Star Trek 664: Vanishing Point

664. Vanishing Point

FORMULA: Realm of Fear + The Next Phase + Coda

WHY WE LIKE IT: Hoshi as Kitty Pryde.

WHY WE DON'T: The tired old twist.

REVIEW: Let's talk about the twist, because we can't get away from it. The bulk of this episode happens in Hoshi's mind in the last couple seconds she's undergoing transport. Not that much of a spoiler given that it's flagged early enough (distant voices), it would have been cheating if it had been real (too many odd things to account for), and Trek's done this sort of thing often enough that we're almost expecting it. Aside from putting Barclay's experience in Realm of Fear in a better context, Vanishing Point is entirely too derivative for its good.

Still, it's not a bad Hoshi episode. Her pangs of transporter psychosis and her habitual (or at least lingering) feelings of inadequacy are translated into a sense of not really being there. In her fantasy, she's consistently ignored, made redundant, or kept out of the loop, until finally she becomes invisible and intangible. It's Geordi and Ro in The Next Phase all over again. When aliens show up to sabotage the ship, it's just more of that episode's plotting.

In the best possible light, it's a psychological study of Hoshi's fears and preoccupations, like Distant Voices was of Bashir. Unfortunately, it's nowhere near as complex, nor is it a real dilemma. There's no mention that Hoshi might have been "lost" if her in-dream efforts had failed. Did she overcome her fear, or did she just get on that alien transporter the same way you incorporate needing to pee into your dreams?

LESSON: A watched transporter beam never coalesces.

REWATCHABILITY - Low Medium: Frankly, I was more intrigued by the tall figure in the ruins' ideograms. Looks fine if you haven't really seen the source episodes, but you'll feel cheated at the end.

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