Topping my list is this Next Generation episode where the current Enterprise discovers a temporal rift and the Enterprise-C, lost 22 years ago, enters their present time. This journey from the past changes the current timeline so that the present Enterprise becomes a ship in the middle of a war with the Klingons and Tasha Yar is alive. Guinan is the only one that realizes things have changed and tells Picard the old ship has to go back to its own time. Unfortunately their ship is so badly damaged that sending them back to the Romulan attack in their time means certain death. Picard struggles with how he could ask them to do that, but ultimately trusts Guinan. As the old Enterprise prepares to go back, Yar realizes Guinan looks at her strangely and finds out that she’s supposed to be dead. Learning that her death was empty and without purpose, she asks Picard for permission to return with the past Enterprise so she can at least have a death that matters. Picard gives his permission, the ship goes back, and immediately the timeline restores itself.
This episode uses the time travel concept in a great way. Everyone is aware that the other ship came from the past, but the present Enterprise is none the wiser that their own time has changed other than Guinan who just has feelings about it. The old and present crews’ interactions are fascinating as we see how just one moment can change so much of the future and the courage it takes the Enterprise-C to be willing to make such a sacrifice. This episode also has amazing character interaction between our Enterprise crew. It shows us the deep trust that exists between Picard and Guinan as well as gives Yar a much better send off than she was given the first time around. Like “City on the Edge of Forever,” it’s the characters in this story that make it so much more than your usual time travel episode.
Tell us which Star Trek time travel episodes would top your list in the comments!