Thursday, November 08, 2018

Star Trek -- Season 1 Episode 19 (Tomorrow Is Yesterday)

I grew up having watched reruns of the original Star Trek.  By the time I was old enough to watch TV, the original series had already ended its original run and had become a staple of syndication.  When The Next Generation came around, the production values had gotten much better.  It wasn’t until I started watching The Original Series again that I realized how much.  It seemed like the writers for The Original Series didn’t seem to pay attention to detail as much.  Admittedly, stardates only had to be consistent within an episode.  Still, there were a lot of things that stuck out in my mind.

One such episode was Tomorrow is Yesterday.  The Enterprise finds itself stuck in what was then modern-day Earth.  The ship needs to be repaired, not that it has any place to go.  Add to that the fact that they’re in a low enough orbit that they can be seen by an Air Force base.  The ship is forced to beam up  Captain John Christopher, presenting the crew with a difficult problem.  They can’t send him back for fear that he’ll tell what he’s seen.  However, it’s not fair to hold him indefinitely.  Spock also discovers that his unborn son will make an important contribution.

The ship does get repaired and a way back home is discovered.  In the process, the crew is able to return Christopher and another unfortunate visitor, leaving them with no memories of their adventures.  How are they able to return them?  By beaming them back into their old bodies.

It seems a little too contrived.  Somehow, The Enterprise is able to beam someone into their past self without any problems.  What happened to the other Captain Christopher?  It’s also not explained how the whole beaming thing works.  It’s more of a hocus-pocus presto-chango kind of thing.

It was one of those things that they presented the audience with, thinking we wouldn’t ask too many questions.  During the episode, Kirk has to worry that there might be footage of the ship.  The same concern should hold true once they go back a few days to erase everything.  If they have to return the officers, shouldn’t they also have to take care of any footage again?  For that matter, shouldn’t there be a second Enterprise?  I suspect that the writers needed a simple way out.

The series also seemed to rely too little on continuity.  The Enterprise has found an easy way to travel through time, which they do use in subsequent outings.  There’s no mention of how common the practice is.  I could see science vessels going back in time a lot.  I could also see the practice being restricted for fear of the timeline being corrupted.

Overall, the episode is a nice diversion.  There are no enemies to fight.  There’s no battling a superior opponent, hoping for a way out.  It’s more having to fix stuff and think their way out.  Still, I think the writers could have done a little better here.  Maybe offer more of an explanation in some areas, or at least make them more believable.  It’s an episode that tends to be more enjoyable if you don’t think about it too much.

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