Warp Speed to Nonsense

Warp Speed to Nonsense

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Season 3, Episode 78 "All Our Yesterdays"

"All Our Yesterdays"
Production Order: 78
Air Order: 78
Stardate: 5943.7
Original Air Date: March 14, 1969

Last week, while perusing  a fancy organic grocery store for something both edible and affordable, Roomie and I stumbled upon this book:

We stood in the impulse gift section, reading each page and snickering.
Roomie dropped it in our basket. "Rumor has decided that you require this book. Rumor is buying it for you," she stated, whipping out their joint debit card. "Thank you, Rumor."
So it's not that I want to shake the hand of the author of this book. It's more like I want to make the Vulcan hand sign at him. I want to tell him to Live Long and Prosper. Then, while my hand is still in that formation, I want to high-five him. A Vulcan high-five.
You guys should read this. No, really. I'll wait. Go do it.


Kirk's Log 5943.7: "So the sun in the Beta Niobi system is going nova in a few hours. The last report we got about the only planet in that system said that there was intelligent life living there, but now our scans say that there's no one on the planet. We're gonna check it out, even though past experience says that we're gonna get trapped on the planet just before nova-time, and that we'll have to struggle to escape. I hope the sound guys are ready with the Dramatic Music button."

*hand goes up* Hi, I have a question? What about the Prime Directive? Are you allowed to just stumble upon some planet and beam down? Seems intrusive to me. Also, if your earlier reports said that there was life, and now there is not, do you have reason to doubt said report? Otherwise, why are you beaming down to check it out? Is your equipment malfunctioning?

So our Golden Trio beams down into a building on the surface. (Beyond the establishing shot of the E in orbit, all of this episode takes place on the surface. We hear Scotty over the comms, but never actually see him.) The reason they picked this beam-down spot is that they picked up some kind of energy signature and want to check it out. Curiosity killed the Starfleet officers, I guess. They only pick up one life-form here on the surface, and Kirk wonders where everyone went. He posits that it could be any number of reasons, including mass suicide.
YES. That is a good guess, Kirk. Go with that and warp away from there. Then nobody has to use the Dramatic Music button.
Spock mentions that this civilization is pre-warp, so they didn't just leave. Nobody seems to think about how a star going nova could affect its own planets, and that maybe the place became uninhabitable in the intervening time. Anyway, upon looking around, they notice that they seem to have beamed down into a library or archive of some kind. A dude approaches and offers them help. He calls himself Mr Atoz. Get it? Mr A to Z. He runs a library. Yes, Star Trek, you're very clever.

He asks if he can help them.
"Where are the people?' asks Bones.
"I can't tell you where individuals are," Atoz replies. "That's confidential."
"No, people in general," Bones corrects.
Atoz says he understands that they are having trouble selecting a place, and that our boys are a bit late, but he has a "better late than never" attitude, and invites the trio to browse through the library. They turn a corner without Atoz, and run into... Atoz. He asks if he can help them as though he's never seen them, and says they can select from thousands of tapes.
"You have recent history?" asks Kirk, trying to figure this shit out.
"Naw, nobody was interested, sorry. But you can ask at the reference desk," Atoz replies, pointing.
So they go into another room, where they encounter... Atoz.
"You're very late!" he scolds, like some Lewis Carroll character.
"The fuck?" demands Kirk. "How many are there of you?"
Dramatic music! Commercial break!

So after some long, round-about conversation, Atoz says that he sent everyone on the planet to safety, and when the time comes, he will join his own family, who are also safe. They have been aware of the sun going nova and sent everyone to safety in time. In order to accomplish this, he made replicas of himself. One replica smiles at them from the drawers. Atoz the First (Bones scans him to be sure he's not a replica) tells them that he can set them up, and leads him to the drawers. Apparently, they pick out a disk from the drawers, put them in players, and see what they chose. They can select any time or any place. Atoz leads Kirk back to the reference desk and tells him to check out the disks he has there. Kirk places a disk in the player and sees a little scene of a town with some horses. He seems pretty impressed.

Actually, I'm kind of impressed, too. That's an awesome little bit of cut and paste filmography.

