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Star Trek TNG - Season 3 - Episode 15

Star Trek TNG - 3x15 - Yesterday's Enterprise

Originally Aired: 1990-2-19

Synopsis:
An Enterprise from the past mysteriously appears. [DVD]

My Rating - 8

Fan Rating Average - 7.07

Rate episode?

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# Votes: 77 1 6 0 18 6 1 14 33 69 166

Problems
None

Factoids
- Worf's love affair with prune juice begins here.
- This episode scored third place in the viewer's choice awards.

Remarkable Scenes
- Worf laughs at the thought of any human woman not being "too fragile" for him.
- The transformation from the starship Enterprise into the warship Enterprise.
- Tasha Yar's appearance.
- Picard not wanting to be specific of which ship he commanded: "This is Captain Picard of the Federation Starship... er... a Federation Starship!"
- Guinan's intuitions.
- The Enterprise D operating on such a nicely superior level of efficiency in the alternate timeline.
- Likewise I love the retro feel of the Enterprise C.
- Picard and Guinan arguing over which history is the "correct" history.
- Guinan freaking out over Yar.
- Guinan explaining Tasha's death to Yar.
- I like how the writers gave Yar a better send off in this episode than in Skin of Evil.
- Picard: "Let's make sure that history never forgets the name. Enterprise."
- The battle between Enterprise D and the Klingons.

My Review
The idea that a ship from the past entering the future and instantly changing history is fascinating. This episode has everything a great Trek episode needs. Excellent continuity, a genuine and interestingly new dilemma, action, and excellent character development. Tasha Yar's guest appearance was wonderfully appropriate and Guinan's involvement in the story was a rare treasure. Truly one of TNG's finest moments.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From DSOmo on 2007-07-24 at 2:59am:
    - The major plot oversight in this episode concerns the personnel aboard the Enterprise during the alternate future created by the Enterprise-C. In the alternate future, the Federation and the Klingon Empire have been at war for twenty years. In war, people get killed. In fact, Picard says the Klingons have destroyed half of the Federation's fleet. Since people get killed in war, people get promoted quickly. It is inconceivable that Riker, Data, and Geordi would still be serving with Picard. They would have their own commands fighting the Klingons. Of course, this is a television series. The viewers want to see the same set of core actors from week to week.
    - Picard has an odd sense of three-dimensional space in this episode. He meets with Guinan on the spacious observation lounge. He meets with Riker and Yar on the spacious observation lounge. However, when he meets with his senior officers, five in all, he crams them like sardines into his ready room.
    - At the beginning of the episode, emergency teams beam over to the Enterprise-C. Dr. Crusher determines to take the captain back to the Enterprise-D. Dr. Crusher taps her badge and calls for transport. She then puts her tricorder away and reaches up to tap her badge again. At this point a befuddled look comes across her face and she puts her hand back down to her side. I guess she realized she didn't need to tap her communicator to shut it off.
    - After Crusher leaves, Riker and Yar find a survivor in the wreckage. The survivor is buried under a bunch of rubble on a darkened main bridge. Riker and Yar dig him out. What's the first thing they do for him after he's out? They shine flashlights on his face!
  • From CAlexander on 2011-04-20 at 10:14pm:
    One of the great Star Trek episodes. I'd like to add one more Remarkable Scene:
    - Picard discussing how the war is going badly, and Federation defeat is inevitable.
  • From Percivale on 2011-09-05 at 1:02pm:
    A perfect Star Trek episode - worth a 10.

    I feel that the ingenuity, energy and skill that went into this script surpasses any of the TNG movies (and most TOS movies) and feels much more epic.

    Wouldn't it have been great as a film? The only important characters left out of this are Wesley and Worf. I don't know (and frankly don't care) what could be done with Wesley, but there's an obvious role for Worf - as a Klingon commander attacking the Enterprise, of course!

    I especially love how they let Guinan really shine in this one. It shows the strength of her character and the depth of her relationship with Picard - even in a depressing alternate universe - and we are even left with another tantalizing clue as to the nature of her species. I don't think there is another episode where we are shown quite as clearly why she is on the Enterprise.

    But the interesting cinematography, the dramatic tension, the moving ending - Man, I could watch this one over and over again (and have).
  • From Jeff Browning on 2011-10-21 at 8:31am:
    I agree generally that this is a fabulous episode. For one thing Denise Crosby is terrific. Perhaps because she was unhappy in her role in season 1, she seemed to be lacking in that season. Her performances were rather wooden, I thought.

    One logical issue: when the Enterprise D is holding off the Klingons, it takes the Enterprise C friggin' forever to go into the temporal rift! What's up with that? At the distance they were from the rift, they should have been through in a couple of seconds. As it is, it takes several minutes. Of course this adds to the tension, but it still creates a logical problem.
  • From Sean on 2012-01-07 at 8:20am:
    As I write this, there are over 700 episodes of Star Trek and eleven movies, and "Yesterday's Enterprise" still stands as my favourite episode of all time, twenty years after it first aired on television. To me, this episode is a perfect representation of what Star Trek is about: hope for the future. In this timeline, Picard is still as loyal and reflective as his normal counterpart, but he's a man who's been turned bitter by decades of war. I love seeing his slow turn from stubbornly refusing to sacrifice the Enterprise C ("Every instinct is telling me that this is wrong, it is dangerous, it is FUTILE!") to slowly realising that Guinan has introduced an incredible idea: that this ship has altered history - badly ("I've weighed the alternatives. I will follow Guinan's recommendations").

