Transport Terror and the Turmoil of Hoshi Sato. Originally broadcast on November 27, 2002, this is Vanishing Point.
Captain’s Log Date Undermined.
Hoshi and Trip find themselves unable to get back to the shuttle pod in time before a dangerous storm and have to be transported aboard Enterprise. When they arrive Hoshi begins to have misgivings about having her molecules broken up and soon begins to have issues of her own including oversleeping and feeling as if she is vanishing. Before long it seems that she is unable to perform her duties and is replaced by a new comms officer much to her dismay. Before long she vanishes completely and discovers that there are aliens that can not be seen by the rest of the crew planting a bomb on the ship. Trying to warn Archer, who is informing Hoshi’s father of her disappearance, she manages to get Archer’s attention and they eventually contact her telling her to get onto the transporter pad. Once there she is materialized back on the transporter only to discover that none of these events actually happened, in fact she had only been in the buffer for 8 seconds and her terrifying experience had been a hallucination.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
Seriously. If you have been following my reviews you know how much a abhor the ‘it was all a dream’ episode and this one pulls that off without even so much as a hint of what is going on. I barely even remember this episode when I rewatched it so, at first, I thought that maybe this was a rehash of the STNG episode where LaForge and Ensign Ro were rendered invisible and have to fight off invisible Romulans. Instead, well, we got a ‘this is all a dream’ episode that tries to trick you through the entire episode which, to me, is one of the most annoying tropes in television.
If you can get past the tropey nature of this episode, it’s actually a pretty cool concept showing Hoshi’s fear of transporter technology in a physical form. We have heard plenty of folks discuss how much they hate the idea of their molecules being torn apart, none so vocal than that of Dr McCoy aboard the next Enterprise. Linda Park does a tremendous job carrying this episode as Hoshi Sato, giving us a genuine understanding of why people fear this ‘new’ technology. The idea of vanishing is frightening on it’s own, but to do so voluntarily even if it means getting somewhere quickly could be quite terrifying.
In a way, this episode isn’t just about fear of transporters but also of simply not being good enough at your job and finding yourself alone and ignored by those who you felt were your friend and colleagues. Hoshi is already somewhat uncertain of herself and her place on the ship, possibly even suffering from Imposter Syndrome even though she is indeed the foremost linguist in all of Starfleet. These fears are manifested in her mind as she is being transported giving these fears a physical manifestation in both her vanishing and the alien threat on the ship she is unable to communicate to her fellow crewmembers. While the episode never resolves her own uncertainties in herself, and likely doesn’t make her trust the transporters any moreso, it does give us a a slightly deeper glimpse into Hoshi Sato’s character
Overall, While I can not stand ‘it was all a dream’ episodes, this one wasn’t really all that bad. It’s not one you really need to watch to get the overarching story but it does help you get to know Crewman Sato a little bit better, and for that, well, it’s well worth your time.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
- Trip mentions that the planet they are on has zero bio-signs but there are clearly green plants growing just outside the area they are in….so do plants not count as bio mass?
- Apparently Hoshi’s dad is baseball legend Buck Bokai….I have to wonder if Mr Sato kept his past from his family and why he changed his name… Not really, it’s just the same actor but still, pretty cool to see him again.
- The aliens Hoshi imagines in this episode are never named although she does seem to have a pretty good imagination.
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Late To The Game 7/14/2021
Special Thanks to Memory Alpha as they are one of the best sources for details on Star Trek information available. Although I have a pretty deep knowledge on the subject, they have proven invaluable as a regular resource.
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