Thursday, July 2, 2009

Star Trek--"For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky"

For all the notions TOS centered too much on Kirk, Sock, and McCoy, the latter was rarely the focus of episodes himself. Even when he was, he was often presented in a bad light. I am thinking specifically of him playing the lovesick fool to the point kirk was nearly killed by the salt vampire in “The Man Trap” and nearly destroying the future in adelirium after accidentally injecting himself with drugs in ’City on the Edge of Forever.” it is a shame, too, considering what a great character it was for DeForest Kelly to play with. Aside from the occasional bright spots, McCoy never got to shine until the move series.

This episode is one of those few bright spots. McCoy is most conspicuous here because the episode itself is just average beyond his character’s facing his mortality after contracting a rare, incorable disease, but soldiering on in his job. The situation playswell into the plot, as the Enterprise encounters an ancient civilization traveling in a generational ship. McCoy, after having been callously refused the right to stay on as ship’s surgeon by Kirk, offers himself as a permanent prisoner there in order for kirk and Spock to be freed. At least McCoy’s final year of life will have meaning.

I have no idea why generational ships are such a fad in science fiction. The concept has never rung my bell. I would probably enjoy the episode more if it did. But the idea of people being on a ship s long they have forgotten their world is a ship is hard enough to believe without interlopers coming in and, after 10,000 years, are able to immediately correct the inhabitants on their misconception. I just cannot swallow it.

There were certain allegorical hints to the Israelites wandering through the wilderness for forty years before reaching the Promised Land with the Book of the People representing the Bible 9I assume), but neither particularly resonated with me, probably because of the cult aspects of the society. No surprise the book just happens to have cure for what ails McCoy. Very convenient.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

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