Star Trek: All Our Yesterdays   Rewatch 
January 30, 2016 10:51 AM - Season 3, Episode 23 - Subscribe

The USS Enterprise arrives at the planet Sarpeidon to evacuate its population as its star is soon to go supernova. When Kirk, Spock and McCoy investigate the disappearance of the doomed planet's population, they find themselves trapped in different periods of that world's past.

"All Our Yesterdays" was first broadcast March 14, 1969, and repeated on August 5, 1969. It is episode #78, production #78, written by Jean Lisette Aroeste, and directed by Marvin Chomsky. It guest-stars Mariette Hartley as Zarabeth. The title comes from a well-known soliloquy given by Macbeth in Act V Scene V.

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The episode can be viewed on Netflix and Amazon Prime.
posted by Benway (12 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Fun fact: this episode inspired two follow-up Trek novels by Ann Crispin.

Tagline for the first novel, Yesterday's Son: "Spock discovers his own son--living 5,000 years in the past!"
posted by Pryde at 11:45 AM on January 30, 2016

Some of the recaps took exception to Spock reverting to the emotional level of his ancestors while McCoy remained unchanged, but, I didn't think that was a problem - hasn't it been established in-series that there's some telepathic group bond between Vulcans, or was that in some later Trek incarnation? Anyway, it made sense to me that Spock could be affected if all of planet Vulcan was suddenly giving off pre-Surak-level barbarian vibes; more logical than that nonsense in "The Cloud Minders."
posted by oh yeah! at 1:41 PM on January 30, 2016

Spock sensed the death of the Vulcan crew of the Intrepid in The Immunity Syndrome, so there's that for sure.
posted by Pryde at 4:53 PM on January 30, 2016

A pretty good episode, even if it was kind of drifting away from what the show set out to be. Even as a kid when I saw this one in reruns I thought it was a little funky that Spock was regressing emotionally... but all these years later I can kind of buy the explanation that Vulcans are mentally connected in some way across vast distances (that's established in other episodes) so he's kind of absorbing the primitive impulses of the Vulcan cave people. And besides, it's always fun when Spock gets emotional and falls in love and stuff.

As a graying Gen-X'er, I feel like Mariette Hartley deserved to be a little more famous than she got. She was ubiquitous in 1970s TV, a warm presence as a lot of guest star girlfriends. But I don't think she ever really found a home. She was famous enough to do those old commercials with James Garner, but it was this weird fame where we'd all seen her in stuff, but she wasn't a character actress and she wasn't exactly a leading lady. She did fine work as those various girlfriends, she could handle whatever the show gave her. She was so pretty and charming I'm sure Hollywood gave her a few starring roles and tried to make it happen for her, but somehow it never quite clicked.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 10:12 PM on January 30, 2016 [2 favorites]

I'm not sure Holllywood gave her a fighting chance. Remember that fifty years ago TV was TV and movies were movies and never the twain. Looks like she had moderately substantial roles in a couple of forgettable early sixties pictures like Drums of Africa and Ride the High Country and then was mostly banished to the TV ghetto. Eleventh-billed in Marnie don't feed the bulldog.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:54 PM on January 30, 2016

A pretty good episode, even if it was kind of drifting away from what the show set out to be.

But a classic example of what it had become. This is the only episode of the entire series that takes place entirely off the Enterprise and the only one in which no member of the Enterprise crew -- series regular, guest star, or 'redshirt' -- appears, apart from Kirk, Spock, and McCoy. Scott has a half dozen lines nagging Kirk to beam up soon, very soon, now or never, all delivered filtered off-camera. On-camera It's the Trek Trio all the way here.

Nineteen-60s teevy didn't really do A-plot/B-plot productions; I suppose they figured that the Kirk story broke up the McCoy/Spock story, and vise versa, so there was no need for scenes of the bridge crew wondering what the heck are they doing down there I'm worried about the Captain hope everything is all right.

The only other reason for a bridge scene would be a wrap-up. But since they were racing again time with a remarkably predictable supernova event, it's better dramatically to show the Big E warping out at the last moment as Sarpeidon (and the library and the Atavachron) dissolves. Otherwise we'd have to wait for Blondie, Tuco, and Angel Eyes the Trek Trio to sprint from the transporter room to the bridge so Kirk can be the one to give Sulu the order to step on it and don't spare the antimatter.

Also, Paranoid or CBS or whoever owns Trek now ought to sue for copyright infringement or something.

