Yesterday’s Enterprise

Be sure to listen to this podcast today. If you listen today, it’s Yesterday’s Enterprise. If you listen yesterday, it will be Today’s Enterprise. If you are listening from the future, please avoid polluting the timeline by telling us how it ends.

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  • JusenkyoGuide

    You guys are a BIT off for the Back to the Future joke…

    That said, boy have I been waiting for this one…

  • CmdrR

    Awesome podcast for one of TNG’s truly great eps!

  • Scott Newland

    Like many others, this is in my top 10 episodes of ALL Trek, despite having some minor flaws (Geordi’s continuous commentary around the time of the coolant leak, the plodding, inert attack by the Klingons in the end, etc.). Aside from generally high caliber of the dialogue and acting, what really stood out to me when I watched it again can be seen all in one of the opening scenes. When the Enterprise C comes through the rift, the previous turn of Picard to Worf is replicated in his turn to Yar in that same spot, but the lighting has dramatically changed, and when Yar announced the number and name of the old ship, the music emphasizes the gravity of the change. The direction, cinematography and score all sync perfectly in that one scene, setting the tone for the drama and excellence to come.
    Having stated all that, I’ll still put “Darmok” well above this one in terms of showing the best of TNG and the whole message of Star Trek.

    • Yes, the lighting and production values really made this episode standout!

  • mc900

    Ken- What are you talking about- We don’t know if sending back the E-C will work and prevent the horrible history from happening. Of course we do. We have a transcript of history that clearly states that the sacrifice of the C plays a pivotal role in normalizing Federation and Klingon relations. Just by being there it accomplishes that. Sooo- even if it’s not a for sure thing- it’s 99.8.9999% it will.
    And as for this timeline exist and that one does and all do. While I happen to agree with the divergent universe theory it’s not clear that this story isn’t presenting anything but a linear path.

    • I think his point is that it is very hard to divorce oneself from their known reality and history. If it were not for Guinan, would they have figured it out? Maybe Data? Time travel really is a bag of headaches with puzzles and cats…lol.

    • Exactly, deaddropsd – in the context of the story, this crew of the Enterprise D doesn’t actually “know” any of that alternate history (the “correct” history from our POV).

  • Tallguy

    Nice job, guys. Naturally I love the episode. I didn’t see the trailer for this episode before it aired, so it all hit us completely unprepared. I don’t know how you could possibly advertise this ep.

    1) What would Picard have done if the Federation had been winning the war? I never thought about this before, but it weakens the episode a little bit. He only sends the C back because otherwise they’re doomed.

    2) You guys (and Rod) have been saying for several years now that you didn’t think City on the Edge of Forever was really a good “Star Trek” episode because it didn’t have a Star Trek message. But what about Yesterday’s Enterprise? Is that in the same bucket?

    • The message in my opinion is war is hell and sacrifice. We sacrifice ourselves for the greater good, we hope.

    • not seeing trailers is the best. I used to just record episodes on VHS and be busy w other stuff, but “listening” for commercial break- then I could watch in its entirety w/o commercials! lol

    • Thanks, Tallguy.
      1) Yeah… kind of puts a new perspective on things, right? Picard could have been condemning everyone to a much worse timeline.
      2) Really good question. They kind of are in the same bucket on that level, right? Still, COTEOF feels more like a romantic character piece while YE feels more like “what is Starfleet supposed to be”? Might be a minor difference since the two episodes share some DNA.

  • I think this one holds a special place in most Trek fans hearts…other than Kirk’s 1701-A, it was hard to imagine other Enterprises…what did they do? Who were their captain’s? Nice way to fill in some of the gaps. These were things I noticed years ago and it was funny to see them after so many years…1. Crusher’s double tap of her comm badge. 2. How Castillo is chasing Yar, IMMEDIATELY! Lol. 3. what does TKL stand for? 4. Riker’s death littered w rocks? dirt? lol, random debris. 5. I thought all engineering was gonna explode when Geordi is facing us and the screen goes white w sparks. 6. The infamous Geordi cuff blooper!! 7. Did Castillo look like Kirk when beaming off!?!? Man, Denise Crosby..what a poor career choice. Such arrogance! oh well, bummer..Has anyone seen the fan/pro mini film by Star Trek/BSG alums “Battle of Axanar”? it’s great!!! Amazing insight into Klingon Federation hostilities….

