Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot.
Star Trek: Season I, Episode XIX: Tomorrow is Yesterday (1966) Directed by Michael O’Herlihy, Written by D.C. Fontana, Created by Gene Roddenberry
Capt. Kirk: All right, Colonel. The truth is, I'm a little green man from Alpha Centauri, a beautiful place. You ought to see it.
Lieutenant Colonel Fellini: I am going to lock you up for 200 years.
Capt. Kirk: That ought to be just about right.
When the Enterprise is caught in the gravitational trap of a Black Star, breaking away has a most curious effect; they are slingshotted through time and space to earth, circa 1969, where they are spotted by the Air Force. In trying to protect themselves from a fighter jet, they acquire an unintended guest, Captain John Christopher (Roger Perry). This leaves them with a bit of a dilemma; how do they manage not to contaminate their own timeline and change the future. The answer is obvious, they have to gather as much evidence of their existence as they can, and then worry about how, precisely, they are going to return to their own time. But Captain Christopher presents a problem; Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy) is of the opinion that putting him back represents far too great a risk to the timeline, and he makes “no significant contributions.” Now, Captian Kirk (William Shatner) has to consider the implications of marooning a man out of time.
Gathering the evidence means sneaking into a secure military base and stealing the photographs his plane took. Needless to say, it is easier said than done. And there is the matter of Captain Christopher; he is not exactly willing to be trapped in the future, away from his wife and daughters.
This is one of what I think of as the B episodes. It was good, it was entertaining, it struck some cords. One of my favorite things about it though is that it doesn’t sell Spock short; when offered help by Captain Christopher to help them rescue Captain Kirk, and complete their mission, Christopher asks:
Captain John Christopher: You don't trust me, Spock?
Mr. Spock: In fact I do, but only to a certain point.
Later, when they have found the Captain, Spock slips quietly away. When Captain Christopher pulls a guards gun and refuses to return to then Enterprise, Spock, who went the long way around, sneaks up behind him and delivers the Vulcan Nerve Pinch. Spock knows humans are illogical, and behave emotionally. Not to count on that fact would be illogical.
This is the first Star Trek Time Travel adventure, if not the first incident of time travel on the show.
The other neat thing about this episode is its predictive powers. D.C. Fontana wrote it in ’65-’66, but set the date as the day of the first manned mission to the moon, on a Wednesday. Apollo 11 launched two years after this aired, on 16 July, 1969…a Wednesday. Further, Captain Christopher’s contribution to history, the son who would command the Saturn Mission, has a ring of truth as well. In 2004, the Cassini Huygens Probe reached the Ringed planet, and actually sent a probe into her atmosphere. While not a manned mission, the age of the potential “Commander Sean Christopher” is just about right. It also is the first episode to sort of set the timeline for Star Trek as about 200 years in the future. I wonder what they will say about Star Trek, two hundred years from now?
To Boldly Go Where No Man Has Gone Before! Star Trek Season I
The Cage (episode 0, unaired pilot)
The Man Trap
Where No Man Has Gone Before (pilot 2)
The Naked Time
The Enemy Within
What Are Little Girls Made Of?
Dagger of the Mind
The Corbomite Manuever
The Menagerie Part I
The Menagerie Part II
The Conscience of the King
Balance of Terror
The Galileo Seven
The Squire of Gothos
Tomorrow is Yesterday
The Return of the Archons
A Taste of Armageddon
This Side of Paradise
The Devil in the Dark
Errand of Mercy
The Alternative Factor
The City on the Edge of Forever
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Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Fit for Friday Evening
Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children up Ages 8