Here Trek nearly crosses that shaky bridge into soap opera. We've got the love at first sight, the incurable disease, the impulsive and reckless decision to abandon a career for love, the miracle cure, etc. This is not the worst Trek episode ever, but it's pretty bad, and mostly feels more like some other show. Perhaps that's because neither writer, director, nor producer have any real experience with the format.
There's a sci-fi aspect to it all, of course, but the plot is filled with so many holes that you almost have to ignore it in order to speak intelligently about the episode. Just some of the plot questions: Why did this asteroid fire missiles at the Enterprise? How do they know that the asteroid is not destined for the planet they are on a direct course (check that, "collision course") to? Why does the oracle zap them sometimes and bake them others? Just how does Spock find the right page so quickly in that phone book-sized asteroid manual (oh yeah, it's "indexed")?
Then, of course, there is the amazing lack of chemistry between Kelley and Woodville. Kelley is a great actor, but leading man? Not really. His screen kissing looks terribly awkward -- like he's afraid to break his co-star's lips. (Of course, he was probably just trying to avoid the censored open mouth kiss...) It's nice that the creative team decided to feature McCoy, but this particular vehicle is something of a waste since it calls on skills that Kelley doesn't really have.
It also appears that much of the creative team is now running on auto-pilot. The sets are nice in a "we've seen that before" sort of way, and only rise above average in the oracle room. The Febrini writing is genuinely convincing. (Has some fan transcribed this language yet?) The costumes, save for Matira's Theiss classic, are laughable -- bright colors cannot disguise the fact that we've seen those terrible hats before. Anderson provides some nice special effects, including the opening shot of torpedoes, the colorful zapping effect, and the asteroid shots (recycled with different lighting from "The Paradise Syndrome"). And despite its plot-killing role, the baking effect is very nicely done as well.
In all of the tedium, however, there is one lovely moment. Jon Wormer, who guest starred in the original pilot (also in "Return of the Archons"), plays an old man who has "touched the sky." Clearly the musical staff is still paying attention, because they bring back one of the pilot's signature musical themes (which hasn't been heard for quite some time) to accompany his scene. The moment means little to the story, but it serves as a bittersweet reminder of what Trek once was.
Though the premise had some potential, the story and script, typically the heart of good Trek, are as hollow as the world they describe.
Rating: Bottom (6)