Bones puts a disk in a reader, and it shows him scenes of a frozen tundra. Spock wanders over to Atoz, who is working at another machine. Are you paying attention, friends? Because that machine is the Beta 5 computer that Gary Seven uses in "Assignment: Earth". Good on ya, Budget. Re-using that probably allowed them the money to make that little special effect with the disks.
"I'm still confused," says Spock. "What am I choosing again?"
"A time and place," repeats Atoz. "Then I use this machine, the Atavachron, to prepare you."

This is getting a bit taxing. Rather than just straight-up telling Atoz that they're aliens from another world, and are wondering where the population has disappeared to, they just keep playing along, as though they're actually members of this species who are late in reporting to the library. And so instead of giving them the info they want, he just keeps repeating that they need to pick out disks, and that they're very late. Speaking of which, they have a little over three hours until the sun goes nova, so they better quit dicking around and just ask outright.
Spock thanks Atoz for the non-info, and goes back to stand with Bones.
Kirk hears a woman scream while he is watching his disk. He looks up like a cat looking up at the sound of a can opener. He yells to Spock and Bones. When he hears the scream again, he turns and runs through the nearest archway, presumably to go outside and find her. Instead, lights flash in the archway, and he disappears as Atoz yells, "Wait, I haven't prepared you!"
Kirk appears on the other side of a brick wall, and finds out that the screaming lady is some chick who is being hassled by some drunken musketeers, or something.

Pretty sure they raided the studio's costume department for these.

Without stopping to think - and they really should have stopped to think - Spock and Bones run through the archway as well, with Atoz yelling at them that they "have to be prepared first!" The lights flash again, and they disappear.

Only they don't end up where Kirk is. They end up in the land of Spray-Painted Papier-Mache Soundstage.

It's actually not the worst thing I've seen on this show.

Wherever Kirk is, he decides to come to the lady's rescue, so he beats down the first drunk dude, and is then challenged to a sword fight by another. He's not as good as Sulu is, though. No one is as good at drunken sword-fighting as Sulu. Somehow he beats the guy with the sword, and then he fucking spanks these two guys with the rapier as they run away. The other drunkards laugh. The chick Kirk saved turns out to also be drunk as hell, and she talks like the pirates on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland. She thanks Kirk for getting rid of those guys for her. Apparently, she was attempting to steal from them, and they caught her and figured they'd mess with her in turn. Kirk has now noticed that there's no opening back into the library.
Dramatic music! Commercial break!

Back in the papier-mache tundra, Spock and bones have determined that their phasers do not work, so they can't use them to heat rocks to stay warm. They start yelling for Kirk, who it turns out, can hear them when he's standing right next to the wall that he came through. Spock yells that he figured out that the people on this planet escaped from the sun going nova by opening up windows to the past and going to live there instead. This way, they could live out their lives without ending them in a fiery ball of death. That... that's kind of clever. Unfortunately, when Spock and Bones tried to follow Kirk, they ended up someplace different. Bones went to their ice age, and because Spock stepped through at the same time, he did as well. The chick is completely freaked out because she can hear Spock and Bones talking to Kirk.

This doesn't bode very well for Kirk, because those drunk musketeers come back with the cops, who then arrest Kirk on suspicion of being a witch. They arrest her because she's a purse-cutting hussy.

Spock and Bones look for shelter from the ice storm. Bones collapses in the snow, yelling for Spock to just leave him and go, to save himself. Spock yells back that they both go, or neither does. It's the sort of Spockoy moment of a caliber that I haven't seen since their tender moment in jail during "Bread and Circuses". Spock holds Bones and tells him that he will carry him to shelter, because Bones is starting to suffer from frostbite.

It's here that they encounter what is clearly a Jawa that has mated with a Wookie. It just kind of looks at them like, "Just kiss already!" then it turns and walks away. They follow it. Maybe it is going back to its lair. Maybe it will eat them. Who knows?
It does go to its lair, but then it helpfully points out a kind of bed and some animal furs. Spock lays Bones down, covering him with the furs, and then he scans Bones with the tricorder... which magically works, despite the fact that the phasers don't.

