Enterprise Review: “Vanishing Point”

Emerging from my tryptophane-induced coma I bring you my lastest review!

Enterprise LogoVanishing
Point

 

Cast & Crew

Director: David Straiton
Written By: Rick Berman & Brannon Braga

Starring
Scott Bakula as Captain
Jonathan Archer
Connor Trinneer as Chief
Engineer Charles Tucker III
Jolene Blalock as Sub-commander
T’Pol
Dominic Keating as Lt.
Malcolm Reed
Anthony Montgomery
as Ensign Travis Mayweather
Linda Park as Ensign Hoshi
Sato
John Billingsley
as Dr. Phlox

Guest Cast
Keone Young as Hoshi’s Father
Gary Riotto as Alien #1
Morgan H. Margolis as Crewman Baird
Ric Sarabia as Alien #2
Carly Thomas as Alison

Airdate Information

Originally Aired: Nov. 27, 2002
Season: Two
Episode: Ten
Production: 036

Vanishing PointWhat
Happened

Following her first experience in the transporter, a series of eerie events
leads Hoshi to question whether she is the same person. Feeling fearful and
helpless, Hoshi becomes unsure of herself wondering if she is losing her mind,
or if the transporter has somehow changed her, or if there is an alien threat
behind all of these bizarre happenings suddenly taking place.

Review

It’s a character focus episode that doesn’t go much of anywhere. There are
some bright spots, but it drags its way around the hour without covering much
ground. The “surprise” ending is standard B&B stuff that they
employed ad nauseum throughout Voyager’s run.

I seem
to remember a time (circa TNG/DS9) when character-focused episodes gave deeper
(often darker) shading to our regular cast. Was it so wrong that they f***ed
with that formula?

High Point

Trip’s soliloquy, mourning Hoshi. We get to see the pains of command as well
as the loss of a friend.

Low Point

Was it me, or did Hoshi’s father just come off as stupid, rather than unbelieving?
You’d like a child prodigy like our Ens. Sato would have brighter roots. As
it stood, the entire scene was just unwatchable.

The Scores

Originality: There are days I wonder if any of the writers have watched TOS.
Didn’t we see this in “The
Tholian Web
?” 3 out 6.

Effects: Nothing other than Hoshi fading in and out and walking through walls.
I think I can that with some cheap home editing software. 2 out of 6.

Story: I know each cast member is supposed to get a focus, just can’t we do
it a little better? 4 out of 6.

Acting: Linda Park (Hoshi) isn’t nearly as irritating as last season, though
there’s still room for improvement. 4 out of 6.

Emotional Response: Anyone who didn’t figure this out to be a dream sequence
raise your hand. That’s what I thought. 3 out of 6.

Production: Alien makeup was cool, so were the ruins. 4 out of 6.

Overall: Not too bad, but we didn’t get much action or character development
or story progression. It was just there. 4 out of 6.

Total: 24 out of 42

Episode Media

From StarTrek.com

Next Time on Enterprise (Dec. 4, 2002)

Next Time on EnterpriseCarbon
Creek

T’Pol tells Archer and Trip a story about her great-grandmother T’Mir and three
other Vulcans who made first contact with humans after crash landing in a small
Pennsylvania town in the 1950s. T’Pol’s story shocks Archer and Trip because
her account is much earlier and very different from what history books reported.

TheAngrymob

20 replies on “Enterprise Review: “Vanishing Point””

  1. OrangeCarrot says:

    Next Ep Dec 4th?
    Did they change the day or did you mean December 4th (Wednesday)?

    • theangrymob says:

      Re: Next Ep Dec 4th?

      Did they change the day or did you mean December 4th (Wednesday)?

      Whoops, my bad. That should be the 4th. Good call.

  2. marc says:

    Deja vu
    When I was watching the episode, I thougth they had some kind of transporter accident as in “The Next Phase”, where she was phasing to another phase and the aliens used the phase as cloacking.

    Well I guess the authors can say they intended this, but original is different, it’s mainly telling the same story over and over again, but with a different (hm) ending…

    This ep was definately a low point in the series, …

    • theangrymob says:

      Re: Deja vu

      This ep was definately a low point in the series, …

      I wouldn’t go that far. Yes it was bad. For worse, check out the rerun of “Carbon Creek” this Wednesday. Far worse if you ask me.

  3. Jethro says:

    Boooooooring
    I told my wife right at the begining “Think this is all happening while she’s being transported?” It was really the only way to explain everything – it’s not really happening.

    As for Hoshi’s dad – consider that this wasn’t actually happening. Hoshi was imagining it. I’m sure she has some deep psychological fear of her own death, and it got reflected onto her father. I’d like to think that if Archer ever has to tell someone a crewmember died (has this happened yet? Or didn’t they invent redshirts till TOS?) he’d do a better job.

  4. SciFi0964 says:

    Would that I have not seen it
    As a get to know the character story I found this had its moments. Hoshi showed herself to be an unassuming, patient person to be calm after being ignored so many times. It got me to wondering if that is why her “dream” came to be. In reality it happens on occation.

