Getting from there to here, an Enterprise rewatch.

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

  1. Ssosmcin

    Ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Braga seems to have a habit of apologizing in response to fan backlash. He regrets the opening song, the use of Ferengi and takes a lot of responsibility for not hiring the right people. I feel like his self esteem is in the toilet. He took a huge hit from fans when the show was on. I think they did their best under the requirements from UPN. Although, I still can't fathom how interesting it would be to spend a 24 episode season waiting for Enterprise to launch.
     
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  2. Ray Hardgrit

    Ray Hardgrit Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Yeah the premise of everything from the Original Series to Voyager is 'A bunch of characters are in a situation which leads to interesting and varied space adventures happening to them on a frequent basis', which is basically the opposite of watching people trying to get a spaceship off a planet for 24 episodes.

    I'm sure there's a way that talented writers could've made a good series out of it, but even if they managed it they would've then faced the opposite problem of their space project drama suddenly turning into a Star Trek show for season 2.
     
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  3. Richard S. Ta

    Richard S. Ta Commodore Commodore

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    Absolutely and Trek is all the better for that. Where's the story if the hero stays put and waits to be picked up for the whole episode?

    More executive bizarreness then.

    I think it works in showing that everyone is 'other' to somebody. It humanises everything 360 degrees. After all, in the wake of 9/11 I'm sure there were innocent Muslims who assumed that every White American believed or behaved a certain way. I find the message of "everybody makes assumptions and that's not necessarily the best way to go about things" to be sound.

    I can agree that it's all a bit on the nose and as you said, serious and depressing. At this point though I find that preferable to forgettable and lacking substance.

    Absolutely for T'Pol. I've got a seed of an idea for a post about T'Pol similar to the one I did for Hoshi because I'm finding I feel increasingly confused about her and her position and authority within the crew.

    Gotta finish it. It's just going to be slow. It doesn't help that I won't watch another episode until I've written about the one I just watched. This can lead to massive delays at times, because a lot of the time I'm wither too busy to write or too tired to think.

    Braga does seem down on it all, which is a shame. Many of his concerns and regrets are valid, but Enterprise is way better than he thinks.

    I'm happy with the show we got. I prefer the crew to be out on a ship finding stuff. Could they really have got a season out of people arguing with Vulcans on Earth? I don't know.

    Exactly.

    ENTERPRISE: EPISODE 22

    VOX SOLA


    [​IMG]

    "When that creature appears, men die"

    There’s quite a lot to unpack here including a second piece about T’Pol to come, but for now let’s take a look at Vox Sola (Latin for ‘lone voice’ for all you trivia fans out there), one of those rare Season 1 Enterprise episodes that feels like it belongs to this show and this show alone.

    The concept of an alien creature that seems to be hostile, but is in fact some variation of a child that wants to go home is bread and butter Star Trek. This goes way back to Roddenberry’s idea that aliens within the show should be nuanced and complicated creatures rather than hackneyed ‘Bug Eyed Monsters’. However, in this case the alien in question is truly a remote thing that in the opening half of the episode is presented through a set of standard horror tropes. A tentacled mass crawling through ventilation ducts, subsuming and absorbing various crew members before going on to absorb both Archer and Trip.

    Ragging on Enterprise for putting dodgy CGI on screen isn’t a fair game and I’m not going to go there. Frankly, this show is 20 years old and CGI creatures are something that television is really only just starting to get to grips with successfully. That its looks as good as it does 2 decades on is an achievement in itself. Wisely those responsible limit the amount of CGI and display the creature through practical effects.

    Running the risk of being crass, the creature itself has shades of Alien (1979) about it in terms of how it’s presented as something almost phallic. There are of course tentacles, but then there’s the excretion of the creature itself which pretty unambiguously looks like a massive pile of semen. A gross semen web monster. There’s also some classic body horror in the idea that the creature subsumes it’s victims and makes them part of a gestalt whole. A loss of self is classic horror stuff. All well, all good.

