The ENT and Melakon

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Enterprise' started by Melakon, Feb 6, 2013.

  1. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    Yes, I was going to comment that I thought it might have worked better as a 2-part story.

    MacLeod, I think you're right. ;)
     
  2. Mutai Sho-Rin

    Mutai Sho-Rin Crusty Old Bastard Moderator

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    Glad you mentioned John Vickery. He played the warrior Neroon on Babylon 5 and was exceptional in giving life to that character.
     
  3. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    Vickery, Hertzler, and many others are prime examples of why Star Trek so often preferred actors with classical theatre experience for its regulars and guests. They really do bring a style to performance that you rarely see in other series or films. I think it was Kate Mulgrew who once compared acting in Star Trek to acting in a theatrical period piece. The most memorable Klingons are often those actors with a background of many years on the stage. A lot of television actors (especially young actors) simply don't have that kind of experience because they've exclusively worked professionally in television, and only know how to play contemporary characters.
     
  4. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    2:20 - Horizon

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    TV Blurb: Travis plans a trip to visit his family on their freighter Horizon, but gets bad news before he arrives. Meanwhile, T'Pol is urged to attend movie night. Written by Andre Bormanis. Directed by James A. Contner.

    Travis finally gets an episode to carry on his own, and Anthony Montgomery gets some film for his showcase reel. We get to learn a lot about the Mayweather family, their freighter, and their crew. Other than some pesky pirates, the major conflict is Travis butting heads with his (older?) brother Paul, who serves as ship captain. Paul feels Travis abandoned the family when he joined Starfleet, and now resents his presence.

    Unlike how many other television programs would approach this, the conflict is resolved without a big fight scene as done in TNG: Family. But Travis says "on Enterprise" so many times, it's not surprising that Paul might want to punch him in the face.

    We get to see what daily life is like on a civilian vessel, where every day is casual day with no official uniforms.

    There is some good effects work with freighter vs. pirates scenes, as well as sequences when Enterprise does a science survey of space phenomena that isn't a threat for a change.

    The comic subplot involves T'Pol trying to get out of going to movie night, finally attending (while shushing Phlox), and then reviewing the film (Frankenstein, with Boris Karloff).

    Minor highlights include T'Pol commenting on Trip's musical talent, Archer teases with a little bit about his life before Starfleet, and we again see the NX's "sweet spot" that Travis first found in "Broken Bow".

    It's another character development show really, with a few camera shake scenes on the Horizon to stir things up.

    Next: "The Breach"
     
  5. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    2:21 - The Breach

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    TV Blurb: While Trip and a team try to rescue Denobulan scientists from a planet that wants them removed, Phlox meets a member from a race his planet warred with 300 years earlier. Written by Chris Black & John Shiban. Directed by Robert Duncan McNeill.

    Getting to this episode took longer than I expected, I wanted to have it in place before Friday. I believe we're now into episodes when I was unable to regularly watch during first run, and that I didn't see until earlier this year. I'm ashamed to admit that it took me quite a while to realize the significance of the title.

    The Denobulans and Antarans were once at war, centuries earlier. When Phlox has one as a patient, there are tensions as each one is the first of his species to see the other in that time. Things get more complicated when the patient Hudak (Henry Stram) refuses to let Phlox touch him.

    Phlox tells Archer the history between their peoples, and refuses an order to treat Hudak because Denobulan medical ethics govern that the patient's will is the priority. Archer then has to try and convince both men to resolve their differences.

    So as I see it, "the breach" is the rift between Denobulans and Antarans. Is Archer the bridge? His diplomatic skills seem to have improved as he deals with both men.

    As a Phlox-oriented show, there is a lot of detail. We learn of his grandmother, who lived during those times, and the hatred she spewed. We learn of Phlox's difficulties with his own son, who seems to be some sort of Denobulan skinhead. We see his quarters again, and those with the new Blu-Rays can probably pick up much more detail in the furnishings than I'm able to.

    Phlox's temper shows up again, initially curt with others, even Archer, and finally lashing out in a rage after Hudak's endless taunting.

    We see that Phlox keeps tribbles in the sickbay, but not as pets or for their healing properties.

    John Billingsley was not entirely satisfied with the script, but enjoyed his scenes with Henry Stram, and praised Robert Duncan McNeill's direction.

