Series: Enterprise - Season One
Episode: “Strange New World”
Trek Installment # 3
Date: September 15, 2009
The premise of the episode is reasonable – dangerous undetectable pollen causes away team to become paranoid. Chaos ensues. But it drags on . . . and on . . . and on. It broaches on silly, with no interesting twists, no character revealing moments, just crazy paranoia. And all is forgiven at the end.
Again, T’Pol is the voice of reason. Again, Archer's ambition gets in the way and causes trouble. Again, no one listens to the experienced Vulcan.
There are some nice little moments, but none of them are very exciting. The “lower deck” crewmembers at the beginning is nice, though I don’t think we see any of them ever again (except for Cutler). The amazement at arriving at a new world is a nice touch, as it’s all pretty new to this crew.
There is just one problem that prevents this episode from being excellent: it is a weekly TV series, and Trip, T'Pol and Mayweather are regular cast members. Had it been a movie, it could have been a very dark, very suspenseful story of paranoia and misunderstanding, with a Pitch Black
-like atmosphere. But, since it is a TV show, and only at its 3rd episode, we knew from the start that T'Pol and Trip would not kill each other, that everything would turn out right in the end, and that they and Mayweather would survive - and therefore there just couldn't be any real suspense. The only thing we did not know is whether the two redshirts would survive - and I was happy that Novakovich did not die, not because I cared about him - we didn't even know the guy - but because killing off a redshirt would be conforming to the oldest, most worn-out Trek cliche.
Still, I would grade it higher - it deals in a good way with the suspicions, prejudice and conflicts present in the crew early on in the series. If only we had seen anything like that on Voyager... That alone makes me decide that ENT is better than VOY (not that this means much...), even though I've only seen 3 episodes so far.