The thing takes off its hood, and shocker! It's a gorgeous girl with dimples. She is friendly, and asks if Spock and Bones are prisoners, too. When he says no and asks why, she replies that this is where Zorcon likes to exile prisoners. He says they arrived by accident and admits that they are aliens. She's stoked. Suddenly, she loses her shit.
"Oh, no! I'm imagining this! I'm going insane!"
Spock convinces her that he is real, and she buys it immediately, apologizing because she has been alone so long that she thought she might have made them up.

Kirk is asleep in a jail cell. The hussy is in the cell across the way. A dude in fathered hat unlocks the door to Kirk's cell and wakes him up to talk to some official. Kirk tells this new dude that he is not the hussy's accomplice, that he heard her screaming, and came to her aid when he thought she was being attacked.
The official is on Kirk's side, nodding thoughtfully, until Kirk mentions the library. Then we get this comical zoom-in on the ridiculous face that the official makes at the mention of the library.

"Um..." says the official. "I think you're innocent."
The hussy starts screeching that Kirk is a witch. In fact, the way she does it reminds me so much of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, that I ask myself why I'm watching this so-so episode when I could be watching movie instead. In fact, she makes an accusation against Kirk putting a spell on her, and I half-expected her to lamely finish with, "I got better." Here's a thought: let's toss Kirk in a lake and see if he floats.
The jailer agrees with the hussy, because he also heard Kirk talking to a spirit called Bones. Kirk tries to explain to the official that he was talking to his friends in the library, and the official hurriedly tells Kirk that he's going to get an expert in witchcraft to come down and talk to Kirk, and he and the jailer rush out. The hussy hisses that they're going to burn Kirk.

Back in the cave, Bones has woken up. The girl tells him that her name is Zarabeth. Spock says they are still in the tundra, but safe, only he isn't certain how they're going to get back, or find Kirk.Bones goes back to sleep. Spock goes into another room in the cave, and Zarabeth follows. She says Spock's name to get him turn around, and when he does, she makes rather a show of disrobing, revealing what appears to be a rip-off of Raquel Welch's costume from One Million Years BC. Surprisingly for Star Trek, Zarabeth's costume actually covers more than Raquel's did. Either way, it's clearly supposed to be a "Dayum, girl!" moment. Spock, being Spock, gives no fucks.

She asks about Kirk, because Bones mentioned him, and Spock says that Kirk got stuck in another time period. He begins trying to logic himself out of this situation. His main goal in staying in the cave was to ensure that Bones would live, and now Bones will be fine. But if he leaves now to find Kirk and the library, he will possibly trap Bones in the tundra. But if he doesn't go, there may not be anyone to free Kirk. He actually gets pissed off when he can't find the solution. 
Out of curiosity, he asks why she was exiled. She replies that she picked bad friends. Yeah, I've done that, and you don't see me sitting in the Slushy version of Elba. I guess these friends tried to kill Zorcon, so Zorcon killed her friends, and scattered her family to the four winds using the Atavachron. Spock says he remembers the name Zorcon from the data tapes in the library. Zorcon was a tyrant, and apparently, a dick who exiles people. After this quick lesson in Zarabeth's personal history, Spock announces that he has a plan: they will carry Bones back to the portal site, and carry him into the library. Scotty will beam up both her and Bones while he goes looking for Kirk. That's when Zarabeth drops the bomb on him that the "prepared" that Atoz was yelling about meant that the Atavachron changed their systems so that they could live in the new time. But it meant never being able to go back without dying.

Bones gets up and demands to know why Spock has not gone to look for Kirk. Spock breaks the news to him that everyone is now trapped in those time periods, and they cannot go back through the portal, because they've been physiologically altered, and they'll die if they attempt it.

Kirk's Log 5943.9: "Just in case you forgot about me while you were busy scoping the fine honey in the animal skin skirt that they're pushing on Spock, I'm stuck in jail staring at this Monty Python bitch, and I'm about to be tried as a witch."

