Terra Prime

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Enterprise' started by R. Star, Apr 10, 2013.

  1. Goji

    Goji Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I like the episode a lot, but the issue I have with it is the half-Vulcan baby. I've never understood what Paxton hopes to gain by creating what he allegedly hopes to prevent. Pointed ears or not I don't think even a somewhat logical mind could expect pictures of an infant to send people into pitchfork wielding mobs, at least not in large enough numbers to help his cause.

    I also don't like how the baby's death casts an unnecessary dark shadow over an episode that climaxes with a generally hopeful speech by Archer about humanity's future. Given that the following episode is a holodeck recreation that takes place years later and is generally disregarded by the majority of fans, the series as we have known it for four seasons ends with two of the main character grieving the loss of a child they barely knew, who had been created without their knowledge or consent for the purposes of somehow furthering a racist agenda.

    I'm all for drama and whatnot but I've never seen how anything that this particular subplot contributes to the episode makes it worth ending the story (and, for many, the series) on that note.
     
  2. teacake

    teacake Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah I think he is misreading his potential audience there. Plenty of people would see the natural similarities which bind the races together when they see a baby that needs to be cared for and responds in the same way human babies do.
     
  3. gblews

    gblews Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Prior to Elizabeth's birth it was thought that humans and Vucans could not procreate. By showing Elizabeth with her obvious human/Vulcan parentage, Paxton is using the baby to tell humans that at some point "pure" humans may one day become extinct.

    When it comes to this type of thing, some people can become unhinged, I don't care how cute a baby might be. Think of it this way, if at some point in America's past it was thought that blacks and whites could not procreate, just think of the panic that would have generated from pictures of a half white, half black baby. It might have caused mass rioting.

    The main point of Demons/Terre Prime was to let us know that even in those "enlightened" times, man still had "demons" to conquer, demons they weren't even aware still existed. Thus Paxton;s belief that humans' reaction to the sight of the baby would have been one of horror rather than, "aww".
     
  4. horatio83

    horatio83 Commodore Commodore

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    The ending of Terra Prime is comparable to the ending of TUC. The captain speaks before representatives and everybody cheers about the nasty attitudes we have overcome. You cannot present the opinion of ordinary people in a dramatic context unless you tell your story through their eyes.
    To be concrete, what do you suggest? That we see people on the streets hugging aliens or some poll results about xenophobic attitudes or what? It is simply not dramatically feasible.

    About this plot hole nonsense, the ending of Terra Prime makes it crystal clear that humankind has learned and evolved just like the ending of TUC makes it clear that, at least for now, the warmongers and racists have been defeated. Fiction isn't something you understand when you read it in such a hyper-literal fashion.
     
  5. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    If it's so dramatically infeasible... then why did they include the element of rioting and protesters and aliens hating on Phlox every time they come to Earth in season 4? If you're going to include such things in a work of fiction you need to think about how they'll resolve themselves.

    As for "plot hole nonsense"... why is it nonsense? Because you say so? The ending doesn't make anything "crystal clear" about humanity as a whole. The only thing clear is Archer and company saved the day. Paxton still had a large number of people cheering him on at Earth. Even Soval said in reply to that that humanity didn't seem to be ready to host such a conference. Yet Archer stopping one person and giving a speech changes that somehow? What's being hyper literal about wondering about such a gaping and obvious oversight? Yes it's fiction... but it's not a fairy tale where everything ends hunky dory just because the main bad guy is beaten and the work says so.
     
  6. horatio83

    horatio83 Commodore Commodore

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    Because Phlox running into xenophobic asshole in a bar who looks for a fight leads to an actual scenes. So does Trip and T'Pol infiltrating Terra Prime. Gee, it even leads to a storyline.
    Rioting and protesting wasn't a scene. If memory serves the Andorian ambassador merely mentioned the riots. Why? Because shooting actual riots is expensive and because it puts the focus on the wrong people. The stories in Trek are virtually always (the VOY story with the reptilian aliens is the only exception which comes to mind) told through the eyes of the main characters.
    But even if you wanted to show that xenophobia declines, how do you wanna do it? Showing xenophobes is easy, showing the absence of xenophobia, i.e. ordinary people simply not minding the presence of aliens, is hard.

