ENTERPRISE: EPISODE 14: SLEEPING DOGS "Have you identified the vessel, Mister Spock?" So one more down as I come to Sleeping Dogs, yet another Season 1 episode that though watchable somehow winds up being neither here nor there. Let’s get the obligatory gripe out of the way. *Wink Wink* Reed gets excited because the Klingons have something called photon torpedoes. I wonder if they are going to be important in the future ..? *Wink Wink* Ugh. Anyway. Good points. They use Hoshi properly for the first time in what feels like forever and her growth feels earned in this episode too. Early in the season she’d have done anything to be off of the ship, but by Sleeping Dogs she’s requesting a seat on an away-team. She’s been in just about enough scrapes so far to make the leap believable, making her (in a sense of her personality at least) the most developed of the crew so far. Thinking about it, maybe the bar is a little low there, seeing as most characters seem to be locked in stasis in terms of personality, or worse as in the case of Archer, frustratingly inconsistent. But still, praise where it’s due, with Park* here providing the emotional core of the episode. Other that that… I’m struggling. I can say the episode passed 40 odd minutes in a pleasant enough way. The idea of a few crew members marooned in some kind of unstable environment whilst their cremates work outside to get them back onboard is classic Star Trek stuff and it’s something that Enterprise hasn’t done since… well, actually since ten episodes ago in Brave New World, but I digress. Stuck in the outer layers of a gas giant? On a Klingon ship? Different enough I suppose. "It seems we'll have a distinguished passenger with us for a while." Bad points then, and this is becoming a recurring theme in these early episodes of Enterprise: Jeopardy, specifically: A Lack Of. I don’t know if it’s just me but there’s never a sense of anyone onboard Enterprise being especially concerned about the situation onboard the Klingon vessel. Reimagine this as a TOS episode, ostensibly the era that Enterprise is shooting for, and you’d have close-ups of Kirk’s sweaty brow, each attempt to recover the three stranded crew members becoming increasingly desperate… You’d have Kirk losing his rag with the rescued Klingon… In the short course of Sleeping Dogs, Archer has time to study the Vulcan database to learn a little about Klingon culture, the crew members assigned to welding braces onto a Shuttlepod are Archer, Trip and nobody else, Phlox has time to come up with a neurotoxin antidote for the afflicted Klingon. Heck, even the approach of further Klingon vessels is described as being a good sixteen minutes away when the episode only has five minutes left… "I went down to my quarters to dictate the accident report and I seem to have fallen asleep." The Right Stuff in space? With the right director maybe. Maybe a score that's something other than instantly forgettable might have helped. What could have been a terse rescue operation episode is made to feel so pedestrian. It’s a shame. The ingredients are all present, but to further the culinary metaphor, the cake just never seems to rise. More like one of those cakes where you open the oven door too early and have to dejectedly watch the whole thing collapse in on itself. For an episode in which three principal characters are stuck on a wrecked ship that’s sinking its’ way into a gas giant, surrounded by maladjusted, chemically confused members of a deadly warrior race, there’s no sense of danger. In fact, there’s no sense of anything really other than filling 45 minutes with rather thin ‘space adventure’. This isn’t helped by T’Pol, Reed and Hoshi slowly shedding the layers of their EV suits as we cut back to them… First the helmets go, then then chest plates and outer ‘armour’ layers until they peel back right to a previously unseen skintight thermal suit. Reed looks like he’s in his pyjamas whilst nothing is left to the imagination regarding the shapely forms of the others… which seems largely to be the point, right up to when the three of them end up in decontamination in their pants. Ah, so, that’s the point. Tits and ass. You see, Enterprise so far has plenty of this stuff. Wink wink callbacks, space adventure and lads magazine fan service. I recall Braga defending Seven of Nine’s appearance in regards to the sneers of everyone working over on Deep Space Nine. He referenced TOS as being chock full of hot space babes and in a sense he was right, but that’s not all that TOS was. The problem with Enterprise, the great unaddressed elephant in the room here, is that TOS had space adventure, it had the ladies, but at the same time it had episodes that were about something. I mean, all great sci-fi is about something. Some would argue that that is the purpose of it. Sleeping Dogs is yet another void, part of a larger pattern of episodes that add up to nothing. The characters aren’t pushed into new places, Klingons just gonna be Klingons and the whole thing just… ends. "Second vessel power supply out. Crew unharmed. They should be able to repair the ship in a few days." This is turning into a bit of a slog to be honest. At least I’m halfway through Season 1 now and coming towards a point when they try to retool the show. I’m interested to see what that looks like as well as the subsequent changes made in Seasons 3 and 4, but gosh it’s not easy. Enterprise, at least in the beginning is far from a binge-fest, something borne by the fact it was May since I last watched an episode. I am however a person who finishes what I start, even if that means I’ll be haunting this section of the forum until 2025. At least the next one is about Vulcans, Vulcan cantered episodes being some of the more unique entries in Enterprise’s run so far. Hopefully it won’t be September until I see you guys for Shadows of P’Jem. Happy times and places, Richard S. Ta Images reproduced with permission of Trekcore.com * As an aside, quite recently I rewatched both Fargo: Season 1 and both seasons of For All Mankind and Linda Park has aged incredibly. I know she’s not exactly ancient, but to me she looks as young as she did in Enterprise in the above mentioned shows. Good for her.