The jailer comes back and lets the hussy out. Then a dude comes by with a bucket of slop. He asks for Kirk's cup, and Kirk fumbles it awkwardly. It's a ruse, of course, and he manages to get the guy twisted around and sort of head-locked. They he grabs the dude's keys, unlocks the door and drags him in, chopping the back of his neck and pulling him into the shadows. Poor slop guy. Kirk will probably pretend to teach him about love, then abandon him when he gets free. He closes the door, and when the official comes down to see him, they argue through the door. Kirk tries to convince the official to let him go, as the official came from the future as well, and knows that Kirk is innocent. He actually drags the official into the cell as well, where he can see that Kirk already got the slop guy.
"Don't hurt me!" he cries. "I promise I'll plead your innocence to the inquisition, but you can't talk to your friends ever again."

"Yew got a perty mouf."

"You have to get me back to the library," Kirk demands.
The official tells Kirk the same thing that Zarabeth told Spock: they can't leave, or they'll die. The Atavachron prepared them to live in the past, so they can't live in the future anymore.
"Hey, I was never prepared!" says Kirk. "I just leapt before I looked, like usual."
"Oh," says the official. "Well, in that case, you're fucked. You have to be prepared, or you can only live a few hours in the past."
And suddenly, he's in a huge hurry to get Kirk back to the portal.

Back in the cave, Bones is awake and drinking and insulting Spock. So... normal. He notices that Zarabeth is sweet on Spock, and Spock doesn't care either way, so he hits on her. She leaves, and Bones muses about Kirk. Spock says that hopefully Kirk is fine where he is trapped. Because it is somehow in Bones' job description to bitch at Spock whenever Kirk is missing, he does so now, and demands to know (again) why Spock didn't go looking for Kirk.
"What part of "we can't get back" don't you understand?" asks Spock.
"You like it here!" Bones lashes out. "You want to stay, which is why you're not trying harder!" He calls Spock a "pointy-eared Vulcan," which is about the most redundant insult ever.
Spock loses his shit, grabbing Bones by the collar and yanking him to his feet. "Bitch, what did you just call me?"
And Bones suddenly remembers that Vulcans possess far more strength than humans. Oops.

Spock drops Bones and walks away, but Bones is weirded out that Spock is being so emotive. he's clearly getting an idea as to why the Vulcan is acting differently, though.

Back in Witch-Hunt Time, the official takes Kirk back to the portal area, and Kirk feels the wall until he reaches a place where his hand disappears.
"Awesome," says the official. "Have a nice life." And he runs the hell away.
Kirk goes back through the portal and yells for his friends. Not finding anyone in the library, he calls Scotty.
"Um, yeah, you got seventeen minutes to get your asses back here before the sun blows up," says Scotty.
"Spock and Bones are missing," relays Kirk.
He closes the comm and calls for Atoz.
Atoz comes out, and he says he's glad Kirk is back, that he can process him, and send him along to the witch hunt again.
"Fuck that shit," says Kirk. They wrestle, and he locks Atoz in a closet.
Another Atoz approaches, but Kirk chops his neck, and the guy passes out.
"You replicated asshole!" Kirk yells at the third guy.
"I'm the real dude," says Atoz. "What the hell is your problem?" 
He zaps Kirk with some weapon, and the captain passes out.

Spock and Zarabeth talk about how she can't leave, and how she's acclimatized to this time, and she offers him some food. He pauses when he realizes that she only has "animal flesh" to offer him. Spock is a vegetarian? Was that information given before, because I don't remember him eating anything but those weird little colored cubes they serve on the Enterprise? Anyway, she says that the cave is heated by hot springs, and he says that after a while, he can set up a greenhouse to grow veggies and stuff. Sorry, how's that? You got a multitude of seeds in your pocket? She says that Zorcon set her up in this time with the things that she would need to survive, but only just. Spock remarks that it is cruel to exile a beautiful woman to the ice age with no companionship. Then he pauses and apologizes for his emotional outburst, saying that the cold must be affecting him.
"I have eaten animal flesh and I have enjoyed it! What is wrong with me?"
Of course they make out. I mean, my God, we haven't had an emotionless guy falls for beautiful woman story in over three episodes! He carries her over to the bed and waxes poetic about how beautiful she is, and he smiles.

