This is the moment when this season becomes the Star Trek the Next Generation that we collectively remember. This single episode starts something that is like a juggernaut and becomes relatively unstoppable. I am not saying that there are not bad episodes ahead but from this point on the good outweighs. Savor this for a second. This episode is where everything changes….literally.
Originally airing on February 19, 1990, this is Yesterday’s Enterprise.
Military Log Battledate: 43625.2
Through a temporal rift, an Enterprise from the past arrives in the present which causes the timeline to change in only the worst possible ways. Only one crewman on board the Enterprise D recognises the change and she must help fix things before it is too late.
As Guinan and Worf are discussing the merits of Prune Juice in Ten-Forward, a temporal anomaly appears and the Enterprise C (E-C) appears. Immediately the timeline changes and the first thing we notice is that Worf is gone and in his place is none other than Tasha Yar. WHAT?!
Seriously, check this out!
The Battleship Enterprise explores a ship believed lost in the early days of the Klingon War. Upon investigating they find people still alive on the ship and Picard prevents Riker from immediately visiting the ship in order to limit any damage to the timeline. After receiving a distress call from Captain Rachel Garrett, Picard agrees to the away team but only to assist in helping the injured crewmen.
After Riker beams the Enterprise C’s Captain aboard the Enterprise D, Guinan warns Picard that the timeline is not right. Everything about the ship and it’s crew is wrong but she can not explain exactly why. Nothing is right and she knows that they must fix the issues. She tells Picard that the Enterprise C must go back to where it came from in order to repair the timeline. Picard goes to sickbay and breaks the news to Captain Garrett.
Picard still struggles with the fact that he will have to send the E-C crew back to their deaths in order to repair the timeline. He believes it is not the valid answer but Guinan insists that, if he doesn’t do it, all of the deaths from the Klingon War will ultimately be on him. After talking with Picard, she runs into Tasha Yar and Guinan immediately feels uneasy, something Tasha notices.
Picard holds a conference with the senior officers and explains the situation. Picard has chosen that they must fix the timeline and the E-C must return no matter what. Tasha returns to the E-C to assist Lt Castillo while Picard explains to Captain Garrett that the Federation is losing the war with the Klingons and the E-C needs to return in order to set things right.
As they get underway a Klingon vessel attacks and Captain Garrett is killed in the skirmish. Lt Castillo volunteers to lead the E-C back through the rift and, although Riker objects, Castillo goes through with the mission. After Castillo beams back, Tasha talks to Guinan about Tashas place in the proper future. Guinan reveals that Tasha is not supposed to be there, she died and it was a meaningless death. Tasha tells Picard and asks to join Castillo on board the E-C. He agrees once she explains the situation and reports to the E-C. Castillo initially objects but allows her to stay
As the E-C returns to the rift, Klingon ships approach to attack. The Enterprise D fends off the attackers allowing the E-C to escape. The Enterprise D begins to experience a warp core breach and in the attack Riker is killed. As the Klingons approach, they are intent on destroying the Enterprise D.
The E-C goes through the rift and all is back to normal. The Enterprise D crew is none the wiser. It appears that only Guinan is aware of the experience.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
This is such an amazing episode and does a very admirable job with time travel and it’s implications. We literally see the Timeline change before our very eyes and, if you look carefully, there are subtle changes throughout the ship and it’s crew. Their Uniforms are slightly altered in the collar giving them a more severe look. The security teams wear sidearms and gear while on and off duty. Even the lighting of the ship is altered and reflects the dark times this Enterprise is now in. You will also notice the distinct lack of certain characters in the alternate timeline, One of the most obvious is that of Worf, as the Federation is at war with the Klingons and he never joined starfleet. Another is Counselor Troi. Although not fully explained, it goes without saying that, being a warship, the Enterprise D doesn’t need a ship’s counselor on board. It is also likely that Betazed, Trois ‘home’ planet never entered the Federation so she may not have even been born.
The actors did a tremendous job altering their characters a bit as well. Picard is in command of a Battleship and he acts the role well. We get a sense that he and Riker are not on good terms as he refers to him as ‘commander’ and not ‘number-one’. Everyone on the crew appears worn and ready for a fight at any minute.
The story itself is intense and the ramifications are immeasurable. For such a simple thing to occur and change the timeline is catastrophic at best and yet the crew has no memory of the events (save one). Later when some of the fallout of this episode becomes apparent it is not only a shock but wholly damaging to some of the principal characters. For Tasha to go back with the E-C and possibly survive, suggests that at one point there are actually two versions of her in the same universe!
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
We get to see the Enterprise C AND her Captain. Captain Rachel Garrett is officially the first female Captain of the Enterprise and it is because of her actions in the past that the Klingons and Humans formed an alliance. I would LOVE to have a series that covered that time line and gave us the adventures of the Enterprise C under Garrett. Maybe one day….
Now the only missing Enterprise is the Enterprise B which will be seen in the first STNG Film, Generations. Keen eyed viewers should note that the ships can be seen in the Ready Room in model form and the model heavily implies that the B was an Excelsior Class ship. The Movie, Generations, confirms this.
The crew of the Enterprise C wear the classic red uniforms from the motion picture series although the ship is only from 22 years prior. This implies that the STNG era uniforms are relatively new.
When Tasha goes back in time with the E-C she goes wearing her ‘futuristic’/alternate timeline uniform as well as her combadge. Seeing that the uniform and the technology of her combadge are from 22 years in the future she went back to the past with future tech that violated the Temporal Prime Directive. Now wait, you say, the Temporal Prime Directive has not been established yet! Ah, but seeing that it is a Prime Directive from the future to prevent time travel breaches and alterations it does, indeed, exists in this timeline as well. Timey Wimey stuff and all that. Anyhow, this technology could fall into the hands of the Romulans or the Klingons in the past and could indeed explain some of the changes in Romulan technology that we saw last season. So, in effect, Tasha is partially responsible for the Romulan’s return to power.
We see that Wesley is in full Starfleet uniform in the alternate timeline. This implies that he has been given a commission even if he had not been in the Academy yet. Possibly due to the war effort. It is odd that he is onboard as it is previously stated that there are no families on the Battleship Enterprise so Doctor Crusher should not have had him along.
The Alternate Timeline created in this episode presents some interesting opportunities that have yet to be explored as well. Seeing that we know Alternate Timelines exists in the Star Trek Universe, it is safe to say that the Battleship Enterprise Timeline could be explored more in the future. The possibilities are endless!
Worf drinks Prune Juice for the first time and calls it ‘A Warrior’s Drink’.
Castillo is played by Christopher MacDonald and he was raised in Romulus, New York. Does this make him a Romulan spy?
This episode sets up a story arc that results in an amazing turn of events where we get to see actress Denise Crosby yet again but not as Tasha…but as Tasha’s…errr…I won’t spoil anything more though because it is AWESOME.
Thanks for reading the Retro TV Review, I look forward to discussing the rest of the series with you, one episode at a time every Monday, Wednesday and Friday! Next Review: The Offspring
If you would like to read more reviews I have a weekly series called Key Movies Of My Life that comes out every Thursday and for more retro TV goodness check out the rest of the Retro TV Reviews here.
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Late To The Game 9/22/2019 (originally published 5/23/2018)
Special Thanks to Memory Alpha as they are one of the best sources for details on Star Trek information available. Although I have a pretty deep knowledge on the subject, they have proven invaluable as a regular resource.
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