    What follows is classic Star Trek inversion and it’s at this point that the creature becomes something quite memorable. There are certainly shades of episodes like The Devil in the Dark here, but Vox Sola uses the characters of Enterprise extremely well for a change, resulting in something that feels akin to homage rather than being derivative.

    "Life as we know it is universally based on some combination of carbon compounds, but what if life exists based on another element?"

    When I say the episode uses it’s characters well, I’m remarking upon the fact that every character gets something to do that fits their skillset. I was thinking midway through that even when Archer and Trip are essentially sidelined for an episode, Travis still gets nothing to do, but then he has a special scene written in which he gets to apologise to a disgruntled ambassador.

    It’s also an episode that doesn’t shy from conflict. Reed is in favour of killing the creature outright, whereas Phlox is adamant (using his full authority) in protecting it. Hoshi feels it may be possible to communicate with the creature, whilst T’Pol takes a cautious middle ground between all players. The result… drama! Too much of the time the crew of the NX-01 all seem to be on the same page, resulting in a lot of bland scenes with little room for nuance. To see Hoshi feel she’s put under pressure by T’Pol, then to see T’Pol go on to clarify her feelings about Hoshi is one of the strongest character moments so far in Season 1, as well as forming a welcome coda to earlier episodes where Hoshi was doubting her ability to perform usefully as a member of the crew.

    Likewise, seeing Reed and Phlox butt heads (and authority) in sickbay was great stuff. It’s yet another scene that separates Enterprise from its’ forebears and prevents it from seeming like a re-skinned TNG. In addition there’s Archer’s exasperation that a first contact went down like a lead balloon, resulting in a scene where he and Tucker enjoy a water polo match, a game that serves as light foreshadowing when Archer uses the game as an example for why those trapped by the creature shouldn’t give up.

    "To the chamber of the ages. Cry for the children. Walk carefully in the vault of tomorrow"

    So, Vox Sola, is it perfect? Hell, no. On the one hand it’s serving up a plot that’s been reheated over and over since TOS Season 1. But when that plot is used as a larger framework for the characters within Enterprise to develop in then I can forgive a lot. I’d say 'plot arc' is a generous term for a show that seems determined not to serialise anything, but perhaps by accident rather than design, Hoshi’s doubts as established in Broken Bow are brought to a head here and she is vindicated beautifully by T'Pol. Reed, who seems to be especially angry that the creature ruined movie-night is reined in by Phlox and in the process learns there is a better way. T’Pol, a character defined by her haughtiness is brought to task, made to realise how her demeanour affects others and finally gives a well-meant apology... And Travis? Well, you can’t have everything, but at last they gave him something to do.

    Four more episodes and Season 1 is finally in the bag!

    Excelsior!

    Happy times and places,

    Richard S. Ta

    All images reproduced with permission of Trekcore.com
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2022
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  4. Summer Solstice

    Summer Solstice Commander Red Shirt

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    That would be interesting to read. I think T'Pol ended up being second in command because the Vulcans wanted a Vulcan in a high position in the command chain and the humans wanted a human captain. There are I think about 80 people on Enterprise so perhaps the First Officer job takes less time than it would on bigger ships and I'm not sure who on Enterprise does the HR aspect of the First Officer job.

    A season of people arguing with Vulcans on Earth would be less interesting to me. I prefer my sci-fi to be in space.

    • Clearly in-universe everyone thinks Travis is very competant because they are happy to leave him in charge.
    • TOS special effects either impress me by what they were able to do at the time or make me laugh (the salt vampire, the wires on the shrimp). I think the Enterprise CGI still looks pretty good.
    • I don't mind how many times Trek does a storyline like this - I really enjoy this type of story.
    • As you say, pretty much all the characters are used really well in this.
     
  5. Ray Hardgrit

    Ray Hardgrit Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    That scene had me convinced that he should be Enterprise's first contact specialist. The guy seems more suited for diplomacy than anyone else on the ship.

    I was a bit disappointed that they had the two characters mentally linked up and trapped in a room together, and "don't give up" is the best we got out of it. Maybe I've just been watching a lot of episodes where a character goes into another character's mind lately, but it felt like it was setting up more than it delivered on. Especially coming after Shuttlepod One.

