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'Hoshi' Develops Strange Powers in Surprisingly Effective "Exile" -- Deus
PROMENADE







Posted: 07:09:15 on October 16 2003
By: O. Deus
Dept: ENTERPRISE Reviews
Reviews Ex Deus

"Exile'

Overall episode score: 8.0
Performances: 8.0
Writing: 6.0
Direction: 7.0
FX and Production Values: 8.0

Summary: ENTERPRISE does Beauty and the Beast with a lonely old alien telepath.

"Exile" may remind some viewers of the second season ENTERPRISE episode "Vanishing Point." "Exile" features Hoshi experiencing strange hallucinatory images that cause her to doubt reality and become isolated and cut off from the crew. However, where "Vanishing Point" was a 43 minute waste of time that all turned out to be a dream, "Exile" features what may be ENTERPRISE's best guest star of the entire series. Indeed 'Tarquin' is in many ways reminiscent of an Original Series tragic character like Methuselah or Kodos the Executioner; driven and brooding and doomed by his destiny. Those types of characters and indeed complex characters of any kind have become increasingly rare on STAR TREK and vanishingly rare on this show, so Tarquin is a breath of fresh air in an all too often stale enclosed room.

Season three has so far been in danger of neglecting the development of the ensemble cast in favor of focusing excessively on Archer, Trip and T'Pol. "Exile" helps balance that out not only with character development for Hoshi that in part helps explain her linguistic abilities, but also a nice scene for Phlox that serves to develop his character specifically, and Denobulans in general. The general track of Hoshi's development has involved her learning to overcome her fears as in "Fight or Flight" or" Sleeping Dogs" or "Vanishing Point." "Exile" is less about Hoshi dealing with a narrowly targeted phobia like claustrophobia or fear of transporters than dealing with an opportunity to retreat into an isolated life.

Meanwhile "Exile" also follows up on "Anomaly"'s mysterious sphere that turns out to be part of a network of such spheres radiating gravitational anomalies thus causing the Expanse to exist. The artificial nature of the Expanse may then help explain why we never heard about it in any other STAR TREK series. The exploration of the sphere manages to weave together what the ENTERPRISE crew has learned about the Expanse from Trellium-D and the Vulcan reaction to it, to the Xindi charts and the spheres themselves. The spacewalk also offers the opportunity for comedy, which for once isn't broadly overacted by Trinneer. The scenes of Archer and Trip trying to shoot down the shuttle also make for some nice visuals, particularly as they shoot up at the shuttle. The actual shuttle crashing back down to the surface of the sphere has the unrealistic feel of a 3D object with no actual mass moved around in Lightwave rather than the real world. however. A problem the colliding asteroids in last week's Impulse also suffered from.

Overall, though, it's the interaction between Hoshi and Tarquin and the performances of the two actors that make the episode. Phyllis Strong's script by contrast is rather weak and leans on classic cliches from bad novels right down to the echoing manor and the host who warns his guest not to go outside and the graves right outside the door. Even Roxann Dawson's usually strong direction is muddled and having Hoshi constantly changing into new outfits to indicate the passage of time was clearly a bad idea. Still, she and the actors got the character scenes right. It would have been all too easy for Park to fall into a victim mode but instead she remains strong and defiant. It would have also been all too easy to write off Tarquin as a cliche, a lonely telepathic voyeur-kidnapper but instead he retains a tragic dignity as he appeals for an understanding that he knows will never come, and even if it comes, will never last. To the end Tarquin is neither evil nor good, he's simply an exile who like Hoshi is isolated by his own uniqueness and abilities.

The crystal ball falls a bit on the absurd side along with Strong's other cliches. It is rather odd that Hoshi would use the crystal ball to see scenes of space battles the Enterprise fought years ago instead of seeing what is happening now. The idea of objects retaining psychic impressions from their owners is also pretty silly. Heavily influenced by some questionable research about human psychic abilities, science fiction widely adopted psychic abilities as being scientifically legitimate; though in fact they're extremely questionable to say the least. While BABYLON 5 had a backstory explaining its human psychic abilities, STAR TREK has generally portrayed psychic abilities as an alien ability. This conveniently avoids questions of credibility raised by belief in psychic phenomena and the general fraudulence of those phenomena.

