12/19/11

Star Trek: Asterisk "Observer Effect"

Vital Information
Series: Enterprise
Episode: S04E11
Air Date: January 21, 2005
Written by: Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens
Directed by: Mike Vejar

Premise
A couple of Organians inhabit several different bodies of the crew in order to observe how they handle a life-threatening disease.

Review
While Reed and Travis are playing chess in the officer's lounge, it becomes apparent that something is wrong when Travis suddenly seems not only interested, but extremely well-versed in and good at the game. At first you think "Oh, no, this can't be a Travis episode, can it?" And then "Hm... maybe he suddenly became interesting?" And then "Oh, I see... it's not really Travis. All is well, nothing has changed!" And then you actually listen to what they're talking about. No one has ever gone through this region of space without contracting some kind of illness and dying??

Well, it turns out Hoshi and Trip are coming back from some kind of mission, and on the way Trip develops a cough. Doesn't seem like much at first. But then he doubles over in pain and passes out from coughing. Hoshi decides that might be a good time to take the wheel. When they reach the Enterprise, they are immediately taken to the Sexy, Sexy Decon Chamber - a place we haven't actually seen in a very long time - except it's not really that sexy this time.
So... Wanna make out?
Hoshi and Trip have a highly contagious silicon-based disease, so they can't leave the Sexy, Sexy Decon Chamber until Phlox can come up with some kind of cure. In the meantime, Phlox gives them something to deal with the symptoms and make sure they safe and secure away from the rest of the crew.

Then the Organians inside of Reed and Travis start talking about the need to do some better observations. This is, apparently, a mission that, if successful, will end in First Contact between Organians and Humans. They just have to figure out if Humans are advanced enough to operate on their level. With this in mind, they switch over to Phlox and T'Pol's bodies and go creep out Hoshi and Trip.
Because you were home.
Then they go back to sick bay to see what Phlox was working on. When they leave Phlox and T'Pol, the two have no memory whatsoever of being possessed. The Organians explain later that it's no big deal to screw around with our memories. Which turns out to be perfect in the end (I'll explain why later). They go back into Reed and Travis, but when they decide that they need a little more privacy, they make the biggest mistake of their life.

Hoshi and Trip had been sedated. But apparently sedation doesn't work on bodies that have been possessed by Organians. The foolish Organians decide to speak with each other while in Hoshi and Trip's bodies and Phlox sees them sitting up and speaking when they should be unconscious. The Organians realize they're being watched, so they go into T'Pol and Archer in order to confront Phlox for some more information and then erase his memory.

After that, Hoshi goes into cardiac arrest. Phlox and Archer decide they need to take her and Trip to sick bay, so they suit up in a decon suit, close off the area between the Sexy, Sexy Decon Chamber and carry the two of them over. Phlox says he'll need to take off his gloves to work properly, but Archer tells him not to and takes of his own gloves, exposing himself to the virus and allowing Phlox to tell him what he needs to do to save Hoshi. So now Archer is sick, Trip is far advanced in the disease and Hoshi is dying. Well, it doesn't take long for Hoshi to just plain die. And all the while, the Organians are watching inside the bodies of Reed and Travis.

Finally, the Organian inside Travis decides that they're doing the wrong thing and moves into Trip. Trip sits up, baffling archer. He explains to Archer that he's an Organian and has been observing for a while, but Archer is furious that they have the ability to help and never did. It gets even more creepy when the other Organian inhabits Hoshi who's supposed to be dead. This tells Archer that they can even raise people back to life! He begs with them to help out, but they refuse... for a while.

Eventually, they show compassion and bring Hoshi back to life and get rid of the disease completely, but then they erase everyone's memory. As far as they're concerned, the disease is just miraculously gone and no one knows anything about any Organians. As they Organians walk away in the bodies of Reed and Travis, they contemplate one day making First Contact. The one in Reed, who has been underestimating Humanity the entire time, claims it may take as many as five thousand years to make preparations.

Overall Thoughts
This one is pretty good. We have a species that we know from The Original Series meeting Humanity for the first time and then erasing their memory of them. It's kind of too bad the Ferengi didn't have that ability. We have some getting-to-know-you time between Trip and Hoshi and some real peril to kinda worry about. For some reason it doesn't especially stick out in my head as an awesome episode, but we do get some Organian lore, so it's good for that. I say, put it on the watch list!