Series: The Next Generation
Air Date: February 19, 1990
Written by: Ira Steven Behr & Richard Manning & Hans Beimler & Ronald D. Moore, Trent Christopher Ganino & Eric A. Stillwell and a partridge in a pear tree
Directed by: David Carson
The Enterprise-C inadvertently brings Tasha Yar back from the dead by temporarily fracturing the timeline.
We start in 10-Forward where Worf is enjoying some alone time until Guinan hands him a glass of prune juice. He tastes it and declares it to be a warrior's drink. The two of them chat for a bit about Worf finding companionship, but then an odd phenomenon happens outside the window and Worf is called to the bridge. On the bridge, Picard asks Worf to scan the phenomenon and Worf says that there's a ship inside. When the ship exits the rift, everything on board the Enterprise changes. The lighting is darker, the uniforms are more militaristic, even the bridge itself is more streamlined. And when Picard turns around to ask for more details, it's not Worf, but Tasha Yar who responds to him. And she's not a zombie, either!
Tasha says that the ship that came out of the rift is the Enterprise NCC-1701-C, the D's immediate predecessor. Wesley says that ship was destroyed, but Data corrects him saying it was presumed destroyed over the Klingon outpost at Neranda III. Apparently, it disappeared into a temporal rift and arrived here. Then Yar scans the ship and finds that many people on board are in need of medical attention, so Picard calls a medical team to go over and help. They find a lot of the crew to be dead or greatly injured, but Captain Garrett is alive, and so is the helmsman Lt. Costello. With all the crew accounted for, Picard gives the engineering team nine hours to get the C repaired and underway to Starbase 105. And that's when Guinan comes onto the bridge and says what every viewer is thinking:
|This ain't right!|
So, now the Enterprise is left with a dismal choice. Either allow the C to stay in the present time and continue fighting the Klingons, which we learn later is a fight that is not going well, or send the C back through the rift to its destruction and stop the war before it began. But while the crew discusses this, Yar is developing a thing for Castillo. While Picard asks Guinan for more information before he risks the lives of 125 Enterprise-C crewmembers on her hunch, Yar and Castillo visit 10-Forward and chat about life in Castillo's future. While they discuss some ship improvements that have occurred, Guinan finishes her meeting with Picard, goes into 10-Forward and glares at Yar.
|Guinan the creeper.|
Because the Klingons attack, however, Yar is given a second-second chance. She confronts Guinan about what Guinan sees in her, and Guinan eventually reluctantly admits that Yar is not supposed to be here. She's supposed to be dead. And she doesn't know how Yar died, but she knows it was a hollow death, without purpose. With that in mind, Yar requests to be transferred to the C. She'll be their helmsmen and give them a fighting chance with the Romulans. Picard weighs these heavy options and eventually decides to let her go. If Guinan is right, then Yar will be gone anyway.
|[muffled "At Last" playing in the background]|
This is one of the best episodes of any Star Trek series. I wouldn't say it excuses "Skin of Evil," but it definitely addresses that episode's problems and fixes the most heinous one. They give Tasha the chance to die a meaningful death. Of course, that death slightly overshadowed when we learn later that she's taken prisoner instead of killed, but since we don't know the circumstances of her actual death, then, well... I'll get into that when we get there. Apart from that, it's a time travel episode, and there is not a single time travel story that I don't like. It's also good to know that Shooter McGavin grows up to be a Starfleet officer.