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Tomorrow is Yesterday

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Title : Tomorrow is Yesterday Rating : 4
First Aired : 26 Jan 1967 Stardate : 3113.2
Director : Michael O'Herlihy Year : 2267
Writers : D.C. Fontana Season : 1
Rating : 4.3333 for 3 reviewsAdd your own review
Reviewer : Indefatigable Rating : 4
Review : Our first serious time travel story. While the concept itself doesn't make much sense, the story was pretty good. Captain Christopher was a decent character, trying to do his duty and report back, although I can't say what his commanding officer would have made of his story. The look on the Air Force guard's face when he beamed up will stay with me for some time as well. Still, it seems that Kirk and Spock were a bit careless when they beamed down to recover the films. They might at least have disguised themselves in USAF uniforms (having done similar things many other times in various episodes). Anyway, it was thought out well and written convincingly, which is one of D.C. Fontana's hallmarks. The new visuals were really impressive here, especially the scenes in the atmosphere, although the slingshot sequence was just as effective (sun like a wall to one side). Very much a good episode. Incidentally, although some F-104s really did carry nuclear-tipped AAMs, they were never deployed operationally, so Spock shouldn't have been worried.
Reviewer : Spacewing Rating : 5
Review : My favourite episode. It's the least self-conscious and has the most straight forward science fiction plot of the lot.
Reviewer : Platonian Rating : 4
Review : Other reviews have summed up the basic pros and cons of this episode. My interest is in the way the issue of UFOs was treated. If any of you are familiar with the history of UFO sightings -- whatever your opinion of the validity of such sightings may be -- you will recognize the remarkable series of events just before Captain Christopher is beamed up to the Enterprise and just after he is beamed back to his aircraft: 1) detection by ground-based radar of a large, fast-moving object that appears, apparently out of nothing, and has an unknown radar signature; 2) fighter aircraft scrambled to intercept; 3) target acquisition by aircraft radar, confirming ground-based radar; 4) an energy beam emanating from the target that affects aircraft systems (and compromises structural integrity in this case); 5) anti-radar properties of the target (we might term this "low observability" now); and 6) sudden loss or target (target "vanishes"). These are hallmarks of many recorded UFO sightings from the 1950s & early 1960s -- sightings with which the writers might well have been familiar. (Does anyone know?) I am particularly intrigued by the similarity of events in this episode with events in the well-known case of Kentucky Air National Guard pilot Captain Thomas F. Mantell on 7 January 1948, while in pursuit of a UFO. (Tragically, Captain Mantel's P-51 crashed, resulting in his death.) Mantell was said to have stated that the object he was pursuing "look(ed) metallic and of tremendous size,” similar to Captain Christopher’s comment “whatever this is, it's big.” (Certainly not unique comments about a UFO, but an interesting parallel.) Some of the wilder claims about the Mantell incident were that an alien spacecraft had “shot down” his aircraft when it got too close, that Captain Mantell's body was missing, and that his aircraft had completely disintegrated in the air, all of which could describe what happened in this episode. I wonder if D.C. Fontana, the episode’s main writer, was familiar with and borrowed themes from the Mantell case for this episode.
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