    • Derwood

      I always like how Picard says basically “under no circumstances are we to tell these people when or where they are” and 33 seconds later, Crusher says “We need to get these people back to the ENTERPRISE.” then Garret is “wait… what?”

    • wry observer of folly

      2. I sure would! 🙂
      3. Total Krap Lite!

  • Drew

    Ken and John ask if the opening scene fits… and while it might not be a “Shakespeare in the Holodeck informs the rest of the episode” sort of scene… to me from a storytelling standpoint it has to be there. For the non hardcore viewer, they have to establish Guinan early. They also have to establish Worf, because he’s going to be notably missing for most of the episode, and Klingons are suddenly going to be the bad guys. We’ve got to see the good Klingon before things go south.

    And so what are Guinan and Worf going to sit in Ten Forward to talk about? Whatever Guinan wants, of course 🙂 It’s a great character piece for both of them.

    Great episode for TNG, and also for Mission Log!

  • Matt Bell

    I like this episode, but the setup is problematic in that it couldn’t happen: Enterprise-C’s jaunt through time wasn’t the result of interference from an outside source (such as a time traveller from the future) but a result of the normal flow of actions at the time; specifically the photon torpedo explosion from the Romulans. From (normal) Picard’s POV of history the E-C’s disappearance and reappearance 20 years ago would all be part of the normal timeline (even if he wasn’t personally aware of the events) – in line with whatever decision about the E-C that Picard was predestined to make.

    It’s interesting to note that in the original draft avoided this problem by having an alien probe being present – this was lost in the rewrite by Ronald D Moor.

    Anyway, really looking forward to this podcast – it is a decent character piece and I’m interested to hear their insights.

    • I think like a riptide or eclipse, sometimes natural phenomenon can form and for this scenario a natural phenomenon was forming then torpedoes were addede

      • Matt Bell

        Oh I agree it was a freak natural occurance – but not one that should have affected the timeline in the manner depicted.

  • Muthsarah

    Never cared for this episode QUITE as much as others have (not a Top Ten, but not far off). The story does come out of nowhere, and time travel/paradox has never been as interesting to me as tales of political intrigue, moral dilemmas, personal growth, or sacrifice. However, it just occurred to me, with your remarks about what happens in Picard-2’s timeline, that this would make a fantastic Mirror Universe. Another one, obviously.

    For me, one of the most frustrating central conceits of Trek is that the Federation is always right (rogue admirals aside, we’re at least more right than anyone else). We figured everything out years ago, and the series(es) are mostly about us going around the galaxy, proselytizing to all these obviously evil or stupid races that just don’t get it. The Vulcans were a semi-exception in that they were depicted as being arguably better-off (certainly smarter) than we humans, but they felt marginalized over time as the Federation (and I love that this was pointed out, though I forget exactly where) is almost a humans-only club. For production reasons, yes, but still.

    Time and again, Kirk, PIcard, or probably Kirk again are able to escape from every seemingly impossible situation with their superior morality, or else with the blessings of the gods (crazily consistent luck), rarely with any meaningful price to be paid. It carried the implication that the Federation (and therefore, humans) are innately superior and will always prevail because that’s just what humans do. We’re the good guys, and good guys always win, no matter the odds. Which, of course, is the kind of self-absorbed idiocy that leads to wars (and problem gambling, and bad relationships…). No one goes to war expecting to lose, but damned if roughly half of them don’t end up doing so anyway, at great cost to the poor people caught in the middle.

