The Great Star Trek Rewatch: For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky

The Enterprise discovers Yonada, a hollowed out asteroid that has been converted into a spaceship, carrying a civilisation who have lived inside so long that they believe they are on a planet. Whilst Kirk and Spock try to figure out how the asteroid is controlled so that they can stop it colliding with a nearby planet, McCoy, who has recently been diagnosed with a terminal illness, decides to stay on Yonada with the high priestess Natira.

This is a slightly odd episode. It’s like someone had an intriguing idea – a generational hollowed-out asteroid, and then didn’t really know where to go with it. So McCoy is suddenly randomly dying of space AIDS, there’s a beautiful priestess for him to fall in love with, plus a computer control system deliberately keeping its populace ignorant, which is just the kind of thing that Kirk loves to destroy.

Life in Space

First, a couple of points from the previous episode.

  • The Enterprise has an ordnance production facility, presumably for putting matter and antimatter in photon torpedo casings, and perhaps charging up the hand-phasers.
  • Spock has the ability to scan for life forms within the Enterprise – seems like a perfectly sensible thing to have, except that he didn’t have this way back in Court Martial, where they had to use crew heartbeats just to find Finney.

Now, back to this episode.

  • Why did the Oracle keep the Yonadans ignorant? Was it a deliberate decision by the early generations in case some smartarse tried to ‘improve’ things without really understanding what was going on? If everyone was kept obedient and stupid, no one would dare to interfere.
  • Where did all that plaid come from?
  • Did the Enterprise take all the advanced medical knowledge from Yonada, or just the bit they needed to cure McCoy?
  • Natira’s accent seems to alternate between Russian and English throughout the duration of the episode.
  • McCoy says his motivation to leave Yonada is to search the galaxy for a cure – right before finding a cure and leaving anyway. Sorry, Natira!
  • McCoy says he was never happy before this episode, which, considering that he’s supposed to have an ex-wife and daughter, is a bit harsh on them (this fact was in the show bible and is pretty much canon despite the fact that a proposed episode featuring McCoy’s daughter was never actually made). Wasn’t he happy when he got married, even if it did go wrong later? Did the birth of his daughter and her subsequent growing up stir nothing in him?

Summary – For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky: For once, McCoy gets to kiss the girl.

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