    It's like when Hamlets talks about the excesses in the court to make the audience feel that "something is rotten in the state of Denmark". Same when Polonius sends somebody after his son, it is only there to create the 'everybody spies on everybody' atmosphere of the second act. That the guy goes after Laertes, the pure plot, it absolutely irrelevant. The atmosphere matters, just like during the ending of TUC and Terra Prime.
    In prose you can have a first-person narrator who tells about events in far off places. You can also do this via multiple first-person narrators. In TV/cinema you can also use a narrator, a choir (or Star Wars famous cards which serve the function of a choir) or tell the story through the eyes of several characters. This became popular during the 00s when many movies were of an episodic nature (and often the stories of several people "accidentally" crossed). But that's now how Trek works.
     
  7. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Wow, you really seem to be missing the point. I'm not sure if you're just trying to play apologist for the episode because you personally like it, or if you just think the episode if good and seem personally invested that everyone has to think it's as awesome as you do.

    Regardless, you seem to be missing the point. I don't care about a scene showing riots. I don't care about a scene showing peaceful people. The rioting was mentioned through exposition. It was brought up as a major plot point to show how much of a threat Paxton was. His dark cause is so threatening to the fabric of the potential Federation that people on Earth are rallying to his banner and things are looking bleak for our heroes. How it's brought up is irrelevant. That is was is good enough.

    Then there's no resolution to this AT ALL. Exposition, scenery or otherwise. In true video game fashion, once Paxton his beaten his whole organization which apparently spanned the entire Earth Solar system falls in on itself, all his followers disperse and anyone sympathetic to his cause disappears never to be heard from again. That's bad writing. If they didn't want to deal with the consequences of such a plot point, they never should have brought it up to begin with. Certainly it bends credibility to the point of absurdity when the alien ambassadors were feeling so threatened by this to declare the time wasn't right for such a conference and Earth wasn't ready, to doing a complete 180 because beat the bad guy and gave an inspiring speech. As if Paxton's cause was limited to just himself solely because he's the bad guy.

    You like the episode and it's message, that much is clear. I'd say it's a bit much to compare it to TUC other than to say they tried something similar. But whereas TUC successfully achieved this in a non-fairy tale fashion, Terra Prime just ended happily... because Archer gave a speech and no other reason than the script says so.
     
  8. horatio83

    horatio83 Commodore Commodore

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    Of course I like the episode and of course you dislike it. So much is obvious. ^^

    What do you wanna see? Terra Prime is destroyed just like the conspiracy in TUC is destroyed. You are totally right that the PLOT doesn't show us that xenophobia respectively militarism in the case of TUC suddenly declines. But the ATMOSPHERE (which you seem to be unable to perceive) of the respective final scenes IMPLIES (once again, any hyperliteral reading of fiction that leads to "OMG, there are numerous plotholes" is worthless) that the future will be bright.

    Is this realistic? Not one bit. But that is not the point of stories! Each and every story is made up and via definition leaves something out. You plot hole folks focus on precisely this, the stuff that is not told, and totally miss the essence of the story. It's kinda like with those Christian fundamentalists who throw Adam and Eve together with dinosaurs but in their obsession neglect to think about the POINT of this story from Genesis. Or, to use a Trek example, those people who endlessly complain about Delta Vega not being a moon of Vulcan or whatever while totally missing the slightly surrealistic, dream-like quality of the Delta Vega sequence plus, once again, the actual essence of the scene. Nobody cares where the planet is, it is a place to tell a part of a story!
     
