'Vanishing Point' Meets With Critical ScornBy Caillan
December 5, 2002 - 4:40 PM
See Also: 'Vanishing Point' Episode Guide
With a couple of notable exceptions, last week's Enterprise episode, 'Vanishing Point,' did not go down well with Internet reviewers.
A round-up of the latest analyses posted online can be found below:
- O. Deus at TrekWeb found the episode boring to say the least. "It might have been some sort of localized temporal distortion field operating in my area but the actual experience of watching it seemed to take at least twice as long as the episode's running time. Not since the dog days of the first season has Enterprise turned out such a drearily episode paced at about the same speed as paint drying on a wall." Read more here at TrekWeb.
- "Was this, perhaps, the most pointless Trek episode EVER?" wrote monkee at monkee's place. "Although there have been similar 'reset button' episodes in which much of what we saw never happened, it's never been this blatant. In TNG's 'The Next Phase,' Ro and Geordi were actually there, and they did save the ship. In VOY's 'Year of Hell,' at least the events happened in an alternate timeline. In TNG's 'Eye of the Beholder,' Troi's hallucinations enabled her to solve a mystery. In 'Vanishing Point,' all we learn about Hoshi is that she's afraid of using the transporter (as anyone in their right mind would be, at this point), but that she's able to overcome her fear, something we already knew she could do. Except for the teaser and the closing scene, the entire episode involves a conflict that only happens in her head, involving aliens that don't even exist!" The episode was awarded 6 out of 10 in the full review.
- Gisele La Roche at Voyager's Delights thought the episode was fairly satisfactory, but could have been a lot better. "I think the story isn't all that bad but it would have been far more interesting to use someone who would have been less likely to be afraid of transporters. T'Pol, Archer or even Trip would have added a tad more suspense as we wouldn't have been so ready to believe they were freaking out, so to speak. [...] There was no interesting conflict here; nothing for the character or the viewer to really grapple with." In the complete analysis, the episode was awarded a C minus grade.
- Television Without Pity's 'Keckler' wasn't coy about her view of 'Vanishing Point':
I've made no secret of my feelings regarding this episode. The only reason I'm not giving this "Inner Light"-"Frame of Mind"-"Remember Me"-"Realm of Fear" meatloaf an F is because I think Linda Park is exceptional and deserved to have her own episode. At long last. Not that they gave her much to work with, given that her two expressions were "fear" and "concern." Lecture time -- for those of you who don't want to hear an opinion other than one that lauds this episode as the harbinger of all that is good and holy, please avert your eyes. When I was in college -- no, it started even earlier than that -- when I was a freshman in high school, my revered creative writing teacher told us never to use the whole "it was a dream" device if we wanted to avoid descending into The Trite Depths Of Hackneyed Mediocrity.
The episode was given a D grade in the 10-page breakdown, which starts here.
- 'Vanishing Point' only scored 1 out of 5 from Matt D. at Trek5.com. "Currently, more harm than good is being done by Rick Berman and Brannon Braga and their controlling wish to write nearly half of Enterprise's stories," he said. "With every step forward John Shiban, Chris Black, Phyllis Strong and Michael Sussman take, Berman and Braga kneecap the series by rehashing plots from "high-concept" movies The exec producing duo trotted out a foul bird in 'Vanishing Point' which was 50% 'Ghost' and 49% 'The Sixth Sense'. 1% of TNG's 'The Inner Light' was thrown in at the end to try and curb the foul smell." Read more in the full review.
- "The problem with this episode rests not in Hoshi or her story, but in the fact that Hoshi's story was, at best, a sub-plot," wrote CJ Carter at ScoopMe! "There needed to be a bigger story around it. There needed to be a ticking clock (and no, the aliens and their bombs were not effective in that context). If not an external story like having to save some civilization, then at least external to Hoshi. Sure, this too has been done before on all the Trek series (think the TNG eppie "Remember Me" except reverse it Wonka-style), but there is a reason: good storytelling." Carter's thoughts continue at this page.
- 'Hercules' at Ain't It Cool News thought one of the best things about 'Vanishing Point' was that it prominently featured Hoshi Sato. "Getting to spend the hour with the fabulous and highly watchable Linda Park, who's in every scene and always manages to bring a realistic vulnerability too rare to Star Trek. The producers decided to hire only two female regulars this year, but they sure hired the right two." In the complete analysis, the episode scored 3 out of 5 stars.
- In marked contrast with the other critics, Jamahl Epsicokhan at Star Trek Hypertext described 'Vanishing Point' as "creepy and psychologically compelling," praising the writing and the performance of actress Linda Park (Hoshi Sato).
It reveals some character depth and I found the whole charade quite absorbing -- and on some levels, chilling. Linda Park carries the show well as a character who is frightened and vulnerable concerning a truly disturbing condition but who manages to hold things together and be heroic nonetheless. And as I said before, this is the sort of sci-fi concept that has you stopping to consider questions about how your brain and intellect interact with an unforgiving physical world that doesn't much care that you have a brain or intellect.
The episode was awarded 3.5 stars out of 4 in the full review.
Further information can be found in the Trek Nation episode guide.