Still, it's one thing when those powers are portrayed as being able to make telepathic contact which could at least be somewhat plausible given an alien biology. On the other hand, psychic resonance is definitely on the kookier side of the spectrum and pretty difficult to justify without resorting to Theosophy or some other lunatic philosophy of that kind. Furthermore, Hoshi's ability to use the crystal combined with Tarquin's repeated references to her uniqueness would almost seem to suggest that the writers are setting her up for some sort of psychic ability. Of course actual mind reading skills would probably be the only thing that could explain her ability to learn a completely alien language in days or even hours. Though it still wouldn't explain how she learned to read an entire alien book in an entirely unknown alien language a short time after she first laid eyes on it without help or a Rosetta Stone of any kind. That's pretty difficult to justify even with psychic powers, let alone without them. The producers have been giving Hoshi superhuman abilities for some time now and while "Exile" does at least begin to try and justify those abilities, what's being portrayed is still far in excess of what is possible or plausible.

Tarquin's final appearance is almost unexpected and despite the rather different tones of the episode's two storylines, Archer and Trip's outer space adventure and Hoshi's quiet battle of wills in Tarquin's manor, the episode manages to come together again as Archer and T'Pol finally get a lead on the weapon even as they begin to realize the extent of what they are facing here.

Next week: Rerun of the S3 premiere.

Enterprise's "Exile"
How do you rate the episode on a scale of 1 to 10?
10: Excellent 5: Average
9: Great 4: Below Average
8: Very Good 3: Mediocre
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About the Author
O. Deus has been a TrekWeb visitor since the site's 1996 inception. Along with being an ardent poster, he is a freelance journalist based in New York City. Deus has written reviews and columns for TrekWeb for over two years.

Past Reviews
  • Exile
  • Impulse
  • Rajiin
  • "Extinction"
  • "Anomaly"
  • "The Xindi"
  • Season 2 Poll Results
  • "The Expanse"
  • "First Flight" and "Bounty"
  • "Regeneration"
  • "Cogenitor"
  • "The Breach" (Williams)
  • "Horizon" (Williams)
  • "Judgment"
  • "The Crossing"
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    TREKWEB TALKBACK
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    "Vanishing Point"
    By tomporter ( ) at 22:46:08 on October 17 2003
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    For us men who are members of the Hoshi Sato (Linda Park) Estrogen Brigade, the episode "Vanishing Point" was anything but a "waste of time." It stands out as an episode worth watching again (and again) because of the performance of this talented and fetching actress.

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    Comments on Review
    By Mycroft ( ) at 08:37:57 on October 17 2003
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    The spacewalk also offers the opportunity for comedy, which for once isn't broadly overacted by Trinneer.

    Comedy, yes, but the scene certainly was refreshing - showing Trip and Archer as real people who makes mistakes. We see a chief engineer screw up an apparently simple repair, the dumbfounded look on both Archer and Trip with the unspoken "Oh, shit! Now what do we do?", and Trip admonishing Archer for his first shot near miss and then both just start taking shots as it shuttle gets further away. (Why all weapons don't include some kind of targeting guide is long ST mystery)

    I thought the final crash with Trip and Archer just standing there as the shuttle skidded dangerously close was a nice homage to Men in Black.

    It is rather odd that Hoshi would use the crystal ball to see scenes of space battles the Enterprise fought years ago instead of seeing what is happening now.

    True, but only if she was actually using the crystal ball to telepathically scan the heavens. I think it is much more reasonable to believe that Tarquin was actually simulating the experience, showing Hoshi how his telepathy works or how she could visualize the universe with his guidance. The images Tarquin selected may have been pulled from Hoshi's mind or from his own to give her a sense of wonder, while shielding her from any horrific encounters. She imaged a reptilian Xindi, a encountered species, not one of the others that are as yet unknown to ENT. For all we know, uncontrolled use of the ball could have overloaded Hoshi's synapses.

    Though it still wouldn't explain how she learned to read an entire alien book in an entirely unknown alien language a short time after she first laid eyes on it without help or a Rosetta Stone of any kind.

