Star Trek

Star Trek

Monday, February 2, 2015

Season 3, Episode 65 "For the World Is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky"

"For the World Is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky"
Production Order: 65
Air Order: 63
Stardate: 5476.3
Original Air Date: 11-8-68




Once again, the internet proves that one giant, walking ego is interchangeable for another.

*******


We're right in the thick of it, right off the bat. The E is on red alert, everyone is at battle stations, and the E is being pursued by... six lights in space. ("There are four lights!") Kirk was in the bathroom taking a dump or something, because he exits the lift and relieves Spock from command. Apparently, the lights are missiles, and the E is the target. Kirk has Sulu blast them out of the sky with phasers, then Chekov is ordered to direct the ship toward the place where the missiles originated. So: we have no idea who sent a bunch of missiles after the Enterprise, but Kirk intends to chase them down. Alrighty.
Down in sick bay, Christine is arguing with Bones. He's pissed because she called Kirk to sick bay, and she's angry because she feels she had to do it. He yells at her to GTFO of sick bay, but then quietly tells her on her way out that he'll talk to Kirk.


Bones tells Kirk that he's finished the medical exams on the crew and everyone is healthy, with the exception of one person who has a terminal illness, and will only last one year. Turns out that it's Bones himself who has xenopolycethemia (a quick check reveals that polycethemia is a blood disorder and not fatal, but by adding the word "xeno," meaning foreign or alien, Star Trek can make it as fatal as they like, which is actually kind of clever). Bones doesn't want any special treatment, and he just wants to keep doing his job. he asks Kirk not to say anything to anyone. Now, Kirk is actually a really good friend to Bones and Spock, but you know that he's not going to do either of those things. What's more, Bones is part of the Golden Triad of Star Trek. He's too important to lose, so unless there's an issue between the studio and the actor and he needs to be written off the show, you know Bones isn't going to die. In fact, a miracle cure will probably be found in the next 45 minutes or so.

Kirk's Log 5476.3: "I blabbed to Starfleet about Bones and asked for someone to replace him."
Damn. Dude broke his word in the space of time it took to show the opening credits.
Kirk is back on the bridge, and they've tracked down where the missiles came from. Apparently, it came from a Technicolor asteroid. They show it on viewscreen, and Chekov's head briefly slips into 3-D.


Anyway, Kirk asks if the ship is hiding behind the asteroid.
"Noop," says Spock. "The ship is the asteroid. And the asteroid is really old, and propelling itself across the solar system. It's on a collision course with the planet Deren V, which is inhabited, and will reach there in about thirteen months. The middle of the asteroid is hollow, and has a breathable atmosphere on the surface."

We skip to the transporter room, and Christine is there. She is allowed a surprising second line this episode, where she tells McCoy to take care of himself. Kirk and Spock enter. Kirk is surprised to see Bones, and tries to talk him out of going, but Bones reminds Kirk that he can't seem to find his own ass with his hands. Kirk agrees, and they all beam down.
The asteroid looks about the same as every other desert planet that they visit. Rocks and an orange sky. (I'm really starting to wonder about those orange skies. Star Trek seems to use them for every planet set they make.) The boys go around some rocks and come across a series of randomly-placed orange tubes. They scan these, and suddenly, the tubes lift up and armed guards rush out at them. Gotta give some points for that. It was an unusual way to handle an alien door.


After they get their asses handed to them by the guards, their comms and phasers are confiscated. Kirk requests to be able to check on Bones, who was knocked to the ground. A woman, who announces herself to be Natira the high priestess of Yonada, grants him the favor. Bones checks out alright, and they are taken underground through the tube things.


Dude, those guards. I want to nominate them for What Not To Wear. Belted, multicolored, shapeless tartan jumpers over black tights. I'm pretty sure I've seen those hats before, and I thought it was on "A Taste of Armageddon", but those are slightly different. The ones on Armageddon were spiked like the spiky thing on roosters, and these have a slanted flat spot on top with beads or something. These get a 3/10 for WTFness.
So everyone goes underground, and there's this great shot where they just kind of laid the camera on the landing and pointed it out into the room below. People walk past it and file into the room with more of the people who live on the asteroid. Bonus points for this shot, Star Trek. They're getting the sounds of footsteps and a bit of the vibration from people walking on the metal stairs, but they took a chance on a fancy shot, so good for them.