  9. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    Protesters can be just a vocal minority. If in say a city of 10 million, a couple of hundred thousand protest, is that representive? No it's just a vocal minority. And what is a signifigant percentage? Surely if the percentage of people who favour or indifferent to closer alliances or higher than those that oppose closer alliances, their will should be carried out?

    And by the point of "demons"/"Terra Prime" had Samuels left the Terra Prime organisation. We can all do things upon which we might regret later in life.
     
  10. horatio83

    horatio83 Commodore Commodore

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    Good points, the Terra Prime folks have been a minority as they would have been able to influence politics otherwise.

    I think Samuels is basically the character that R. Star wants. Sure, the time frame (Samuels already learned his lessons when the story beings) doesn't match but it is again a question of atmosphere and not of stupid literal reading. Samuels' biography mirrors the story of the species. There are some demons from our past who sometimes reemerge (think about the fictional historical WWII/eugenics background that influences this episode, Khan, TNG's pilot, Bashir and so on; sometimes the historical toilet comes up) but for the time being we defeat them.
     
  11. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    So... first you insult, then you just plainly put words in my mouth? Did you not even read my first post? Or do you just cherry pick what you read? First sentence of my initial post I said it was one of the better stories in season 4. Just because it is, doesn't mean it's perfect or is free from criticism of some obvious flaws. There is middle ground between good and terrible believe it or not. But when your argument is to insult a point of view that's different from yours then just put words in their mouth when they don't say things you like... well how serious can one take you?

    Samuels? We don't know a lot about him admittedly. We have only his word that he reformed. His actions are he was part of Terra Prime, then tried to stop them to the point he had no problem killing Archer and company to do it. Viewpoints can change, but with politics there are always ulterior motives so it's hard to take things at face value. I'd be willing to say if Paxton won, Samuels would suddenly "see the light" in Terra Prime again. Politicians so often position themselves to land on their feet no matter the political landscape.

    To the protesters. Sure it could be a vocal minority. It could be the majority. We don't know, it was never addressed and no sort of resolution was reached on it. That's my main nitpick with the episode. They bring it up, simply to lend weight to the threat of the bad guy, that he's threatening the whole founding of the Federation, then don't bother to explain it or resolve it because it proves inconvenient to the apparent desire for a happy ending. It's like if Archer shot lightning bolts out of his hands to beat Paxton. He never did this before, no explanation is given for it, and he never does it again. It'd be silly. This is the same way.
     
  12. horatio83

    horatio83 Commodore Commodore

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    Ehm, I said I think that Samuels is the character you might be looking for, somebody through whom the end of Terra Prime is symbolized. That's not putting words in your mouth, it is just a guess. And I obviously have to guess as you never say concretely how you want the end of Terra Prime to be dramatically shown. For me as well as most other folks the death of the villain plus Samuels conversion is really enough to symbolize that "the demons of our past are conquered (for now)".

    I would never insult you but the activity you engage in, hyperliteral reading and plot hole buggery, is obviously pretty stupid. Not seeing the forest because of the trees and so on. You could take the greatest stories of the world and find dozens of plot holes. It is just a pointless activity and the wrong approach to any kind of fiction.
    Because, to repeat myself, fiction means making stuff up. This automatically involves leaving things out. Even if you are Tolkien and devote a big part of your life to create an entire fictional world it will be full of "plot holes".

    Anyway, back to the actual story. Would you mind to point out HOW you want the end of Terra Prime to be symbolized? In my eyes we have the death of the villain, Samuels conversion plus Archer's speech that symbolize it in the actual episode.
     
  13. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I would never insult you but... (proceeds to insult).. heh. Do you not see the hypocrisy in that one? Or just don't care? Or do you just think that your opinion(yes, opinion) is so above everyone else's that anyone who has the audacity to disagree or form one that you don't share is so obviously flawed they warrant insulting? To say nothing of you claiming to speak for "most other folks."