    I felt that the Hoshi and T'Pol scenes were a bit of a retread of what we got in Sleeping Dogs, but I liked how Reed and Phlox had a proper Star Trek conflict over ethics. And they ultimately helped the creature out!

    Personally I'd rank Vox Sola below the last three episodes, but not far below them. I felt like it didn't live up to the potential of its premise, way too much of the story was spent on people just hanging from the ceiling in goop, and it wasn't particularly entertaining television. But it kept my interest.
     
  6. Cyfa

    Cyfa Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    "Vox Sola" is one of my favourite and most watched episodes of Star Trek because there are just so many thoughtful and memorable parts to it, and I've really been looking forward to seeing what you think about it, @Richard S. Ta.
    As well as the things you've already mentioned, I really like the Kreetassans (particularly Vaughn Armstrong's absolutely disgusted captain), seeing more of the crew (Kelly and Rostov), that everyone had something to do (I loved that Mayweather looked around the Bridge to see who was going to take charge with the Kreetassans' contact, then had to do it himself - although I think he should have said 'please' after asking for the coordinates at the end), and I especially like the unnerving sounds the alien organism makes when communicating at the end - quite chilling.

    (Coincidentally, Keith R A DeCandido has just got to this episode in his rewatch at Tor.com, too!)
     
  7. Richard S. Ta

    Richard S. Ta Commodore Commodore

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    Clearly it's no problem for the Enterprise to run with just one person on the bridge! It's incredible that there are no relief officers to assist Mayweather. What if he needed to pee?

    Agreed on the storyline. It's one of Star Trek's standard plots and as long as its' done well I'm happy.

    You think they'd have learned from Geordi's promotion and the subsequent failure of Harry Kim as a character that 'helmsman' was just not enough to make a character. Mayweather should have had a proper role. He shines in diplomacy in Detained too.

    The communication with the creature was sufficiently 'other' and very well done. Interesting to read Keith's review over on Tor and that he was just about as pleased with it as I was. Thank you for that.

    I'm not sure I have a most-watched episode of Star Trek, discounting various bits of TOS. There's so much of it that anytime I watch an episode, I know it'll probably be a decade before I put it on again.

    Anyway boys, girls and those in-between, I'd be interested to see what you make of the following. It's a bit of a ramble, with no clear conclusion. Just thoughts on T'Pol's role within Enterprise.

    DIVERGENCE 2:

    IF T'POL HAS VULCAN EARS, WHAT DOES TRIP HAVE...?

    [​IMG]

    More of an exercise in thought, through piecing together things from various bits of dialogue that have been spoken so far in Enterprise and in particular a scene in Vox Sola that led me to this line of questioning in the first place. Namely, this:

    On the surface, yes, that’s all well and good. Reed has been developing a force field in his spare time. However, whilst watching I couldn’t help but think… well, surely Vulcans have force fields already? Opinions over the internet seem to vary as to when Vulcans became warp capable, though there’s a lot to point towards this taking place about a century before humans did, I had to spoil myself a little to find out that Vulcans witnessed the launch of Sputnik, leading me to the conclusion that as we were making our first forays into orbit, Vulcans had already solved the problem of FTL travel.

    Jump to 2063 and Zephram Cochrane made his inaugural warp-speed flight and as we know, the Vulcans were on top of that straight away. We know that from there, human space-flight development in terms of warp-speed was curtailed by the Vulcans until 2151 when Broken Bow happened and the NX-01 launched.

    Even assuming that Vulcans didn’t have working force-fields in 1957, surely that’s something that a warp-capable species would have cracked nearly two centuries later? To illustrate, it’s something that we are at least developing right now, given the military applications, long before we are even thinking about the true possibility of faster than light travel:

    https://www.mic.com/articles/113466/boeing-just-patented-a-force-field-right-out-of-star-wars

    So we have three possibilities:

    1. Vulcans don’t have force fields in 2151.
    2. Vulcans do have force fields in 2151, but T’Pol has no knowledge of them.
    3. Vulcans do have force fields in 2151, but T’Pol is under orders not to share the information.

