Star Trek: TOS The Best Episodes

“Space, The final Frontier.  These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise.  It’s five-year mission: To explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no man has gone before!”


All Our Yesterdays

Season 3, Episode 23

Original air date:  March 14, 1969

Stardate:  5943.7

Plot Summary:

Kirk, Spock and McCoy beam down to the planet Sarpeion, who’s star Beta Niobe is going to go supernovae in three hours.  The class M planet had billions of inhabitants but when they beam down they seem to all be gone, except for one old man who calls himself Atoz and says he is the librarian.  He claims that everyone followed instructions, went where they wanted to go, and were safe.  As Kirk and company walk around the Library they discover several Atoz who ask them to choose where they want to go, finally finding the “real” Atoz and discovering the other two are replicas, they are shown discs that allow them to view various scenes from the history of the planet.  Atoz starts explaining how the machine, the atavachron, works to Spock but we don’t get the whole idea.  Kirk hears a woman scream and thinking it comes from an adjacent room, passes through a portal and is suddenly in a time period that mirrors 17th Century England.  A woman is being tossed about by two noblemen and Kirk beats up one and with swords drawn he out duels the other.  Spock and McCoy, trying to follow Kirk, end up in a frozen wasteland where Spock can’t get the phaser to work to provide some heat.  Kirk is befriended by the woman, who was apparently trying to pick-pocket one of the noblemen.  Kirk tries to find the portal as reinforcements of the noblemen arrive.  Kirk realizes he can speak with McCoy and Spock through the portal, but their communications only make the arresting officers and bystanders in Kirk’s time believe he is a witch talking to spirits – calling one Bones.  He is dragged away.  Spock, who was able to communicate to Kirk that the solution to the super nova was for each person on Sarpeion to live their lives in the past, heads out with McCoy to look for shelter.  After a while, McCoy begins to get frostbite and tells Spock to go on without him.  Just then a figure in a heavy coat appears and leads them to a warm cave.

In the cavern, Spock scans McCoy and covers him with a warm blanket hoping he’ll recover.  The figure takes off the coat and is a young woman.  She says she was sent there as a punishment; her family having rebelled against a dictator.  Spock tells her who he is and why he looks so different.  She worries that she’s imagining things, having been alone so long, but Spock assures her he is real.  Several thousand years in the future, Kirk is in prison.  An official, that we’ll learn is called The Prosecutor, comes in to speak to Kirk and they both realize they came through the portal.  But there are too many others that witnessed Kirk’s “witchcraft” so the prosecutor flees the scene and leaves Kirk there.  In the Ice Age, McCoy awakens briefly and then falls asleep again.  Spock tries to reason out whether he should rescue McCoy or try and help Kirk, but he’s having trouble figuring out the logic.  The woman, Zarabeth; tells Spock they can’t go back as their cellular structure was changed going through the portal.  When McCoy awakens fully Spock tells him that they’re trapped.

Thanks to the world’s worst jailer, Kirk manages to escape his cell and speak to the Prosecutor alone.  The Prosecutor tells Kirk he can’t go back as they were processed for their time, but Kirk remembers Atoz yelling to him that he wasn’t prepared to which the Prosecutor tells him he can only survive a few hours in the past without the preparation.  Back in the cave, Spock seems to be perfectly fine with staying in the past, McCoy can’t believe it and demands they find a way back.  McCoy throws his normal pointy eared barb at Spock, but this causes Spock to grab McCoy and threaten him with physical violence.

The Prosecutor takes Kirk to the portal and Kirk jumps back through.  He’s in the library and contacting Scotty finds out they only have 17 minutes left.  Kirk explains the situation to a replica but it doesn’t understand, he ends up having to incapacitate both replicas.  The real Atoz also doesn’t understand what Kirk is trying to tell him, and stuns him with a weapon of some kind.  Meanwhile Spock is talking to Zarabeth.  He eats the meat she offers him and makes mention of building a greenhouse, clearing planning to stay.  He acknowledges he’s acting strangely but can’t help himself, they kiss and Spock sweeps up Zarabeth and lays her on the bed.  Back in the library, Atoz has kirk on a push cart and tries to sent him back through the portal.  Kirk jumps out and grabs Atoz, forcing him to help find McCoy and Spock.  McCoy confronts Spock and Zarabeth in their post-coital bliss and claims she is lying to them so they will stay with her.  Spock assaults McCoy but Bones tells him he’s turning into a Vulcan from 5,000 years ago his emotions are out of control.  Spock tries to get a handle on himself and finds out from Zarabeth that all she knows is that she can’t go back.  McCoy leaves the cavern with the intention to find the portal and get out.

Kirk works on finding the right time period with Atoz, yelling into the portal unsuccessfully at least once.  Atoz finds the right disc and when Kirk calls, McCoy answers.  Spock and Zarabeth join McCoy at the portal, but McCoy can’t go through by himself.  Atoz tells them since they went through together they would have to come back together.  Spock is hesitant to leave Zarabeth.  Kirk begs them to come through as time is running out.  McCoy and Spock come through together as Zarabeth cries a single tear.  Atoz then changing discs and throws himself through the portal as Spock assures McCoy he’s back to his old self and is not sad over a person who died thousands of years before, McCoy looks sympathetic but unconvinced as Kirk has them beamed up.  The Enterprise flies away from the Supernova as the credits roll on this episode and my reviews.