    The overall means to the character developement of the story, a slight skew of older Trek stories, did not impress me at all. ie> Transporter mishap causes problem.

    The final revelation that Hoshi was in a waking dream because she was trapped in the transporter buffer had me saying “what tha F*&@” for two reasons. First, Isn’t a dream supposed to occur when one is asleep? Sounds to me like getting caught in the transporter causes hallucinations, not dreams. Second, the reaction of the crew; blase’ reactions that a fellow member experienced hallucinations during transport. Wouldn’t you look twice at the device that caused another to hallucinate during transport or be more concerned about that crewmember?

    Ah well, things to ponder, dream, hallucinate, whatever…[hummmm]

  5. rickyjames says:

    Dream Sequence? What Dream Sequence?
    It never occurred to me this was a dream sequence and I’m surprised everybody here is willing to consider that possibility. In 35 years of ST there has NEVER been a hint that you can feel anything imaginary like a dream during transport (how could you? it freezes you to make the copy!) and LOTS of eps where weird transporter effects are REAL. I thought this was real, too – parallel universe time brought on by the storm. The parallel universe Hoshi REALLY BECAME green goop and our Hoshi really took her place for a while before fading out in BOTH universes. Most importantly, the parallel Enterprise became exploded space junk about five seconds after Hoshi stepped on the alien transport pad, which is the force that tipped the balance to allow our Enterprise to recover her. The fact that our Enterprise people don’t acknowledge any of this is because they have no significant experience yet with transporter anomolies – the mirror Enterprise, however, did – that’s what the Cyrus bit was all about. Again, denying the darker side of ST (somewhere, a real Enterprise was lost) only makes it a kiddie show instead of a true adult drama. As for Hoshi’s dad, and Archer’s turning away from an SOS – bad character writing, bad character writing, bad character writing. B&B, B&B, B&B. The high point of the ep? Phlox saying HE’D never step into that thing!!!

  6. KILNA says:

    Transporter accident!
    Last week: Transporter accident.
    Next week: Doppelganger!

  7. Boglin says:

    Irony
    At the beginning of the episode, I remarked to oneof my fellow Trekker, “Wouldn’t it be great if they did an episode about some who gets a neurosis about the transporter, and no one believes them, but at the end of the episode it turns out that the transporter is just find and that the person really is just neurotic?”

    It didn’t go quite the way I envisioned it, but I thought it was original in it’s unoriginality. Kind of like the episode idea where the crew takes a vacation on Risa and everyone has a good time.

    • Kaki says:

      Re: Irony

      At the beginning of the episode, I remarked to oneof my fellow Trekker, “Wouldn’t it be great if they did an episode about some who gets a neurosis about the transporter, and no one believes them, but at the end of the episode it turns out that the transporter is just fine and that the person really is just neurotic?”

      Ah yes, I was hoping (in what I knew to be my wild dreams) that we were going to see some serious transporter psychosis. Barclay feared it, and I thought this would be a great way to make a subtle but real link between Enterprise and TNG. At the end of the shoe Hoshi could have ended up needing to take some medication for the rest of her life to stay sane, leaving open the possibilty of her becoming a jibbering loon at some random point (or slowly as she builds a tolerance to the drug).

      It could have been attributed to the storm. Then no one wants to use the transporter in anything but the clearest of skies for years to come, making it a little less helpful in some tight situations.

      However, I never believed it would come close to happening. Because Enterprise sucks too much to do something cool like permanently scar a crewmember. Hell, they can’t even kill some worse-than-usual Klingons. No blood on this show, it wouldn’t be PC.

      This is supposed to be the early days of space exploration, I want to see the ship limping home after loosing a third of the crew to weird space monsters. The transporter is supposed to be a somewhat dangerous, I want to see mangled limbs. Even use it as a threat…”well, you aliens could leave peacefully, or we could beam you out, and if you’ve heard anything about us humans, it should have been that our transporters are a bit spotty most days.”

      Whatever, Enterprise sucks. Hope they kick B&B and it gets better.

      • GrimSean says:

        Re: Irony

        This is supposed to be the early days of space exploration, I want to see the ship limping home after loosing a third of the crew to weird space monsters. The transporter is supposed to be a somewhat dangerous, I want to see mangled limbs. Even use it as a threat…”well, you aliens could leave peacefully, or we could beam you out, and if you’ve heard anything about us humans, it should have been that our transporters are a bit spotty most days.”

        Whatever, Enterprise sucks. Hope they kick B&B and it gets better.

        You know why I still watch ER even though there’s only one person (in the main cast) who’s been there right through?
        Because they have the balls to kill off/get rid of/seriously hurt main characters in the name of plot development. I was kind of hoping something like that would happen last night… but no such luck – it was all just a dream.

        I think it would give Enterprise a much needed shot in the arm if they did get the crap kicked out of them by someone. Anyone. I’d like some cat-and-mouse games with the Klingons or Romulans (not cloaked mines, I’m talking Warbirds, lots and lots of Warbirds) – that would be seriously interesting. The Suliban just aren’t cutting it, in fact, this whole temporal cold war thing should just cause a paradox and wipe out the entire last two seasons – probably be the only good to come of it

        Of course, anything would be better than the stuff they’re giving us now.

