Getting from there to here, an Enterprise rewatch.

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Enterprise' started by Richard S. Ta, Mar 27, 2021.

  1. Swedish Borg

    Swedish Borg Commodore Captain

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    About your spoiler, I'd say: Too little, too late, unfortunately.
     
  2. Farscape One

    Farscape One Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Agreed, but at least he put ENTERPRISE back on the right course, in my opinion.
     
  3. Swedish Borg

    Swedish Borg Commodore Captain

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    You're right, IMO had they agreed to prolong the show for a fifth season with the same spirit, It might have lasted the full seven seasons.

    The fourth season should have been the first then maybe we would have had a great show but at least the two first seasons were a total waste with a few episodes that were terribly bad.

    "A Night In Sickbay"
    for instance is like shooting yourself in the foot with rusted bullets soaked in cyanide.
     
  4. HopefulRomantic

    HopefulRomantic hyperpolypyroferricist redux Moderator

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    Folks, stuff like "the first 2 seasons were a total waste" is not really trying to keep Richard untainted. Let him discover these wonders on his own, kay? You have spoiler tags-- and entire other threads-- to vent your spleens. Please play along.
     
  5. Richard S. Ta

    Richard S. Ta Commodore Commodore

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    No, no. Actually I don't know where to draw the line. I'm aware of received fan opinion... I'm also aware of the shows troubled production...

    It's more specific plot points that I don't want spoiling.

    To give examples:

    Executive meddling stifled creativity throughout Enterprise. The first two seasons are throwaway, the third is one long arc and the fourth is a series of well received mini-arcs. = GOOD

    The first season cliffhanger is resolved by X = BAD

    I don't want to stifle discussion.

    Anyway, I'm posting from work. I'll get back to everyone later. :beer:

     
  6. Trekker09

    Trekker09 Captain Captain

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    If my quote from Braga included a spoiler, sorry about that.

    It’s hard to make sense of the temporal cold war part. But the theme of whom to trust, of wonder at creation, and ultimately of faith (“Faith of the heart” - awful song!) does resonate with this episode, IMHO. When Sonsorra asks Archer if he follows any religion, he says he tries to keep an open mind. And he does, offering hospitality to the aliens. Then the ship is literally saved from destruction by the Suliban among the group of pilgrims on board to witness a stellar phenomenon. What is his purpose, if he tried to kill Archer before - what is the larger frame of reference - how does he respond? Daniels’ answers only add to the confusion. It kind of fits with the whole concept of tentative beginnings….the Enterprise is taking baby steps, they’re in the dark about so many things. The crew has only each other to rely on.

    Nice comic touch --Reed, after watching “Night of the killer androids” - “Those were two hours of my life I’d rather have back.”
     
  7. HopefulRomantic

    HopefulRomantic hyperpolypyroferricist redux Moderator

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    These parameters should help our members a lot! Thanks for clarifying. :)
     
  8. Swedish Borg

    Swedish Borg Commodore Captain

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    IMO the temporal cold war is a bad idea from the get-go. For one thing, it doesn't make sense, as any change done in your past good or bad could result in your annihilation as we've seen many times in the franchise. "The City On The Edge Of Forever" being a case in point.
     
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  9. Richard S. Ta

    Richard S. Ta Commodore Commodore

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    It’s been a busy few weeks in my University with the end of term approaching, seemingly millions of exams to run and mark, plus the shadow of COVID hanging over everything. Happily though, I’ve found time to return to my mini-Enterprise marathon with an episode that on paper seemed to promise little, but finally yielded great results.

    ENTERPRISE

    EPISODE 12: SILENT ENEMY



    [​IMG]

    "Some equipment was temporarily out of order. My sensors were inoperative."

    Perhaps it’s the ensemble feel of this episode or the striking directing work going off, (Winrich Kolbe, a Berman stalwart, here provides us with his only work on Enterprise). Maybe it’s the fact that it isn’t mired in pointless wink-wink TOS references, or maybe it’s the fact that it does separate itself from the majority of previous Berman-Trek by having a little interpersonal conflict going off? In any case, this is an episode that manages to balance a mysterious alien attacker with a birthday cake… what could be more Star Trek than that?

