Discussion in 'Star Trek: Enterprise' started by Richard S. Ta, Mar 27, 2021.
As we will see in "First Flight" even warp two is relatively recent, less than ten years.
Spoilers! I can't remember anything about these episodes.
They say nothing to really confirm or deny either way, TBH.
In Broken Bow Travis and Reed have a short exchange which at least confirms that Boomers have made their way into alien ports and so on:
TUCKER: The Captain tells me you've been to Trillius Prime.
TRAVIS: It took the fourth, fifth and sixth grades to get there. I've also been to Draylax and both the Denebian moons.
Other than that, what Boomers actually do and how they do it is left unexplored, but if the NX-01 is the first warp 5+ capable ship and apparently the first long range ship that Starfleet have rolled out then someone must be dragging dilithium back to Earth. I think it unlikely to be the Vulcans. We can take Keene's 'staying in business' to be a figure of speech regarding obsolescence (ie: if Starfleet can travel faster than the Boomers can, then the Boomers aren't needed to fetch and carry anymore) or that a Boomer ship is literally a family business.
Anyway, my takeaway from the episode wasn't about money, it was about class divisions, so it's all moot!
If you want an untainted rewatch, we could put a spoiler warning in the thread title and ask everyone put references to future eps in spoiler tags. Might give you a fighting chance, anyway.
I know it's daft for a 20 year old show, but if you don't mind?
Anyway folks, a brief divergence before the write up on Cold Front.
Let’s get some nitpicks out of the way. I’m no stickler for canon, since I take the position that it’s all fictional anyway, but in order to suspend disbelief I do believe in something that I think is an entirely different issue, that being consistency. Again, I’m not a person who expects the writers of Enterprise to remember a throwaway line from seasons of TV shows produced (in some cases) decades before the episodes they were putting together, but I do get thrown out of what I’m watching when they couldn’t maintain how they used the rules they set up within the framework of the show they were working on.
So before we get into Cold Front, which all told was an interesting, well made episode, lets get into an issue which over the first half of Enterprise Season 1 is becoming increasingly problematic for me:
THE PROBLEM WITH HOSHI
I love Star Trek. Flat out, all of it. I don’t care. I get a kick out of Spock’s Brain. I crack a smile at “row, row, row your boat” in Star Trek V. The early seasons of TNG… I know they have flaws but they are Star Trek. I love the world, I love the setting, I love the characters. I love Star Trek, even when it’s unlovable. Just bear that in mind.
I feel I’d be remiss in doing a written rewatch of Enterprise if I didn’t do so with a critical eye. Some pages back my posts were referred to as reviews. I prefer not to think of this thread like that. This Enterprise rewatch is a celebration of one of Star trek’s less loved shows (did I mention I love the underdog?) but watching from the perspective of a person with almost two decades of hindsight I do feel it’s interesting to applaud Enterprise when it does something right, whilst understanding where it went wrong and why.
Part of the initial mission statement of Enterprise was to hark back to TOS, specifically in the triumvirate of Kirk, McCoy and Spock. The latter representing the mind with his counterpoint Mccoy representing the heart, both bringing their influence on to Kirk so that he can weigh their decisions and make a final judgement. For what it’s worth the cast of Enterprise in retrospect seem to be largely at peace with his, understanding that they were always destined to play second fiddle to the ‘big three’. Whilst Archer, Trip and T’Pol have seen significant development over the first 11 episodes of season 1 it can’t be denied that Reed, Mayweather and Hoshi have suffered. Mayweather in particular has simply been neglected, mostly used for flying shuttles back and forth. I do get a sense that midway through they are still trying to find Reed’s feet.
But Hoshi… poor Hoshi.
She came onboard Enterprise with a clear remit and purpose. Her role was defined in Broken Bow as being essential to the success of the NX-01’s mission. Sadly though, nobody really thought it through in terms of how her role would be represented in terms of dramatic representation and by the time they did, they realised that doing things the way they originally set out to do would have been simply unworkable.