    Didn't Hoshi comment that the language resembled a form of archaic Klingon? Considering past interactions, its logical that Hoshi is probably now fluent in Klingon and may have delved into the Vulcan database to learn earlier, archaic forms. Tarquin would have selected a book for Hoshi that was a challenge but within her translating abilities. (It must have also been pretty good as literature since Hoshi couldn't put it down).

    The producers have been giving Hoshi superhuman abilities for some time now and while "Exile" does at least begin to try and justify those abilities, what's being portrayed is still far in excess of what is possible or plausible.

    Some form of telepathy does explain her uncanny ability with languages.

    [ Reply | Quote | Parent ]

    Who made spheres?
    By LM ( ) at 05:59:13 on October 17 2003
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    T'pol said that spheres are 1000 years old and the book that Hoshi got is about 1000 years old (the alien said so). Could there be clues in the book of creators of expansion.
    BTW, Great episode!

    [ Reply | Quote | Parent ]

    What an excellent episode!!
    By Hbasm ( ) at 04:49:30 on October 17 2003
    URL: http://home3.inet.tele.dk/huas/st_enterprise/ENT-page1.htm | User Info
    Enterprise rocks! "Exile" was superb (unlike last weeks "Impulse" that completely lacked a good story and character) but my two favourite episodes in season 3 so far is definitely "Exile" and "Rajiin" because they both had character development while slowly revealing something about the Xindi. Of course, they both ooses of great EFX too which is very impressive for a TV series (even with non-stellar ratings).

    I think everyone should try harder to love this new approch to Star Trek, if they don't already appriciate it, cause it's all we've got and it's really getting good. If you didn't like season 1 & 2 then I don't understand you, but anyway, you gotta love season 3 for episodes like this.

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    Intriguing episode
    By Solarium66 ( ) at 01:57:32 on October 17 2003
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    This week: No screaming T'Pol. No semi-nude T'Pol. And finally the long-overdue focus on Hoshi Sato. :)

    re: the talk about ST:ENT borrowing from "Star Wars." Please give it a rest. If the spheres were pyramids, we'd be hearing complaints that B&B were ripping off "Stargate SG-1."

    Those spheres are NOT akin to the "Star Wars" Death Star. Please.

    I actually like the concept of the fifty-plus spheres creating the spacial anomaly havoc within the Expanse, plus T'Pol's new discoveries about them. (She's the science officer; she came through BIG time.) It's part of the story arc -- and the production team is staying focused on the different pieces of the Xindi puzzle (including the spheres) as the storyline develops.

    Admittedly, I wasn't keen on the Beauty and the Beast concept of "Exile." I did find myself thinking "TOS!" when we saw the mountainside castle. Both the TOS episodes "Squire of Gothos" (with Trelane) and "Catspaw" (with Sylvia and Korob) came to mind when I saw those exteriors. Intentional or not, seeing Reed, Archer and Hoshi enter was deja vu of Kirk, Spock and McCoy (in a fashion). That's just my happy memory for this otherwise bland episode. I wasn't too happy with much of it. The story was too predictable and plodding, save the brief excitement of Archer and Trip "shooting down" their shuttlepod. It was a cool special effect sequence and a nifty idea... but the actors' reactions were poorly directed/written. It soured a potentially unique scene, imho.

    In closing, I do think the set designers did an awesome job pulling together the castle interiors, though -- major kudos to them for their hard work. It was very, very well-done (esp. with the short time they had to construct it).

    [ Reply | Quote | Parent ]

    wow
    By JediFonger ( ) at 14:28:42 on October 16 2003
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    are you guys insane? have you guys not noticed the parallel between star wars+trek?

    first of all, 'the sphere'? O deus... WHY oh WHY have you not mentioned the comparison of this to the DEATH STAR?!!?!?!?!? it's obvious B&B is saying, "well now's a good time to copy star wars". th same goes for asteroid field from attack of the clones when ob1 approaches genosis chasing the jango.

    secondly, it's fairly OBVIOUS that the writers are just going off of some 'rule' about screenwriting that every so and so minutes you have to do this and every few minutes you have to do that. enterprise still doesn't have the guts like xf to dedicate an ENTIRE purely on one character. remember in xf when they dedicated 1 entire episode on cigarette smoking man? THAT was awesome. mulder+scully only showed up for a few seconds.

