9/11/11

Star Trek: Asterisk "The Crossing"

Vital Information
Series: Enterprise
Episode: S02E18
Air Date: April 2, 2003
Written by: Rick Berman & Brannon Braga
Directed by: David Livingston

Premise
Non-corporeal beings try to switch minds with the Enterprise crew because they think they can make a better series... Oh, and something about being able to touch things

Review
It starts with Enterprise being swallowed by a huge space whale docking station-sized starship. Now, at first, knowing that this episode is about non-corporeal beings, you start to wonder "what do non-corporeal beings need with a starship?" Right? Well... you will find no answers here.

Inside the belly of the beast, the crew finds space enough to fit about 50 Enterprises, and floating around are little blue wisps of energy. When an away team finds its way to the bottom of the huge compartment they realize that they're dealing with intelligent beings when the compartment suddenly changes to a breathable atmosphere. And then one of the wisps approaches Trip. It enters into his head and a yellowish wisp comes out. For a moment Trip acts as though he is not himself, and then the yellowish wisp comes back, the blue wisp comes out and he's fine again... with an incredible story about how he was back at home in Florida.

When he gets back to the Enterprise, Trip, king of underwear, is promptly instructed to strip down to his Starfleet issue blue undershirt and enter the Sexy, Sexy Decon Chamber. Phlox doesn't seem to find anything wrong with him, and neither does any female and/or gay male crewman. He has come up exactly how he went down: sexy. Phlox does note, however, that finding oneself at home is a common hallucination.
"There doesn't appear to be any trace of hallucinogenic drugs,
but I'd like to make a full examination at approximately
1620 hours this afternoon."
After Trip is considered fit for duty, the wisp returns. This time for longer. And this time the wisp explains its intentions. These wisps used to have corporeal form long ago, but have evolved into wisps. They are explorers just like the Enterprise crew and wish to see what it's like to have a physical form; to touch, hear, see, etc. He explains that while he's in Trip's body, trip is off exploring the non-corporeal way of life.

Well, then things just get creepy. Explorers? Sure, that's understandable, but then the wisps start taking crew bodies left and right like they own the place. It's like they have manifest destiny over physical bodies.
That wasn't funny.
Crew that have started "acting strangely," are sent to their quarters and put under guard. Frantically searching for something that Travis can do, they have him run into the catwalk while a wisp is chasing him to use his body. The shielding for the catwalk appears to keep the little buggers out, so the crew relocates to the catwalk for the second time in the same season. Also Phlox is incompatible with the wisps? Go figure.

The first sign of hostility comes when a wisp in control of Hoshi attacks Phlox. After that, T'Pol suggests she allows one of the wisps to take her so that she can learn their motives. She believes she can hold the wisp back from completely taking over her body because she's a Vulcan and Vulcans can do that sort of thing. When she makes the connection she learns that their ship is deteriorating and that they need physical forms in order to survive. Because non-corporeal beings need either a ship or a body, and they can't take Enterprise, oh no!

So then they come up with a plan to temporarily "kill" everyone who has been affected by a wisp by flooding the vents with carbon dioxide. This would force the wisps out of the bodies and they could then be revived. Phlox is able to do this by wearing a space suit with suitable air and shutting down the air supply with his magical ability to not be affected by the wisps.

Needless to say, the plan works. The only hitch is when a wisp breaks through the catwalk barrier and takes control of Trip who then makes his way to attack Phlox. But by then it's too late. He gets a good punch in, but then faints. Phlox brings the air back to normal, Trip gets back up and they all live happily ever after and learn a valuable lesson about how wisps work.

Overall Thoughts
There are plenty of overpowering problems with this episode. It is never clear why the wisps need a body since they were just floating around the ship just fine. It's never clear what the ship is or why they need it. It's never clear if Travis ever actually went back to Florida to eat a BBQ dinner. Really, I just want some of those ribs. Hey, Tucker family, I live in Florida, too - how about hooking me up?