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”.