Tomorrow is Yesterday reviewed

Hey there, Trek fans. I’m back with another review request.

Tomorrow is Yesterday comes to us from season one of TOS and it’s… special. It’s another one of those episodes that I’m never quite sure how to feel about. It’s more than a little insane. The time travel aspect is cool, but it’s done in a way that makes me question how much they really thought all of this out. But more than anything, I can’t help but think the person in charge of Spock’s dialogue called in sick that week and Kirk’s write took over. His faulty logic actually had me yelling at the TV more than once. But I digress.

On to the review.

Hrm, I know I put in the season one disk so why am I seeing 20th century planes and who are these air force guys? UFOs? Fighter jets?

Oh wait… there’s the music. Aaaaaaaand there’s the Enterprise.

Nice fake out guys. But one thing… Wouldn’t a space vessel, designed for space travel, be having some rather serious trouble in Earth’s atmosphere (we’re going to just skip past the fact that the exterior shots of the Enterprise in the sky are ridiculously awful)?

Cut to opening credits.

We come back to the Captain’s exposition… er… log where Kirk explains that on their way to resupply at Star Base 9 they were caught in a Black Star’s gravity. Full reverse warp power snapped them away from the sun and threw them back in time (now we can look forward to Star Trek IV). The ship’s power is down and the crew has been thoroughly tossed around the bridge. Kirk, as usual is up and about before anyone else but slowly the goldbricks he calls a crew get off their lazy asses and start checking for damage.

Impulse power only, systems are down and Spock casually points out that if the power doesn’t come back on, Scotty is probably dead. You know, because he’s the only one who knows how to flip the breaker or something, the rest of engineering is purely decorative.

Phew, the lights come back on. Scotty isn’t dead. Praise the… oh, wait, you’re not even going to take note of it are you? Alright, carry on.

Kirk orders Uhura to contact Starfleet to let them know about the Black Star and Spock lets the captain know that there are only minor injuries being reported around the ship and that engineering is reporting that warp engines are dead. Scotty is holding them in orbit with impulse power (which is what they usually hold orbit with, just sayin’).

Holding where?

Earth of course! They were on a relative course to Earth and the slingshot effect landed them right there. Luckily there were no other planets, stars or space debris in between their last position and Earth and they came to a stop before crashing in to the planet. Wait, now that you mention it, they are a bit low (ie, right in Earth’s atmosphere…*sigh*) but they can pull away. The controls are sluggish, but not to worry!

Uhura reports that normal Starfleet communications are dead. She’s getting something else but it’s not Starfleet. Kirk wants a listen so she puts it on audio.

But what’s this? A news report on the first manned moon space shuttle launch? Turn that shit off!

That can mean only one thing! They’ve gone back in time to the late 1960s! (You’d think Kirk would look a little more excited about being tossed in to an era of such free love.) And that’s not all! They’ve been spotted and a fighter jet is approaching!

Cut to the fighter jet. He’s got a pretty clear view of the ship and they aren’t going anywhere in a hurry. He moves in closer for a better view of the cardboard cut out in the sky and reports his findings to ground control. They want him to force the ship to land (because that’s a perfectly reasonable thing for one fighter jet to accomplish when faced with a star ship big enough to carry a crew of hundreds) or to shoot it down (*sigh*).

Spock warns Kirk that the plane has got missiles and possibly nuclear war heads. If hit with one, he could scratch the paint and they simply don’t have time to deal with that kind of bullshit at the moment. So Kirk, in his infinite wisdom, orders Scotty to catch the tiny plane with the tractor beam and hold it.

Uh, captain, that ship really wasn’t built to stand up that kind of strain.

Too late though. Scotty is being extra efficient and already has the plane secured.

Yep, you’re crushing it like an egg.

Don’t worry, Kirk will beam the pilot up to the ship. Yeah! How could that possibly go wrong? Kirk runs off to meet his new 20th Century buddy.

Meanwhile Mr. Kyle, always the prankster, beams yesterday man aboard facing the wrong way around. Kirk introduces himself to yesterday man’s back and he seems a little shocked that Kirk speaks english. (This is the point where I always wish Chekov were there to say hello.)

Yesterday man introduces himself as Captain Christopher, rattling off his serial number. But chill, dude, we’re all friends here (spoken like a true commie). No, I’m not really going to explain anything right now but let me just say how sorry we are about that whole crushing your plane thing, no one told me it couldn’t stand up to the strain (*coughliarcough*).