    Guest star Henry Stram is the son of American football coach Hank Stram.

    Could the name Hudak be a reference to M. Leigh Hudec, aka Majel Barrett?

    Next: "Cogenitor"
     
  6. Chanukahjes

    Chanukahjes Commodore Commodore

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    I realize they could've maybe ended that episode in 5 minutes with this idea, but why not bring in Cutler? She was a technician of some sort and that could have at least been an offer to Hudak, I think. That could have added a different element to the conflict, e. g. she gets a bit dragged into things, she's not really qualified to treat him, he bitches about her incompetency or doesn't want her taking direction from a dirty Denobulan, etc. Not to begrudge Billingsley any scenes, but more of the late Kelly Waymire would not have been a bad thing, I feel.
     
  7. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    Unfortunately, Kellie Waymire had an undiagnosed heart condition, and died the year this episode aired, at 36. Her last Enterprise appearance was "Two Days and Two Nights". She was also working on other shows and projects, some of those released after her death.

    The producers decided to not recast the character. Cutler only made 3 appearances. It feels like she did more though, because she would sometimes be mentioned in dialogue.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2013
  8. Chanukahjes

    Chanukahjes Commodore Commodore

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    Ah, thanks, got the timeline confused. Damn.
     
  9. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    2:22 - Cogenitor

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    TV Blurb: Trip makes the mistake of applying his personal social values when he decides an alien species' third gender citizens are being mistreated. Written by Rick Berman & Brannon Braga. Directed by LeVar Burton.

    I 've known less than 10 openly LGBT people in my life, the last was about 15 years ago. So I don't always see the parallels that are sometimes assigned to this episode, though I do understand them. Some people might consider my interpretation of the episode as missing certain themes due to that.

    There are obvious allusions to alternate gender identities, but there are also elements of how minorities and women have been thought of through the centuries. Women were not allowed to vote in the United States until less than 100 years ago (the anniversary is 2020).

    At one point, it's stated that cogenitors make up only 3% of the Vissian population. Obviously they must number in the millions by now, due to their level of scientific advancement. But if it takes 3 people to create a child, and there are only 3% of the population of the necessary gender, how did this species ever manage to survive? That's 300 individuals out 10,000 births. How long did it take them to discover it takes three to tango? Perhaps there's some medical way of impregnation, but it sounds like the cogenitor must be physically present. The male and female genders apparently can have safe sex whenever they want, by not temporarily adopting a cogenitor.

    One problem I had was how the cogenitors were treated, but maybe it's due to my human perception. It would seem to me that if these cogenitors were so rare, they should be honored or revered or celebrated as celebrities in their society. Not educating them also seems strange, but maybe Vissian physiology is such that the offspring's genes carry some sort of intellectual memory from the parents.

    Like TNG: The Outcast, Star Trek plays it safe again by casting a woman as the androgynous character, rather than a man. The whole episode might have played differently, though there's no overt romantic relationship between Trip and the cogenitor; he truly believes he's helping It.

    Of course everything goes wrong despite his intentions. When T'Pol reprimands him, it plays like a mother scolding her child. Archer gets the angriest he's ever been at his best friend.

    Andreas Katsulas (dang, I spelled his name right without looking it up) makes a return to Star Trek, after spending time on Babylon 5.

    Next: "Regeneration"
     
  10. Chanukahjes

    Chanukahjes Commodore Commodore

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    The way I see cogenitors is that they're a downtrodden minority in their own society, valued solely for their genetic contributions and for nothing more. I would think, given their extreme minority status, that all they do is facilitate the making o' babies. Day in, day out. Hence there's little time for crazy things like education. You're sexually mature? Off to the bedroom salt mines with ya!

    Actually, it wouldn't shock me - here's a fan fic plot bunny - if the Vissians weren't maybe trying to replace them with some sort of chemical factory hormones or enzymes or whatnot. If cogenitors are replaced by a shot of, say, progesterone, then they can all die out and be remembered centuries later as a curiosity of Vissian evolution. This slave caste would become almost zoo specimens. It's their minority (and necessary for reproduction) status that keeps them alive at all. Otherwise, who would want a child to be born if the fetus were shown to be a cogenitor?

