Mark Watches ‘Star Trek’: S01E19 – Tomorrow Is Yesterday

In the nineteenth episode of the first season of Star Trek, a time warp sends the Enterprise to Earth IN THE PAST. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Star Trek.

I like time travel more than most things.

Aside from a few Twilight Zone episodes that aired prior to this, had there ever been an episode of American television like this? Or science fiction? Regardless, this was a really neat and SUPER FUN episode of Star Trek that dealt with the complications of time travel paradoxes. It’s actually a rather simple plot, since the writers contain the entire thing to the Enterprise and the airbase. Still, there are a number of surreal moments and MORE COMEDY THAT I EXPECTED.

The complication the Enterprise faces is two-fold. It’s bad enough that a time-warp sends the ship to 1969. But upon being flung into Earth-space, they’re immediately spotted by the U.S. military. The opening of this episode was a trip. The stock footage of the Air Force ships was jarring because HOW WAS THAT POSSIBLE. We’re supposed to be hundreds of years in the future. And then there’s the Enterprise, drifting in the clouds on Earth, and WHAT A WAY TO START AN EPISODE. I love the possibility this opens, too. This isn’t the first time travel episode on the show, certainly, but the idea that the Enterprise could visit Earth was actually pretty thrilling.

Of course, it gives the crew the second disaster they have to deal with, one that keeps getting worse and worse. After being spotted, they’re forced to beam up Captain John Christopher to the Enterprise in order to prevent any potentially ruinous damage to the ship. I love how quickly this episode basically states, “Well, we’ve much it much worse than it could have been,” and then the writers just pile on one absurdity after another. I think that in terms of pacing or suspense, “Tomorrow Is Yesterday” pales a bit in comparison to the last batch of episodes. I didn’t find it that exciting. For me, though, it was the way Captain Christopher interacted with the Enterprise crew that was so much fun for me. He adapts to his circumstances extremely fast. (Of course, it’s not hard to compare him with the Air Policeman, who has THE BEST REACTION EVER.) And I liked that! Roger Perry portrays Captain Christopher with an intense drive for self-preservation, and it works well when he’s played of Kirk or Spock.

But oh my god, THERE ARE SO MANY HILARIOUS MOMENTS HERE. Multiple times, characters express utter amusement at Captain Christopher’s expense, namely Kirk and Spock. Bones’s sassy comment about Spock being wrong is a work of art. ALL OF SPOCK’S EYEBROW RAISES. Each and every one of them is an act of brilliance. But my favorite scene here? The fight scene between Kirk and the Air Policemen. William Shatner is clearly doing his own stunts in that scene, and it’s like the choreography was simply, “Do whatever you think would confuse people.” Because he just throws his body about. OVER AND OVER AGAIN. And I would definitely lose in a fight against someone doing that. (Let the record also state I would lose in a fight against literally anyone.)

I don’t know that I understand how it’s possible that sticking a person into their past self would erase their memory. Actually, I didn’t know the transporter could DO that. Did they just transfer Christopher’s conscience? His whole body? It’s not a strong ending, but it’s a sweet one. Knowing that Captain Christopher’s son plays a huge role in space exploration was a nice touch, especially since the nature of this show celebrates science and the exploration of our universe. How many people saw Star Trek and were inspired to pursue a life in the sciences? A lot, I imagine, and that makes me happy.

Otherwise, this was an okay episode. Not great, but I had a good time.

The video for “Tomorrow Is Yesterday” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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