    [ Reply | Quote | Parent ]

    • who is insane by Hbasm @ 04:41:10 ET on 17 Oct
    • RE: wow by O. Deus @ 22:54:25 ET on 16 Oct
      • RE: wow by JediFonger @ 00:12:29 ET on 17 Oct
    • RE: wow by NAFF @ 16:32:27 ET on 16 Oct
      • RE: wow by Parcus @ 18:07:43 ET on 16 Oct
        • RE: wow by Atrin @ 19:02:23 ET on 16 Oct
          • RE: wow by lemmiwinks @ 21:09:59 ET on 16 Oct
            • RE: wow by NAFF @ 00:04:41 ET on 17 Oct
    Hmm. . . not bad. . .
    By Michaelj ( ) at 12:46:37 on October 16 2003
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    Definitely agree with Deus that this was without doubt the finest guest star turn of the season, and possibly the entire history of this series. Why can't Enterprise give us guest stars of this caliber every week?

    Unfortunately, I can't agree that Linda Park was particularly effective in this episode, a real shame since this was her character's opportunity to shine. I thought her line readings in the scene where she discovers the gravestones were particularly off, and it would have been nice in her dealings with Tarquin if her face had been able to register anything other than defiance, fear, and contempt; it certainly would have been more interesting if she had been at least tempted on some level by the opportunity to stay.

    Still, overall I liked this episode's approach, which was more whimsical than Enterprise tends to be, and as other posters here have noted, in some ways quite reminiscient of TOS. "Exile" is no Trek classic, or even on a par with "Anomaly", but with its emphasis on character it's definitely a step in the right direction. And FTR, Ms. Park is quite the babe. ;-)

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    Hoshi was
    By aquirius ( ) at 12:45:02 on October 16 2003
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    ...gorgous in this episode. The hair the makeup, and the costumes really brought out her beauty. Her performance was great to say the least. She had a very candid way of performance, not dull, not over the top, but very face to face and personal.

    [ Reply | Quote | Parent ]

    Hmm. . . not bad. . .
    By Michaelj ( ) at 12:43:32 on October 16 2003
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    Definitely agree with Deus that this was without doubt the finest guest star turn of the season, and possibly the entire history of this series. Why can't Enterprise give us guest stars of this caliber every week?

    Unfortunately, I can't agree that Linda Park was particularly effective in this episode, a real shame since this was her character's real opportunity to shine. I thought her line readings in the scene where she discovers the gravestones were particularly off, and it would have been nice in her dealings with Tarquin if her face had been able to register anything other than defiance, fear, and contempt; it certainly would have been more interesting if she had been at least tempted on some level by the opportunity to stay.

    Still, overall I liked this episode's approach, which was more whimsical than Enterprise tends to be, and as other posters here have noted, in some ways quite reminiscient of TOS. "Exile" is no Trek classic, or even on a par with "Anomaly", but with its emphasis on character it's definitely a step in the right direction. And FTR, Ms. Park is quite the babe. ;-)

    [ Reply | Quote | Parent ]

    psychic
    By sky ( ) at 12:07:06 on October 16 2003
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    O'Deus, I always enjoy your reviews even when I don't see the ep, such as with this last one. I'd like to remark on this comment:

    Heavily influenced by some questionable research about human psychic abilities, science fiction widely adopted psychic abilities as being scientifically legitimate; though in fact they're extremely questionable to say the least.

    Psychic powers are one example of how science fiction is the new mythology for the modern era. In the ancient myths, mysterious creatures, monsters, sorcerers or whatever always lived far away in the woods, the desert, a mountain or some remote island at sea. And such creatures or persons always had abilities that were beyond the norm.

    Nowadays, every corner of the earth has been explored, every animal catalogued and studied, and most every natural phenomenon as been explained. (Of course some will hasten to point out that there are still *some* unexplained things, but these are few, minor and sketchy at best.)

    So since our modern world holds few surprises and fewer opportunities for "mythologizing," it's only natural that we would turn our imaginings to places we haven't explored, like the stars.

    So science fiction becomes the new mythology, a folklore medium where anything can still happen, a "make believe" world that is still unknown. I know nothing about psychology, but SF seems like an outlet for wish-fulfillment and fantasy projection. After all, every nerdy kids with glasses (like me) would like to fly like Superman. And what guy would NOT like to be an action hero/space gigolo like Captain Kirk?