Let’s go back to her initial scene, when Archer first strong-armed her onto the NX-01:
This paints a picture. Words like ‘Universal Translator’ aren’t even thrown around. Humanity knows next to nothing about alien dialects, with the language of one of the galaxy’s major players, the Klingons, being absent from their database. Despite opposition, the Vulcan’s provided a ‘sample’ of their linguistic database. Enter Hoshi, polyglot, linguistics expert and all-round passionate about language person to save the day and act as the translator and linguist on board Enterprise. Let’s take a look at her first assignment:
So, it works as a scene. There’s both drama and humour to be drawn from mistranslation. It’s revealed they do have some kind of automatic translator, but it’s definitely not up to the task that such a device would fulfil in later (as in chronologically) versions of Star Trek. Some kind of speech to text handheld device, rather than the full ‘magically translating and lip-synching everything into English’ doodad that we are used to.
The problem is, is that this kind of thing results in the scene above. A scene which presented as a one-off in a pilot works well… but in the long term? Can you imagine it? Well, clearly Brannon Braga could, at least for one more episode.
From Fight or Flight:
So we have the same kind of scene, played out again. Again it works for the episode and it plays into the drama. In the long-term though? I’d say that in introducing a character with a concept like Hoshi’s in the first place, Braga made a mistake and in correcting it very early in the shows run he made the right call. Otherwise every week Enterprise is going to run foul of some situation, get an alien up on the view screen and:
And that my friends would get old, very very fast. The problem of why aliens can speak English in sci-fi is not new and frankly neither is handwaving it away for the sake of telling a story. In its conception, Enterprise had its transporter taken away to be replaced by shuttle pods. It had shields and photon torpedoes taken away to be replaced with… other kinds of shields and torpedoes. It was a neat idea to take away the Universal translator, but unlike the examples above… well, they just didn’t think their replacement through enough. Because stopping scenes dead so that Hoshi could apply broken translations to both the crew of the Enterprise and the alien of the week, well it would have been crap wouldn’t it?
Just nine episodes from Fight or Flight, in which the issue of translation is just kind of ignored, I think it’s finally put to bed in Cold Front:
Yep, that’s Mantoos. Plus his buddies from different worlds, light years apart and… they can all understand Tucker just fine whilst he’s performing his engineering tour, even down to the technical knowhow stuff. Why? Never mentioned. Maybe they sent over their linguistic databases before coming aboard? Or maybe nobody cared anymore because telling stories is more important? Meanwhile, while the illustrious members of many worlds see the sights, Hoshi languishes on the bridge with Reed and Mayweather:
Quiet. Hoshi wasn’t listening. She didn’t even get excited at all the new words and so on. And why should she? The Universal translator is working as it always does, Archer and co. are getting on fine without her… she’s redundant. Only good for jamming an earpiece in and opening hailing frequencies.
Hoshi then. The first casualty of everybody just not thinking about Enterprise’s premise enough. A worse fate than poor Mayweather even, because beyond an unusual birthplace, Travis never had a concept. No doubt in future episodes they will utilise Hoshi as she was supposed to be used, but consistency has left the building for her.
Anyway, don’t be down boys and girls. Next up is Cold Front and I thought it was just about the best episode of Enterprise so far. There’s gold in them there hills and I’m determined to keep mining for it.
Happy Times and Places,
Richard S. Ta
Images used with permission of trekcore.com
Glad to see this ongoing rewatch...just saw "Cold Front" and look forward to a review--like how you insert quotes from TOS! Had not gone back to the early seasons of ENT for quite awhile. There does seem to be a problem with how Hoshi was conceived.
The problem with Hoshi is that in order to do her job and be useful she has to be a superbeing with super-duper-hyper-intelligence. Champollion was a genius among linguists yet with the help of the Rosetta stone it took him twenty years to decipher the Egyptian language. It took much longer for an army of linguists to translate the Mayan written language.
That's how long it takes for a HUMAN language, now imagine how long it would take for an alien one.
So you see the problem. Hoshi doesn't have that kind of time to come up with answers.
The UT is ok because we don't know how long it took for how many people to create it but a single person with Hoshis' skills is something else.
Welcome, Vash! I figured there's 98 episodes of Enterprise and about the same between TOS and TAS. If I ever did a rewatch of those shows I'd reverse it and quote Enterprise each episode. I'm trying to keep them relevant but have a rule to use a different episode each time and only use it once. A cookie for anyone who can figure out which I've already used up.