    I’ve already outlined why I find the first to be unlikely and honestly speaking I don’t find the second to be plausible either. Even if T’Pol lacked knowledge of the technology, surely she’d at least have heard of it and from there it’s a quick trip to the oft-cited Vulcan Database. What’s more, we know absolutely from Fight or Flight that large scale shielding (essentially a huge force field) is a thing that more advanced ships than the NX-01 have. We know from various episodes this season that Vulcan ships are superior to Starfleet ships and… well, there’s nothing said onscreen, but does anyone truly believe Vulcans are polarising their hull-plating in 2151?

    Add to that the research station on P’Jem which was concealed using holographic technology. Such technology in Star Trek is used to create realistic looking structures using photons, yet it’s force field technology which allows those photonic structures to have substance. Therefore, to my mind at least, by 2151 Vulcans absolutely have force field technology.

    I admit it’s a reach, but I don’t think I’m reaching too far. In 2151, Vulcans have highly advanced ships on which systems like shields should be commonplace. A shield is a large scale force field, meaning knowledge of force fields would be equally as commonplace within Vulcan society, if not ubiquitous at T’Pol’s level. She must know what a force field is and given her extensive scientific background, she must have a knowledge of how they work.

    Which leads us to number three. Vulcans withhold information from humans and T’Pol is under some mandate to withhold certain information from members of Starfleet. Now, this is all well and good and makes a certain amount of sense. But when the Captain, the Chief Engineer and numerous other crew-members are being subsumed by a presumably hostile alien entity then wouldn’t to be reasonable to expect T’Pol to break protocol and share said information? I’d say the logical course of action would be to share a comparatively minor technology set in order to save the vessels commanding officer. That even if T’Pol was under some directive not to share, she’s a flexible enough character to waive orders, save the Captain and explain to Vulcan High Command later. Yet she lets Reed get on with his R&D with only a redshirt to help and hunkers down with Hoshi to do some math stuff instead…

    Would T’Pol really have allowed the situation to escalate to the point where Archer died? Would she sacrifice the NX-01 and her own life to protect Vulcan secrets?

    At this point it’s worth sharing a short excerpt from the original writers bible on Enterprise (bolding added by me):

    In this instance, would a force field not fall under the remit of tactical information? We can define tactical information as follows:

    Tactical information is required to achieve short-term goals to achieve performance.

    Which is exactly the kind of situation that the crew encounter in Vox Sola.

    From the 20+ episodes of Enterprise so far we know that:

    1. Vulcan technology is in advance of Starfleet technology by several magnitudes.
    2. Other species have force fields.
    3. One of those species are likely Vulcans, and as they used complicated holographic technology to create an illusion on P’Jem, and holographic technology in Star Trek employs force fields.
    4. T’Pol has repeatedly broken protocol and gone beyond her initial remit in order to assist the mission of the NX-01.

    It just doesn’t make much sense to me and makes me wonder, what exactly is T’Pol’s purpose as a member of the crew? What use is a Science Officer if they withhold vital tactical information, especially when doing so would result in the loss of senior staff members, crewmen and eventually the whole crew (a certainty as by the end of the episode we see that the Vox Sola creature can grow to the size of a continent)? It’s like having a tactical officer who won’t let on how the weapons of the ship work, or a Captain who doesn’t believe in giving orders and delegates everything to a long winded committee.

    As with Hoshi, it’s another example of the creative team at the time not thinking their characters through in the long term. TOS had a Vulcan Science Officer, so wouldn’t it be neat if Enterprise did too, except gender-flipped? In a sense, yes it is neat and as a result we got Jolene Blalock who in my mind is one of the star performers in this show. Blalock consistently and alchemically transmuted base-material into gold in terms of the dialogue she’s was given. But situations like the one outlined above result in the character feeling out of step with the situations that unfold during the series.

