3/12/12

Star Trek: Asterisk "Tomorrow is Yesterday"

Vital Information
Series: The Original Series
Episode: S01E19
Air Date: January 26, 1967
Written by: D.C. Fontana
Directed by: Michael O'Herlihy

Premise
The Enterprise accidentally goes to the past and completely demolishes the Temporal Prime Directive by accidentally destroying a fighter plane.

Review
It starts off in 1969 and the Enterprise is flying through the clouds of 20th century Earth. Which, ya know, is odd since... they're not supposed to be there. And the American Air Force agrees. They send a couple fighter pilots up to check out the UFO and Kirk kinda freaks out because it's possible the fighters are armed with nuclear warheads. He orders a tractor beam on the fighter plane, but the plane isn't strong enough to handle the tractor beam, so it... kinda... explodes. But not before they're able to save the life of the pilot. And thus, Captain John Christopher is the first 20th century human to board the Enterprise.

With that crisis over, they're able to move back up to a higher orbit and try to figure out what's going on. Spock figures out that they've gone back in time using a sling shot effect around a black hole and, since they were on their way toward Earth at the time, they were slung out toward Earth during the incident. It's all very convenient, really. Except for Captain Christopher. Now they have to figure out what to do with him.
"Captain, can he stay in my quarters?"
Well, then Kirk gets a little embarrassed when Christopher walks in on him talking to the computer. Now, normally that wouldn't be a huge problem, but this time around the Enterprise had stopped off for repairs at Cygnet XIV, a planet completely dominated by females. Females who thought the computer could use a little more personality. So, while the computer tries to get sexy with Kirk, Christopher chuckles at the problems that people seem to have in the 24th century.

Christopher eventually tells everyone that it's his duty to report what he's seen when he gets back. But Kirk says it's his duty not to let him go back. On the other hand, it's Scotty's duty to inform everyone that no one's going home as long as they remain in 1969. Which really should have been the first thing on their minds.
"Did I really just outwit Spock?"
So at first they look through historical records and find that Christopher didn't make any meaningful contribution to the world, so he could go back with them to the future without ruining anything. So they come up with a plan for Spock to make some time warp calculations while a team goes down and destroys any record of the Enterprise having been found. There's a lot of sneaking around and beaming up security guards and such and then Spock looks deeper into the historical record to find that Christopher's son actually does make a contribution to the world and heads the first manned mission to Jupiter. So now Christopher has to go back.

While down on the surface, Kirk gets captured, allowing Sulu enough time to escape through the transporter with the record tape. So Spock has to go down to save him. Christopher asks to go along, but when they save Kirk and start to head back, Christopher refuses to go back. So Spock comes in and gives him a nice pat on the neck. Suddenly he becomes a little more willing.
And a little less mobile.
Back on the ship, Spock deduces that they'll be able to stop by Earth from a day ago before they slingshot back to the 23rd century, so they plan on dropping Christopher and the other random security guard off there. They head toward the sun, execute their plan and everyone goes back to their rightful place. It's as if nothing ever happened at all. It's a rough ride, but they make it back and finally hear the sweet, sweet voice of Starfleet control. They are home.

Overall Thoughts
The first travel through time was an accident. This time it was also an accident, but Spock was able to counter by bringing them back on purpose. The next time through time will be through alien technology, but after that, Spock will have the slingshot equation down pat. And a Temporal Prime Directive will finally be put into place. I have a weak spot for time travel and this is no exception. It's always fun to see modern man's reaction to future technology. Especially when this future technology can sometimes seem primitive compared to what we have today. Time travel is always so fun with Star Trek!