"Mister A->Z" indeed.
posted by Herodios at 8:03 PM on January 31, 2016 [1 favorite]

RE: Mariette Hartley:

Don't forget that she was the bearer/barer of the Roddenberry Revenge Navel. You don't see Zarabeth's navel in "Yesterdays", but Hartley played a mutant with two navels in the "Genesis II" pilot in the early 1970s after things had loosened up a bit on teevy. Just to make the point the camera zoomed right in on them.

Hartley was apparently unaware of the reason for this:
I just loved the script, loved the idea that this strange man (Spock) was finally going to be schtupped and I was going to be the one to do it, and that I was going to be the one to teach him how to not be a vegetarian. So I loved the idea. Then, when they showed me the costume, I thought I was going to die. But I sensed that it was a very special thing when I was doing it. I don’t know why. I don’t know if it was because of the script or the costume or the makeup, but there was a special-ness to it. . . .

I’m surprised how many memories I have of it, really. But when you kiss Spock, I mean, come on! . . . I remember taking off that huge fur coat, and people going, "Oh, wow." I had no idea that I had a figure. I come from Connecticut. I had no idea what sexuality was. I was doing Shakespeare.

ST: One of the famous stories is that, at the time, and much to Gene Roddenberry’s frustration, you were not allowed to show your belly button, so the Zarabeth costume covered it. Later, when you appeared in Roddenberry’s pilot for Genesis II, he had you play a character with two belly buttons…

I don’t really remember that, but it makes sense. My makeup for Genesis II took three hours. So that was Gene’s little F.U.? Oh, that’s funny. Oh, for heaven’s sakes. So I was I hired for my inny? But, really, that navel in Genesis II was a pain in the neck because, if I leaned over for a minute, it would get all scrunchy. So I couldn’t lean. I had to stand very, very straight in my scenes.
I feel like Mariette Hartley deserved to be a little more famous than she got . .

I'm not sure Holllywood gave her a fighting chance. . .

Going by IMDB, it looks like she's got pretty steady work throughout the decades. And she won an Emmy for the 1978 teevy movie of The Indelible Hulk (with Bill Bixby). According to IMDB she is the first person to win an acting Emmy for a science-fiction show. IMDB also says that there were over 300 of those Polaroid ads. Jeez. Bet that feeds the bulldog.

And like a lot of actors that seem to disappear, she's also done a lot of live theater before and after.

Meanwhile, back in the Interview:
ST: Let’s bring everyone up to date. You’re still working. You’ve been a recurring character on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. What else have you been up to?

Hartley: I’ve done SVU for several years (usually an episode every year or so). I did a Big Love this year. I did a Grey’s Anatomy. I’m doing a play (in January) at the Cleveland Play House. . . . I have my own show called Wild about Animals, which has been on for about 10 years.
Also: I don't want to try to select the best sources to link to -- use your own Google Fu -- but Hartley has had to deal with her own mental health issues and substance abuse, as well the suicides / attempted suicides of at least four family members. She wrote a book about it. She is a founder of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. I suspect that just standing up at age 75 is itself a victory.
posted by Herodios at 8:19 PM on January 31, 2016 [1 favorite]

I'd honestly never given Hartley too much thought before, she was just this nice lady on TV. But the more I find out about her, the more I like her. And I kind of love how she never knew she had a figure, because she was from Connecticut.

300 commercials, my lord. They must have been shooting one every week!
posted by Ursula Hitler at 4:08 AM on February 1, 2016

300 commercials, my lord. They must have been shooting one every week!

They probably shot 'em in batches of 10 or 20 at a go, with breaks for costume changes and lunch. A day or maybe two of shooting for six - twelve months worth of spots in the can.

I don't know if it's true anymore, but back in the 1970s daytime game shows would shoot a week's worth of episodes in a single day. Then the host has the rest of the week to rehearse his nightclub act and have time to drive up to Vegas to do four shows on the weekend.
posted by Herodios at 7:14 AM on February 1, 2016

Wow herodios -- I never caught the A TO Z of Mr. Atoz. Cool.
posted by davidmsc at 2:25 PM on February 1, 2016

I don't know if it's true anymore, but back in the 1970s daytime game shows would shoot a week's worth of episodes in a single day.

I think that's still generally true. When I was trying out for Jeopardy the producers told us if we were selected we would need to bring four changes of clothes with us just in case we had a winning streak, since they shoot five at a time. (Sad coda: I never got the call.)
posted by Pater Aletheias at 5:19 PM on February 2, 2016

There's quite a lot to like about this episode, and I really find myself wishing Spock had found a way to save Zarabeth. People in Star Trek are jumping around in time pretty much constantly - he could have found a way.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 2:08 AM on August 18, 2020

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