Now, just to recap, they’ve been tossed back in time, crushed a plane, kidnapped a person from the 20th century and are in danger of fucking their entire future so this really does call for some serious care, thought and planning. Good thing they have Kirk to lead them or they would be in serious trouble.

We’ll tell you what we decide to tell you in a few moments.

Oh yeah, they’re all going to be fine.

Since the plane has completely broken up (broken up, mind you, not disintegrated or anything) Kirk orders them to shut off the tractor beam and let the hunks of plane fall where they may. He then head up to the bridge with Christopher in tow.

Along the way they encounter one of many nameless female crew members.

Good morning, Captain.

A woman? A crewman. Good thing that wasn’t awkward. (Am I the only one who just naturally assumes that what Kirk left out ‘that I banged last night… four times.’?)

In the turbo lift Kirk has apparently made up his mind about what “they” are going to tell him. There are 12 ships like the Enterprise in the fleet. They aren’t part of the Navy, it’s combined service. You know, with the United Earth Space Probe Agency.

United Earth?

Well that’s difficult to explain. See, we accidentally warped ourselves back in time to this place.

Good this Christopher is willing to believe whatever. Except anything about little green men.

Cue Spock.

They’ve moved out of Earth’s atmosphere and Scotty wants to talk to Kirk about the engines. (I love watching Christopher in the background after being surprised by a female crewman, dealing with Uhura…) Spock also takes the opportunity to mention that they really can’t be sending Captain Christopher back down to the planet. He knows too much and if he screws with the past the future as they know it will be gone (Kirk must have missed that episode of the Simpsons).

But Kirk doesn’t really want to hear it. He’s more interested in Christopher changing in to something more comfortable and meeting him in his quarters with Spock (cue porn beat).

Christopher and Spock head to Kirk’s quarters just in time to hear another riveting Captain’s log. Kirk’s having trouble with the computer though – After their brief affair it’s developed feelings for him and started calling him dear. But that’s not how James T. rolls. Spock investigated the problem and it’s going to take a major overhaul to fix. Once that woman’s thinking creeps in to the computer system, it can be a bitch to dig out.

Spock explains to Christopher that the computer had been repaired on Cygnet XIV, a female dominated planet. They decided to give the computer a personality “Female, of course.” (Gotta love how annoyed Spock seems about that) And, of course, a planet dominated by women would give a computer a submissive, sex kitten, giggly personality. *double sigh*

Kirk isn’t interested in talking about the computer though. He has some bad news. Chris, you’re stuck with us. You’ve seen too much and you can’t go back. You could fuck up everything. And, frankly, that’s Kirk’s job.

Well, then my disappearance would change something, too.

Wow… It’s almost like he’s been paying attention or something.

Spock checked. Nope. Sorry, dude, you don’t make ANY relevant contributions to ANYTHING, EVER. It’s like you don’t even matter a little bit. (Spock, I love you, but did you even think about that before you said it?) But Chris isn’t buying it. He wants to go home and he’s going to have to report everything, future be damned. What would Kirk do? (Don’t think about that too much, you’ll give yourself a headache.)

I’d… report… if I could. (I’m not making this up – that is EXACTLY what the subtitles say. The subtitled it IN SHATNER. Made my whole day)

But Chris has a wife and kids. What about them?

I’m sorry. (Sorry that he was dumb enough to get married and have kids, apparently.)

Scotty interrupts via intercom. The repairs are coming along and they should be good to go in about 4 hours but… but where are they gonna go? Good thing Chris is above rubbing that one in Kirk’s face… no, wait… I mean the opposite of that.

(I’m just going to briefly mention the throw-away scene after the commercial break. Kirk, still annoyed with the computer getting to familiar, suggests that it be corrected or scrapped and actually hurts its feelings. That’s just how he rolls, ladies.)

Spock rings Kirk up via intercom to let him know he’s discovered something about Chris and needs to see them both immediately. Kirk is going to buzz Chris and they can all have a little chat. Kirk sent him to his room, after all, so he knows where to find him. Unless, of course, the guy you just told he’s essentially a prisoner, who isn’t particularly happy about that and who really wants to get the fuck off the ship ignored you and is trying to escape.

ooooohhhhhhh shit…. yeah. Security alert.

