Star Trek

Season 3 Episode 23

All Our Yesterdays

Aired Unknown Mar 14, 1969 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (13)

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out of 10
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  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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...

    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.
  • Kirk keeps a frightened old man in a half Nelson to avoid riding on a dolly.

    (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.
  • That was Yesterday, and Yesterday's gone!

    This episode take Kirk, spook and McCoy to another world where a sune will explode and destroy the world. Kirk, spook and McCoy fell into a machine that took them back in time. Kirk in the 16th Century and spook and McCoy to the ice age. I do not understand the behavior of Mr. spook. He has mood swings, he falls in love, get violent. that's Kirk's job. anbd all that is going on a few hours before the Earth explode. All the action has taken place on the planet and not on the Enterprise. This is the next to the last epiosde of the original series.
  • What if you discovered a card catalog providing the means to send you back to a previous time/place in history, forever? In this penultimate episode: Kirk, Spock and McCoy are inadvertently sent back to historic time periods and try to return.

    STORY: On “beaming down” to a planet believed to be deserted, Kirk, Spock and McCoy discover a library with a card catalog of “portals” into the planets past history. Everyone on the planet, sans the librarian Atok, have been sent into a time period in the past to save themselves from the planet’s imminent destruction due to it’s local sun’s explosion. The crew, in a hasty moment, walk into the portals to arrive at two different time periods in the planets history with limited time to return to the library (and the Enterprise) before the planet is destroyed.

    ACTING: The acting is quite good all around with the standard dramatic flairs. Kirk does a little sword fighting. Spock succumbs to emotion (due to going back far enough that the period on his planet Vulcan was still barbaric) and is courted by a well played Zarabeth. Zarabeth has been banished alone to a cold tundra and spends much of the time hoping/wanting Spock to stay. It is interesting that Spock devolves to a much more savage state than McCoy but no explanation is given. The actor playing Atoz also does a fine job.

    SETTING: The set design is very good for the show, in particular the cave. Interestingly the past portal “cards” in the library look a lot like thick, metal CDs of today (although they hold both data and have a viewer built in the disc).

    TIDBITS: The woman Kirk saves in his medieval-ish time says “he’s a witch, they’ll burn ya”. It gave me a smile when I thought about Monty Python’s movie “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” when a similar line is uttered.

    ISSUES: Some common clichés I could do without: more distracting today that originally, having the violins play every time a man saves a woman and looks are her doesn’t hold up well; and once again, the crew tries to phaser a boulder for heat (I wonder how many episodes they did that); who needs the Vulcan nerve pinch when you can karate chop a guy out – as Kirk does – with a single hit, ouch; and McCoy, who can you keep touching those extremely cold mountain boulders with your bare hands. Burrrrrr.

    DISCLAIMER: My scores, while general, are biased toward the TV series they are part of, i.e., it is unfair to consider a Reality Show’s “10” to be as good as the best drama's (add your favorite show) “10”.
  • Sans one problem, this episode is a classic.

    Here's the problem: If Spock devolves into how his people were 5,000 years ago - why didn't McCoy devolve as well?

    Why not Kirk?

    What makes Spock so special?

    Ignore this, and you've got one heck of a well written and acted installment that deserves TO be a classic, in the top 15 even.

    Well, there is one other point: The Enterprise finds no life, they beam down, and find Mr. Atoz. A bunch of them - all of which are androids... except for one. Why didn't he register as a life form? Obviously a minor nitpick, and readily forgiven given the verve and quality of the piece. Even far bigger potential concerns were addressed: E.g. why Zarabeth could not go back and Spock/McCoy could. (and why they had to go back at the same time.) The writer, Margaret Armen, does an A+ job with this story's content, even despite these two points that can easily be forgiven. As such makes "All Our Yesterdays" worth seeing.
  • A flighty librarian sends Kirk, Spock and McCoy to different time periods because they were late on returning “Charlotte’s Web” back to the library

