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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek TV Series > The Next Generation

The Next Generation All Good Things come to an end...but not here.

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Old October 7 2013, 02:57 PM   #1
Jeyl
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Episode of the Week: 3x15 "Yesterday's Enterprise"





The teaser opens in Ten Forward where Guinan gives Worf a drink. After being very impressed with the beverage, Guinan tells him that it's Prune Juice. While this scene can be regarded as a mere one shot comic relief moment, Worf would continue to order Prune Juice throughout both TNG and DS9. It's such a nice genuine "origin" moment that it's almost hard to believe it comes from this episode because not only is it not a story about Worf, the episode wishes him away until the very last minute..... and for a very good reason. Welcome to the episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation where quality television (not just Star Trek) hit a high mark.

The origins behind the creation of "Yesterday's Enterprise" came about from two different story ideas that were merged together. A story involving the Enterprise C and a story that would give Tasha Yar a better send off. It's awkward when you look at these two details and think "How the heck would these two go together?". Well, having Ron D. Moore certainly helped since this is the same guy who would take very strange elements from genuinely bad episode of the first two seasons and turn it into the best character driven episodes of TNG. What follows has got to be the biggest "WT*?" moment that the producers thought would be suicidal. You want to have this great concept focus on a bunch of characters who we don't even know and probably don't like? And I'm not talking about the Enterprise C crew, I'm talking about the show's regular actors playing different versions of their characters. Not a "mirror" evil version, just the same person who had gone through a different set of circumstances.

So the Federation/Klingon timeline was created. The differences between the real timeline and the altered timeline is one of this episode's highlights. Captain's log is now military log, Stardate is now combat date, the Enterprise is now referred to as a Battleship, the uniforms have been slightly tweaked and the bridge has been massively changed into a much darker and colder environment that even includes more tactical stations. Even Ten Forward feels more like a middle school cafeteria than a nice quiet lounge, with crowd chatter drowning everything out and announcements playing over the speaker on a constant basis. The character changes are also subtle, like how Picard refers to Riker as commander instead of Number One.

But the absolute reason that this episode exists is of course Tasha Yar. When it came to her original departure, everyone felt that it was an incredibly weak point to the whole show. What we get here is an in-universe acknowledgement of that events with Guinan telling Tasha that it was an "empty death. A death without purpose". Yep. This writing team took an episode where the higher ups were all too happy to just be rid of Tasha Yar and say "I did a good job!" and tell it "No, it was crap and we're going to acknowledge it as such". And what a great way to motivate a character as well. Realizing that in a time of war and endless battles, you are at the hight of your game where as in a time of peace and prosperity, you die in the most pointless ways imaginable. What can you do? Well, if you're Tasha Yar, you don't stand around and wait for yourself to disappear, you go out fighting. The scene where she requests a transfer from Picard is one of the saddest moments in Star Trek and it gets me every time. Tasha doesn't want to just sit by and wait for her to die out of existence, and Picard doesn't want to send her off to her death even when he realizes that death will be certain no matter what. If she can give the Enterprise C just a few more seconds, that may be enough to change history back.

And than we have the final battle of the Klingon/Federation war. This whole scenario is just so awkward. We have the Enterprise D sacrificing herself to the Klingons to ensure the Enterprise C sacrifices herself to help the Klingons to prevent stop a war. And just before we see the Enterprise D get completely destroyed, the Enterprise C enters the rift and everything is back to normal. Worf is at his station, Troi is there and Guinan is relieved that not only are things back to the way they were, but she has someone to thank for it.

CONCLUSION:
A classic Star Trek episode. Everything that can be used to describe "great Star Trek" can be found in this episode. It's hard core science fiction, the characters are fantastic and the resolution and the ending spectacular. Some would argue that this ending qualifies as a reset switch, there are still things that are left that shows the events of Yesterday's Enterprise will not be forgotten. Great story telling, great action, great characters, and again, great science fiction.

STINGER:
I know a lot of people love "Let's make sure that history never forgets the name Enterprise" line, but I was never a fan of it. Instead, I'm going to leave a quote from SFDebris' review that brings up a point that I'm certain no one on the production even contemplated when writing this episode.

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Old October 7 2013, 03:15 PM   #2
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x15 "Yesterday's Enterprise"

As it was said in that other thread, the episode could have been even more awesome with Worf being the commander of the Klingon attack fleet.

They did that stuff all the time in Stargate SG1. In every alternate reality/timeline they run into Teal'c. Sometimes he could be reasoned with, sometimes they had to kill him. I liked that every time.
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Old October 7 2013, 03:54 PM   #3
Jeyl
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x15 "Yesterday's Enterprise"

JarodRussell wrote: View Post
As it was said in that other thread, the episode could have been even more awesome with Worf being the commander of the Klingon attack fleet.
Naw. The galaxy should be much larger than that.
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Old October 7 2013, 04:37 PM   #4
JarodRussell
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x15 "Yesterday's Enterprise"

You already had all of the regulars on the very same ship, after 30 years of alternate war timeline.
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Old October 7 2013, 05:19 PM   #5
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x15 "Yesterday's Enterprise"

JarodRussell wrote: View Post
You already had all of the regulars on the very same ship, after 30 years of alternate war timeline.
There was no Troi.

