February 25 2024


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The Crossing

By Michelle Erica Green
Posted at April 3, 2003 - 4:38 AM GMT

See Also: 'The Crossing' Episode Guide

Plot Summary: An enormous alien vessel overtakes and envelops Enterprise, trapping the ship inside. On the viewscreen Archer and his crew can see wisps of vapour that do not register on any sensors yet appear to behave like life-forms. When Archer takes an away team outside of Enterprise to investigate further, one of the wispy aliens takes over Tucker's body briefly, leaving Tucker with memories of having been briefly back on Earth. Phlox examines the engineer but can find no evidence that Tucker has been compromised.

However, the alien takes over Tucker's body once again in engineering while Tucker tries to get the engines back online. Archer finds the possessed Tucker in the mess hall, where the alien in his body says that its species no longer takes corporeal form and it rather enjoys this experience in a body with gender and appetite. Furious, Archer demands the return of Tucker and the release of his ship. Almost immediately, Tucker returns, again pleased by the experience, and Enterprise soars free of the alien vessel though the engines still are not working.

Another vapour alien pursues and takes over Reed, who pursues several women, then goes to T'Pol's quarters asking whether she will allow the crossing so that she can experience being male. T'Pol calls security. Several other crewmembers have been compromised and Archer has them all locked in their quarters. Mayweather discovers that the vapour beings cannot enter the catwalk due to the shielding in the nacelles, so the uncompromised crew moves there. T'Pol requests permission to allow one of the aliens to try to possess her so that she may ascertain their motives, and learns that they intend to keep the crew's bodies to escape from their own failing ship.

Phlox, who is immune to possession by the aliens, devises a plan to drive the beings out of the compromised crewmembers by asphyxiating them. Though he is nearly knocked out, first by the being inside Sato and then by the being inside Tucker as the aliens fight to keep the human bodies, he manages to flood the ship with carbon dioxide until the aliens leave the near-dead bodies of the crew. Immediately Enterprise begins to move away the alien vessel, firing torpedoes into its bay when the aliens pursue. The ship explodes and the Enterprise crew returns to normal.

Analysis: We learned from the original series' "Return To Tomorrow" that aliens who have given up corporeal form inevitably long to return to dirty, smelly, mortal bodies -- well, unless they're Organians, but that's a different episode. So the biggest shock of "The Crossing" was the ending. Archer blew up the ship and the evil aliens! I keep thinking that Kirk would have left them to their fate, pondering the error of their ways; Picard would have found a way to patch their hull and save their home planet too; Janeway would have been possessed for hours before anyone on her crew noticed and then Seven would have wrestled the aliens into submission...

But Archer blew the baddies to kingdom come! It's a great special effects shot, but boy, this is not the Star Trek I grew up loving. If there wasn't a war on, I might be able to get into the rah-rah explosion spirit, but I'm not much in a rah-rah explosion mood these days. In fact I can think of fewer things that could have soured the ending of the episode so much for me, other than if T'Pol had capitulated to Possessed Malcolm's advances.

It's really too bad, too, because despite its predictability, this body-snatching episode is a visually interesting little gem. Okay, so there's some weirdness right from the start when Archer leaves his science officer on the ship and takes his chief engineer on an away team that desperately requires scientific analysis while his ship desperately requires repaired engines. But he needs Tucker with him so Tucker can be the first to get possessed, allowing him to sit around nostalgically remembering...well, nothing that really tells us anything new about his character since we knew he allegedly liked barbecue and girls before.

But Connor Trinneer can always be counted on to give an excellent performance; this time he manages to combine childlike wonder with blank-faced menace when he's playing Possessed Trip, so it's probably just as well that he gets possessed first. Reed is possessed by an ickier being who makes him sneer and appear through a fish-eye lens -- and hit on women, which Reed has to do every couple of episodes apparently, in case we've forgotten that he really, really likes girls. It is thus somewhat amusing when he tries to convince T'Pol of how much fun it would be to try being a man for awhile, though I'm tired of seeing T'Pol in the position of potential-victim-of-sexual-predator-even-though-we-know-she-can-fight-her-way-free. It's boring and stupid. Besides, if you had never had a physical body before, little things like tickling and sneezing would be sensual pleasures; you wouldn't be so genitally fixated.

Sato sounds like she's going to have a panic attack on the bridge for a minute there, which makes it quite entertaining when she promptly gets possessed and stands up to Archer. I'd rather her have shown the backbone before she was possessed, but at least Linda Park gets her moment of glory. So does Anthony Montgomery, who gets to do what Mayweather does best -- run away, fall down, generally not be a hero on a ship full of them. I think that new crewman, Rostov, has as many lines as he does. T'Pol starts off sounding a little gullible insisting that their captors may actually just be misunderstood, but she redeems herself with a courageous mind-link. Or maybe she just wants to take Malcolm's advice and see what it would feel like to be a man.

Enough about the crew, though, anyway. What makes this episode stand out for me are the shots of the alien ship and the details of Enterprise's innards. There are some funny moments with Phlox struggling to get his clumsy fingers into little indentations and fighting with an unwieldy panel that also let us see the inner workings of the ship, which remind me pleasantly of the Enterprise NCC-1701 in their color and boxiness. The alien vessel has an ethereal quality even before we see the Lights of Zetar floating around in it, though it's hulking and run-down on the outside. I'm glad to see the catwalk will get regular use, though it seems rather soon to have the whole crew hidden in there again; it's a neat, claustrophobic set, and the scene when Mayweather chases Trip plays wonderfully.

As in The Next Generation's "Power Play," the evil aliens are driven from the bodies of the crew in nifty light-show fashion and the episode ends on what must be considered an upbeat note for the Enterprise crew. But I'd have to say it was a pretty depressing outing for humanity's first encounter with non-corporeal aliens. Are these beasties related to the ones who will later force peace with the Klingons, or impregnate Deanna Troi, or will they become Q-like? We may never know.

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Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.

Michelle Erica Green reviews Enterprise episodes for the Trek Nation, as well as Andromeda episodes for SlipstreamWeb. She is also a staff writer at Green Man Review. An archive of her work can be found at The Little Review.

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