7/22/11

Star Trek: Asterisk "Vox Sola"

Vital Information
Series: Enterprise
Episode: S01E22
Air Date: May 1, 2002
Written by: Fred Dekker
Directed by: Roxann Dawson

Premise
Spider-Man shoots some webbing at the Enterprise and it grows a mind of its own.

Review
We start out trying to learn the language of a new species who seems to be extremely insulted for some reason. The universal translator isn't working with their language, however, so Hoshi and Archer are having a very difficult time trying to figure out why they're angry. Eventually, the aliens leave, but before the airlock closes, a white, web-like, parasitic life form sneaks through the door. It's like the opposite of the parasite that creates Venom and Black-Suit Spider-Man. And it looks just like webbing. So, basically, the only one who can save the day is Peter Parker. And he's all the way back on Earth.

The next couple acts play out like a normal day on the Enterprise. Archer gets Hoshi working on translating the alien language so they can go back and apologize, there's a movie playing for some of the crew, and Trip even gets Archer to sit down and watch the latest water polo game. All the while, the webbing is creeping around the ship and getting into Jeffery's tubes and air vents and stuff. Eventually the webbing starts affecting how the ship works. The movie gets interrupted, there's an annoying sound in the communications, Porthos goes into Warn & Attack mode, stuff like that. The sequences do build up some tension quite effectively, but they're not really worth going into detail about. We do learn, though, that Archer is a water polo fanatic and that T'Pol has a negative effect on Hoshi's confidence.

Enter the redshirt, Crewman Rostov. While investigating the annoying communications noise, he spots some webbing on the ground of the cargo bay. And what do you do when you see some crazy white webbing moving with a mind of its own in the middle of a dark cargo bay? Obviously, you go closer.
Seems legit.
Well, he gets caught. Then he calls his girlfriend, she gets caught, but not before getting Archer's attention. And now the hunt is on! Archer's pretty miffed about having to miss his precious water polo game, but his crew is more important. He takes Reed and Trip and heads down to the cargo bay to save the day!

And they all promptly get trapped.
Mission Accomplished!
Well, Reed escapes, and he effectively takes part of the webbing with him by severing it off using a closing door. So, now it's up to Phlox to figure out what this thing is made of. And Reed, being the weapons officer, is all for destroying it and zapping it with phase pistols. But this is where it turns into a Hoshi episode...

After Reed tries to zap it, which makes it tighten its grip on the captain and crew, Phlox finds out the webbing is intelligent! So now it's Hoshi's job to figure out how to communicate with it. This becomes difficult when T'Pol, who has been on her back all day about translating the other aliens' language, is now on her back about figuring out the webbing's language. And when Hoshi finds out that the webbing language is more like a mathematical equation, now she and T'Pol, the math genius, have to work together.

In the meantime, Mayweather is on his way trying to find those aliens so they can 1) apologize and 2) ask them where the frak this webbing came from. So, obviously, Hoshi is working overtime trying to figure out both languages, right? Uhhh.... Well, as soon as Mayweather finds the other aliens they speak to him in some clear, unaccented English. What?!
"We learned your language. It wasn't hard"
once we understood the concept of... "plot devices."
Well, it turns out they don't like it when people eat in public because it looks like sex. Mayweather apologizes for that, and then the aliens tell him where the webbing came from.

Meanwhile, T'Pol and Hoshi have a heart-to-heart in which T'Pol tells Hoshi that she is a valuable member of the team and is capable of so much more than she allows. And this is, apparently, all it took for Hoshi to figure out exactly how the webbing talks.

Oh! And there are force fields now! When Phlox gives Reed a stern talking-to about killing the webbing since it's intelligent, Reed gets to work on these newfangled force fields he'd been hearing about back on Earth. Once he figures them out, he uses them so that they can get in front of the webbing without the webbing coming after them. With Universal Translator in hand, Hoshi steps in front of the force field along with Reed and T'Pol and they successfully convince the webbing to let their people go.

After that, it's off to the webbing's home world. They shuttle down to the planet and let the webbing go to find out that this webbing covers almost the entire planet as a single organism. And they all live happily ever after and learn a valuable lesson about water polo.

Overall Thoughts
This was actually pretty good. At first I was a little miffed that they were revisiting Hoshi's lack of self-confidence since I thought that was over, but this actually added a nice knot at the end of that arch. And I am pleased. We're nearing the end of the first season now, so as long as this is the end of that, and we open season 2 on a confident and secure communications officer, then this episode will not have been a waste.