When Enterprise is drawn into a large vessel filled with non-corporeal life forms, it seems like the perfect chance to explore the final frontier. But when the life forms start taking over the bodies of the Enterprise crew without their consent, Archer and the others must work out a way to fight back.
Non-corporeal life forms causing trouble for Star Trek main characters is a story we’ve all experienced before now. Power Play, The Assignment and Return to Tomorrow were all about body snatching aliens, whilst in Lonely Among Us, Picard voluntarily beamed himself into space to live as pure consciousness. So again we have to ask – what does The Crossing bring us that we haven’t seen before?
In all honesty, not much. But that being said, The Crossing does at least start well. The alien ship and its interior look suitably otherworldly, setting us up for our first encounter with these energy-based life forms. Of course, at first they seem kind and benevolent, but as savvy viewers, we know that this cannot last. In due course, an alien takes over Malcolm and tries to rape T’Pol, a sure sign that these are not friendly beings.
The episode manages to sustain the tension pretty well from there, but it does rely a bit too heavily on predictable Star Trek tropes. T’Pol tries to use her superior Vulcan mental strength to go up against the aliens, whilst Dr Phlox has the usual ‘incompatible alien physiology’ that makes him immune to them. We also see the return of the nacelle catwalks as a safe place of refuge, which feels more like a move to justify the cost of building the sets than a welcome plot development.
Points of Note
- When the aliens are driven out at the end, how do the crew’s original consciousnesses know how to return to their bodies?
- It’s amazing that the disembodied human consciousnesses don’t just perish when they are expelled from their bodies.
- Can’t the aliens use their ability to travel through subspace to escape their ship? Why do they need a ship in normal space in the first place? How did they even build it, if they can’t exist in normal space without it? Unless they built it before they became non-corporeal and learnt how to move through subspace, as a safe haven they could always return to. Now, of course, they can never replace it.
- Should Archer have killed all those aliens, who outnumbered his crew, when he may have been able to help them repair their ship? If they had co-operated, that would have at least negated their need to take over the Enterprise crew in the first place. And it would have saved more of their lives.
Summary – The Crossing: Never trust non-corporeal aliens with your body. It never works out.