Known to Fans As: 

Spock has Sex with Cavewoman


Notable Guest Stars: 


Mariette Hartley as Zarabeth:  Hartley’s grandfather was the criminally wrong psychologist John B. Watson, the establisher of Behaviorism, who claimed that children should never be hugged or cuddled.  The lack of affection she received as a child, she claims, led her to the theater in her early teens.  Although she attended and graduated from what is now Carnegie Mellon University, she did manage an uncredited role in the Dennis Hopper western, From Hell to Texas while still in school.  Her first credited role was in the Sam Peckinpah western Ride the High Country starring Randolph Scott, which earned her some acclaim.  She continued to get movie roles throughout the 60’s including the lead in Drums of Africa and a supporting role in Alfred Hitchcock’s Marnie.  From the late 60’s into the 70’s she was more consigned to TV guest spots, but did win an Emmy for her appearance in a 1978 episode of The Incredible Hulk and was nominated for a role in The Rockford Files.  Hartley hosted the Saturday morning children’s educational program Wild About Animals from 1995-2015 and continued making small guest appearances. Most recently she played the Alzheimer afflicted mother of Connie Britton’s Abby on 9-1-1.  Hartley has been very open about her struggles with bi-polar disorder and her father’s suicide doing public awareness campaigns for both the disorder and suicide prevention.  She turns 80 in June.


Ian Wolfe as Atoz:  Wolfe had an incredibly long career starting in theater, first appearing in visual media in The Fountain, a WWI movie from 1934.  Wolfe played mostly small parts, but in movies starring the absolute pinnacle of early Hollywood stars, from John Barrymore, to Errol Flynn, to Olivia De Havilland.  For those of us under 90 years old, Wolfe appeared in many movies and TV shows into his 90s and the 80’s, including The Partridge Family, Cheers, and his final role in Dick Tracy.  He also played Septimus in the Star Trek: TOS episode “Bread and Circuses”.  Wolfe died in 1992 at the age of 95, widowing his wife of 68 years.

Continuity Issues:

Because it’s 5,000 years in the past Spock begins to act like his Vulcan ancestors, but I thought the violent tendencies were not evolved out but solved by a mental discipline?  I think they just wanted to have Spock do it.

If Atoz prepared Kirk before trying to push him through the portal then won’t he die staying in this time, and if he didn’t then he would die in the past?  Couldn’t it just be Zarabeth that couldn’t come back as part of the punishment, that would have made more sense.

Also, the phasers don’t work but the tricorder does, something they just don’t bother to explain except the plot made it necessary.

This episode has the last star date, even as it’s the second to last actual episode.

Seems like showing up three hours before the super nova might be a tad late?  If there were hundreds of thousands of people, what was the plan?

When they talk through the portal it seems “live” like time is passing the same speed on both sides, yet a lot happens in three hours especially on the ice age side.  McCoy gets frost bite, completely recovers, Spock falls in love, and makes love.  Do we just have to chalk that up to time passes differently I guess – otherwise when Spock tells Zarabeth she’s beautiful and she says “I’ve longed to hear you say it.” Seems like a silly line to say to someone you’ve known for 90 minutes.



Vulcan Nerve Pinches: None


Damn it Jim: “You stubborn, thick-headed Vulcan!”


Kirk’s Shirt Off:  No


Aged the Best:

I’m not sure anything about this ages particularly well.  For a third season episode they actually had some variable sets and costumes, but they also only had Shatner, Nimoy and Kelley, and Doohan’s voice so maybe they didn’t have to pay the whole cast.

The idea of escaping a planetary cataclysm by sending everyone into the past and having used that system to punish people also, is a great concept that’s kind of rushed through so Kirk can sword fight and Spock can, well you know.  You could easily build a whole Netflix show around that idea alone.

I’m sure it’s the remastering, but the actual explosion of Beta Niobe at the end, and the engulfing and burning up of the planet look great.

Betelguese, the left shoulder of the Constellation, Orion, could be going Super Nova at any time, in astrological terms.  That means basically now to 100,000 years from now – but if it does it will be one of the most spectacular things anyone who’s ever lived on earth will have gotten to see.

Atoz’s name is literally A to Z and he’s a librarian, which is cute.


Aged the Worst:

Except for the initial humor of seeing Atoz around every corner, having “replicas” of him really didn’t add anything to anything.

Since the actual last episode, Turnabout Intruder, was pre-empted due to the death of Dwight Eisenhower and not broadcast until June, this was the last episode many people saw before the show went into syndication in the 70’s.

McCoy indicates that Zarabeth would lie because “she’s a woman and doesn’t want to be alone” as if a man sentenced to a lifetime of solitary confinement would have no issues.




Overall Grade:

A-, glad Spock got laid before the show was over.


Tomorrow:  Wrap up