Hoshi exhibits what has become her typical skittishness when she and Trip have to transport off a storm-infested planet. Of course, Hoshi "comes back wrong" and realizes she's slowly disappearing from sight, but no one really listens to her cries in the night. Suddenly, every other crewmember starts acting really mean and completely out of character, and I really begin to wonder whether it's because the whole thing is happening in Hoshi's head. Once invisible, Hoshi comes across some aliens fixin' to blow up the ship and tries to save the day. My Thanksgiving wish was that at least one of those planetary storms was the Crystalline Entity there to wipe this pathetic excuse for a storyline off the map.
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. Maybe Bermaga should've gone to Southwest High and had Ms. Sexton bludgeon some originality into them. Some might argue, "Um, Keckler, it was original because we've never really known what goes on during those few seconds of transport, and plus Hoshi and Trip are just hot together!" To that I respond thusly: Give your italics finger a rest. Secondly, to paraphrase nelamm, chemistry between actors does not the act of copulation equal -- whether you like it or not, there is more to this show than people getting it on under covers. Additionally, anything perceived between Hoshi and Trip -- or Hoshi and ANYONE in this episode -- was all in Hoshi's head. IT WAS NOT REAL. In closing, I'd like to remind everyone that the fact that Barclay also experienced a certain awareness during transport, and that Picard lived an entire lifetime in the twenty-five minutes it took for a probe to access his brain, still makes this an entirely derivative plotline patched together with scraps from several previous series' episodes. It's not that hard to think up something fresh, people -- that's why they call it CREATIVE writing! God.
Trip and Hoshi investigate hieroglyphics on some old ruins. Hoshi tries to date a few of them as being older than others in another cave, and Trip establishes for us that Hoshi can't read any of them. Hoshi asks Trip if he can read them. Just because he reads at a Highlights level doesn't mean he can read pictures too. "Well, I think this says 'Tall guys are popular,'" Trip answers, taking a snapshot of a carving that shows a tall image standing between two smaller ones. Hoshi tells him, "You're a budding linguist." Well, he's a budding something, at any rate. They muse over what could have happened to the civilization. In my opinion, they got into trouble for playing Harold and the Purple Crayon with their walls, and their gods wiped them off the face of the planet. "It is kinda weird -- not a single bio-scan in the entire planet," Trip mentions, so casually that we know it has to Mean Something. Maybe the Crystalline Entity has been here. Quantum calls to tell them that a storm is quickly moving in, so they have to skee-daddle out of there. Hmm -- Crystalline Entity?
On the bridge, T'Pol reports the existence of another storm front. This new storm means they can't use the sh'pod to return to the ship -- it has something to do with being "saturated with polaric energy." It IS the Crystalline Entity! Outside the ruins, some plants blow in the storm. "'No bio-signs,' huh? So, those must be the plastic plants the civilization left behind when they tired of living on the 'Way to Eden' set," Mathra snaps. Hoshi wimps a bunch about not transporting back to the ship, but Quantum and Trip tell her to suck it up. After arguing about who should be the first to get their molecules reorganized, Trip finally agrees to beam out first and comms Hoshi that he made it to the ship all in one piece. Hoshi goes next, and arrives on the bridge. Also in one piece. Or -- is she? Linda Park does an excellent job of contorting her face into pure terror before beaming out. It's really too bad they couldn't have given her better material to work with in this episode. Although I feel even worse about the fact that the Crystalline Entity never showed up.