    That also makes me wonder, since the cogenitors don't bear the children, what do families do when Mom gives birth to a cogenitor (as, say, child #4 out of 5)? Surely you can't raise them with the boys and girls! Why, they've got intergender cooties!

    Vissian society would be quite the thing to study.
     
  11. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    2:23 - Regeneration

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    TV Blurb: All contact with an arctic expedition is lost after they discover strange cybernetic creatures buried in the ice. Enterprise is ordered to rescue the apparently kidnapped researchers after a freighter leaves orbit at unusually high speed. Written by Mike Sussman & Phyllis Strong. Directed by David Livingston.

    Yes, it's showtime for the Borg again. I'm going to ignore all that stuff about the Borg not identifying themselves, Starfleet somehow not putting 2 and 2 together for 200 years, and whether this episode should have been written in the first place. Everyone else has already discussed that enough over the last ten years. It's here, and we have to deal with it, just like episodes from the other shows that don't win the "Most Popular' contests. So I decided not to focus on that aspect of the production.

    The opening arctic sequence immediately evokes 1951's The Thing from Another World. For those counting, I was released into the world 3 months before the film was, but it is not a biography. We don't see Enterprise or its crew until Act 2, ten minutes in.

    I'm not saying this because he might be reading, but thank the Great Bird that Mike Sussman's name is on this episode. He and Phyllis Strong do what they need to do with the story, and it's mysterious, fast moving, and presents a tough choice for Archer.

    It's only natural that Borg stories appealed to the production staffs, as there was a wealth of stage set props and costumes to use. Obviously this was a way for a series to save money by reusing these items, but it also challenges a writer to somehow put a spin on the usual Borg story.

    Borg shows also present challenges for directors, cinematographers, effects teams, stunt teams, and actors. So I sort of think the Borg shows appear because they're not only challenging, but to some degree fun to do for everyone.

    My favorite moment is when two recently Borgified drones escape into Enterprise's Jefferies corridors/tubes. The scenes move quickly with security teams, phaser fire, and Archer making one of the most difficult decisions presented.

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    The whole sequence is complemented with an appropriately tense score by Brian Tyler.

    So love it, or hate it. If any other writer had gotten the assignment, it could have been worse. Sussman's own Trek geekiness helped save this from being a disaster.

    The season's blooper reel has a couple of outtakes showing that it wasn't all deadly serious for the cast.

    Next: "First Flight"
     
  12. BruntFCA

    BruntFCA Commander Red Shirt

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    The Borg should NEVER have been used on ENT and doing so was a mistake. With that said Regeneration was easily the best Borg episode since VOY's Scorpion and one of my favorite episodes from the first 2 seasons.
     
  13. Seven of Five

    Seven of Five Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I was pleasantly surprised with Regeneration. It was a bit of an eye-roller hearing that the producers were actually going there and doing a Borg episode, but I was open-minded going in.

    I'd agree with BruntFCA and say that it was easily the best Borg episode since Scorpion. It did a goo job of making the Borg a thrilling enemy again, after they had been thoroughly de-fanged during VOY.
     
  14. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    2:24 - First Flight

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    TV Blurb: During a shuttle mission, Archer thinks about an old friend from the NX testing days. Written by John Shiban & Chris Black. Directed by LeVar Burton.

    Another flashback episode, and you already know how I feel about those.

    Archer gets bad news about a colleague, A.G. Robinson (Keith Carradine), as preparations are made to search for a dark matter nebula. T'Pol tags along to get him to talk about what he's feeling. Which seems a strange thing for a Vulcan to do, act as a counselor.

    We get a lot of information about what Starfleet was like before Enterprise was launched. Archer meets Trip apparently for the first time. We meet Ruby, waitress at the 602 Club, that Trip and Malcolm had reminisced over in "Shuttlepod One". And we learn a little bit about A.G. Robinson, whom we'd never seen before, and never will again.

    We also learn the Vulcans were quite right in thinking humans weren't yet ready to venture into space. Starfleet officers apparently were in the habit of disobeying orders, letting test vehicles explode rather than abort a mission, getting into fist fights at the local bars, and performing unauthorized vehicle tests.