I'm fine with the UT. It's necessary handwaving I think.
I was trying to think of how to better make a character like Hoshi, in terms of her being necessary to the mission in Broken Bow. Maybe make her the ship's Ambassador, so it's her job to be a great communicator/facilitator between Starfleet and the various species they'll meet. God knows, Enterprise needs an ambassador onboard 'cause it certainly ain't Archer, Trip or T'Pol, all of whom have proven themselves to be dreadful at meeting and greeting at select points so far.
I understand your point about Hoshi's skill level at being a linguist, but I can chalk that up to the necessities of tv production. Some liberties have to be taken to move a story along, otherwise we'll spend most of an episode trying to decipher the word 'hello' in an alien language. That's neither efficient nor dramatic enough for a tv show.
(And yes, I am using the 'not dramatic enough' argument despite my earlier post if saying an episode doesn't need excitement to be good. Dramatic and excitement are two different things.)
Oh yeah, as I said, Braga made the right call. It would have been interminable to have the situation set out in Fight or Flight repeated every week. I think it's a case of early-show revisionism, where they basically went back on what they originally set out to do with Hoshi upon realising it's unworkable. Partly for the reason you say, partly because of what @Swedish Borg said above. It's just silly if she can extrapolate entire languages after listening to them for a few minutes.
It's just another case of something that seems to be a larger underlying problem with Enterprise. In trying to strip it back and make it less 'advanced' than the 24th century shows, they end up just putting the same doodads in with different names. I just saw the Enterprise take a hit in Forgotten Son. Polarise the hull plating? Give me a break. It looks like a shield, it acts like a shield, it's a shield. Likewise the torpedoes. The shuttlepods seem to be one of the few elements they've really got behind, largely I guess to recover the exorbitant cost of physically building the thing.
EPISODE 11: COLD FRONT
"You interfere with me with what I have to do there, and you'll change history."
Opinions will no doubt differ, but for me in Cold Front all the disparate elements that have made up Enterprise so far coalesce, resulting in an episode that satisfies on every single level. We have satisfying character beats for just about every regular, coupled with a plot that is genuinely unpredictable.
Let’s kick off with the picture above. Look at that. Genuinely gorgeous CGI, nearly 20 years old and aside from a dodgy moment with a weirdly animated Suliban towards the end of the episode, it stands up. Great that Enterprise doesn't suffer from the malady that affects Voyager and Deep Space Nine. These episodes can be watched in high definition and they look absolutely fabulous.
Cold Front is for me the first episode where they nail the Kirk/Spock/McCoy thing as well, with several scenes seemingly keyed to do exactly that. Up to this point the show has a spotty track record with this, often coming over as too combative. At times Trip and Archer seem to gang up on a cornered T'Pol over dinner, or somehow T'Pol is too far towards the colder end of the spectrum, or worse either Archer ends up coming off as an ass or Trip comes off too dumb. In Cold Front we have Archer, front and centre, listening to both Trip and T'Pol, gathering both their (equally competent) wisdom and making a decision accordingly. This is the show that Enterprise has been working very hard to become.
What's more, the ancillary characters get moments to shine as well. Travis gets to try the chair out, Reed gets to dither on about security and Hoshi... well, I laid it out above. In an episode where Hoshi's skills might become particularly useful, or indeed in a situation where the character of Hoshi should be front and centre, she's sidelined. But that's the only nitpick in an episode that otherwise works in a way that no episode has since Broken Bow or at least The Andorian Incident. This is Enterprise with an unfolding text at its' heart, a show that's building upon the premise set up in the pilot and most fascinatingly, building a kind of future mythology signposted with veiled hints and subtle expository dialogue. I find I am pleasingly uncertain as to the motivations of the parties involved in the so-called Temporal Cold War.
Oh and, don't spoiler me, but I'm calling it now. There's no way Daniels is dead.
"Look, a truly advanced planet wouldn't use force. They wouldn't come here in strange alien forms. The best of all possible methods would be to take human beings to their world, train them for generations until they're needed here."