    But “Yesterday’s Enterprise” created a scenario where the Federation is not to be so lucky. And why not? What did they do wrong? Nothing, really. The Klingons and the Romulans were at war, and one Federation ship didn’t intervene because a hole opened in space-time and sucked it in just as it was about to be blown up. No moral failing involved. No clearly regrettable decision. It didn’t even lead to an immediate war between the Federation and the Klingons, that still took many decades. But when war came, the Klingons were just stronger, better at what they were doing. Humanity was proven (at least in a Mirror Universe) not to be innately superior and always-winners. Of course, through Guinan’s guidance (from a non-human), the day is saved anyway, in one of the most inexplicable examples, but still. I wanted to know more about these alternate 22 years.

    I’m a big fan of Firefly. I think one of the reasons for that is because the good guys are a bunch of losers. The bad guys won, the good guys can’t pat themselves on the pat all the time and be content that they won because they’re smarter or because “God is on their side”. You can be a loser. You can be proven the weaker. And you can still go on.

    I understand Trek is supposed be be fundamentally optimistic, but too much optimism is not only recklessly suicidal, it just makes for poor drama. The best stories are ones that are built around good, but flawed, people doing the best they can within clear restrictions, with an unknownable future ahead of them. Who don’t conduct themselves feeling they’re destined to be right all the time, but are always struggling to figure out what the right thing to do is. And sometimes they’re gonna be wrong. And sometimes, they’re gonna fail. This episode suggests a giant epic fail on the part of all the Federation. And then it gets glossed over at the end (aside from Sela, which still didn’t make a lot of sense). Maybe it’s that frustration, what a tease it is, that this episode has never been right at the tip-top for me. Our only sense of this Mirror Universe is one little ship, when it hinted at so much more tantalizing stuff.

    • I thought it took 2 years after the Enterprise C mysterious disappearance.

      • Muthsarah

        Really? Huh…your memory must be better than mine (not difficult). Maybe I was conflating the Narendra stuff with Star Trek VI.

        Wait…if the Federation and Klingons signed a peace treaty after VI (which, yes, came AFTER this episode)….then….did Narendra break it? Did the Federation and Klingons only make peace after VI, or was there something more…? Did the peace fall apart between VI and the Enterprise C? What’s the story behind that?

        • Picard: “You have come 22 years into the future”
          then something…”perhaps your ship might have averted 20 years of war..”
          I take it that things went south quickly after the 1701-C goes missing, perhaps because the Romulans crush the Klingons on Narendra III and all that is left is incriminating Federation warp trails and some Starfleet decals ? lol….thus the 1701-C inadvertently “incriminates” the Federation…pissing off the Klingons, while the Romulans clean up after themselves…

          • “A Federation starship, rescuing a Klingon outpost, might have averted 20 years of war…”

    • sure would have been nice to sample the Mirror Universe from TOS and DS9. Dang even ENT went there. I think VOY did too? but only skimmed those. Huge oversight on the writers not to visit. Easily could have been a great Q episode..ugh Robin Hood….lol

  • Brian Fleshman

    Alternate ending.

    Enterprise-C heads back through the wormhole as the Klingon close in and attack. The D is destroyed just as the C is finally though annnnnd…

    Cut to: The bridge of the Enterprise-C with a now aged Captain Castillo and First Officer Yar watching the wormhole collapse. A knowing nod shared between them. A comment from a helmsman about how this is an odd detour to take on the way to there next assignment. Finally we see the Enterprise-C, with the D’s Nacelles and other additions that seem far to advanced for the Federation to have, jump to warp. Roll Credits.

    • Interesting!! someone broke some rules!! perfect for the Back to the Future celebration! a souped up modified Delorean , ground, then flies, the train tracks..lol creative!

  • Christopher McDonald “Lieutenant Richard Castillo” NCC-!701-C helmsman

    • This guy, so horned up because he hasn’t gotten laid in 2 years…lol

    • Endocrom .

      Not to mention Kent Mansley. The CIA spook from The Iron Giant.

    • cropsy

      The Goose.

  • mc900

    To the issue of rocks and cement falling on the ship during an attack. In my own personal head canon I have explained it as- When the ‘space age material’ is esposed to a phaser or a ruptured plasma conduit it super heats and changes on a molecular level and those chunks are actually several layers of lightweight but super strong starship materials compressed to super hard chunks. — It works for me.

