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On TV Today's Date:

Vanishing Point
original airdate: 11-27-02

It's a clever name for an episode, if you've ever taken a drawing class. Otherwise, only the first part of the title means anything until this week's wacky mystery is solved.

Warning: This review contains spoilers

We start out on an alien planet, littered with ancient ruins. Hoshi and Tripp snap photos of cryptic drawings left by an anonymous people, when suddenly a polarized storm thrashes down the mountains. Hoshi fights the Captain's orders to use the unreliable transporter technology, but is forced to beam up to the ship. Though she arrives in one piece, she "...doesn't feel right."

And so ends the longest teaser in the history of Enterprise!

When we come back from commercial Hoshi whines "ever since the transporter I don't feel right" so many times she seems stuck in some sort of temporal anomaly. No one listens to her unfounded "feelings" and passes them off as "transporter anxiety."

The next morning she oversleeps, and is three hours late for her duty shift. At this point anyone who didn't think this was a dream episode is sure of it. The rest of her day is filled with bizarre happenings. She fails at her job and is kicked off the bridge, her friends ignore her, and she's got this mobile mole that seems to have moved a centimeter.

Why wouldn't anyone listen to her? Dr. Phlox may be an alien doctor, but he's not dumb, and he knows transporters aren't the most reliable technology in the galaxy.

The crew's ignorance may confuse Hoshi, but the audience isn't dreaming, and we won't fall for such silly tricks. At this point in the episode we feel lied to. All we can do now is wait patiently for Grandpa to give us back our nose, even though we know perfectly well he never really took it in the first place.

Eventually Hoshi becomes completely transparent. The crew can't find her cellular residue or her bio-signs anywhere on the ship.

What they should've been looking for was her shadow. While Hoshi the character may be floating around the ship, Linda Park the actress is still on a set filled with lights. Her shadow cast on people who looked right past her. Perhaps it's too hard for Hoshi to dream a green screen.

There were other technical questions before Hoshi became transparent. In the alien ruins Hoshi catalogued the relics with a camera of some sort. The thing had a flash on it. Apparently HP doesn't make it past the third world war; otherwise they would probably be more sophisticated cameras than the ones Target featured this Thanksgiving weekend.

Also in the future, wouldn't it stand to reason there would be a better way to keep soap? They have the technology to travel through the cosmos but are forced to get soap from a metal pumping dispenser. On other Treks people have taken sonic showers - on Enterprise they take showers in the high school gym.

Hoshi finally wakes up. After facing her fears and beaming on an alien transporter pad, she rematerializes in the transporter room, and learns that much like a season of Dallas, the entire episode was a dream.

Her molecules were suspended within the machine for eight and a half seconds, and during that time her subconscious created the entire scenario. Hence the "Point" part of "Vanishing Point."

It's ironic that the "relay buffers" were the things that forced her into this fantasy, because it was pretty much a relay of TNG's "The Next Phase" in which La Forge and Ro were involved in a transporter accident, and went wandering around the Enterprise, invisible to the crew.

If you didn't suspect Vanishing Point to be a dream episode then you'll want this one to rerun again soon. A second pass will highlight some of the subtle clues (like hearing the voices of Trip and Tucker in the turbo shaft, encouraging her to pull through).

After which you'll scream at the TV, "You don't have my nose, Grandpa!"

He never did give mine back.

(How does Kevin smell? Terrible. -- editor)

Kevin Miller

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