    Ultimately, Picard puts the needs of the many (the billions lost in the way) above the needs of the few (the crews of the Enterprise C & D). It's Star Trek at its very best. The fact that the crew all accept this is just beautiful - there's no dumb mutiny by a character who's looking out for his own skin, everyone realises that by sacrificing themselves, they are saving billions of lives and creating a brighter future for humanity. Even in this dark version of the future, the crew stays true to Roddenberry's vision of a united humanity. Even Riker, who clearly disagrees with Picard's decision, speaks to him with respect and once Picard makes his decision, that's it.

    What truly makes this episode so perfect, though, is the performances. As I've already mentioned, Patrick Stewart is in fine form, as are all the other regulars. Tricia O'Neil gives Captain Garrett a tough, strong personality without ever making her annoying. Whoopi Goldberg is suitably spooky, yet Denise Crosby steals the show by giving Yar the send off she deserved - particularly the scene where she requests the transfer to the Enterprise C. Seeing her explain to Picard that she's "supposed to be dead" always moves me.

    Of course, I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy the space battle, which to this day is impressive to look at, hardly aging at all. I love how the ultimate fate of the Enterprise C - it's final stand and it's destruction by the Romulans - is left to our imagination.

    Others may complain that it should have been a two-parter, or that Worf should have been on board the Klingon battleships, but I disagree. Having only one episode gives it a quick, almost panicked pace - after all, the Klingons are on their way! And we don't need to see the Klingons, or Worf, or any other part of this dark world, it's so much more interesting to see the story at the intimate level of just one starship. Often the best way to tell a large story is to just tell a small part of it.

    "Yesterday's Enterprise" is Star Trek at its best. My favourite episode of not only The Next Generation, but all of Star Trek. "Let's make sure, history never forgets the name... Enterprise."
  • From meinerHeld on 2012-02-10 at 1:36pm:
    Keith: "I like how the writers gave Yar a better send off in this episode than in Skin of Evil."

    Three cheers for that one!
  • From Ggen on 2012-03-21 at 2:21am:
    This was a rather excellent episode. In fact, of all the time travel episodes throughout Trek, this has got to be one of my favorites, for several reasons: For one thing, this episode accomplishes so much more than just the typical temporal parodox. 1) It is also a "mirror universe" episode of sorts, because the alternate militarized timeline is so fundamentally different from the norm. [And rather awesome to observe, I might add. I've long wondered about the straight-up military dimension of Starfleet - nice to finally see it on display] 2) It is very much so a Tasha Yarr episode, and a damn proper one at that. Tasha's oddly timed and oddly executed first death is rather gloriously redeemed here. 3) We're introduced to the mysterious and unique Al-Aurian "perceptions beyond linear time," which is a neat concept and a useful plot device. 4) Finally, this time travel episode is the only one I know of where someone (in this case Picard) asks the crucial question, "Who's to say *this* history is any less proper than *that* one?" This typically unexamined question has been perpetually in the back of my mind throughout the rest of Trek, causing me to cringe every time I heard the words "polluting the timeline."

    I also loved the high stakes of the final scenes - revealed when Picard admits that the Federation is doomed to lose the war within 6 months, failing some radical change of events.

    I don't know if I entirely follow how all of the events tie together to the very beginning and the very end, when the Enterprise (in "present" time) stumbles onto the space-time anomoly, but in this case I'm willing to just assume it makes some sense.

    Details
    - Warf calling prune juice a "warriors drink," and being sort of chauvinistic and piggish.

    - Alternate Picard's jargon: "miltary log," "combat date," "battleship."
  • From Mike Chambers on 2013-11-16 at 2:05am:
    One of the best TNG episodes ever filmed, without a doubt. However, one major problem I noticed.

    - Since the Enterprise-C traveling into the future caused such a radical change in the timeline, do you really think the Enterprise-D would have still been at the exact position in this new timeline that they were at in the old timeline? That is, at the site of the temporal distortion at that particular moment in time. I'd say the chances are practically zero percent.

    Granted, there wouldn't be much of an episode if they weren't. It's just something I was thinking about while watching.
  • From tigertooth on 2017-04-30 at 10:30pm:
    This is great. I loved the instances of Picard arguing against the logic of the plot. NOT GOOD ENOUGH, DAMNIT! And also when he and Yar have the scene in the Ready Room. He tells her it's illogical for her to go, which it is! But I still completely dug it.

    I guess I view it as all the characters having a less defined version of the El Aurian senses. Guinan can sense the anomalies far more than anyone else, but the others sense it, too. That's the only reason I can imagine for Picard and Yar's actions. And it works for me.

    I will say the death of Captain Garrett was not great. The shot of her wide-eyed with shrapnel in her forehead was more comical than anything else. The Riker death scene was only better by comparison. Overall the director did a great job, but that was a clunker. The casting of Castillo was questionable, too.

    One other quibble: right after Riker was killed, it probably would have made more sense for Picard to talk about surrender terms with the Klingons if for no other reason than to stall them while the Enterprise-C got through the rift. But the awesomeness of Picard's "That'll be the day!" and vaulting back to tactical? Those far outweigh the logic issue.

    But overall this was great - a terrific sendoff for Yar, a fascinating look into a possible military Starfleet, some juicy moral conundrums... what more could you ask for?
  • From Steve R Mohns on 2018-05-08 at 6:05pm:
    I love that at the end of the episode they are heading to "Archer 4".

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