Star Trek

Season 3 Episode 23

All Our Yesterdays

Aired Unknown Mar 14, 1969 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
157 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

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

Who was the Episode MVP ?

No results found.
No results found.
No results found.
  • Fascinating premise, but potential not fully realized

    The 3rd season was the most inconsistent of the series and most episodes were either very good or terrible. This episode is one of the few that was neither good or bad, just mediocre. But this is classic trek so it doesn't really matter. The story has a fascinating premise of a device that can send people to any time period in the planet's history. However with the time constraints of episodic TV the story doesn't have enough time to explore this intriguing premise. As far as production the scenes with McCoy and Spock in the glacial period are quite impressive for 1960s standards, the sets of both time periods look and feel very authentic. Ultimately the episode comes up short because the relationship between Spock and the woman trapped in the past seems forced and not believable but overall this is one of the better 3rd season episodes.moreless
  • Kirk, Spock, and McCoy discover a library with a portal leading to historical periods from the past and become trapped back in time.

    With a title taken from Shakespeare's Macbeth ("And all our yesterdays have lighted fools"), this time travel story, written by the same librarian who penned "Is There in Truth No Beauty", takes place exclusively off ship with Kirk, Spock, McCoy and the guest stars. Starting with the big three before branching off into A/B stories that separate Kirk from his shipmates, the plots that subsequently form play against expectations by having the captain suspected for being in league with the devil while Spock hooks up with a cute and willing woman.

    For an amateur writer, Jean Lisette Aroeste invents a very good science fiction idea: the notion of people escaping into their world's past to avoid the inevitable destruction of their world by its star is not only an interesting concept, but one that lends itself well to interesting stories. Unfortunately, it seems to have only been invented as a platform for a lonely, banished woman (who spends her days alone with perfect hair and a skimpy outfit) to get Mr. Spock all to herself. (Between this and "Is There in Truth No Beauty", we get a telling look into Aroeste's psyche!)

    The romance itself is rooted in Mr. Spock's primitive emotions, brought to the surface under the flimsy reasoning that the story is taking place in the past when Vulcans were passionate. But with no foundation for the relationship, we don't understand why Spock is so smitten with her or why she matters so much. It's as if the episode wants to be a Spockcentric "City on the Edge of Forever" but refuses to invest the time needed to pull it off.

    Instead, Kirk gets a B story by himself in another setting. There's actually very little story here, but it does allow for some intermittent action as Kirk shows that it's easier to escape from a Sarpeidon jail than to see up Helen Noel's skirt.

    All the same, the crosscutting between the stories helps keep things moving, and the diverse environments (including a frozen wasteland that Star Trek, based in California, rarely uses in any of its incarnations) make this one of the most visually unique episodes of TOS. With two main guest stars giving fine performances (Mariette Hartley brings a girl next door quality to her lonely character and Ian Wolfe gives Mr. Atoz a humorous urgency), "Yesterdays" is compelling enough to merit a look.

    A. C. Crispin wrote two unofficial sequels to this episode, Yesterday's Son and Time for Yesterday, published in 1983 and 1988 by Pocket Books. (The first made the New York Times Bestseller List).

    Remastered: This is another basic upgrade, with a new ship, a new planet (replacing the original's reuse of the "Operation: Annihilate!" sphere) and a new star.

    Did you know? In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Mariette Hartley costarred with James Garner in wildly successful series of "husband and wife" commercials for polaroid. Years later, she interviewed Brent Spiner for Good Morning America, with Spiner teasing her about "All Our Yesterdays".

  • Tic Toc

    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.

    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
  • 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

    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
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


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

Featured Episode Clip

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • 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)