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Old October 29 2012, 02:04 PM   #284
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Re: My Trek Through Enterprise: Season One

^ Well, please tell me those lacks of morality and decency don't get much worse than this one. My problem was that the "directive" Archer vaguely described, and that he's apparently now following in this particular episode, wasn't really dealt with. Normally, captain soapbox has a lot to say, but here he's so hush-hush. You can't help but to wonder why is that? And the answer is so disturbingly bad.

I really do not give an F grade lightly, and this episode , and our Enterprise crew, failed badly on 3 major fronts to me:

1 - Actually dealing with the issue.

To delve into this, I'll have to back up a little because I think in my hastily written previous post I didn't explain what I meant well enough. What I meant by what I said is that Archer and Co. were willing to consider, and even try, helping a group of people that weren’t necessarily the best people, while in the case of the Cogenitors, they were pretty much blameless and no argument on their behalf was ever made. Obviously, Archer wasn’t going to be able to change their circumstances, but he could have tried to open a delicate dialogue about how Earth learned over many centuries that to hold one group of people back, just because of how they are born, isn’t the best way to do things in the end. Picard would have opened up a dialogue, Sisko, and Kirk, but Archer was too interested in joyriding. Usually Archer loves making his holier-than- thou speeches and brushes off T’Pol’s suggestions to let other cultures just do what they do, but it seems as though his soap box disappeared as soon as he saw what was in it for them to keep their mouths shut. It’s the equivalent of him treating the technology and the fun as “hush money.“

Now, of course, had Archer actually opened this dialogue, their leader would have come back with their conclusion that things were working just fine, but then Archer could have asked about why someone’s sex makes them more or less an object, and did they know these “Cogenitors” could have thoughts and feelings and the desire to make their own choices? And if they did know this, then is every Cogenitor coming to this same conclusion as well in order to provide consent? That’s when he could have delicately used “Charles” as a possible example if they were willing to see what she would choose if she were given the choice. Any resistance to that would have just proven that they knew that they were oppressors of an innocent group of people, and depending on what happened afterwards, the 2 groups of people might have had to go their separate ways, but at least the integrity of the senior staff of the Enterprise and their captain would have still been intact by episode’s end. Here, what actually happened was that Trip brought up this injustice and no one else really seemed to care; him bringing it up was even treated kind of like it was an annoyance. So, that’s number one.

2. Hypocrisy

I'm going to guess that one of the main reasons why the prime directive was invented was because you can't afford to get involved in everyone's problems, as well as the "live and let live" aspect of it. And I know Archer's not the most consistent person to begin with, but his hypocrisy, as well as Phlox's was very interesting to me. T'Pol was consistent because she usually says to stay out of things, but I think even here she should have expressed some horror at how a group of people are basically imprisioned from birth, just because of how they are born, then kept in a room 24 hours a day, with only one meal (of someone else's choosing), and only "taken out" to be used for sexual/reproductive purposes with people they don't know, don't like, and are not interested in. Whew.

Moving into the hypocrisy, well, I've already mentioned Archer's missing soapbox, but there's Dr. Phlox too. In both episodes you could say that the Enterprise crew just let nature take its course, but that's not true for a few reasons. First, what was happening in the case of the Cogenitors was not natural, unlike the epidemic with the other species. And two, even with that species, they didn't entirely let nature take its course. They did leave them with some help and data, I believe, so they were willing to interfere some there. And lastly, and this is where the real hypocrisy comes in, is that they did choose to play God based off of preferences, because really, after they made the cure, they were playing God either way.

Archer was going to give the dominant group the cure until Phlox, after spending time with the subordinate group and seeing their developing abilities, potential, and kind nature, came to like the subordinate group and prefer them over the group that was trending out. Then it was let nature take its course. He made a choice based off of the time he spent getting to know and like them. Had he not made his recommendation, the dominant group would have gotten their cure. Trip did the same thing. He spent time with "Charles" and came to find out that she was just as capable as the other sexes, and he came to like her, so he advocated for her. So, why wasn't his advocating taken with the same weight by Archer that Phlox's was. These Cogenitors had far less freedom than the subordinate race that Phlox wanted to have the "room to grow." Why didn't Phlox care about the way these people were treated, I can't even say against their will because they're not allowed to have "a will." I see spending time with the good doctor has its benefits.

Back to "why," well it keeps coming back to what was in it for them. And by them, I mean the Enterprise crew. That seemed to be Archer's primary concern. So, of course, now whenever Archer harps on about an injustice and how somebody oughtta stand up and say or do something, waiving a finger in someone's face, I will be reminded of this episode, and how he was all to willing to keep quiet when the price was right. He berated Trip, using the fact that "Charles" didn't specifically ask him to learn how to read as something against Trip (), but the subordinate race didn't ask Phlox not to help the dominant race. I didn't see Archer giving any lectures there... Oh, I think I'll move on to number 3.

3. Lack of Caring

I understand that in this situation they probably weren't going to make any major changes, but they could have cared. The only person that did this was Trip, and that's sad. I could go into detail, but I'm tired of typing. I think I've made my point. This was such a failure in the character of the senior staff, Archer in particular as captain, that I just had to give it an F grade with a plus for the bit that did work.
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“The history of men's opposition to women's emancipation is more interesting perhaps than the story of that emancipation itself.” - Virginia Woolf
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