So we then walk down the hall, and a lot of this actually feels like filler, so let's look at everyone else's costume. Natira, the priestess, is wearing a green-gold dress that I really like. It cuts across her torso several times, and is held together by strings in the back. Sleeveless on one side, with a long sleeve on the other. My only complaint is that the guards and the female handmaiden girls are all wearing candy-colored clothes, and hers are subdued. The handmaidens look like they're going to a luau right after this. Let's file their costumes under "okay": not great, but I've seen worse on this show.


So Natira and three guards take the boys into some temple, and they're all made to kneel in front of some sun painted on the wall. Kirk and Bones have a whispered conversation about whether or not Natira's people know they're actually on an asteroid. Natira turns to talk to them. She has a weird accent that I can't place. She rolls her R's for no apparent reason. IMDB says she's British, but I don't necessarily hear British. I hear more like "Caterpillar from Alice in Wonderland." She asks who they are and why they have come to Yonada. Kirk says they have come in friendship.
A disembodied voice says that before they can be friends, Kirk and Co need to find out what it means to be their enemies, and our boys get shocked by lightning or something. They collapse. Dramatic music! Commercial break!


They are taken to quarters, and Kirk and Spock wake up before Bones does. They try to wake him, and Kirk blames his illness for weakening him. He then blabs to Spock that Bones is sick, right after admitting that Bones would not want him to tell. When Bones wakes up a moment later, Spock puts his hand on Bones' shoulder, and the Vulcan receives a WTF? look. Kirk admits that he spilled the beans. Bones shrugs it off, but he's taken notice that Kirk is now treating him like some delicate female with the vapors. An old Yonadan comes in and give them what looks like salt, to deal with the fact that they were electrocuted.
Apparently, this dude is not drinking the Kool-Aid. He wants to know about where the boys came from, and he says that he suspects that his government is not telling their people the truth. Everything he says is followed by a flinch. He keels over at the end of his speech, and a red light glows at his temple, and he dies.


Natira comes in with two handmaidens, and the boys explain that the old man just suddenly died. She says a prayer over him and some guards carry the guy away. She then expresses concern that Bones doesn't look like he feels well. He assures her that he's fine, and she says that the Oracle (the disembodied voice in the sun temple) says that they can all be buddies now. They're offered refreshments. When she moves off to get them, Kirk and Spock jump all over Bones and give him good-natured guy shit because she obviously likes him. Kirk suggests that he honeypot her so he and Spock can look for the control room to the ship/asteroid. Spock brings up the fact that the Prime Directive might come into play here, as they need to make it so that the asteroid doesn't collide with Deren V, but that they shouldn't interfere.
Natira comes back with drinks, and she tells them that they are allowed to wander around and talk to people. Bones fakes a cough and says he might not be up to going, so she offers to stay and talk with him. Spock and Kirk take off, and Natira dismisses the food-bearing handmaidens.
"Sooo, that old guy," says Bones, jumping right into it, "how did the Oracle punish him?"
"The Oracle knows everything that we say and think," she answers.


"Gonna be blunt," she says. "Do you have a girlfriend? Because I'd really like to hook up with you."
"Nope, free as a bird," says Bones.
"Awesome. Stay here and marry me?"
Oh, Bones. You figured you were just gonna make out with this chick while your friends snooped around, but this girl is warm enough for your form that she's willing to put a ring on it.
"Um, moving pretty fast here," he says uncomfortably.
She starts telling him about how the Oracle says that soon they'll reach another world, and they'll be happy there. She tries to convince him to come with her to that world.
"So I only have a year to live," he admits.
She pauses, then says this is okay, she just wants him to be with her. He's taken aback. She's only known him like half and hour, and is already professing undying love for him. He decides to go for it, and they kiss.