    But now that you're speaking for everyone now, putting words in my mouth is a small thing. But I was referring to you saying I hated the episode. Just because you are critical of something doesn't automatically equate to hate. If your friend tells you that your outfit looks bad, that doesn't mean they hate you for example.

    So... terms like "hyperliteral reading" and "plothole buggery" I think we can equate that to... "I'm going to put demeaning labels on anyone who voices an opinion I don't agree with. And they are wrong. Just ask me if you don't believe me! Everyone else thinks I'm right!"

    To what I would've preferred? That's simple. An actual resolution beyond Archer giving a 30 second speech and all the problems going away magically. But that would require more than two episodes. Sure, they beat the bad guy. They did nothing to address the circumstances that created the situation. It would've been awesome if they had Terra Prime pop up early in season 4 after the Xindi incident and it was a recurring theme all season. Then we could've gotten a more complete picture of the situation beyond "they all lived happily ever after." :)
     
  14. horatio83

    horatio83 Commodore Commodore

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    First, you already noted that this is impossible to do in a two-part episode and would have required more screen time.
    Second, actual resolution is still fairly abstract. Would you mind to be more concrete?

    In my opinion the question are, a) do you show anonymous people or actual characters, b) how can you symbolize via a limited amount of people that the opinion of a minority of Earth (and it is pretty clear that Terra Prime represents a minority as they would otherwise be able to influence politics via normal ways) has changed in a better fashion than via the conversion of Samuels and the death of Paton, c) how do you make sure that this new subplot works well in sync with the rest of the story? Think about the Terra Prime operative aboard the Enterprise and the Starfleet security in disguise as reporter, they were "embedded" and could interact with our main character. Same with Terra Prime, they became part of the plot insofar as they interacted with some of our main characters.



    By the way, just because I like the story very much doesn't mean I don't have some minor problems with it. But they are not caused by plot holes but by atmosphere and mot with the resolution though but with the way Terra Prime is portrayed.
    I am not normally not prone to political correctness but it seems a bit weird that amidst Paxton's minions there were only black guys. And didn't their xenophobia appear to be a bit of a distorted class conflict?
    The guys on the moon are workers and it was the most direct portrayal of labour except for the slave labour on Rura Penthe. Isn't this stuff done by machines in the 22nd century, aren't there better jobs? Their boss owns everything, (not even in TOS it was ever stated that miners work for basically one guy) the worst form of human wealth inequality during TOS (in the case of Mudd it was clear that he is the bad guy) and instead of hating him they hate aliens. It's basically fascist, antisemitic logic, a class conflict is distorted into a "blame the outsider and once he is thrown out a harmonious, orgnaic society will emerge" story.
    In addition to that their leader doesn't really hate aliens, he profits from them via their medical knowledge. He isn't stupid so does he really believe the eugenic propaganda of Colonel Green?

    I don't wanna exaggerate but I got some vibes along these lines. Definitely felt a bit weird that Terra Prime was thrown together with this most clear form of manual labour and 'one guys owns everything' ... without the subtext of the story saying anything about this.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2013
  15. bryce

    bryce Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I wonder if the admiral in Star Trek Into Darkness is a descendant of Paxton...?
     
  16. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Which Admiral?


    :)
     
  17. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    It's a spoiler question.
     
  18. HopefulRomantic

    HopefulRomantic Phloxist Moderator Moderator

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    NO SPOILERS. :mad: :mad: :mad:

    That includes oblique references that will lead to spoilers if followed up on. Being cute about spoilers is not cute.

    Spoiler tags, people. I AM NOT KIDDING.

    Thank you for your cooperation.
     
  19. teacake

    teacake Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Thank you HopefulRomantic! Feel free to berate and threaten for the next couple weeks on this matter!!
     
  20. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    Some people seem to have a need to be like the old show Happy Days' Ralph Malph (Don Most, who was in VOY's "Workforce"). When the Cunninghams were going to see an old classic movie at the cinema, Ralph blurts out the endings to Citizen Kane and King Kong.