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On TV Today's Date:

original airdate: 10-15-03

Space. It's a pretty scary place. These are the newly re-imagined voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its new, yet old mission: to explore strange new worlds, to stop the Xindi from destroying Earth, to boldly follow in line with every Star Trek series by defying logic for the sake of story… dun dun dun dun dun dunnnnnn! -

On Enterprise we don't get the speech. But we do get stories that sacrifice common sense for dramatic situations, this week being a really good example of that really bad trait.

Hoshi is haunted by a good-looking phantom man, who invites her to his alien planet pad. He promises her if she comes he can help find more information about the dreaded Xindi. Once she convinces herself, and the crew, that she's not crazy, they make a pit stop at the alien's planet.

They know practically nothing about this alien. Hoshi's visions tell her that he's a super smart telepath, living alone on a rigid planet. But that's all they know. He could be lying. It could be a trap. So they take a shuttle pod to the alien surface, armed to the teeth with three whole people! The captain, the weapons officer and Hoshi. Just the right number of people for a kidnapping. Or so I've heard.

They let themselves into the gigantic mansion and wander around. With no weapons. This makes no sense. At any second they can be ambushed, but instead they walk around like they're visiting some old friend's house. Dumb.

Upon meeting Mr. Telepathy, Hoshi feels the pain so many internet daters have known. Or so I've heard. He is definitely not as advertised. Instead of a handsome fit human, he's a squat yellow scaled fellow in a smoking jacket, with a beetle growing out of his head.

Instead of reporting him to Match.com, they discover more about him and his rare gift. He offers to help them find out more about the Xindi if they agree to leave Hoshi on the planet with him.

They should be worried about Hoshi being attacked, about this unknown alien using his abilities to harm her, manipulate her, kill her. Or that the whole thing is a set up from the Xindi. But instead what they are concerned with is his creepy nature. That's it.

Sure, the guy smacks of the nerd on-line who plays EverQuest and makes love to his microwave burrito. But that's no excuse for leaving her alone on his planet while he fondles his telepathic jewels.

But he doesn't want to kill her, he just wants to freak her out. He's explored her mind to the point where he can recreate a hamburger based on her memories of what it tastes like. He knows her darkest secrets and earliest memories. And all she knows is he's weird.

Archer leaves Hoshi to die (or to live uncomfortably with the alien for a few days, whichever character logic you chose to follow). He and T'Pol discover the secret behind the crazy anomalies in the Xindi section of space. There is a second cloaked moon nearby (the first was in "Anomaly" earlier this season). The two moons emit magical beams of energy that somehow make starships' hulls turn to Jell-o.

Trip and Archer make a quick pit stop on the cloaked base, in their newly Trilliam-D enriched shuttle pod to take scans of the orb for T'Pol. This quick cowboy sequence only brings the action level up a notch. It doesn't help today's episode one ounce, but will undoubtedly come into play next time. Thanks to their research T'Pol discovers there are not just two orbs, but actually over fifty. If they can figure out who built them they'll be one step closer to the Xindi… Is anyone else wondering who is No.1?

Back at the main story, Hoshi takes a midnight stroll around the alien's mansion in her rather revealing nightie. After an awkward lesson in telepathy she wanders into the back yard where she finds four graves. They're the final resting places of four previous "companions" that have lived with the 400 year old telepath.

It gets creepier. He tells her that she has no choice but to stay. She'll learn to love him. He even goes so far as to pretend to be Archer and tell her to stay on the planet. In a final act of desperation he commits plagiarism and drains all the energy from Enterprise making it The Day the Starship Stood Still.

Hoshi, being smarter than your average dead girl in a grave, threatens to smash his telepathic jewel, his only connection outside his world. Faced with a lifetime of solitude (after she dies), he gives in and returns her to the ship. Huzzah! But not without him making one final bedroom visit, to give Hoshi insider information about the Xindi.

It's really nice to give Hoshi her own story. She's a fascinating character, with a rare perspective on space exploration. And her ability to learn languages in record time makes her incredibly unique. We don't need her to be a telepath, too.

Next week, we'll be taking Wednesday night off to enjoy the World Series on another network. In the mean time we're left to wonder just how long we'll be hung up on the Xindi without actually fighting them.

Until then, on the alien species scale this episode scored:

Betazoid. NOT because the antagonist is telepathic (although the irony is fitting), but because the characters made choices - like leaving Hoshi alone - in the interest of the dramatic story. Almost as if they could read the writer's minds, instead of having minds of their own…. Sloppy work, really.

Kevin Miller

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