This is one that while still okay, hasn't aged as well as I thought it would. Stewart and Goldberg save it from being in the pile of episodes I never revisit.
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Old October 7 2013, 06:12 PM   #6
Jeyl
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x15 "Yesterday's Enterprise"

BillJ wrote: View Post
JarodRussell wrote: View Post
You already had all of the regulars on the very same ship, after 30 years of alternate war timeline.
There was no Troi.
Makes total sense to me. When the Federation is at an all out war and everyone is fighting almost every day with the threat of inevitable defeat looming in the distance, there shouldn't be any counselors on board. But when the Federation is not at war and everyone is so happy, so angelic, so godlike, a ship's counselor is not only essential, they absolutely have to have a front row seat right next to the Captain at all times!

I also believe that Wesley was originally not meant to be in this episode. After all, he couldn't be more then 18-20 when he was onboard, and the war started 22 years ago, some 2-4 years before he was born. Not only would things be different, but Beverly's husband should also be alive. I guess when Gene Roddenberry gave his blessings to shoot this story, he had one demand and one demand only.... Yep! Wesley Crusher has to be on the bridge in the altered time line. We all know that Gene wants us to believe that Wesley is the Jesus of Star Trek where every character thinks so very highly of him, but I think this demand backfired in a way Gene didn't anticipate. Think about it. If Gene honestly tries to depict Wesley as being the character who can do anything to save the day, why put him in a reality where the Federation is losing a war? Doesn't the fact that he's not saving the whole Federation from the Klingon's kind of downplays his holiness? His place in the episode feels so shoehorned in he's practically a nobody. Sure, one might say that Wesley was drafted into the War, but shouldn't there be some tension between him and his mother serving on a battleship?
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Old October 7 2013, 08:42 PM   #7
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x15 "Yesterday's Enterprise"

Three things I noticed on this rewatch.

Crosby's make-up is garish in HD!

The Enterprise-C could have been any ship really. But I suppose we would then never have got Picard's "Let's make sure history never forgets..." line.

Wouldn't it have been great if the teaser credit was redone like it was for the Enterprise episode in the alternate universe. It didn't make sense for the "explore strange new worlds" ethos in this parallel universe.
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Old October 7 2013, 10:24 PM   #8
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x15 "Yesterday's Enterprise"

It was a good story, but Crosby and Christopher MacDonald had zero chemistry. I'm not sure if she went back in time because of him or because of dying a sensless death in the prime timeline, but the script leaves you thinking it's the former and for a DOA romance plot, it's a sad motivation.
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Old October 7 2013, 10:57 PM   #9
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x15 "Yesterday's Enterprise"

In Redemption, Guinan tells Worf that she made a bet with Picard that she could make him laugh before he became Lt. Commander. Worf says Klingons don't laugh. Guinan says yes they do, and that she's seen him laugh.

Wrong, not seen, you made him laugh in Yesterday's Enterprise. You already won the bet.
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Old October 8 2013, 06:20 PM   #10
Trekker4747
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x15 "Yesterday's Enterprise"

jimbotron wrote: View Post
In Redemption, Guinan tells Worf that she made a bet with Picard that she could make him laugh before he became Lt. Commander. Worf says Klingons don't laugh. Guinan says yes they do, and that she's seen him laugh.

Wrong, not seen, you made him laugh in Yesterday's Enterprise. You already won the bet.
She probably means more of an actual, genuine, laugh. The laugh he makes in this episode seemed more of an intentional, ironic, laugh.
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Old October 8 2013, 06:21 PM   #11
Jeyl
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x15 "Yesterday's Enterprise"

Trekker4747 wrote: View Post
She probably means more of an actual, genuine, laugh. The laugh he makes in this episode seemed more of an intentional, ironic, laugh.
A laugh is a laugh.
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Old October 8 2013, 06:38 PM   #12
Trekker4747
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x15 "Yesterday's Enterprise"

Jeyl wrote: View Post
Trekker4747 wrote: View Post
She probably means more of an actual, genuine, laugh. The laugh he makes in this episode seemed more of an intentional, ironic, laugh.
A laugh is a laugh.
No, no it isn't. If you say something and I literally say "Ha Ha Ha. That's funny." That's not a laugh. If you say something and I actually, spontaneously, laugh with giggles, snickers, and such. THAT is a laugh.
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Old October 8 2013, 07:06 PM   #13
Jeyl
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x15 "Yesterday's Enterprise"

Trekker4747 wrote: View Post
If you say something and I actually, spontaneously, laugh with giggles, snickers, and such. THAT is a laugh.
Like what Worf does in that scene. He actually has to regain his composure before saying "Impossible."
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Old October 8 2013, 07:10 PM   #14
Trekker4747
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x15 "Yesterday's Enterprise"

Eh, not how I read it. It seemed more of an intentional laugh. Rather than an actual, good-hearted, guffaw coming from something he genuinely found funny.
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Old October 8 2013, 07:11 PM   #15
Jeyl
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x15 "Yesterday's Enterprise"

Trekker4747 wrote: View Post
Eh, not how I read it. It seemed more of an intentional laugh. Rather than an actual, good-hearted, guffaw coming from something he genuinely found funny.
He was smiling.
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