Whilst investigating the final hours of a planet about to be swallowed by a nova, Kirk, Spock and McCoy stumble upon a very special kind of library – one which not only records the planet’s history, but lets people travel back to it. Unable to get a clear explanation of this from the library’s curator, Kirk, Spock and McCoy end up separated in different eras of the planet’s past. Can they get back to the present before the nova destroys the library forever?
We’re at the penultimate episode here, so why bother with new story ideas when you can just mash together some old ones? Whilst the idea of escaping your planet’s destruction by going and living in the past is quite a neat one, the library is basically the Guardian of Forever Mark II. Unfortunately, the visits to the past are much less appealing – Kirk gets stuck with a crazy Irish lady and is then accused of witchcraft, whilst Spock and McCoy get marooned in an Ice Age. For some reason, this causes Spock to revert to primitive, emotional ways, and he even gets to snog a woman who is also stranded there – shades of Leila Kalomi, anyone?
Back to the past
- Why does Spock revert to being primitive, particularly as McCoy and Zarabeth do not? Is it because of his mythical telepathic connection to all other Vulcans, despite they fact that they are so far away?
- And if you thought that was implausible, Spock claims Vulcan is a million light years away. Since the diameter of the Milky Way is a mere 100,000 light years, we can only assume that he was exaggerating – an early indication that he was becoming more primitive and less scientific and rational.
- How are Kirk and Spock able to talk to each other through the portal? Is the library end connected to multiple destinations at once (which seems to be how the original accident occurred, but appears implausible)? Besides, if only they had all jumped back through the instant they got to their respective time periods, a lot of trouble could have been avoided.
- What exactly does the Atavachron do to adjust someone to a new time period, and why is it so important? Kirk and the others have time travelled before and not needed any cellular alterations. Does it provide immunity against the common diseases of the time, so that you don’t immediately get killed by something your modern immune system no longer knows how to deal with? Why is the process irreversible – is it just too much strain on the body? If you went back to medieval times, would it alter you to have a life expectancy of thirty-odd years, for example?
- The librarian’s curator has an apt name – Mr Atoz, or “a to z”.
- I can’t remember if this has been mentioned before, but Vulcans are usually vegetarians. I feel like I’ve always known this, so if it was introduced sooner, I didn’t notice.
Summary – All Our Yesterdays: The bastard child of The City on the Edge of Forever and This Side of Paradise, which they keep locked away so that no one will see it.