Kirk and Spock are doing that "we're not snooping" thing that they always do, that looks super-suspicious. They pause outside the Oracle Room, and Spock takes a look at the writing on the tablets posted outside, saying that it's Fabrini. Kirk recalls that the Fabrini sun went nova, and Spock guesses that they put some of their people on a ship and sent them out into the universe to colonize another planet. These are the descendants. He waves his hand in front of the tablets in the same way that Natira did earlier, and the doors open. They sneak inside. They're looking for clues as to how to reach the control room when the doors open and Natira enters. They duck behind a column.
Natira kneels on the dais to talk to the Oracle. "I wanna marry one of those strangers," she says. "The dude called McCoy."
"Did he say yes?" asks the Oracle.
"I asked, but he's thinking about it," she admits.
"It's cool if he becomes one of our people," says the Oracle. "He has to do the marriage ceremony, and also get a thought-reading chip and agree to worship me and stuff."


She's pretty stoked. She agrees to teach him what he needs to know to be a good Yonadan, and she practically skips out of the room. But when she reaches the doors, Kirk and Spock suddenly light up like a smoking Christmas tree. Oops. Caught snooping, and you get fried. Dramatic music!


Natira is in her quarters later when Bones enters. He asks what she is going to do to his friends, and she replies that being in the Oracle Room warrants death, so she has no choice but to execute them. He begs her to reconsider, and says that he has decided to stay with her on Yonada. She agrees to let them go back to the E.


Bones goes to the beam-out point on the surface to return the comms and phasers to his friends.
"You're not coming?" asks Kirk.
"No, getting married," Bones replies. "Gonna take a chance with Natira."
"That's dumb," says Kirk. "If we can't figure out how to move this ship-asteroid thing before it hits Deren V, then we have to blow it up."
"Okay," says Bones. "Either way, I'm staying."
Kirk is annoyed, but radios for a beam up for himself and Spock.

In the temple, Bones consents to having the thought-reading device installed, and then the Oracle marries them. It tells Natira to teach Bones their ways, and she takes him to the column where Kirk and Spock were shocked. She opens it, and shows him a book.
"This is our book. It talks about how we'll have to leave this world and go to another," she explains. "We don't get to read it until we get there."
"Don't you want to know what's in it now?" he asks, and she shrugs.
"Not really. I have faith that things will be awesome and the Creators knew what they were doing," she replies.
Then, for no reason at all, the actress lowers her head and stares at De Kelley like she's going to rip off his face and barbecue it. I have no idea why. It's creepy.


Kirk's Log 5476.4: "A bit screwed. We can't put the asteroid back on its original course, and now Bones has decided to shack up with the priestess, so if we can't figure something out, he'll die, too. I mean, I guess he was gonna die from his blood thing, but now he'll be dying sooner rather than later."

Kirk and Spock are in Kirk's quarters talking to Starfleet.
"No worries," said the random admiral. "You go off and do your next assignment. We'll take care of this asteroid thing for you."
"But it's complicated," says Kirk.
"It's really not," comes the reply. "Go scamper off and do that other thing, and we'll blow up your friend and his new wife and all of her people. Laters."
As he's signing off, Uhura calls, saying that Bones is calling her. 
"Dude, there's a book!" Bones says excitedly into his comm. "I bet it will tell us how the turn this thing around!"
Oops, the Oracle knows you're leaking info to your friends, Bones. He flinches, then drops to the carpet. Natira runs in and sees him on the floor with his temple glowing. Bad news bears, Natira. You were widowed after like, ten minutes.


Kirk and Spock beam in, and she screams at them that they've killed him. Kirk pulls her off to the side while Spock uses some kind of tool to remove the thought-reader device. There's a bit of BS where we're meant to believe that the reader device can be removed with a fancy magnet, and that the skin is completely unbroken. Natira then sobs that they have broken the vows he took in becoming a Yonadan. Bones murmurs about how they need to see the book. Natira yells that for them to see the book is sacrilege, and she calls for guards, running to the door.
Kirk grabs her from the back of her fucking NECK, and pushes her into the back room of her quarters, growling that he needs to see the book. This is as scary as that look Natira made at Bones earlier.