    Let’s start with the direction. 12 episodes in and somehow Kolbe manages to give us shots of the interior like never before. The camera seems to glide around the sets, never settling, maybe for the first time truly showing off exactly how rich and detailed Enterprise is whilst still giving the impression of a cramped starship interior? More so, the scenes in which the titular silent enemy board Starfleet’s finest are terse whilst character moments (of which thankfully Hoshi gets a lot) really come off too.

    "All of you are accustomed to new experiences. It's part of your work."

    There’s literally something for everyone to enjoy here. The aliens, whilst still belonging in the domain of ‘not quite good enough’ TV creature CGI are at least an attempt to break away from the standard ‘human with a funny forehead’ that by this point had become a Trek mainstay. Equally, their stubborn refusal to communicate and their identity or motive finally being left a mystery only seems to deepen the episode. We don’t get all the answers, but neither do the crew of Enterprise and that seems all well and good to me. Even the Vulcan people have no record of the foe featured in Silent Enemy.

    Everyone is asking pertinent questions in this episode, with Archer having an opportunity to question his own hubris in even launching Enterprise in the first place. After just about half a season all of this feels earned, more so with the captains usually ebullient manner being stripped back a little to reveal the military man underneath it all. There’s a genuine sense of naiveté going on every time Archer hails a strange ship for the first time. He’s like a new kid wandering around a school playground stopping every other student to say ‘hey, can we be friends?’ and he’s earning slowly but surely that naturally not everybody that Enterprise encounters is going to be receptive to that. Shadows of things to come here as Archer laments the lack of defences onboard. I don’t believe Archer wants to shoot at anyone, but equally I don’t think anyone would enjoy being shot at without the capability to shoot back.

    "When the personality of a human is involved, exact predictions are hazardous."

    At the same time, Hoshi has a mission to find Reed’s favourite food resulting in the background of Enterprise’s armoury officer getting a much needed fleshing out. I feel we learn more about Malcolm in this episode than we have in the previous 11 with his character gaining nuance through interactions with his family members and friends. Reed is to say the least a rather eccentric character, even if that isn’t made immediately apparent. He seems to have the affection of his mother, whilst carrying a burden, that being his father’s disappointment in his choice of career. Likewise his sister seems to like him a lot. What all his family share is an underlying ennui resulting from Malcolm not making much effort to contact them. Whether the writers capitalise on this in future episodes remains to be seen, but finally Reed has something to distinguish himself with and leaves the episode as a more complete character than before.

    As I said, falling a few episodes before some Vulcan-themed show and an apparently controversial episode I truly wasn’t expecting much, but I’ve found my enthusiasm to get through this show has been reawakened. Every character (bar Mayweather) gets a moment to shine in the sun in an episode which is equal parts thriller and character study. This to me is what Enterprise should be.

    With equal parts trepidation and curiosity then, time to move on to Dear Doctor.

    Till next time. Wear a mask, wash your hands and stay safe.

    Happy Times and Places,

    Richard S. Ta

    Images reproduced with permission of Trekcore.com
     
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  10. Swedish Borg

    Swedish Borg Commodore Captain

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    I think they really overdid the Malcolm Reed thing. "Pineapple"? I mean that's not a dish. You could love pineapple and hate it in a cake.

    Reed is kind of a dick. I mean if a girl can't even talk to him without him thinking that it was to have sex with him then...

    No wonder he ended up alone on E2.
     
  11. Richard S. Ta

    Richard S. Ta Commodore Commodore

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    He’s an odd character, to say the least. Up till now he’s written as a person who gets kind of a hard-on for weapons and shooting stuff and little else really.

    I didn’t think that his scene with Hoshi was that bad. She did go from talking about food to inviting him alone back to her quarters so she could cook something... It’s comedy of errors type stuff.

    As for the pineapple, equally, no problem for me. I found his reaction rather touching, but then I empathise with a character who’s a long way from home who doesn’t communicate with his family due to rifts that have built up over the years. I’m much the same. I talk to you lot on here more than I talk to my family.
     