    Spock knew stuff and shared that stuff. If he didn’t know it was his job to figure it out. With T’Pol we have a character who either knows stuff and withholds it at vital moments, or doesn’t know stuff and delegates scientific developments to the chief of security whilst she figures out math with the communications officer…

    Personally I’d like believe that had push really come to shove, T’Pol would have shared force-field science with Reed, but in her semi-parental role within the crew she wanted to give him time to figure it out himself. This is implicit at least in the scene in which she explains to Hoshi the high standards to which she holds her. T’Pol knows the crew of the Enterprise are capable and gives them space in which to solve problems under their own steam so as not to hand out technological advances on a plate… But then, in this case I think push really had come to shove. The Captain and Chief Engineer incapacitated by a creature which was able to resist conventional methods of attack and was growing exponentially. It was time to step in and she didn’t… so how far would things have had to have gone before she did?

    As I said, more random musings than anything else and I was curious to know what you guys think?

    Oh, and in answer to the titular question… Trip has ENGINEERS



    Thank you, I'm here all week.

    Happy times and places

    Richard S. Ta

    All images reproduced with permission of Trekcore.com
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2022
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  8. Cyfa

    Cyfa Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Ha ha! 'ENGINEERS' - bravo! :rommie:

    I think Vulcans do have force fields in 2151 (for the reasons you state), and I think that the reason T'Pol didn't share the technical information about them with Reed is somewhere between possibilities 2 and 3. She definitely knows what force fields are, but probably doesn't have the specific technical knowledge to create one herself (not quickly enough to save the crew, at any rate), and it may be that the Vulcan Database on Enterprise doesn't include technical specifications for technologies that Vulcans would rather pesky Humans develop on their own.
    And as you also pointed out, I suspect that T'Pol had faith (as much as a Vulcan can) that Reed would get to the 'breakthrough' point imminently (she may have been keeping a surrepticious eye on this little project of his - and any others that the crew are working on?).

    As an aside, I've just thought that perhaps one of the reasons Vulcans do not share much of their technology is that Humans (and other species they've come into contact with) may come up with (better) alternatives to established tech if left to their own devices. These non-Vulcan alternatives would introduce more variety and 'back-ups' should the development of a certain piece of established tech plateau, or create/cause problems due to it's design/use. So, rather than giving Humans their ring-system warp drive, Vulcans allowed them to develop their own design: the linear nacelled system which, in the novels at least (one of Christopher L Bennett's DTI books, as I recall), is slower but more manoeuverable at warp. The Human version is obviously pretty good because pretty much all of the Federation Starfleet that we later see uses that design rather than rings.
     
  9. F. King Daniel

    F. King Daniel Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I love how they completely failed to understand that it was a prequel and the technology was meant to be a bleeding edge prototype for what would be commonplace 100+ years later.
     
  10. Summer Solstice

    Summer Solstice Commander Red Shirt

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    I think technology gets invented as it is required. As a culture, the Vulcans may have been very interested in space travel and not particulary interested in force fields. I think in the world of Star Trek that humans are way more creative and innovative than anyone else. So if the Vulcans think they have a solution they probably won't look for another one. It may genuinely not have occurred to the Vulcans that they could use shields from starships on a much smaller scale. I think option 1: the Vulcans don't have force fields.

    In "Dead Stop" I think the food replicator idea was new to T'Pol? The Klingons also had live food on their ships so that suggests there are some species that have technology (replicators) well in advance of others.

    Option 2 seems possible to me too. T'Pol is probably someone who specialised in working with aliens (especially humans) and has a CIA agent type background and may not actually have that much science knowledge compared to most Vulcan scientists. If the Vulcan high command thought that humans have the science knowledge of a 10 year old, then a Vulcan with the science knowledge of an 18 year old across the broad range of sciences would be fine to be the humans' science officer.

    I think T'Pol really wants to know how far Reed has got with inventing force fields so she can report back to Vulcan about it. I also don't think she wants Archer or Trip to die.

    It would make a lot of sense that this technology just isn't in the Vulcan Database on Enterprise. It's similar to shields and they don't want to just give humans the technology to make shields. It's an interesting idea that the Vulcans 'farm' humans for ideas - I've long suspected that the Borg do that because if they sent multiple cubes they could have wiped out the Federation during TNG.
     