He lets go and tells her that ten thousand years ago, the sun was dying in her solar system, and that Yonada is not a part of the solar chart that's in the Oracle Room, that that system is gone now. When she tells him that he's nuts he grabs her and shakes her. Seeing a super-ugly side of you, Kirk.
He then explains that Yonada is a ship, and that they are the descendants of the people of that long-dead solar system.
"No way!" she says. "We have a sun, and we see stars at night!"
Sorry, what? What sun? If they'd have been traveling this whole time, it would have been in and out of other solar systems. The sun in her argument would not be consistent.
Natira is struggling now. She can't process this information because her mind-reader thing is activating.
"Your ship is gonna kill a bunch of people because the controls on the computer went wonky and you're being directed to the wrong place," he tells her. "Let us remove your chip-thing so you can help us help you."
Things is, he's trying to break her faith, and it is only half-working. She runs from the room.

Don't know how much I love those curls that frame her face -
a bit like she forgot to take her curlers out. But her eye makeup
is cool.

Natira goes straight to the Oracle, who tells her that that first pain was a warning for listening to the outsiders, and that she best be listening only to the Oracle now. She tries to get Big O to tell her why the truth from the outsiders differs from the truth that it was telling her. 
"Don't worry about their truth," it replies. "Worry about the truth that I am telling you, which is a different and better truth." 
Go home, Oracle, you're drunk.
She tumbles off of the dais in pain, and the boys rush in to tend to her.
"The Oracle is a douchebag, and the Creators didn't bother to tell us what was going on," she says. "Please get this stupid mind-control crap out of my head."
Bones does the same thing that Spock did, only they show a close-up of it in two shots. In the second shot, they add a little piece of what looks like a snowflake-shaped piece of glitter, which makes a red mark on her temple.
Bones tells Kirk and Spock where the book is, but they are sidelined by the Oracle, which tells them that they shouldn't be touching the book.
"We're trying to help," says Kirk.
"I said don't touch my frickin' book!" yells the Oracle. "Imma kill you!"
It gets really hot in the room, as evidenced by the red lighting and some kind of wavy videography, which is meant to be mirage heat wave lines. Bones tells Kirk how to get the book.


Turns out the control room is accessed through a hole in the wall behind the sun. Kirk presses the button in the middle of the sun and the wall slides forward. Ten thousands years... and no one thought to press that very obvious button.


The control room contains banks of computers. Spock turns the heater off, then quickly ascertains the problem. He disappears off-camera and calls back that the glitch is fixed. It is now headed back to original course.
In the Oracle Room, Natira and Bones are breaking up. He asks her to come with him, but as high priestess, she can't just leave and go hang out in sick bay with him. For whatever reason, he's decided that he can't really stay with her anymore. She says she hopes that one day he'll be allowed to find the Yonada again and visit.



On their way out of the control room, Spock notices that the Fabrini knowledge banks on the wall have crazy-awesome medical information, which is a convenient way to magically cure Bones of the terminal disease that he just figured out he had like, yesterday.
We cut immediately to sick bay, where Bones is sprawled on an exam table while Christine checks his levels. She gets a shocking third line, saying that he's fine now. Apparently, Spock ripped off the Fabrini medical banks. Can he do that? Isn't that like, reverse Prime Directive or something? Kirk says that the Yonada is due to land on some other planet in about 400 days, and he might be able to wrangle them an assignment near there at around that time, and Bones smiles.
And they fly away from the asteroid ship.