      • unordained says:

        Re: Irony
        i really was quite sad this wasn’t a tie-in (directly) to the barclay episode with the three (or four?) crewmembers trapped in the plasma cloud, appearing as monsters in the beam. that episode of tng showed that you can experience -stuff- while in the transporter (not dreams … unless you fall asleep awfully quickly) but also referred to transporter psychosis, was it? something that used to happen, and hadn’t been seen for a while? seeing things, blue tingling feeling on body parts … so hoshi goes transparent — bah, almost the same thing, right? … but no, they had to just drag out a 15-minute episode and make it … less than amusing. at least barclay had emotional value. sort of. damn veggie. it would be -really- nice to see tie-ins to more ‘future’ episodes, but perhaps not with “someday, we’ll have something … a [sort of prime] directive … to tell us [what to do in those situations].”

  8. Daemonik says:

    Problems
    The scene where Phlox dabs a strip into the goo on the floor and declares “Hoshi’s parents will want this” really bugged me. For one, he didn’t even attempt to remove all of the “remains” of what was supposed to be a valued crew member. I guess the rest of her was destined to be swabbed off the deck by some mop jockey. For another, what did he intend on doing, putting the swab in a test tube, handing it to her parents with a “My condolences”??

    Then there was the SOS message. M’kay, Hoshi is no longer in phase with our physical universe, causing her to pass through objects. So how does she manipulate a light by sticking her hand in it? And why doesn’t she pass through the floor? Gotta love Trek physics.

    Finally, how many friggen times do you have to say “molecules” in one episode?? If she was losing cohesion, wouldn’t it have been on the atomic or sub-atomic level rather than the molecular?

    At least Hoshi was allowed to keep her tank top and sweats on, T’Pol would have been reduced running around the ship in daisy dukes and a halter showing off her thong. Hrmmm, do Vulcans have trailer trash?

    • theangrymob says:

      Re: Problems

      For another, what did he intend on doing, putting the swab in a test tube, handing it to her parents with a “My condolences”??

      There were more than a few nit-picks that, unfortunately, we can’t bitch about too much because it was all “a dream.” :p

  9. Trekkie says:

    Yawn.
    you know it’s dragging when you’re checking the TiVo to see how much is left.

    I didn’t think she was trapped in the buffer, but I knew it was some kind of dream thing.

    Either she’s an incredibly good actor and plays a whiny character real well, or her personality fits the profile. I remember commenting to my wife when she was whining about the transporter on how someone that good at so many languages, and being selected for the only warp 5 ship in the fleet wouldn’t have been allowed on in the real world. Way to competitive. This character needs to grow up, or get shot, and soon. It was funny when Bones bitched about the transporter, but with her way of whining, it’s annoying. Probably because we all know it ‘works’ so to speak.

  10. Kinryuu says:

    OMG!
    They made one of those crappy trapped in the holodeck episodes without having a holodeck! How original!

    • theangrymob says:

      Re: OMG!

      They made one of those crappy trapped in the holodeck episodes without having a holodeck! How original!

      Sweet mother of Gene Roddenberry! They did!

      • Mista J says:

        Re: OMG!
        Didn’t they do this on TNG with Ro and La Forge? The whole “It didn’t really happen” thing was… convenient. I kept thinking the same thing in this Enterprise episode as I did in that TNG one. I was just thinking if she could pass through things then why the heck doesn’t she just pass through the ship and float off into space? Damn science.

        • Trekkie says:

          Re: OMG!

          Didn’t they do this on TNG with Ro and La Forge?

          Heh, I was thinking the same thing. That was what I assumed is she was ‘phased out’ like Ro and Laforge were in TNG.

          However it became quite apparent that wasn’t the case when the mysterious aliens were blowing up the ship. I always find it amusing that there can be extra lifesigns on a ship and no one notices.

          I really enjoyed the ‘walk through walls and ceiling’ but not the ‘fall through the floor and able to ride the turbo lift.

          • Eldhrin says:

            Re: OMG!

            Heh, I was thinking the same thing. That was what I assumed is she was ‘phased out’ like Ro and Laforge were in TNG.

            However it became quite apparent that wasn’t the case when the mysterious aliens were blowing up the ship. I always find it amusing that there can be extra lifesigns on a ship and no one notices.

            I really enjoyed the ‘walk through walls and ceiling’ but not the ‘fall through the floor and able to ride the turbo lift.

            I like some of the bits of ‘old’ technology – in that their sensors aren’t very good – but then there are parts where they’re far, far better than they’re supposed to be. It would be nice to have some consistency please!!!
            Would’ve been better not to have had the transporter at all at the start of the show, maybe installed it in the middle of the second season or something.
            It’s like in Vox Sola when Malcom just happens to perfect the forcefield which Starfleet techs have been working on for decades with little success.

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