  12. at Quark's

    at Quark's Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I just rewatched it last night and I thought it was a mixed bag. The first part, where they get aboard that alien ship isn't bad. They tried to give them a really unique interior ship design and concepts (such as their food groing all over the ship), rather than yet another generic 'ship of alien species x+1' look. The episode only gets lame after Trip turns out to be pregnant, and it turns into 'let's make a man pregnant and see how he deals with that and with the reactions of the other crewmates, ha ha ha' adolescent humor territory.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2021
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  13. Richard S. Ta

    Richard S. Ta Commodore Commodore

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    ENTERPRISE

    EPISODE 13: DEAR DOCTOR


    [​IMG]

    "That was the past. I'm concerned with the present. Or is it becoming too much for this crew to present me current information?"

    I like Star Trek. I like it, I really do, but there are times on this Enterprise rewatch when I really feel like grinding my teeth. I mentioned in the post about Silent Enemy how refreshing it was not to have, for want of a better term, nudge-nudge/wink-wink scenes. Let me clarify. The earliest example was in Broken Bow, wherein various characters discussed the transporter, at the time being used to ferry cargo back and forth. The ensuing conversation was something along the lines of “handy things these transporters, good for cargo and stuff, but I wonder if you could put a person through it…oh, you won’t catch me going through it etc”.

    Hahahahahaha, do you get it?

    Because you see, transporters can be used for people and-

    Yes. Yes. We know. We know.

    Dear Doctor goes further in it’s denouement with Archer declaring that:

    “one day, you know, one day, I say-I say, one day somebody is going to make a set of rules so we know what to do out here. Maybe, I say-I say, some kind of rulebook. In fact, I say-I say, I think it’s of PRIME importance that maybe we have one particular DIRECTIVE, I say-I say and…”.

    Ugh, it’d fly straight over the heads of any audience members not immersed in Star Trek and to a fan it is sledgehammer-like in it’s subtlety. Pontificating with asides. I was going to say it’s in the nature of a prequel, but I’m not even sure about that. Surely any prequel should be about how a given group gets to where the audience understands the status quo to be? Rather than be about the journey, much of Enterprise just seems to be about making the point that there’s lots of stuff that Starfleet doesn’t have yet. That stretches from the translators and transporters, weapons and shields and in this instance, rules. It’s just not intrinsically interesting to say “huh, we don’t have any kind of prime directive yet, but maybe in the future…”. Much as I’m not a fan of the Star Wars prequels, they are focussed on Anakin’s journey rather than folks bemoaning the lack of X-Wing fighters…

    "It is felt this matter requires discussion."

    Dear Doctor then. How was that?

    Honestly, more good than bad. I think people get hung up over the word “evolution” in this one, as the kind of genetic degradation going on here is presented as such and of course, that’s nonsense. From there though, Dear Doctor is a sort of standard ‘impossible choice’ story that’s lifted out of mediocrity by the incredibly talented John Billingsley. Phlox is a delight isn’t he? I’m glad Billingsley dropped the weird squawking thing before Broken Bow as, free of any silly quirks, Phlox is just about the most human character on the show and Dear Doctor is a superlative showcase for Billingsley’s acting chops.

    It’s becoming increasingly clear that the decontamination process they occasionally go through only happens if it’s sexy. A few episodes back Archer invited an entire alien pilgrimage onboard without so much as a pitstop. Now they are dragging over clearly sick people and just letting them hang in sickbay. So we go through the process only when there’s a chance we might see T’Pol smuggling peanuts or whatever. I hate to sound trite, but we are halfway through the first season and between the transporter, decontamination and the translator it feels like Braga and co. have thrown out half the rules they set themselves in the beginning. It’s no wonder this show got a muddled response.

    "That's what this whole masquerade was about. To keep the Enterprise and the Federation off the hook."

    I was expecting something and maybe that’s why I’m disappointed. I thought Dear Doctor was going to be some kind of great schism maker, but as it turns out it’s just another episode of Enterprise that, despite some bells and whistles, is neither here nor there. The only thing that allows it to punch even a little bit above it’s weight is Billingsley. His reaction to the dilemma is neat, his romance with Cutler is sweet (and how sad that the actress died so young), but other than that… For an episode that various media outlets put in their ‘Top 20 Must-See Episodes of Star Trek’…

    Nah. Move along, people. Nothing to see here.