  11. Ray Hardgrit

    Ray Hardgrit Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I feel like whenever there's a situation where better technology may be necessary to save lives (including their own) but T'Pol doesn't share, it's because she honestly doesn't know and doesn't have access to that information. I think Trip actually knows more about warp drives than her and Reed might know more about force fields. The reason I get this impression is because she'd upgraded the ship's sensors within days of being on board, she's often part of the team that's trying to work this stuff out, and Archer would've yelled at her if he felt she was holding back something that important to getting the job done.
     
  12. Richard S. Ta

    Richard S. Ta Commodore Commodore

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    What's more strange is they thought that anyone, anyone might be upset if a redshirt died in Star Trek. The only reason you wouldn't want to show Star Trek tech killing people is if you were trying to sell it I guess, but as we are still waiting for Paramount to release a transporter array (for example) then... It's just impossible to understand what on Earth they were thinking.

    Agreed they have them. I'm certain of it. As you say though, maybe T'Pol just lacks the know-how. Like how the term 'scientist' can cover both 'chemist' and 'physicist', both of whom specialise in different things.

    There is however a couple of lines from Fallen Hero which seem pertinent:

    Many things. T'Pol expresses no surprise at this. Vulcans...

    Yes, that fits with her role as supervisor, as opposed to her being an outright assistant.

    I don't know about this. Vulcans are so haughty throughout Enterprise and seem absolutely assured of their superiority in all things. Then again, in Fallen Hero we get a view of a full-on Vulcan battlecruiser and it makes the NX-01 look like a Tonka Toy.

    Oh, also, the Mazarite ships in Fallen Hero explicitly have shields. On reflection there's literally no way I believe the Vulcans don't have force fields at this point.

    As I said above, the Sh'Raan in Fallen Hero likely has shields. It's specifically referred to as a Combat-Cruiser and it's Captain is very confident about taking on three (shielded) hostile ships. If there's one thing that's clear about space in Enterprise Season 1, it's that your ship is going to get shot at and vital systems like engines being blown out can leave a ship dead in the water. Any interstellar-faring race in Star trek is going to need shields and as I said, not only do the Vulcans have 200 years on humanity, but relative nobodies like the Mazarites have them. Whether they invented them or poached the tech from another race, I'm convinced they had them.

    It is however quite likely that as said, T'Pol just doesn't fully understand how they operate.

    It strikes me as very likely that the Vulcan Database is full of holes and redacted stuff. V'Lar confirms that in Fallen Hero and it absolutely makes sense for the Enterprise Vulcans to do that.

    ENTERPRISE: EPISODE 23

    FALLEN HERO

    [​IMG]

    Pictured above - A Vulcan Combat Cruiser that definitely has shields... ;-)

    "You keep insisting there's no danger. I keep assuring you there is. Would you mind telling me?"

    Episodes centred around Vulcans have so far been one of the things that makes Enterprise a show which is distinct from previous Star Trek. It’s surprising to realise, but considering that the first ever alien Star Trek depicted in The Cage was a Vulcan, from TOS all the way to DS9, Vulcans were given comparatively little focus. Voyager of course has Tuvok, but then episodes which gave that character focus still did so from the position of expanding an individual through his race, rather than expanding the race through many individuals.

    Enterprise has taken a different tack, involving Vulcans from the start and continuing to expand them even when telling stories about Andorians. I do believe that at times Enterprise in Season 1 has been a show lacking in purpose, but if one thing is clear it’s that the creatives involved wanted to put the spotlight on Vulcans and aside from the odd misstep, the run so far has been successful in this goal. We’ve had mean Vulcans, shifty Vulcans, Vulcans who employ humour, resentful Vulcans, Vulcans with daddy issues and even (comparatively) hedonistic Vulcans. There’s a thread somewhere on the front page of this forum right now that asks why Enterprise seems to hate Vulcans so much… That’s a position I just can’t get behind. There have most likely been more episodes that revolve around Vulcans in Season 1 than any other race and the season itself has done more legwork to expand Vulcans from the benevolent space monks that they had become by the time of The Search for Spock.

