.

    • Zarabeth has remarkably well-styled hair considering she hangs out by herself in a primitive cave with minimal tools. She dresses quite well and even has flip curls.

    • Spock tells Zarabeth he came from a world "millions of light-years away." The galaxy is only about 100,000 light-years across--the area the Federation has explored even smaller.

    • Kirk's arresting officer claims he heard Kirk call out to "Bones." The officer wasn't there when Kirk called out to McCoy at the wall on the transport spot.

  • QUOTES (14)

    • Zarabeth: But your friend--he is ill.
      Spock: That is true. If I leave him, he may never regain the ship. He would be marooned in this time period. But he is no longer in danger of death, so my primary duty to him has been discharged. And if I remain here, no one of our party would be able to aid Captain Kirk.
      Zarabeth: Oh, you make it sound like an equation.
      Spock: It should be an equation! I should be able to resolve this problem logically.

    • McCoy: Zarabeth, you are a beautiful cook. Have you ever been told that?
      Zarabeth: Not recently.
      McCoy: Oh, well, you'll find Spock is quite delinquent in those matters.
      Zarabeth: I hadn't noticed it.
      McCoy: Oh?

    • Spock: Dr. McCoy is making excellent progress.
      McCoy: Mr. Spock has been practicing medicine without a license. Don't let him doctor you. I'm the doctor around here.
      Spock: And known as the worst patient in the entire crew of the Enterprise.

    • McCoy: You listen to me, you pointed-eared Vulcan.
      Spock: I don't like that. I don't think I ever did, and now I'm sure.
      McCoy: What's happening to you, Spock?
      Spock: Nothing that shouldn't have happened long ago.

    • McCoy: Are you trying to kill me, Spock? Is that what you really want? Think. What are you feeling? Rage? Jealousy? Have you ever had those feelings before?
      Spock: This is impossible. Impossible. I am a Vulcan.
      McCoy: he Vulcan you knew won't exist for another 5,000 years. Think, man. What's happening on your planet right now, at this very moment?
      Spock: My ancestors are barbarians, warlike barbarians. Who nearly killed themselves off with their own passions.
      McCoy: Spock, you're reverting into your ancestors... 5,000 years before you were born!
      Spock: I've lost myself. I do not know who I am.

    • Kirk: You'd better come back with me to the library. Dr. McCoy can see to those bruises.
      Woman: (flirtatiously) I'm game, luv. Lead n' I'll follow. Where's "library?"

    • Kirk: (calling to Spock and McCoy through the Time Portal) Are you still in the library?
      Spock: Indeed not! We are in a wilderness of Arctic characteristics!
      McCoy: He means it's cold!

    • Spock: There is no further need to observe me, Doctor. As you can see I have returned to the present in every sense.
      McCoy: But it did happen, Spock.
      Spock: Yes. But that was 5,000 years ago, and she is dead and buried.

    • Fop #1: (to Kirk) Down when you're bidden, slave! (after being pushed to the ground by Kirk) You need a lesson in how to use your betters! Who's your master?
      Kirk: I'm a free man, sir.
      Fop #1: Then you want better manners, free man!

    • Officer: I heard the spirit talk to him. He answered and did call it 'Bones'.

    • Mr. Atoz: A library serves no purpose unless someone is using it.

    • Zarabeth: Do you know what it's like alone, really alone? Weapons, shelter, food... everything I needed to live... except companionship... to send me here alone... if that is not death, what is?

    • Prosecutor: There are witches! There are!

    • Woman: Witch! Witch! Witch! They'll burn ya!

  • NOTES (6)

  • ALLUSIONS (0)

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