“All Our Yesterdays” is an episode I remember well because I had the Fotonovel version of it when I was a kid. Watching it again was actually pleasant, because of the feeling of nostalgia, and the fact that I think this is a decent episode.
It starts with Kirk, Spock, and McCoy beaming down to a planet that is about to get destroyed by its sun going nova in a few hours (timed to the minute by the Enterprise, apparently). There’s supposed to be a large native population without spaceflight technology, but they seem to have all vanished. In a library, they find only one old man, Atoz, and a couple of his clones, who keep talking cryptically about hurrying up and getting to safety. Kirk never sits the guy down and asks him a straight question to find out what happened to everyone, so this part is a bit farcical, but it does build the mystery.
The library is full of memory discs, which show images of the planet’s history. While viewing one, Kirk hears a woman calling for help from through an archway, and of course races off to investigate. Spock and McCoy follow hot on his heels. Kirk appears in a street populated by people out of witch hunt Salem, and fights off some ruffians who are harassing a woman. Spock and McCoy appear in a snowy wilderness. They can talk to each other, but can’t get back to the library. Kirk gets into a sword fight, and is captured and thrown into a cell, where a prosecutor comes to accuse him of witchcraft. Meanwhile, McCoy starts freezing to death (despite Spock being the one from a hot planet and unused to the cold) and he and Spock trudge through the snow until they meet a mysterious figure clad in furs. It turns out to be a beautiful woman named Zarabeth, who Spock starts falling in love with when she strips down to a few strategically placed scraps of leather.
The story makes little sense to this point, but suddenly the pieces start falling into place. Kirk mentions to the prosecutor that he came from the library, and the prosecutor lets slip that he knows about it. He explains that everyone fled the nova through a time portal, so they could live out their lives in their own planet’s history. Spock and McCoy must have gone to a different time period because they were looking at a different memory disc. The prosecutor explains Kirk can never go back because his molecular structure has been changed by a machine in the library to suit the new time he is in, but when Kirk says he underwent no such process, the prosecutor tells him he must hurry back or die. He takes Kirk to the portal and Kirk finds his way back, where Atoz is most upset and tries to keep pushing him back through.
Kirk orders Atoz to locate the ice age disc so he can get Spock and McCoy back. But in the ice age, the normally vegetarian Spock is eating meat and kissing Zarabeth and getting mad at McCoy, who keeps insisting they try to get back. Zarabeth says they can’t go back, and Spock meekly agrees. McCoy argues that Spock is losing his logical mind because they’re 5000 years in the past, when Vulcans were still savages. This is a cool bit of storytelling logic, but it would have made more sense if Spock’s molecular structure had been altered to match 5000 years ago. Anyway, McCoy convinces Spock to look for the portal, conveniently just as Kirk locates the right disc, and they return to the present after a sad farewell to Zarabeth. Atoz dashes into the portal, and the crew beam back and warp out just before the sun explodes.
There are some plot holes, including the fact that Atoz keeps trying to push Kirk through the portal without adjusting his molecular structure, and the whole miscommunication thing with him. But those aside, I really like this episode. It has mystery, drama, conflict, a cool use of time travel, and it kinda makes sense. I call this one a winner from season 3.
Tropes: Literary Allusion Title, Ancient Keeper, Cloning Blues, Portal Door, Flynning, Changed My Jumper, Burn The Witch, Girl Of The Week, Fur Bikini, Cool Gate, Trapped In The Past, Temporal Sickness, Get Back To The Future, Veganopia, Meat Versus Veggies.
Body count: None!