Enter Ensign Ricky (I know, I was worried he wouldn’t get his time to shine too) who lives up to the proud tradition of all Ensign Rickys before him. He folds after one punch and a judo chop. Chris grabs his phaser and heads for the transporter room. Mr. Kyle, still on duty is caught a little off guard by Chris and his transporter demands. But Kirk isn’t far behind Ricky and shows up in time to do was he does best – punch a dude in the face.

Cut to sickbay. Chris is taking a time out in one of the beds and McCoy explains that he’ll be fine except for, you know, being punched in the face.

But he tried to escape. Kirk can’t just let him go. He knows to much. (Funny how he didn’t see that one coming after crushing Chris’ plane, beaming him aboard and showing him around the place.)

But what if we can’t get back?

Jim, don’t you just hate it when Bones clouds the issue with fact?

If they’re stuck, where are they going to go? 430 people would fuck things up a lot worse than one person, right? (Although, really, they’re only trying to preserve their future for themselves. In the event that they all had to stay and fucked with the future it wouldn’t matter any more because no one would notice any change. Right?)

Taking Chris with them would make Chris useless. (Again with that, eh Chris? Don’t worry buddy, we think you’re plenty useful.) He couldn’t possibly have a place in the future. And could he be trained to forget his wife and kids? (I can’t help but think that Kirk was seriously asking.)

Chris, up from his little nap, doesn’t think so.

Meanwhile Spock show up to let them all in on what he’s discovered. Chris isn’t useless! Well, not completely anyway. He needs to get back to Earth to keep making babies. Despite being an almost entirely useless human being, his kid isn’t. His kid who hasn’t been born yet.

Spock points out that it’s not quite so simple as dropping him as a bus stop and riding off in to the sunset, however. They tracked down the wreckage of his plane after they let it go. Luckily it crashed in an open field and not in a small town. *facepalm* Also, Chris turned on his cameras when he caught a look at the ship.

Well that’s just too damned depressing. How about we talk about our problem, Spock?

Theory – a reverse application of what happened the first time. (Ummm… what? How do you reverse pulling away from a Black Star’s gravity and flying back through time? Wouldn’t you just end up even further back in time? Is it a directional thing? Like time moves north to south?) Oh and there are a hundred variables that might get them even furhter up shit creek without a paddle.

Kirk decides that the first order of business is to steal back the tapes that Chris made. If Chris reports what happened, he won’t have any evidence (ie a crackpot). Kirk won’t take Chris along with him, just to be safe but Chris, being a good-natured sort of waste of space, agrees to draw them a layout of the place so they can steal back all the tapes.

Kirk takes Sulu and off they go (without bothering to put on period appropriate clothes so if they were to, you know, be spotted they could pretend that they belonged there). After finding the tape room, they pack up what they need in Sulu’s purse. But before they can make their super stealthy escape, Armed Guard shows up to thwart our heroes. He wants their belts and Sulu’s purse.

Up on the ship, Bones is worried they’ve been too long. Mr. Kyle buzzes their communicator to check it out.

Armed Guard, belts in hand, answers the call. And by “answers the call” I mean “sets off the emergency signal”.

Beam him up! (*facepalm*) Shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit…

Well, keep him there for now. We’ve got more stealing to do!

Uh-oh, they’ve got alarm systems in the rooms where sensitive stuff it kept on an airforce base! Who would have guessed. Kirk has to hold his own against three armed men while Sulu hides and then beams up without him.

Under arrest (I know, I can’t believe Kirk lost to three guys either, he must have been having an off day) Kirk isn’t giving the right answers.

Ve haf vays ov making you talk!

But Kirk isn’t afraid.

We’ll lock you up for 200 years.

Yeah, that’ll be about right.

Spock wants coordinates to the interrogation rooms but Chris has decided to play hard ball. He’ll show them the way only if they take him along. Spock protests but Chris has decided to be a princess about this. So Spock, Sulu and Chris head on down to the surface (but they’re not going to give Chris a phaser of his own, so there) while Armed Guard hangs out with Mr. Kyle.

What could possibly go wrong?

Chris gets them to the base and plays decoy to the airforce’s version of a redshirt while Sulu takes him out with a chop to the neck. Spock nerve pinches the guard in the interrogation room and Kirk takes out Col. Glassjaw with one punch. With Kirk out of danger they all go to beam up. But wait! Chris has a gun and he’s ready to double cross them.