    Happy Times and Places,

    Richard S. Ta

    Images reproduced with permission of Trekcore.com
     
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  14. Swedish Borg

    Swedish Borg Commodore Captain

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    Yeah, to me it'll always be the episode where they've found a cure for a disease (let's forget about what the disease was and the absurdity of a species evolving toward extinction!!!) that's killing millions of people and decided NOT to give them that cure! I don't know what kind of message they were trying to send with this one but unless it's "Be Nazi, be happy.". They completely FAILED!!!
     
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  15. Richard S. Ta

    Richard S. Ta Commodore Commodore

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    I'm sure I've read John Billingsley say that the original ending as different and he preferred it before? I don't know how the ending as different though.

    I still don't see Nazism in it though. I think that's a tad silly.
     
  16. Swedish Borg

    Swedish Borg Commodore Captain

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    You think letting millions of people die is silly?
     
  17. Richard S. Ta

    Richard S. Ta Commodore Commodore

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    Well, you just moved the goalposts. I didn’t say letting millions die is silly. I said equating the decision of Archer/Phlox with Nazism is silly.

    I don’t think that the people involved decided to write a Star Trek crew as Nazis. I don’t think that the methodology invoked is that of the Nazis either. The Nazis actively rounded people up and systematically killed them based on their race or religious/political beliefs as a furtherance of their own twisted ideology.

    The dilemma in Dear Doctor is more comparable to say, Kevin Carter, the war photographer who didn’t step in and help people because he was more interested in recording events. Carter was a conflicted man who eventually committed suicide, so haunted was he by what he’d witnessed.

    It’s the nature documentary maker writ large. As silly as evolution is conceptualised in the episode, what right does Archer have to play God? The Neanderthal example invoked in the episode works. What if aliens had interfered and allowed them to survive instead of us?

    I think the science behind the evolution is shonky. I think the episode misses a lot of what it’s trying to say and is clumsily written. But bringing Nazis into it when their behaviour is not at all like the Nazis? Yes, I think it’s silly and as a way of intellectually approaching the themes of the episode, such a statement is both reductive and misrepresentative. Archer and Phlox don’t take any glee in what happens. There’s no mention of humans being a master race. It isn’t part of a controlled program of racial cleansing. What was taking place was already taking place when they arrived and if anything, flawed as it was, the decision of Archer and Phlox extended the life of the people in question.

    Or did I miss the bit in history class where the Nazis went around giving out free medicine to folks?

    It’s far from the best episode so far and far from being a great episode generally, but I’d prefer to approach the show more intelligently. A thoughtless knee-jerk reaction like ‘OMG! Nazis!’ … Not only is that silly, it’s outright dumb too.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2021
  18. Farscape One

    Farscape One Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I think "DEAR DOCTOR" is still a good episode. As the review said above, people get too hung up on evolution as the reason this is not a good episode.

    Frankly, those who use that as the reason why to hate the episode misses the point of the episode. Or rather, misses that it's an ethical question episode.

    And I agree that Billingsley shines here. The format of the letter was a stroke of genius. I wish we got more episodes like that, honestly. Particularly in the first 2 seasons... it would have been a great commentary on how humans behave.
     
  19. Farscape One

    Farscape One Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Regarding "SILENT ENEMY"...

    I really enjoyed this one. It reminds me of VOYAGER's "PERSISTENCE OF VISION" in that we never really understand what just happened. The universe is vast and wondrous and should not all be explained quickly. Especially to a 22nd century human crew just starting out in deep space. Never finding out who those aliens are is a great touch, which I was very happy with.

    I also liked that it had more Hoshi. Not used in a typical way, which actually is a nice touch because Linda Park is a good actress.

    Overall, one of the better season 1 episodes.
     
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  20. Swedish Borg

    Swedish Borg Commodore Captain

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    You're splitting hair. Both Archer and Phlox (the combination of the two) are responsible for the death of millions of people that's more than what the Nazis were responsible for.

    Let me put it this way millions of people who could have lived are dead because of the Nazis, much more people will die that didn't have to because of the infernal duet (Archer and Phlox), try as you may, you can't minimize a crime of this magnitude. Had they not found a cure that would have been one thing, but to find a cure for a disease and then refuse it to the people who need it, is a terrible crime, no matter how much you want to sugarcoat it. We can blame it on writer stupidity and pretend that this episode never happened (maybe it's someone's nightmare) kinda like the dissolving Hoshi but what is described in this episode is abject and I will not be an apologist for it.