Series: The Animated Series
Air Date: September 15, 1973
Written by: D. C. Fontana
Directed by: Hal Sutherland
Spock goes back in time to save his younger self from a grizzly death at the hands of a Vulcan tradition.
So, the Prime Directive exists to protect primitive civilizations from being contaminated with technology they can't handle. A long time after that, the Temporal Prime Directive came along to protect the timeline from being violated. But before the Temporal Prime Directive came along, Starfleet apparently sent regular scientific expeditions to the past through the Guardian of Forever. As part of these expeditions, Kirk and Spock jumped back through from a jaunt through early Orion history. The only problem: when they get back, no one recognizes Spock and the first officer of the Enterprise is an Andorian.
Turns out, Spock's mother and father split up after the death of their son. And Spock is pretty sure he knows exactly when that death was. There is an ancient Vulcan tradition that has young boys go out in the wilderness to survive. It was determined that, although they relied heavily on logic, Vulcans should establish customs that keep them from becoming weak. So, Spock remembers that a cousin of his once saved him from being attacked by an animal during this particular custom. And then he and Kirk put two and two together: Old Spock was that cousin. Back to the Guardian!
|Now, where's the on switch on this thing...|
When he ducks out in the middle of the night, his pet I-Chaya, a huge bear-dog type thing, tries to come with. Young Spock tries to make him stay home, but I-Chaya is insistent. And it's a good thing, too, because halfway out, young Spock gets attacked by a le-matya, a giant lizard-type thing. I-Chaya saves young Spock, but suffers a fatal wound. Old Spock catches up to them and instructs young Spock to find a healer and come back. This gives old Spock some time with the dying pet.
|"You have been, and always shall be... my friend."|
This is a pretty dear story that I, again, wish could have been a live-action feature. Of course, The Original Series didn't have the budget to make a convincing I-Chaya, but if they did, it would have been fantastic. So we are stuck with some mediocre animation, but the story and the message remain one of my favorites to this day.