Yeah, didn’t see that coming.

Crafty Spock, however, did. Sneaking around behind him, nerve pinches another bitch and back up to the ship they go.

Spock has calculated the way home. They’ll slingshot again only this time going forward, which means first they have to go back a bit. So when they go back, they’ll beam down Chris and Armed Guard, magically wiping out their memories that anything ever happened (not to mention the fact that they will be beaming them down while moving at speeds well beyond warp 8). Then they’ll go forward in time but they have to be careful when they stop or they might overshoot their time, or break up… one of those things (good thing the ship was designed to handle the strain of moving fast enough to travel through time, right?).

No, I am not making that up.

So they beam Chris down in to his plane, before he was ever beamed up… yeeeeaaaaah…. hold it there for a second.

Beaming Chris down into the plane would just serve to create two Christophers. See, he was beamed up after the ship crushed his plane with the tractor beam. If they hadn’t done that, Chris would have been safe and sound in his plane. They would still have in their possession the first Chris and have been dealing with a second Chris. Much like them going back in time to then go forward in time wouldn’t have removed the original incident, it would have just created a situation in which there were two Enterprises occupying the same time… *brain explode*

Sorry about that.

Luckily everything (no matter how much it shouldn’t have) works out perfectly. Chris is back where he belongs and so is Armed Guard. Reversing engines doesn’t cause them all to die a horrible, horrible death (as you may have guessed by the next two seasons and 6 movies) and everyone lives happily ever after.

Just in case you still think I’m shitting you, check it out…

Is it a bad episode? No, not really. Is it a great episode? Not even in its dreams. Does it make any sense at all if you really think about it? Honestly, I wouldn’t suggest you even try. Chances are good that it would only serve to drive you mad.

Time travel episodes are always tricky. This one is will always stand as how not to do it successfully.

-Late Fines.


2 Responses to “Tomorrow is Yesterday reviewed”

  1. May 31, 2010 at 8:54 am

    Ha! Your review is hilarious, and it’s all true. However, I still like this ep. because it makes me laugh. Spock pulls great Spock faces and I love the look on Bones’ face when he’s slowly taking the gun and the communicator from the second unintended passenger on the transporter. And Kyle offering the guy chicken soup. They have food replicators in the transporter room for when someone’s hungry for peanut butter and jelly, or something!

    Also Bones was extra-heavy on the eye shadow in this one. I love how the camera lingers on his dopey grin when Christopher talks about having a baby boy. And doesn’t Bones seem a little extra unnecessarily bitchy towards Spock? BLAST your theories and observations, Mr. Spock!

    Sulu? “Shall I issue phasers?” A voice like warm honey. Spock warm honeys back to him… “One for you, one for me.” Uhnnnnnn…

    Christopher: You don’t trust me, do you Spock?

    Spock: Fact. I trust you. But only to a certain point. (Uhnnn again)

    Smoooooooooooth… And then the way he sneaks up behind Christopher all alien-like before he neck-pinches him. Then he seems so self-satisfied about it.

    Oh, too much goodness. I can’t offer you much good reason for liking this one so much. Maybe it’s genetic and I can’t help it. In that case, you must accept me for who I am. My name is Lisa, and I like Tomorrow is Yesterday.

  2. 2 Late Fines
    May 31, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    Thanks and honestly, I don’t hate this episode. There are a lot of delicious morsels hidden in there.
    Spock and Bones both pull some great faces (agreed about the eye shadow – what the fuck was up with that?), Bones getting bitchy is always kind of adorable (I do love the line after being told he sounds like Spock… if you’re going to be mean I’m leaving) and Sulu got in some good use of his smooooooooth voice.
    That whole scene between Armed Guard and Mr. Kyle (I was going to talk about it, but this review was already getting long) actually kind of irked me. I love knowing that they have replicators in the transporter room and I love getting to see Mr. Kyle doing something different but what bugs me is Armed Guard. If someone asks you if they can get you something to eat, “chicken soup” is your answer? Really? That response just seems so fucking awkward. Not even a “what have you got”? I do enjoy noting that Mr. Kyle looks at him like “You’re a dipshit”.
    And don’t worry about it. I love my own share of stinkers, Trek and lots of other shows.

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Star Dates

May 2010
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