Friday, July 17, 2009

Star Trek--"All Our Yesterdays"

Saving the near best for near last, “All Our Yesterdays” is the second best episode of thw third season, right behind "The Tholian Web.” It is dismaying we had to go all the way to the penultimate episode in order to find a really good one.

It is a Spock-centric episode. I am glad the character received a fine send off. The third season was not kind to him. He had his brain stolen, was forced to flirt with a Romulan commander, and was humiliated by Palto’s spoiled brat stepchildren among the lower moments. But this episode harkens back to “This Side of Paradise” where Spock learns he has the capacity to love if he is willing to let himself do so.

The Enterprise arrives at sorption to warn the population their sun is about to go supernova. They find everyone on the planet has gone save for a librarian named Atoz. (Atoz--A to z. Like an encyclopedia. Get it?) Atoz tells the landing party his people knew about their sun long ago and have escaped into the passed using data discs. They are intrigued and check out some discs themselves. Through a mishap, they win up in different periods of time.

Kirk lands in what looks like 17th century England. His misadventure there is fairly typical. He alls on the bad side of the natives, is thrown in ail, escapes, and then eventually finds his way into the future. The interesting aspect of the episode is Spock’s story with mcCoy along for the ride.

The two wind up 5,000 years into the past during Sarpeidon’s ice age. They are rescued by Zarabeth a woman exiled here becase her tribesmen tried to kill the planet’s dictator. Spock slowly, but surely begins to fall in love with her. One can rarely compliment the acting on TOS, but Spock’s believable progression towards feeling emotion is a testament to Leonard Nimoy’s skills as an actor.

Zarabeth is falling for him, too. She runs a con job about how the travel into the past alters cellular structure so they can never return. It is not true and after all sorts of mood swings and conflict with McCoy, they escape from the past and reunite with kirk.

Atoz travels into the past to be with his family. Kirk, spock, and McCoy beam off world before it is destroyed in the supernova. McCoy shows concern for Spock, who assures him he is back to normal. Back in the ice age, he had been reverting back to his barbaric ancestral roots before they adopted logic. He notes that Zarabeth is log since dead and gone. If you do not feel a twinge of sadness when he says that, you have onestone cold heart.

I am not certain “All Our Yesterdays” would make my ten best list, but it would not miss it by much. It had more heart than than the usual TOS fare. Episodes that featured romantic encounters for the regular characters often did. It is a shame the lack of character development would not allow for a continuing romance. It would have been a serious boost for the show’s credibility.

I have to note TOS is often considered prescient that CDROM would eventually be developed to hold massive amounts of data. In fact, CDs had been invented three years previously by a physicist named James Russell. Russell holds 22 copyrights regarding CDs and is worth a ton of money. I suppose TOS will have to console itself with the similarities between their communicators and modern day cell phones.

Rating; **** (out of 5)

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