    Finally! I get to review my favorite episode of all time! First of all, being a man very much in touch with his feminine side, I cry every time I watch Zarabeth watch Spock walk away at the end. Also, the whole plot line is fantastic and I love every second of this episode. The concept on how the library worked is fabulous. Atoz was wonderful! I had actually memorized the entire first scene where they beam down and meet the three Atoz’s. I did it one time as the episode played on TV in front of this friend of mine and looked at me like I was nuts! Of course he was right, but that’s besides the point! On my death bed, 52 minutes before I die, I would like to see this episode just one more time.
  • Another time travel storyline

    In this episode the Enterprise visits a library on a world whose sun is about to explode - presumably to transport anyone who is there to safety. When they arrive they find only a single strange little man, Mr Atoz, who is the librarian who has apparently already transported everyone else (via their world's Octavatron time transporter device) except himself to other time periods to live out the remainder of their lives. He mistakes Kirk, McCoy and Spock for stragglers and they mistakenly get transported to other time periods also. Kirk goes to a medieval time and Spock and McCoy go to a prehistoric frozen time - together. But there is a problem. The three haven't been "prepared" for the transfer so they have to get back somehow - which they manage to do by finding the time-space "holes" they came through from the library. Kirk barely escapes being burned as a witch and Spock falls in love with the previously transported and now very lonely Mariette Hartley character and eats "animal flesh" as he begins to revert to his barbaric, ancestral behavior. Fortunately, McCoy talks sense back into Spock (nearly getting cold-cocked by Spock in the process) and they all get back to the library in time for Mr Atoz to go through the Octavatron and the three heroes to get back to the Enterprise and outta there in time. Spock has to leave the woman he loves in the prehistoric past and all alone since her "preparation" for the Octavatron has rendered her unable to return back to the library again. Final scene back on deck of the Enterprise has Spock unusually somber and McCoy somewhat awkwardly understanding of him while Kirk is clueless about Spock's mood. Spock insists that he will be OK since, he reminds McCoy, those few minutes ago were in reality eons ago and "she" is now long since dead. Nevertheless says McCoy, "It did happen Spock". Episode thus ends with much to ponder for all.
  • we see a library where people can go back in time and live. the librarian shoves kirk and spock and mccoy follow but the time line is so fast they go somewhere else. spock finds woman and doesnt wanna leave. kirk is called a witch and goes on to trial.

    spock has feelings and is not logical. to this day we see vulcans as uncaring and logical. this looks like the start of the vulcan race when spock goes back in time from a library and is stuck there with mccoy. he goes primitive and doesnt wanna leave the woman.
  • The basic jist of this episode is a demented librarian sends Kirk, Bones and Spock thru a dimensional doorway to live there lives in an alternate reality. Kirk is sent into the midst of a witchhune (and is automatically thrown in jail) and Spock and Bones

    It's been a long time since I have watched this episode but as I remember it it was fairly good. The show always had a way of taking you "out there". I thought the acting wasn't the best with this episode but the basic jist of what was going on was pretty incredible. I think that the librarians purpose in this one to make sure that everyone on the planet was sent somewhere do to some catastrophic event about to occur ( I think a nova/super nova or something). Kirk, Spock and Bones beam down to the distressed planet only to learn that they must go somewhere thru the dimensional doorway "for their own good" by the psycho librarian. I believe that they discover that the librarian has already dispatched all the other citizens of the planet. Obviously, the crew doesn't want the do this but the librarian forces them thru the doorway anyway. Kirk is sent to a place that looks like Salem (during the period of the witchhunts) or something and is suspected of being a witch (I guess because he was talking to a brick wall, looking for the doorway he come thru and was wearing funny clothes). He gets the prosecutor to let him out of the jail cell and of course finds his way back thru the doorway to the library. During Kirk's ordeal, Bones and Spock are sent to a glacial age where they meet an attractive girl?? Bones and Spock vi for her love. Spock someone begins turning savage however and obviously Bones is no match for his super human strength. Of course they also go back thru the doorway to the library eventually. However, both long for the company of the woman they left.
    The crew confronts the librarian (which I believe has clones of himself to help dispence of troublemakers)and the librarian eventually flees thru the doorway (I guess saying the "heck" with the crew..I'm saving myself). The crew makes it back to the ship and apparently sail off into oblivon being this is the last episode. Not to bad of way to go out I guess....Any comments?