    I’ve mentioned it in a previous post, but for me any work done that goes towards presenting an alien race as an actual, believable culture composed of differing individuals as opposed to the usual monocultures that Star Trek has a tendency to serve up is welcome. Fallen Hero is a successful episode in this regard and another strong entry for Season 1. T’Pol gets some character work here, Jolene Blalock once again turning in a fantastic performance. It’s no easy thing to portray emotions constantly bubbling under the surface, with actors even in this season failing to convincingly do so at times, but Blalock just ‘gets’ it. She portrays a persistently cool exterior, under which it’s possible to see internal wheels turning. In this episode at points we feel her excitement, disappointment, hope, relief, hurt, desperation and joy in tiny doses. She looks forward to meeting her childhood hero, feels wounded that her former meeting with said person was apparently forgotten and her happiness when she realises this isn’t the case is palpable. Blalock is constantly on the right side of subtlety in her performance and though I'd say she is strong in Broken Bow, she's a veritable powerhouse at this point.

    As V’Lar says:

    An apt and concise description of Jolene Blalock’s pitch-perfect T’Pol.

    "...but it seems a logical development."

    All in all, though I’ve said before that I’m hesitant to use the phrase ‘story arc’, this episode at least feels like a culmination of various strands sewn throughout Season 1 and finally confirms what we knew all along. The friendship between Archer and T’Pol has become tangible and strong. I loved this moment in particular:

    As written, it’s just that… But as played… Well, I think I’ve made it abundantly clear above and elsewhere that from the very start one of this shows’ strengths was Blalock. It’s the first time we’ve seen her display emotion like that in front of the Captain and Bakula’s tiniest, tiniest nod is sublime. It’s a stand out scene not just in the episode, but in the whole season itself.

    We also have a plot element in play that’s uniquely suited to Enterprise in the pushing of the ships engines. The NX-01 is finally put through its’ paces and reaches Warp 5 for the first time in a gripping ship to ship chase sequence. Fires in Engineering, creaks and groans and shakes on the Bridge… it’s nice to see them taking advantage of the idea that the NX-01 is not an all-powerful ship by spending some time pushing her to her limits. Warp 5 in modern Trek terms is small shakes, but the performances all around sell the situation and give the scenes the appropriate tension that they require.

    "You and I have no reason to be embarrassed. We did, after all, beat the odds."

    It feels to me that at this point Enterprise has reached a kind of plateau of quality. It’s not the kind of Star Trek that you sing about from the rooftops, but it’s rarely actively terrible. Now I’m coming towards the end of Season 1, I look back and see a few great episodes, a few nasty ones and a great expanse of stuff in-between that manages the trick of being good enough, without verging on either aforementioned extreme. Is this a show that could be aiming higher? Sure. But considering how tired the writing team/producers were around this time its’ kind of a miracle that we got a show as good as this. Even the very worst episodes are saved in part by a solid cast and a believable setting in the NX-01. I’ll rank the episodes when I get to the end of Season 1, I really need to have a think about that, but despite some gripes from me on the way, so far this rewatch has felt like a worthy journey and sharing it with the community here has been a pleasure.

    To Risa! (IIRC?)

    Happy times and places,

    Richard S. Ta

    All images reproduced with permission of Trekcore.com
     
  13. Ray Hardgrit

    Ray Hardgrit Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2021
    I think Enterprise probably waited too long before killing off a crewmember, but I think it was a smart move to wait a while, so that the novice space explorers would be shocked when it finally happened. Plus if the NX-01 lost people at the rate that Kirk's ship did, they'd have to keep travelling back home to pick up new people all the time.

    This is true I reckon. Though it was a relief for me when they finally introduced a Vulcan who's capable of being logical and friendly here. She makes that Vulcan captain who showed up in Breaking the Ice come off as even more of a jerk than he already did!

    Personally I found Fallen Hero to be the best episode since Shuttlepod One (partly because it focused on a good guest star and it got all the Vulcan stuff right). I agree that the season had levelled out a bit after taking a real dip in the middle, but this was a clear step above stories like Vox Sola and Detained for me. Okay it's not great, in fact it's fairly average for Trek, but it's still my 7th favourite episode of season 1.
     