Back in the library, Atoz has gotten a passed-out Kirk onto some kind of cart, which he tries to push through the archway. Kirk rolls off in time to see the cart go through and disappear. A few quick questions here: did Atoz remember to hit Kirk with Atavachron machine to change him physically to fit into the past? Or was he just sending him blindly back, knowing he would die within a few hours? Kirk had admitted to the replicated Atoz that he and the others were aliens - did the replicated Atoz tell the original, and did the original want to then get rid of him? Would that not possibly destroy part of his planet's history, to send an unknown alien back into their time? And what of that stupid cart? The damn thing just went sailing off into Witch-Hunt Time. It was probably more modern than anything than anything they had at that time - could this not have wreaked (at least some) havoc on the development of his culture, thereby changing part of the future? Am I asking too many questions? Should I just shrug it off and go along with the story?
So Kirk rolls off the cart, it disappears, and Atoz tries to bodily push him through the archway. But remember, no one is allowed to win against Kirk, so he gets Atoz tin that same headlock that he put on the slop guy. Scotty comms in, and because Kirk is an efficient multitasker, he takes the call while beating on an old man. he tells Scotty to stand by on that beaming action, but to get ready to warp out when the star goes. Yeah, pretty sure you don't get time to leave when a star blows up. I think you should leave now to save the ship. Actually, it would have been wisest to leave your asses on the planet an hour ago.
Kirk tells Atoz that his friends are in a frozen wasteland, and a struggling Atoz agrees to help him look for the disc.

Bones finds Spock and Zarabeth canoodling, and starts yelling about how Spock lied to him, by not probing Zarabeth for more information. He has also figured out that he and Spock can go back because they were not zapped by the Atavachron or whatever, but that Zarabeth cannot go with them. he's angry because Zarabeth wants to keep Spock with her, and would sacrifice the E and its crew to get him. He grabs Zarabeth's face, and Spock in turn, grabs him and slams him against the wall.

"Ha!" says Bones. "You're being emotive! You've devolved into what your ancestors were like because we've traveled 5,000 years into the past on some other planet! That totally explains why you're acting this way, even though that makes no sense whatsoever!"
"Oh, crap, you're right," says Spock, letting him go. "That doesn't make sense, even though it works for the story!"
Zarabeth isn't sure if the boys can go back, just that she knows she can't.
They go back out to the portal.

Kirk and Atoz try some disks in the reader, with Kirk going to the portal to yell into the arch. They find the right one, and the boys must step through the rock face. Spock says goodbye to Zarabeth, and I'm sure they were trying to make her into another Edith Keeler, but I'm just not buying it. Step through the fucking portal already.

Spock asks how much time they have, and Bones relays it to Kirk, who asks Scotty.
"Fucking none!" yells Scotty. "What the hell is your problem?"
Our boys in blue step through the portal. Atoz yanks the tundra disk from the reader, inserts another disk, and pushes the boys out of the way to leap through the portal at the last minute.
"That's where his family was waiting," Kirk tells them.
"Quit staring at me, I'm fine now," Spock tells Bones.
"Yeah, but it happened," says Bones.
"Dude, that was five thousand years ago," Spock replies.
Kirk calls for their ride, and we see the E warp away as the star explodes.

Death Toll:
Red deaths this episode: 0
Red deaths this season: 6
Gold deaths this episode: 0
Gold deaths this season: 0
Blue deaths this episode: 0
Blue deaths this season: 1
Total crew deaths this season: 7
Total crew deaths thus far: 49

So an entire planet full of people sort of died? Or maybe didn't? Schrodinger's Planet? I dunno. It's a fuzzy grey area.