Daniels works because he puts Archer, T'Pol and Trip on the back-foot, thus putting the audience in the same position. He seems trustworthy enough, with Silik a more obvious antagonist. But the mystery of why Silik saves Enterprise remains. He stopped the cascade, in what was initially framed as a moment of sabotage. It wouldn't be the first time Star trek has pulled this kind of wool over the audiences eyes, with the beautiful revealed as malicious and the ugly proved benign. Happily, Cold Front doesn't provide all the answers, with Archer et al being as much in the dark as the audience is by the end of the episode.
What's more and again possibly for the first time since Broken Bow, Cold Front goes all out with its action set pieces. Archer phasing through solid matter to confront Silik, plus the final confrontation around the airlock make for compelling viewing (even if I have to squint at the science, specifically of decompression a bit). It's good stuff. After 10 episodes dithering around to varying degrees of success, it feels like Enterprise finally has the confidence to get off of the ground.
"Mister Seven, I want to believe you. I do. I know this world needs help."
Of course, much like Daniels, I'm writing this from the perspective of someone looking at the voyages of the NX-01 as history. I know that the show has a tumultuous journey ahead of it as it is batted from pillar to post, constantly remoulded, reshaped and finally dumped. But still there's something fantastic in Cold Front. A glimpse of the Enterprise that could have been. Shouldn't have been. There's something prescient about the lock placed on the door of Daniels's quarters at the end. The show should be have been doing more of this kind of thing, but it's easier to put a lid on it and get on with the pressures of syndication.
Equal parts tragic and fascinating.
Happy Times and Places,
Richard S. Ta
Moderator's Note: The OP has requested we treat this thread as "Spoiler-free," since he hasn't seen Enterprise for ages and would prefer to remain untainted during his rewatch. From this point onward, PLEASE use spoiler tags for any "spoiler" information for episodes beyond the OP's latest discussion. Thanks.
Excellent review. I’m surprised that spoiler tags are required for ENT - would’ve thought only for recent series like DISC and PIC. Might check out how to do that.
I appreciated the intrigue and ambiguity in “Cold Front” - the theme of trust, confusion about who the good guys/bad guys were and what they were up to. There’s no real resolution at the end, the ship just continues on their way, after wandering into a temporal conflict that hardly gets explored. There’s a sense of the Enterprise being in over their head. Thought Robert Duncan McNeill did a great job of directing.
Spoilers at my own request. I watched this last time before Star Trek 09 came out so I can't remember a lot of it. Like, somehow I feel sure Daniels comes back, but I don't know for sure. I'm in my jaded 40s so I take my surprises where I can.
intrigue and ambiguity. I liked it too. Why did Silik prevent the cascade? I've a feeling we will never know but I liked the fact the audience were put in the same position as the characters. Daniels seems nice doesn't he?
I'm going to have to pay attention to the directors more. I forget that from TNG to Voyager a whole rogues gallery of actor/directors starts to build up.
From TNG to VOYAGER, at least 4 cast members from each directed in the franchise.
TNG - Frakes, Stewart, Burton, McFadden
DS9 - Brooks, Auberjonois, Robinson, Siddig, Dorn
VOYAGER - McNeill, Picardo, Russ, Dawson
No one from the ENTERPRISE cast directed. Not even Scott Bakula, who did a few on QUANTUM LEAP. I was surprised he didn't.
Great review! You make some nice points about the episode, but I am biased against "COLD FRONT" because I absolutely HATED the Temporal Cold War. I won't go into more detailed reasons why because it might be considered spoilery. Suffice it to say that in a different thread when I said 'name one thing you would change in this series', NOT having the Temporal Cold War is the ONLY thing I would change. I can live with everything else. I CAN live with it.
However, if I do look past the fact this is direct continuation of that plot from the pilot, I can agree this is a good episode. (And I remember during its first run, this was the last aired episode before the Christmas break. A good stopping point for a break and a few repeats.)
By the way, regarding your use of quotes from TOS and TAS, you've used quotes from...
"BROKEN BOW" - THE CAGE
"FIGHT OR FLIGHT" - This is the only one I'm not certain on.
"STRANGE NEW WORLD" - THE NAKED TIME
"UNEXPECTED" - SHORE LEAVE
"TERRA NOVA" - MIRI
"THE ANDORIAN INCIDENT" - JOURNEY TO BABEL
"BREAKING THE ICE" - ALL OUR YESTERDAYS
"CIVILIZATION" - THE RETURN OF THE ARCHONS
"FORTUNATE SON" - THE DEVIL IN THE DARK
"COLD FRONT" - ASSIGNMENT: EARTH
So it’s okay to discuss particulars of the episode at hand, but not events beyond it? think I get that. I remember so little of the series anyway.