    There are standard performances, though Robinson doesn't really seem that likeable, but the same criticism has been leveled at Archer by people, so maybe they deserve each other. T'Pol seems unusually concerned about how Archer takes the news of his friend's fate. There are some subtle reactions from Jolene Blalock that makes me wonder if T'Pol was perhaps secretly in love with Archer.

    The story is meant to be a tribute to America's (not Earth's) space program, and perhaps to the Wright brothers. Three "Sailor of the Year" honorees from the real USS Enterprise, aircraft carrier CVN-65, make cameo appearances as extras.

    Basically, this is Top Gun with two middle-aged guys. Or, The Wrong Stuff.

    Next: "Bounty"
     
  15. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I never knew about the sailor of the year nominees getting a cameo. I kinda liked this episode. It sorta captured the feel of a real exploration program... in Archer's hamfisted kind of way. Not that he should have ever gotten Enterprise after that little stunt.
     
  16. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    I think this is another episode I never saw until this year. I started off liking it, and I suppose A.G. is sort of a parallel to Chuck Yeager in a way. I think the episode would have been more effective though, if we'd seen A.G. during the first season, perhaps in "Broken Bow" or something. To bring him out only in a flashback seemed really weak.

    Oh. I just hit Rear Admiral. Too bad I'm not an @$$ man.
     
  17. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    2:25 - Bounty

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    TV Blurb: Archer gets kidnapped yet again, when T'Pol suddenly wants to get down to some serious Phloxing. Teleplay by Hans Tobeason and Mike Sussman & Phyllis Strong; Story by Rick Berman & Brannon Braga. Directed by Roxann Dawson.

    I don't know which of the five credited writers were responsible for what parts of this mess, but it's very uneven. I wanted to have this entry up before Friday, but it took me this long to come up with an angle. I'm from an earlier generation, so I'm more forgiving of some the sexuality in some scenes. It used to be old people were shocked by the youngsters. In today's society, it seems to be the other way around.

    The primary plot deals with Archer being kidnapped by a Tellarite bounty hunter. The first problem with this is Skalaar the Bounty Hunter manages to stun the chief engineer, stun and abduct the captain, and not a single security guard is within sight at the airlock. Malcolm really needs to strengthen those security protocols.

    Then we're mostly along for the ride as Trip, Malcolm, Hoshi, and Travis (almost forgot him again) try to get Archer back. Archer spends a good part of his time learning all about his kidnapper's personal life including his brother, his rival, and some Klingons who were the sponsors for his action. That's an awful lot of people.

    In contrast, the T'Pol pon farr story depends only on T'Pol, Phlox, with Trip and Malcolm in supporting roles, to get its story across. Much more economical than the uninvolving A-plot.

    [​IMG]
    "OPEN IT!!!"

    There's a lot of criticism thrown at the pon farr story, but I think it might have been perceived as much worse had Roxann Dawson not brought a woman's sensibilities to the direction. I'm guessing she and Jolene Blalock worked closely to keep some of the situations from going completely over the top. Blalock is very effective as a T'Pol out of control, with some subtle behavior cues. Billingsley gives a more comedic performance for her to play off of. The entire T'Pol B-Story has more tension and excitement than the Archer A-story can pull up with twice as many characters.

    Robert O'Reilly is one of the returning Trekvets, and is instantly recognizable when he speaks in a somewhat similar voice to his Gowron.

    I was glad to see Ed O'Ross in a Star Trek, although under heavy makeup as the Tellarite brother. I'd first noticed O'Ross in an odd little film called The Hidden.

    Next: "The Expanse", season ender
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2013
  18. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    Sorry for absence--

    My monitor crapped out September 10, and I wasn't able to get a new one until today. But it's widescreen (1920 x 1080 res and 21" viewing area compared to the old 1280x1040 15"), so maybe I'll be able to see the episodes a little better. Still getting this new monitor adjusted (and adjusting to it), but hope to have the next review up tonight or tomorrow.

    Three and a half weeks without any computer access at all felt like four months! :wah:
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2013
  19. Fruitcake

    Fruitcake Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    You were missed! I assumed some shit internet fail had befallen you.

    Welcome Back!!
     
  20. Mutai Sho-Rin

    Mutai Sho-Rin Crusty Old Bastard Moderator

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    I wondered if the Gorn ate your homework or something. Glad you're back.