    • lol- funny

    • I’ll buy that.

    • Derwood

      it seems that when some space age material is exposed to a phaser or a ruptured plasma conduit, the chunks are converted into foam rubber so that they bounce harmlessly across the floor.

      • Aaron Lade

        ‘Safety First’ – Official motto of the Utopia Planitia Shipyards.

  • Cygnus-X1

    Great “mind-f*ckery” point about the arbitrariness of Picard deciding which reality is the more valid and should therefore be pursued.

    Great episode overall. You’re right about this one not having a strong thematic statement. The substance of this one was mainly twofold: as you said, it’s a big plot-point and character-development payoff to the fans who watched Season1; and, it’s got mind-f*ckery appeal (and really, who doesn’t like to get mind-f*cked?) in the causality/time concept of the story. So, this one was more about concept than message. The strongest message that I can reasonably get out of this episode is a sort of Greek tragedy theme about Fate and things working out as they are meant to. But, I don’t think it really adds much to consider the story a vehicle for that message. This story was mainly about tying up the loose end of Tasha Yar. The mind-f*ckery concept was a nice bonus that spawned from having to find a way to give Tasha a meaningful death. And I’ve always loved the bit at the beginning, “A warrior’s drink!” John nailed the thinking behind that: heavy episode about to get under way, so let’s put a bit of comic relief at the beginning, because there are no let-ups in this story once it gets going.

  • wchmara

    Since no one else mentioned it, I feel an obligation to do so. “Yesterday’s Enterprise” has much in common with a classic Twilight Zone episode, “The Last Flight” (S1E18). Perhaps Richard Matheson ought to get a belated writing credit also?

  • can anyone tell me this guys name?!!?

  • Can anyone tell me this guys name? I have wiki’d the “Unnamed 1701-D personnel” and still could not find him…lol, just curious, and figured this would be the group to help…now onto “The Offspring”!!

  • Kevin Imbimbo

    I have a different take on the moral dilemma facing Picard on whether to send back the Enterprise C. What if the the ‘real’ time line was the war torn Federation, and the ‘changed’ time line was the peaceful one we know. Would Picard take the chance of sending them back?

  • Durakken

    Sorry but a lot of the discussion on this episode is discussing things that aren’t true.

    The Moral Quandry to put forward isn’t accurate. It is not a question of sending them to their deaths or not and it is not Picard that is making that decision. The other crew decided to go back as did Tasha, to begin with. And even if they hadn’t decided willingly to go back, it wasn’t a matter of if you go back you die, but if you stay here you live. It was a matter of death here and this timeline goes on where we all die and the Federation ends or go back and die there and possibly the Federation continues and we all don’t die. It really is a non-moral question even at the basest of levels.

    There is another question that comes up though, but first you made a statement that was wrong about the timeline that needs to be corrected… The Military Timeline does not still exist. There is only 1 timeline in this case and is altered if something in the past is altered. The alteration doesn’t continue to exist if it is changed back, nor does the original continue to exist if it isn’t. Now the Moral question is, why are you sending these people back… I know, sounds like the same question, but it’s not. If you send the ship back you’re fine because the reason the Klingons are on the Federation is cuz they ran. If the ship blows up and they’re presumed dead, you still have no war, whether they are actually dead or not. So, why send the crew back when you can just set the ship to go back and blow up? The problem comes when you realize the other timeline stops existing which means that the crew would still be dead anyhow so it doesn’t matter either way, but by sending them back they do get somewhat of a chance…which Tasha got.

    With regards to Worf. He would still have been raised by humans. he wouldn’t have been allowed in Starfleet probably, buuuuut there is another organization that could possibly use his unique situation right? He’d likely be in Section 32.

    Tasha being allowed to go to the past… I’m pretty sure quite a number of the crew should have been familiar with the effects of time travel at this point and the situation and as such should have been requesting to be “sent to their death” because it would mean a greater possibility of survival for them. So the real question there is why Tasha and not anyone else? Then again it’s not like the crew know the whole situation so perhaps Tasha was the only one informed and smart enough to request it, where as Picard, who likely knew better would have went to, but Captains go down with the boat.

