CBS All Access (Original TV network: NBC)
September 15, 1973
Run Time: 24:09
Episode 2 – “Yesteryear”
While working with a time vortex on a planet, Kirk and Spock realize they have created a time travel paradox that had Spock unintentionally killed as a child and his mother in a shuttle action later in life. Spock travels back through the time portal to fix these changes on Vulcan. He takes the persona of his adult cousin for the family, Suleck and spends time with himself as a 7-year old Vulcan child. It’s a time when Spock is being teased because he has a human mother and Vulcan father.
Will Spock be able to teach his younger self how to control his human emotions better? Will he repair the timeline and when he returns be back as the First Officer on the Enterprise?
This episode is written by the D.C Fontana and directed, as all the first season animated episodes were, by Hal Sutherland. It plays a little homage to “The City on The Edge of Forever” by Harland Ellison in the usage of a very similar looking time portal.
While time travel stories are often overused in Star Trek, this wasn’t the feeling in the 70s when this first aired. It’s a surprisingly effective episode because, like the aforementioned live action episode, it doesn’t spend too much time on how the time machine works, it focuses on the paradoxes so easily created by any changes in the past having dramatic changes to the future.
Among the most effective time travel short stories is Ray Bradbury’s A Sound of Thunder, yet all attempts to make that on film to date have been somewhat underwhelming. The Terminator series is among the most popular and effective time travel sci-fi series in movies, although everything that has followed the first two movies has not fared as well.
Despite being kind of burned out on time travel stories, I still like watching them and had forgotten a lot of this episode. Rewatching, it reminded me that although the animation was simplistic, it was a treat hearing the original Star Trek cast voices. I’d agree with D.C Fontana that this feels like a continuation of the original series.
The animation in Lower Decks, the most recent Star Trek series is vastly better, but the unfunny storylines and annoying characters ruined that show for me (see: Star Trek: Lower Decks Annoys More Than Entertains, I’m Out!)
This episode is very good and recommended.
Episode rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️½