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Star Trek TOS - Season 3 - Episode 23

Star Trek TOS - 3x23 - All Our Yesterdays

Originally Aired: 1969-3-14

Kirk, Spock and McCoy enter a time portal and get stuck in the past on a planet about to be consumed by a nova. [Blu-ray] [DVD]

My Rating - 7

Fan Rating Average - 6.4

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- Spock claims his home planet is millions of light years away. Uh, no? The galaxy isn't even that wide.

- I like the small silver disks used for data storage. What? That's not remarkable you say? This episode was made many years before CDs, youngster. ;)
- Interesting names: Mr. Atoz, or "A-to-Z" for a librarian. And the Atavachron (the time travel machine) which means "forefather's time."

Remarkable Scenes
- Atoz: "A library serves no purpose unless someone is using it."
- Atoz in two places at once. Awesome.
- Kirk: "You're a very agile man, Mr. Atoz. Just how many of you are there?"
- Kirk's fencing fight.
- McCoy and Spock stuck in a frozen environment.
- Kirk accused of being a witch.
- Spock getting emotional.
- Spock falling in love with Zarabeth.
- Spock realizing he's losing his emotional control.
- Spock letting go of his woman.
- The sun going nova.

My Review
The last great original series episode before the show was prematurely canceled. Generally the original series' over use of time travel tended to suck, but this is one of nicest uses of it. Spock falls in love with a truly beautiful woman, having lost his emotional control. Spock and McCoy stuck in an ice age while Kirk is stuck in a dark age. It's nice to watch the two storylines unfold, and get a brief look at the people of this world at the same time. It would seem fitting that if a people's sun were to go nova, that some of the people would take refuge by living out their lives in the past. Interestingly, they could alter their own history to better prepare them for that eventual nova. Though this would create a time paradox. If every new altered generation kept going back in time to assist the previous ones, we'd have limitless time with which a society could evolve! Sheesh, time travel gives me a headache, and I seem to have gone off on a tangent. In any case, this is a truly enjoyable episode to watch. One of Spock's greatest moments.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From rpeh on 2010-07-17 at 6:43pm:
    Brilliant stuff, and good to see Spock getting the woman for once. The best exchange is with Spock and the Doctor at the end:
    McCoy: But it did happen, Spock.
    Spock: Yes it happened. But it was 5,000 years ago... and she is dead now. Dead, and buried long ago.
    Really makes you feel for Spock.

    The time paradox issue is obvious a pretty serious one, but it doesn't detract from a really good story.
  • From Q on 2010-11-30 at 7:55pm:
    Wow! Genuine Star Trek stuff. Unlike many others TOS episodes this one can easily keep up with the standards that were later set by the successor series of the franchise. Timeless. My favorite.
  • From Strider on 2012-07-03 at 6:24pm:
    After watching The Savage Curtain, which was just embarrassing, this episode was balm to my soul. Every character is at his best in this, and like the review says, this is a great and actually sensible use of a time travel setting.

    I wanted Spock to have more time with Zarabeth. We knew that was a very significant relationship because we saw Spock justifying why he wasn't moving heaven and earth to find Kirk. The doctor standing up to Spock was excellent and powerful, and it was SO NICE not to have to watch Kirk with some woman again. And of course, Spock's struggle with his deeply written Vulcan nature was so vivid. Why is it we like to see him suffer so?

    One of the best.

  • From Scott Hearon on 2014-04-13 at 4:53pm:
    I guess I'm in the minority on this comment board, as I only found this episode to be "OK," and gave it 5/10.

    As with so many other episodes, this one has a very interesting idea that allows for some interesting situations for our main characters to deal with. And yet, there are too many unanswered (and possible unanswerable) questions:

    Leaving aside the entire time travel story headaches (they always exist, even with the most carefully planned time travel story), I have to wonder why the "tyrant" referred to set up this entire system? Zarabeth explains that he needed to keep them alive, but it wasn't clear as to why. Setting up a time travel system just to imprison people seems insanely elaborate. (Maybe another poster can explain this to me - it's quite possible that I might have missed it.)

    And of course, if this tyrant DID set up a time travel system, couldn't it be used in some way to influence the future? And whose future was it, anyway? These people were from another planet, and yet they seemed to be transported to the history of "our" Earth, including European inquisitions and duelists. Baffling.

    The major strength of this story, though, was Spock's struggle with his regressing nature. Seeing him go through the pain of realizing that he is both becoming more savage and experiencing more primal love was touching and heart-rending at the same time. And it was good to see McCoy finally get called out for his tiresome, bigoted antagonism of Spock. If there's one Star Trek cliche that I got tired of very early in the series, it was this one. Even if Spock was acting irrationally, McCoy deserved to be choked out at least once before the series ended.

    Some good. Some bad. Very much like most of the episodes I've watched.

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