    That all being said, the episode doesn’t work within canon. The Klingon Empire is only friendly to the Federation because they are a dying empire and need the Federation for resource reasons. It is literally impossible for the Klingons to be in such dire straights 22 years ago and then suddenly rebound to be able to defeat the Federation. Furthermore, even though though they say they got all these new weapons that they can put on the Enterprise C, that is clearly wrong as they are soundly defeated by the warbirds from the past which should not have made a scratch on their shields which indicates that Federation technology, for some reason, stagnated, which is the opposite of what would have happened.

    Ignoring the problems, I think the episode is good. Just because there are a number of problems with canon and reasoning doesn’t mean an episode is bad after all. It definitely holds up as it is one of the few episodes that I’ll stop on and watch randomly if I see it on TV. As far as the podcast is concerned… I wish you guys would re-record and throw out all the inaccurate stuff you guys brought up and instead talk about and focus on the thing brought up at the end which to me is the whole point of the episode, “Why should your view take precedence over mine/everyone elses?” which is a great topic to try to take on… but the ep fails to take on in my opinion…and in that sense the episode doesn’t hold up.

  • nikkolya

    The only thing I kept thinking as I was watching this episode (which I remember loving when I watched it the first time around) is how much the “current” state of the Federation in the alternate timeline doesn’t make sense. Basically what we see in the alternate timeline is pretty much the exact same Enterprise-D (with dimmed lights, more crew, no civilians, and a slightly modified bridge) and pretty much the exact same crew (with the exception of Tasha being alive and Worf not being there). But why would that be the case? If you look at the design for the Galaxy class starship it is pretty much laid out like a cruise ship that happens to have scientific equipment and cutting edge weaponry, but in a galaxy where Klingons have gone crazy beating up the Federation…why would they build that ship that way? Sure they might have already started designing it (at least on some level), but I’d highly doubt that they had already started construction 20 years ago and that ship just doesn’t make sense to start building in that kind of atmosphere. I can’t help but think of the idea for the Prometheus class which was originally designed to combat the Borg but then was shelved when they weren’t seen as a dire threat and wasn’t actually constructed until a year or so into the Dominion War (yes I’m jumping the timeline, but this episode involves time travel so I don’t care). Real navies do that all the time, so I would imagine the Enterprise-D would look vastly different (to the point of not even being recognizable as what we know of as a Galaxy class…and to that point would have probably been named something other than Galaxy class), and I would have probably like the episode more if they had decided to build a different model for the Enterprise-D, or at least done more to change the set up (like making the bridge smaller like you usually see on combat oriented ships or just making it look like the Battle Bridge). I won’t go into how odd it is that all the same crew ended up on the D because I could go on about that for way too long.

    Then the other part that doesn’t work is the very state of the galaxy. I think someone mentioned it before, but how did the Klingons go from having “50 years” to live to being on the edge of completely wiping out the Federation? The last time we see the Klingons in the TOS years, Praxis has just been destroyed and Federation experts believe they can only sustain themselves for roughly 50 years. By the time of the Battle of Narendra III they are at 51 years…and have been steadily working toward peace with the Federation this whole time, so the only way their military strength could be as high as it is by Narendra III is that the Federation has been actively helping the Klingons, with whom they have not formally called off hostilities, to rebuild, and I’m not exactly buying that. Yes I’m sure the Federation has been providing some aid over the last 50 years, but obviously it wasn’t enough if the presence of one ship aiding a Klingon outpost is enough to change whether the Klingons are willing to engage in all out war with the Federation. I say balderdash!

    Also it is likely that Worf is dead in the alternate timeline as the Khitomer Massacre happened two years after Narendra III and it is unlikely (assuming hostilities had already started shortly after that battle) that the Intrepid would have gone to render aid so most likely a young and scared Worf just died alone on the planet….

  • The History of “Yesterday’s Enterprise” on Home Video.