    So anyway, this IMHO is why telepathy and other pseudo-scientific ideas always have (and will) find their way into the mythology of science fiction.

    [ Reply | Quote | Parent ]

    Great Episode!
    By Brian Langlois ( ) at 11:07:47 on October 16 2003
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    Wow, Season 3 has really impressed me. Glad to see it's turning the heads of the naysayers as well. This was a really good episode, if a little predictable. I actually likesd the B-Plot more with Trip and Archer on the Sphere. I had suspected that the Expanse was artificial, and I was right. Now we know we never saw the Expanse in the future: Destory the Spheres, destroy the expanse. Coating a shuttlepod with Trellium-D is a good compromise and gives them a little more capability out there. Enterprise is definateley looking up these days.

    [ Reply | Quote | Parent ]

    The Crystal Ball
    By Trekker121 ( westonclark@networld.com) at 10:25:17 on October 16 2003
    URL: http://mywebpage.netscape.com/WestyUT/home.htm | User Info
    I would venture to argue that the ball had no powers at all, but was a luring weapon for Hoshi. The beast guy was able to feed images into her mind, and how tantalizing if he could use that to keep her. Good Episode!

    [ Reply | Quote | Parent ]

    Nice ep guys
    By timmer33 ( ) at 10:23:50 on October 16 2003
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    This ep really reminded me of a TOS episode. Great work! The tragic nature of the character was excellent - Deus was right on to point that out. The continuation of the sphere/expanse storyline was also fabulous (I was worried it would only be 2 spheres ... to hear the actual amount is great news). I also like how it can explain why the expanse is not mention in TOS and beyond.

    I was disappointed that Deus gave this one poor marks for writing. Why praise the ep for having a tragic character, then criticize the wriitng with such a low mark??? The character is a RESULT of the writing, dude.

    Anyway, I didn't like the scene on the sphere with the shuttlepod. Basically, it served no purpose! Why was it there? For a cool effect (which it wasn't)? For filler? Spend the time with Hoshi instead.

    THat being said, it was a great episode. You know, I find myself at the end of each ep wondering what will happen next week. I haven't watched ENT this consistently since the first 4 eps of Season 1. They've got me hooked. I just hope they tie in the formation of starfleet in later arcs.

    Why are B&B just using arcs now? It's a superb way of storytelling and an easy way to get viewers to come back. Sure, people may be scared to tune in halfway through the arc, but it is possible to tell the backstory as the arc progresses. It's how I got into the X-Files after all.

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    Good episode
    By Akita1999 ( ) at 09:44:06 on October 16 2003
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    I like Exile. As others have pointed out, the episode reminded me of TOS. The whole feel, storyline, and look of this episode was old school. Some of the great TOS episodes took place on isolated planets, with exiled characters, who had a hankering for gothic mansions.

    Enterprise is on a roll. I'm very pleased to see that Enterprises has stepped up its quality in storytelling.

    [ Reply | Quote | Parent ]

    Where was Lumiere?
    By NAFF ( NATHANGSHARP@HOTMAIL.COM) at 09:18:03 on October 16 2003
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    Fairly entertaining, but the main plot was pretty obvious from the start.

    Mind you, I really feel the show is now turning the corner away from crapdom into something watchable.

    Very cool scenes with the Pod on the Sphere and the inverting ladder in Engineering.

    Nice continuity piece between Archer and T'Pol too.

    Hoshi is a great character (and under-used) and this made the episode.

    She also wears her costumes well, its just a pity the castle was so well heated!!!

    [ Reply | Quote | Parent ]

    This one was a surprise
    By psp1 ( ) at 07:34:39 on October 16 2003
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    After abandoning the show for quite a while, and returning to see more disappointing episodes, I was really pleasantly surprised by this one.
    It is really reminiscent of TOS episodes in feel and style. You could sympathize with the 'villian'. There are some hokey assumptions that require a suspension of disbelief, just like in TOS. The actors elevated the material, once again reminding me of TOS. The story was a touching one, where you could really feel for the 'alien'.
    To me, this is the first episode that ENT has produced that earns it the right to put 'Star Trek' in its title.

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