Monday, February 13, 2012

Yesterday's Enterprise

***** (5 stars out of 5)

Guinan urges Worf to try prune juice, and also to try 'companionship'. Worf thinks human females are too fragile. Guinan believes some on this ship would find him 'tame'.

When Guinan says 'Companion' I'm thinking Inara from Firefly, or maybe she's gonna bring in a Socialator from classic Battlestar Galactica. I'm sure Worf's just holding out for K'Ehleyr. Guinan, Space Madam!?

An outdated Starfleet vessel emerges from a space rift. Instantly the Enterprise changes: the lighting is permanently dim, the uniforms are subtly altered, everyone's tired and on edge, and weirdest: YAR is at the security console once more.

ZOMBIE!
No, wait, maybe not. The old ship is the Enterprise-C, lost under Captain Rachel Garett near Klingon outpost Narendra III 22 years ago. That's a relief. It's not the undead, it's just the whole universe unravelling like a cheap suit. Phew!

Boy, speaking of cheap suits, Starfleet really could not get enough of that red movie-style uniform. They were seemingly using it from the early 2280's until at least 2344. Apparently it's a perennial fashion favourite. It's the blue jeans of Starfleet uniforms! Contrast the one in use now: 5 years. Or the classic series: 5 years. Even the god-awful pantsuits from The Motion Picture probably got no more than 5 years of use, if that.

Still, who can blame them? That's a cool jacket.

Guinan is the only one who senses that something's off: she remembers it was different- there used to be families and children aboard. Picard scoffs "Guinan, we're at war!"

"We're not supposed to be. This is not a ship of war, this is a ship of peace."

Well, it's not 100 percent awful here in the altered timeline: I heard a page for Dr. Selar to the null-g ward. Zero gravity sounds like a very logical place for Dr. Selar, her tight uniform, and her perky... ears. What, what!

Captain Garett was trying to save the Klingon outpost from four Romulan warbirds, when the fierceness of the Romulan torpedo volleys apparently caused the Kerr Loop that pulled them out of time.

Suffering from temporal shock, the C's Helmsman Lt. Richard Castillo works closely with Yar on the repairs. She's served with the 6,000 troops of the Enterprise-D since her Academy graduation 4 years ago. But it looks like Dick turned her head!

Picard cannot ask Garett & her 124 surviving crew to return to the instant of their deaths on Guinan's say-so. Yet forty billion people and half the Starfleet have already died in this war that should never have happened.

Picard has learned long ago to trust Guinan's special wisdom, wherever it comes from. Garett's crew are willing- if only because they don't want to live in this time or 'slip out in the middle of a fight'.

Picard confides to Garett: "The war is going very badly for the Federation. Far worse than is generally known. Starfleet Command believes that defeat is inevitable... One more ship will make no difference in the here and now, but 22 years ago, one ship could have stopped this war before it started."

"The Romulans will get a good fight. We'll make it one for the history books." Garett surely would have, but a Klingon bird of prey soon does her in with a wicked chunk of shrapnel. (I'm amused to learn it's the wing of a VF-1 Valkyrie from the Japanese cartoon Macross... like the one I have on my nightstand, except not yet embedded in my skull.)

Castillo takes command. Motivated in part by her affection for him, and partly by Guinan's assertion that her death in the other timeline was senseless, Tasha Yar volunteers to join them in the past at tactical.

"I've always known the risks that come with a Starfleet uniform. If I'm to die in one, I'd like my death to count for something."

Against logic, Picard allows this. So does Dick.

(Amidst all this fervour, it might have been better if Yar had worn the old uniform or at least taken off her commbadge. I don't know if it would make any difference, but why make the anachronisms worse?)

The D may have given the Klingons 'a pasting on Archer IV', but shepherding the C back into the rift costs them Riker's life, a bridge in flames, and a warp core about to breach.

In a trice, there is no sign of the rift and nothing to put in the log but Guinan's sense of relief.

(Well, that and Geordi's weird cuffs. Things may be fine, but these people didn't escape entirely unchanged.)

"Yesterday's Enterprise" is top notch. I've watched it often, and it's one of my cousin Ryan's favorites. Tricia O'Neil and Christopher McDonald: well played. And of course, splendid to see Denise Crosby again. What an adventure!

Behr, Manning, Beimler, Moore, Ganino, Stillwell, and Piller somehow proved that too many cooks do not always spoil a broth when it's writing. Exciting, unsettling, romantic, and dramatic. Very well done indeed.

"Let us make sure that history never forgets the name Enterprise."

2 comments:

  1. Great episode - Reminds me of the mirror universe shows.

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