It's no "City on the Edge," But Still Plays Well,
This review is from: Star Trek - The Original Series, Episode 78: All Our Yesterdays [VHS] (VHS Tape)
This time-traveling episode... one of only three time-travel shows from classic Trek... suffers in comparison to "City on the Edge of Forever," but is good if seen in its own light. This is a "planet" show, concerning a planet whose sun is a few hours away from going nova. Fortunately for the residents -- but unbeknownst to Kirk, Spock, and McCoy -- these people have a time machine that allows each of them to escape by traveling to this planet's past.
The time machine exists alongside a library of what looks very much like DVDs. This is in the 1960s, a few decades before DVDs were a commercial reality. You slap a disc in the viewer to see a sample of a time period you'd like to travel to. The library and time portal are presided over by a Mr. Atoz (A-to-Z, get it???).
Many trekkies consider this episode a routine time-travel melodrama... Kirk, Spock, and McCoy end up accidentally trapped in dangerous time periods and have to get back to the present before the sun goes nova. Kirk gets trapped in a place that looks like 18th century England and is accused of witchcraft. (But explain to me why all these people speak English when this isn't even Earth -- oh well, by the 3rd season they gave up completely on that problem.) Kirk gets back first and tries to help Spock and McCoy. Scotty calls down to the planet. "Capn! We gotta beam ya up! It's now or never, sir!" It's a nail-biter at the end.
The best part of this episode is De Kelly's stellar acting in the last few scenes. Spock and McCoy accidentally travel back to an Ice Age where (as luck would have it) a beautiful woman is also trapped. Spock starts acting like a teenager on steroids, because at this time -- 5,000 years ago -- his Vulcan anscestors are savage. Okay, that's not logical, but go with it. McCoy, for once, gets the moral upper hand over Spock. "I'm going to try to get back," says McCoy, "Because I have a life back there. And I WANT that life!" Indeed it is a life worth living, worth any risk to preserve: a life aboard the Enterprise (which by now we've come to see as our traveling home) a life of healing, exploration, accomplishment, and service.
And if that doesn't do it for you, consider: this is your chance to see the role Mariette Hartley was famous for before she did those commercials with James Garner.