Starfleet Headquarters
Dept of Human Resources
San Francisco, United States, Earth

Dear HR Director,
Please note the following changes to my personnel file on stardate 5476.3: diagnosed self with terminal illness, xenopolycethemia. Estimated death, one year out. Thank God for small co-pays and no pre-existing conditions, amirite? Actually, it wasn't pre-existing, anyway. Capt JT Kirk also alerted Starfleet of this condition and asked for an immediate replacement, which is no longer needed. Don't transfer me, bitches. I'm all good. Also, please note on the same date that I got married and added my alien spouse to my policy, because the bennies for spouses of Starfleet are really good. But then please note that I left my wife, and also that I was cured of the aforementioned terminal illness, both later that same day, which is why the E doesn't need a replacement doctor. Got it all? Illness, wife, no wife, no illness. Hope that's easy enough to muddle through. Sorry about those forms filled out in triplicate. What a hassle. You guys are the best.

Thank you,
Dr Leonard McCoy
CMO, USS Enterprise


This episode wasn't actually terrible. Sure, you knew that that "terminal disease" wasn't going to last beyond this episode, but it wasn't the worst thing ever. It would have been interesting to let it slide for a few episodes, watch Bones easing into the idea of only having so much time left, then later spending an episode on an adventure that leads to a cure or something. 
I liked the fact that the asteroid turned out to be a ship. There's a late-season TNG episode that features a ship like that as well. Natira was a pretty good heroine, if a little turned around because her faith caused her to believe a bat-shit computer. Here's my question, before I forget that I was supposed to remember it: those missiles in the beginning. Did the Yonada fire those? Like, on purpose? Did they see some ship kind of in their space, and fire into the ether? The only reasons those missiles existed was to lead the Enterprise to the Yonada. Once they found the Fabrini, they actually forgot to ask about the missiles. Like, at all. We forgot about them, too. "They came from an asteroid? Get out of here, really? The asteroid is inhabited? IT'S A SHIP? Wait, what was I going to ask again?"



Death Toll:
Red deaths this episode: 0
Red deaths this season: 3
Gold deaths this episode: 0
Gold deaths this season: 0
Blue deaths this episode: 0
Blue deaths this season: 0
Total crew deaths this season: 3
Total crew deaths thus far: 45

This episode is shockingly similar to: The Return of the Archons from season one. In both cases, we have a sort of naive population run by a computer that is broken. Interestingly, the old man in this episode dies because he gives our boys information that doesn't jive with the computer; he was played by the same guy who played Tamar, an old man in "Archons." Tamar was also offed by the crazy computer-run government for not drinking the Kool-Aid. Imagine that phone call: "Hi, we're interested in hiring you for a small part on Star Trek."
"Cool, I've done Star Trek before. What's the part?"
"An old man who is killed by a crazy computer because he was passing information."
"...That's... the same part I played before. Do you people just film the same episode over and over?"

This episode was also shockingly similar to: "The Paradise Syndrome", wherein an asteroid is in danger of crashing into a planet and killing a lot of people, and the Enterprise must figure out how to change its trajectory in order to prevent the accident from occurring. In danger of being crushed is a male member of the Enterprise, who has fallen in love with and married one of the indigenous people who will also be crushed if this asteroid thing isn't taken care of posthaste.

Episodes that also included crazy computers running shit: "Spock's Brain" and "The Ultimate Computer".

*******

Roomie, Rumor and I are not sportsters. We don't watch or follow games of any kind, so when thinking about the Superbowl, our thoughts turned to the appealing parts of those types of parties: the awesome commercials, and the epic snacks. Commercials are now shown the next day on YouTube, so we decided to have a potluck-gaming day instead. Our friend NinJew brought Pandemic, and a plus-one, his new girlfriend. She in turn brought Chai Rice Crispy Treats. We all turned to look in her direction when she held up the gallon-sized Ziplock full of light brown treats, and we eagerly dug into the bag once meatball-subs-on-a-stick were consumed.
They were crispy, chewy, light and tasted a bit like gingerbread. Fantastic, in other words. It put a new spin on an old favorite, and them kind of fancy. She told us that she added a chai mix to the marshmallow-butter mix and just folded it in with everything. It blended nicely. Other tea mixes might be just as good when added to Rice Crispy Treats. Could make for a fun experiment.






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