Episode 19 – TOS 1×19: “Tomorrow is Yesterday”

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So, just to get this out of the way, I love this episode.

Then again, I love basically any and all Star Trek content that involves the crew of a starship – or really, any people of the 23rd/24th centuries – travelling back to our rustic, shitty present is practically guaranteed to delight me.

In this first time-travel-back-to-ancient-Earth adventure, the Enterprise ends up For Reasons dropped into orbit around 1969 Earth and because they are a crew of highly competent professionals, drop down into the atmosphere far enough to get spotted (and photographed) by the U.S. Air Force. Cue a fighter jet armed with nuclear missiles, the accidental space-crushing of said fighter jet, the accidental kidnapping of the pilot and a very confused military police officer, and everything going straight to hell.

This episode features the kind of wacky hijinks that Corene loves and Kim loathes, some truly pathetic base security on the part of the USAF, and one of the most hilariously failboaty heists (orchestrated by the crew of our fair ship) I’ve ever seen on television. This is also the first incidence of Star Trek’s favourite time-travel method (e.g. slingshot a starship around a star, it’ll definitely work!), which continues to be used all the way through future incarnations of the franchise, notably in Star Trek IV: A Journey Home, aka: The One with The Whales, aka: My Favourite Star Trek Movie, aka: Actually Everyone’s Favourite Star Trek Movie. In fact, some famous time travel episodes of other major sci-fi franchises can be traced right back to this early episode of Trek, like Stargate: SG-1’s 1969, aka: The One Where SG-1 Goes On A Road Trip In A VW Bus, It’s Amazing.

Maybe the coolest thing about this episode is its timing: it’s set in 1969, the year of the first moon landing, but was made in 1967. And despite contemporary official pessimism about the public plans for a ’69 lunar mission, human beings did, in fact, make that deadline.

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