Captain's Blog pt. 75: For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky

After the strenuous textual discourse of last post and in anticipation of tomorrow's double-sized post, let's do something light this time around.

Title: (2.5) It's not an especially good fit for the story we get; it's just so over the top you have to tip your cap.

Chapeau, you mad bastards.
Script/ Theme: (4.5 / 5) Not the most impressive numbers, there. But I can't imagine my collection without it is the quick answer for why it's been included here.

I do like seeing Bones get a love story, although there's never any question of his staying on Yonada with Natira or succumbing to the xenopolycythemia.

Once you remove the tension supposedly generated by such plot twists, what's left? A quiet story set in space. With colorful costumes. And a talking obelisk. And an asteroid.

From the "Michelle Erica Green" department: "Why are the women wearing provocative gowns when only the priestess is allowed to choose her own mate?"

I'm not exactly sure I'd refer to the non-Natira lady outfits we see as "provocative."
This lady in particular looks like she's wearing a housecoat.  Maybe Ms. Green and I just have different thresholds for provocative wear. I probably should've put this in Visual Design, eh?
I've given Zack Handlen's TOS re-watch some grief over the course of this series. He nails this one pretty well, though: "'Hollow' suffers from a major deficit in urgency. We have two deadlines - the asteroid arriving at an inhabited planet, and McCoy's illness."

"McCoy's got a year; Yonada won't actually get anywhere for 396 days. So, um, who cares? That's more than enough time for a whole army of Federation ships to arrive and plenty of time for Kirk to talk McCoy out of the wedding. (...) The computer that runs Yonada is nasty, to be sure, but it never feels all that powerful, even when it kills an old man for saying the episode's title out loud."

"This could've been alleviated by interesting characters, or a cool design aesthetic, but once you get past the concept of a world inside an asteroid there's not much to see."

"You know McCoy is coming back, you know he'll be cured, and you know that the computer will be defeated. About the only question is whether Natira will make it to the end credits, and happily, she does - which means McCoy, unlike Kirk, isn't a widower."

I think this might have been the first time I ever came across the space ark concept, so maybe it became embedded in memory simply for that. Natira's an interesting lady from an interesting place, sure. Not exactly set-the-world-on-fire material, that, but hey, let's let the Doctor have his romantic holiday under the shadow of certain (well, for a little while) death. I guess Yonada's imminent destruction is meant to parallel McCoy's? That could definitely be fleshed out a bit.

"Prepare for the insertion of the instrument of obedience."
Visual Design: (2) The costumes are pretty wild. Bill Theiss really knew what he was doing in that Trek sweatshop on the Paramount lot. 

There's one odd people-under-the-stairs camera angle that really calls attention to itself around ten minutes in or so:

And while the set's rather sparse, the Oracle and its backroom area (obviously, the redressed main set) are certainly functional enough.

Kirk and the Gang: (20) A few extra points for DeForest Kelley's performance. Bones is such a pivotal character in TOS, and maybe Kelley doesn't always get the praise he should for bringing the character to life so consistently and subtly. Almost (almost) makes me want to break out Night of the Lepus.

"No, but I've seen the book that contains all the knowledge of the creators."
Poor Christine.

Guest: (3) 
Jon Lormer makes his final TOS appearance.
Image courtesy of Memory-Alpha. (I don't always give credit. I should. It's been a point of pride to grab almost all my own screencaps, but I occasionally mix in some Memory-Alpha or Trekcore pics. These guys do good work.)
The guest of honor:

aka ex-Mrs.-John-Steed:

Memorability: I suppose there's some slight "Oh that's the one where McCoy gets married, right?" recognition factor, but overall, I'd say it's fairly off-the-radar. Maybe the title is bombastic enough to bump it a half-point. I'll go with (2.)

Interior Logistics: (2.25) I'm not sure why the Fabrini (aka the Cree-ators) felt the need to hide the purpose of their starship? Maybe that was a late-innings improvisation.

Food for Thought: Buckminster Fuller's Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth was published just around the time Rik Vollaerts got the idea for this episode. Interesting to keep that in mind (or at hand, if you have it, which I do not. I read it years back and quite enjoyed it but it's been awhile) while watching.

Total Points Awarded: 41.25


  1. I don't know that it holds up to much scrutiny, but this is an episode I've always loved. It may simply be that I'm a sucker for a love story, but it's probably that combined with the fact that I'm a sucker for McCoy, PLUS a sucker for Big Weird Spaceship stories. Can I help it if I'm an easy mark?

    There's a Trek novel I'm dying to read -- although not enough to actually READ it yet, evidently -- called "Ex Machina" which returns to Yonada. Even better: it does so as an immediate sequel to "The Motion Picture," and evidently deals with the cultural fallout created on Yonada by the events of that movie. Sounds fascinating.

    1. Ex Machina's on my list, as well.

    2. As if any more prompting is needed for the necessity of a King's Highway/Captain's Blog crossover entry, frequent TOS guest-star Jon Lormer (aka the old man in this episode)appears as deceased miser Nathan Grantham in the segment entitled "Father's Day" from Stephen King's "Creepshow." Who can forget "It's Father's Day Bedelia ... and I want my cake!!"

    3. Holy crap! That IS Nathan Grantham!


    4. I meant to mention that, verdammt! I need an editor. Thank you!

  2. I always thought of this episode as a incredibly average. There's nothing about it that makes you groan or cover your eyes, embarrassed for the cast. But there's not much there to keep the viewer interested either.

    I agree with the reviewer who said the script lacks urgency. I agree with you when you say we know Bones is going to survive.

    I always watch this one when once every two or three years I watch the whole series (with just a few exceptions) all the way through. But it just passes the time. It never engages.