Wondered about the opening scene --mystery guy removing Silik’s enhanced vision. Are we supposed to think he’s acting on “blind faith?” Does that resonate with the group of pilgrims? I did like the fact that they were from different species.
About fortunate son. I find the whole story a little absurd.
The Fortunate is attacked by marauders and its captain nearly killed, so what is it that Archer proposes should have been done to deal with this problem? We never get a clear answer about that. The second in command (I don't recall his name) captures one of the Nausicaans. What does Archer think should have been done at this point? Deliver him to the authorities? What authorities? They are years away from anything, plus the idea that they should have done a detour (of maybe several years) to deliver this thug is ridiculous. So what are the alternatives? Send him on his way (with a don't do this again or else speech)? Execute him? Detain him indefinitely? We don't know. Because Archer can't be bothered to answer these questions.
I seem to recall Garrett Wang missed out on directing an episode due to a new policy about hiring directors, which is probably why Bakula never did one.
IIRC the Temporal Cold War was forced on them by higher ups who wanted something 'futuristic' in the show, even though by definition a show set a few centuries in the future is futuristic by definition. Shows you the kind of executive nonsense they were struggling with. It all came out of Braga's idea for another show entirely. I think it's a cool concept. Why do you hate it?
Aw! Very good!
As far as possible I'm trying to choose episodes that have some connection, either thematically (as in the case of say, Miri or Assignment: Earth, aesthetically (The Return of the Archons) or in the case of The Cage, just putting a pilot against a pilot.
You need to correct The Naked Now to The Naked Time.
As for the missing one, the clue is in the title. "What are Little Girls made of?". I thought it made a nice comment on Hoshi's struggle.
I remember the broader beats. I know when the Xindi attack, but I can't remember how it's resolved. I can't remember a thing about the Season 1 finale. I remember T'Pol going through some 'drug' stuff, T'Pol and Trip having a romance. The broader stuff. I'm not going to go mad if someone spoils something, but I'd like to keep it as fresh as possible.
It's a thing of two sides I suppose. Archer doesn't know how to react because there isn't a rulebook yet, which is kind of part of the point of the show. There are no good answers and I can see how the resolution, be nice to people no matter their race, is quite pithy but the main thrust of the episode for me was Travis getting a much needed showcase.
I fixed that in my earlier post. I can't believe I typed the wrong episode. lol! Thanks.
As for why I hate the Temporal Cold War, there's a lot of reasons...
1. Time travel was basically unheard of in early TOS, so why is it here as a main plot thread for a series that takes place over a century before?
2. Time travel plots have been WAY overused by the middle of VOYAGER's run. I was burned out on the concept within the franchise.
3. It just messes with the narrative too much. Time travel stories are often headache inducing, but the Temporal Cold War was a migraine on steroids.
I've got more reasons, but they are rather spoilery, so I'll refrain from posting them until you are at a point that spoilers are not an issue.
Brannon Braga said, “The whole Temporal Cold War was put in because they [the studio] demanded that there be some futuristic thing in it. I just don’t think the Cold War element ever really gelled. There was a spooky guy and temporal agents and some convoluted things that time travel tends to fall into, and it didn’t really work….Manny Coto, who took over season four, dropped it completely.”
From The Fifty Year Mission, volume 2-- many interviews about the development of ENT.
Very true. But did he have to pick time travel?
Braga was a very imaginative writer, but one of his biggest flaws was his over-reliance on using time travel. 1/3 of all his episodes had something to do with time. That may not seem like many episodes because it's one person, but between TNG, VOYAGER, and ENTERPRISE, he was credited in over 100 episodes and 2 movies. That is more than a full season worth of episodes in the franchise.
Even though the above interview touched on this, I'm still going to spoiler tag what I'm going to say.
Spoiler: Manny Coto
I was SO THANKFUL AND GRATEFUL that Manny Coto ended that damned Temporal Cold War with the "STORM FRONT" two-parter.
Separate names with a comma.