This is one of those episodes that  would file under "good premise, so-so execution." Also, "story got buried under Spock romance." First, the premise: escaping your planet's demise by going back to live in your planet's past is actually really interesting. According to IMDB, there were two Star Trek books based on this idea, and they might actually be good reads. The problem with this episode is that it's kind of boring. Kirk is accused of being a witch for talking to his friends through technology. That could get interesting, but it didn't. He talked another guy from the future into helping him get back to the portal. Lame. Spock and Bones get stuck in a frozen wasteland, and the writers fell back on the old reliable "there's something wrong with Spock because he's being emotional." It's become cliche at this point. And I can't tell you how sick I am of the "Spock romance" troupe. In the end, it was kind of anti-climactic. The boys beam up just in time, and the E gets away as the star explodes. Really, the thing that I might be saddest about is the complete loss of a culture. Or I would be if it wasn't another "let's go back in Earth's time" episode like the gangster planet or the Nazi planet. Really? There are planets in other systems that had development and culture just exactly like ours? You don't say!


So this little kid I watch was like, "I really want some Starschmucks. If you fly, I'll buy." (I say little, but this kid already has two inches on me. Make no mistake: I'm a short little sucker.) So I let a pre-teen buy me a Starschmucks tea. I don't recall if I reviewed the Peach Green Tea Lemonade last summer, but I had one today, and it was pretty good. It's not terribly heavy on the lemonade, but it was really sweet, which could be a combo of the lemonade and the peach syrup? Dunno. It was good. Check it out if you like your tea really sweet.
Also, they better bring back that Blackberry Mojito. Just sayin.'

Momo would like to thank you for these lovely flowers.


  1. The Edith Keeler episode implied but didn't directly say Spock was a vegetarian. When Kirk brings groceries home he mentions that the meat and bread are for himself and the vegetables are for Spock. That doesn't seem like a particularly healthy or balanced diet for either of them, but they were only there a week or two so meh. Which kind of leads to the question of why Spock didn't get severely anemic or whatever from eating human food that has different mineral ratios than he evolved to need whenever they got stranded on Earth-like planets/in the past but maybe Bones just gave him a vitamin shot or w/e. (I dunno about you, but I can't think of many foods rich in copper off the top of my head? Any human population eating them would probably turn blue though, due to excess copper in their system.) I assume on the E they have like alien vitamin pills or whatever they give him, or the food replicator can be adjusted accordingly. Lol. The biology of this character is so fake idk why I bother hand waving an explanation but it's fun so yeah.

    We had way too many Spock romance episodes in general but especially in season 3. The only love interest I ever bought for him was the Romulan commander, all the other ones didn't seem like people he'd be interested in.

    This episode's redeeming qualities are its Spock/Bones interactions and the fact that Kirk competently rescued himself and his friends instead of being a damsel in distress again like he usually is. Seriously, some episodes feel like Spock only goes along to babysit. There's even a scene in one of the movies where Kirk is doing some dangerous sporting activity during shore leave and Spock (who's been watching Kirk against Kirk's wishes the whole time) purposefully makes Kirk fail so he can save him and move him on to some safer activity where he doesn't feel the need to watch him.

    Spock asking "what is wrong with me?" was pretty funny. Buddy, do you want the abridged version or...? I don't think there's enough time in the episode to properly answer that question.

    Not a great episode, but a few good scenes.

  2. I really think this review does an injustice to one of the best episodes of the series and certainly the last good one of the series overall. For one thing, the Spock-Zarabeth romance is far more poignant and tragic than Kirk-Edith in "City On The Edge of Forever" for the simple reason (that so many overlook) that Kirk's feelings for Edith are NEVER reciprocated in the episode. There was never any dynamic of what exactly was Kirk doing to do with this woman from another time if she wasn't the focal point etc. but here things are more straightforward and the romance is superior to any of the others we see Spock engaged in.

    Mariette Hartley brings a lot more substance to a role that in the hands of an untalented actress (think Angelique Pettyjohn or Sharon Acker) could have come across as poor but Hartley has always been a woman of intellect and substance in her many roles over the years and here she does the seeming impossible of bringing to life a heretofore impossible combination of an intellectual cavewoman. Yes, she looks incredibly sexy but she is also a woman of substance and that's what makes it easy to see why Spock in his "regressed" state would let go (though there is clearly an intellectual admiration of her as well for what she's been able to do all by herself in a life of lonely exile).

    This was one of the best in the series overall and that it gives us the most beautiful woman in the history of Trek is the icing on the cake.