Star Trek 672: The Crossing

672. The Crossing

FORMULA: Bliss + By Any Other Name

WHY WE LIKE IT: Enterprise meets its first non-corporeal life forms.

WHY WE DON'T: It quickly turns into a possession story.

REVIEW: The Crossing (not to be confused with Desert Crossing - do these have to sound so similar?) starts out strong with a beautiful alien ship design swallowing Enterprise like Jonas' whale. Inside it live subspace "wisps" that appear benign at first, but turn out to be evil (well, desperate) body snatchers. It's too bad too, because the idea that when they enter your body, your own mind goes traveling is never really explored. Everyone has an out-of-body experience to relate, but so what? Nor is it clear why they need a ship if they can really go anywhere in time and space.

Though the first wisp we meet seems sensible enough, the "research into our own history" bit turns out to either be a lie or an objective not shared by others. In fact, the episode does a good enough job of giving each wisp its own personality and interests. Though it's stupid of them not to take over the Captain first, the crew still starts to fall quickly and discreetly. When Reed becomes a creepy sexual predator, the jig is up.

The catwalk makes a return appearance as the refuge of choice. Sensible, perhaps, but a bit of reusing sets for the sake of it. From then on, the crew takes the necessary risks to get out of the situation alive. T'Pol allows herself to be possessed so she can learn their plans. Phlox actually has some fight scenes (with possessed Hoshi and compromised Trip), and they're among the most effective in the series, flailing about though they may be. It's nice to see a non-combatant in some action. Though the episode ends a bit abruptly with, one supposes, plenty of asphyxiated crew members to resuscitate, there's still a time element that keeps the tension up as the doctor works on the ancestor of the anesthezine gas delivery system.

Now, Enterprise is good at delivering action and suspense, so the episode works. However, it's too bad that their first meeting with non-corporeals had to end in genocide. That's not a very Trek way to finish things. Enterprise was under attack, and the crew didn't have much of a choice. But the writers did. The episode could have been elevated by a more upbeat, peaceful ending, perhaps using the wisps that weren't going to get a "vessel". Using them only as monsters is too easy.

LESSON: Don't let strangers into your head or pants.

REWATCHABILITY - Medium: Well done, but doesn't play to Star Trek's values. Depressing when you consider it was written by the show's producers.

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