6/25/12

Star Trek: Asterisk "For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky!"

Vital Information
Series: The Original Series
Episode: S03E08
Air Date: November 8, 1968
Written by: Rik Vollaerts
Directed by: Tony Leader

Premise
Bones discovers that he has a year to live and decides he wants to live it out in a planet-shaped spaceship.

Review
We start off with a cluster of missiles headed toward the Enterprise. Fortunately, they are easily dispatched with the phasers, but now we have to figure out where they came from. Sulu sets a course, they're on their way. Meanwhile, Kirk stops by sick bay to catch up on Bones' physical examinations of the crew. Bones says that the whole crew is in peak condition except for one officer. He has a fatal disease called xenopolycythemia which gives him only one more year to live. And that one officer is the chief medical officer. DUN DUN DUUUUUUUUN!

They get to the source of the missiles and find a small asteroid that happens to be on a collision course with a populated planet. Also it's hollow somehow? Obviously, they must investigate. They beam down to the surface and it looks just like a planet. When suddenly, warriors pop up from out of tubular elevators and capture everyone while a hot priestess looks on. After a fight in which no shirt gets torn, they secure the landing party and bring them inside where the priestess brings them to the Oracle.
"Oh, great Oracle, Servant of Sun Microsystems..."
Well, the Oracle doesn't like them much, so he zaps Kirk, Spock and Bones and they fall unconscious. They wake up alone in a room where it takes Bones far longer to wake up than it took Spock or Kirk. So it's at this point where Kirk is forced to explain to Spock Bones' fatal condition. Bones finally wakes up and now everything is out in the open. Except for what's up with this underground city in this asteroid space ship? That's when a creepy old guy comes in raving about how he his world is hollow and he has touched the sky, yadda yadda... He doubles over in pain and dies.

Then the Priestess comes in and explains that the old guy was breaking the law or something and not to worry about him. So, while Spock and Kirk go sneak around, Bones stays behind to talk to the Priestess and get on her good side. He succeeds because after a while she asks him to marry her. Meanwhile, Kirk and Spock sneak into the Oracle room and find a map of the Fabrina solar system which was wiped out when their sun went nova. He postulates that these people are survivors from that planet. The Priestess walks in and Kirk and Spock hide behind the map. She asks the Oracle if she can marry Bones, but the Oracle finds Spock and Kirk.
Because this was a good place to hide.
The Oracle zaps Kirk and Spock and says that they have to leave, but Bones can stay and marry the Priestess if he becomes one of the people and wears an instrument of obedience. After making sure that Bones is sure of his decision, Kirk and Spock beam back up and Bones goes on with the ceremony. As one of the people, he learns that there is a book hidden behind the map that tells all of the world's secrets. Presumably, it's like an operator's manual. And when he tries to relay this information to Kirk, he gets a pain in his head. His instrument of obedience goes off and he doubles over in pain.


Kirk and Spock beam down and Spock removes the instrument of obedience despite the Priestess's objections. With Bones feeling better, they all go back to the Oracle room and take a look at this special book. But the Oracle gets pissed and heats up the room. Spock quickly looks through the book and eventually finds that they can move the Oracle to access a room behind it. When they access the room, they stop the room from overheating and learn all they need to redirect the asteroid away from the inhabited world and toward their world of promise.
Is it hot in here, or is it just me?
All that's left is the marriage between the Priestess and Bones. Bones says he has a renewed vigor to go out and find a cure for xenopolycythemia, but the Priestess says that her place is to stay behind with her people. So they part on sad, amiable terms. And then Spock discovers that the people who made this ship had a cure to xenopolycythemia. Bones leaves before anyone has a chance to tell the Priestess.

Overall Thoughts
Here we get some development in Kirk/Bones/Spock as the best friends. The only thing that bugs me is the relationship between Bones and the Priestess. It really should not have happened so quickly. Sure, they only have an hour to tell the story, and maybe this is a failing of all these episodic programs, but it just wasn't believable. I never felt that Bones or the Priestess actually loved each other. Otherwise, it was a pretty good story about saving a civilization from certain doom.