Director: Tony Leader
Writer: Rik Vollaerts
Cast: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, Kate Woodville, James Doohan, George Takei, Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols, Majel Barrett, Byron Morrow, and Jon Lormer
Composer: George Duning
Air Date: 11/8/1968
Production #: 60043-65
After performing routine health examinations on the Enterprise crew, Dr. McCoy discovers in his system a rare and deadly blood disease called xenopolycythemia. Meanwhile, Captain Kirk locates an inhabited asteroid/spaceship that, if left unaltered, will eventually collide with the planet Daran V. Kirk, Spock, and McCoy beam inside the asteroid, where they are greeted by the Fabrini high priestess Natira (Kate Woodville). Before long, Natira and McCoy develop strong feelings for one another, compelling the latter character to remain on Yonada and prevent his new home from facing certain doom; however, a malevolent god figure known as the Oracle of the People forbids McCoy from averting the asteroid’s impending collision.
“For the World Is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky” should appeal to fans of Star Trek’s more emotional efforts. Notably, this episode draws attention to those characteristics that McCoy normally keeps hidden beneath his rough exterior.
By afflicting the Enterprise’s chief medical officer with an incurable ailment, “For the World Is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky” gave DeForest Kelley a rare opportunity to emphasize the needs and desires of his perpetually stubborn character. For perhaps the first time in the series, McCoy considers leaving behind his professional duties in order to pursue a romance with one he loves—a decision that will no doubt surprise and intrigue those who have become accustomed to the selfless qualities that define McCoy as a person (of course, the doctor’s “selfish” choice is made sympathetic when McCoy utilizes his remaining time by attempting to course correct Yonada before it collides with Daran V).
As indicated above, “For the World Is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky” should be commended for showcasing a more personal side of McCoy than what viewers have been exposed to thus far. In spite of this, Bones’ relationship with Natira fails to exemplify the passion that one would expect of a typical husband-and-wife pair and may struggle to resonate with even the most sensitive of audiences as a result.
Also worth criticizing is the contrived solution to McCoy’s terminal illness, which almost comes across as a mere afterthought following Kirk and Spock’s salvation of the Fabrini people. Perhaps if the preceding events had progressed at a swifter pace, more time could have been allotted to finding a cure for the doctor’s life-threatening disease.
The concept of an oppressive, tyrannical deity preventing knowledge and truth from reaching its subjects is a fascinating one. That being said, the Oracle of the People is never used as an overt commentary on religion as a potential hindrance to social progress, which, whether accurate or not, would have made for a thought-provoking thesis in line with Star Trek’s humanist undertones.
A poignant episode, “For the World Is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky” succeeds as a character-driven piece. Deeper analysis of the Oracle’s motive behind censoring information would have been excellent, though science fiction enthusiasts are nonetheless advised to view this offering for reasons outlined earlier.
Overall Quality: 7/10
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