The Great Star Trek TNG Rewatch: Yesterday’s Enterprise

When the Enterprise-C emerges through a time rift into the present day, the timeline is changed. Now, the Enterprise-D is a warship locked in a twenty-year battle with the Klingons, and only Guinan is aware that things were ever different. Can she convince Picard to send the Enterprise-C back to certain death at the hands of the Romulans, in the hopes of restoring a timeline he can’t even remember?

Yesterday’s Enterprise is supposed to be one of those super-duper award-winning episodes that everyone loves – and of course, to be contrary, I don’t really get the love. The first time I watched it, I had some very sceptical viewing companions who poured scorn on it, so I was hoping that this time around, I would be better able to enjoy. But no, I still don’t see what all the fuss is about. Yes, it’s interesting to see one of the interim Enterprises, and the return of Yar is welcome, but other than that, what makes it so special? It’s just another alternate timeline episode, and the narrative device of Guinan magically knowing that something’s wrong is pure hack.

We have the time to argue about the timeline

What’s new in the alternate timeline? Here’s your handy guide.

  • Picard keeps a military log using combat dates instead of stardates.
  • Everyone looks uncomfortable in their high-collared uniforms.
  • Tasha Yar is still alive.
  • Since the Federation is at war with the Klingons, Worf is not a member of the crew.
  • Wesley is a full ensign.

Wait a minute…

  • If the Romulans withdrew from galactic politics after the Treaty of Algeron in 2311, what were they doing attacking Narendra III in 2344? Or, for that matter, the Khitomer outpost in 2346? The latter was also a betrayal of the Klingon-Romulan alliance, but weren’t the Klingons already wary after the Narendra attack two years previously?
  • Were Federation-Klingon relations really so poor by 2344 that a protracted war was on the cards if the Enterprise-C didn’t sacrifice itself? In Star Trek VI, the Klingons have basically run out of resources and money, and it looked like peace was on the cards way back in the 2290s. Then again, Riva didn’t do his amazing mediation until 2349, so maybe Klingon stubbornness made the peace process extremely slow.
  • How did Guinan know that the reason she had never met Yar in the prime timeline was because Yar had died a senseless, empty death? Couldn’t they just have never met because Yar had been transferred to another ship?
  • If Guinan is so aware of alternate timelines, why doesn’t she help out in episodes like Time Squared and Parallels? What does it even mean for her to have a perception of alternate timelines? What is reality anyway?
  • In other news, Worf still reckons he is too well endowed for human women. Guinan begs to differ, although she also can’t help but try to interfere in Worf’s social life. At least she introduces him to his new favourite drink – prune juice.

Summary – Yesterday’s Enterprise: I really want to enjoy this episode more than I actually do.

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