  14. Turtletrekker

    Turtletrekker Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2003
    Location:
    Tacoma, Washington
    I had heard that it was Scott Bakula who objected. That he didn't want death to be treated casually and that if there wasn't room in the script to properly deal with the character's death, then he wanted the character to live.
     
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  15. Ray Hardgrit

    Ray Hardgrit Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2021
    That wouldn't surprise me. I'm not all that keen on Bakula's performance as Archer, but everything I hear about him indicates that he was a really positive influence on the series behind the scenes.
     
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  16. Tango

    Tango Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2022
    Location:
    British Columbia
    I was a bit surprised they went back to the Klingons again so soon (although their battle cruiser was nice looking). That part of the plot seemed a bit tacked on.

    Maybe the alien woman should not have engaged in unsafe sex with a human? Her excuse that she didn't think he'd get pregnant isn't a good look...
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2022
  17. Tango

    Tango Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2022
    Location:
    British Columbia
    I think it would need to be the latter. The mean density of the comet would have to be something like 50 times that of the most dense heavy metals (e g., gold) in order that its surface gravity be same as the Earth's.
     
  18. Angel4576

    Angel4576 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2001
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    I finished my rewatch tonight. All 4 seasons done in little over a month.

    I won’t go into detail as I’m aware that other people are rewatching themselves at a different pace, so I don’t want to spoil things for them, but my opinion sets aside the final episode, as for the life of me I still can’t fathom what possessed them to go that way….

    The finale aside, I have to say, frankly, I’m staggered at how much my opinion has changed re ENT, and the amount of admiration and love I have for the series is light years away from my position from previously having watched it. It has genuinely gone from being my least favourite “Berman” Trek to standing shoulder to shoulder with TNG and DS9.

    The characters are great. Travis could have done with a little more to do, but there’s always someone who misses out when there are so many good characters to write for. Archer is a brilliant leader, and Scott played him to perfection. From my previous viewing I remember him being somewhat stilted and rigid, which totally isn’t how he came across this time. On more than one occasion while I’ve been rewatching the show I’ve found myself musing just what the hell I’d watched previously. I also really liked the Trip/Malcolm dynamic. There’s always a dynamic like their’s within he crews - Data/Geordi, O’Brien/Bashir, Paris/Kim, and Connor and Dominic worked so well together. I could wax lyrical about all of the crew as I really do like them all, even Porthos! :hugegrin:

    Personally, I didn’t have any real issues with the direction that season 1 or 2 took, I enjoyed them immensely. That being said, the Xindi arc for season 3 was a timely change in both urgency and pace, which reinvigorated the show. I particularly liked how the Xindi weren’t just portrayed as nameless goons, instead having dedicated characters who appeared throughout the season. Degra in particular was a personal favourite. Season 4, was just gold. I remember one of the criticisms at the time was that they weren’t making use of the setting and the time period to tell some of the canonical stories that are Trek cornerstones; the Romulans, the Federation etc. The mini-arcs that they delivered in season 4 were just god-level in addressing both those issues and some real long-term Trek quandaries (eg TOS-era Klingons etc).

    The final episode aside, I actually thought the final 2-parter that precedes it, was a great finale in itself, with Archer delivering the type of speech that Patrick Stewart would have been proud to have had.

    Seeing how far the show had come, particularly in the last 2 seasons, it really pains me to think that we missed out on 3 more years of that goodness. Equally it saddens me that, based on the interviews in the extras, that a lot of folks, particularly on the production side, are so apologetic about the show and its fortunes. It was a GREAT show, you did very little wrong. It was largely down to machinations well beyond your control. Those interviews are nearly a decade old now, I hope that they’ve found peace with the show and its fate by now.

    Finally, I hope more people take the time to rewatch this show. It was my first rewatch in a LONG time. Possibly since the original airings, and I have TOTALLY re-appraised it. I wonder how many more people would do the same. Trek fandom at the time was a bit of a maelstrom. I think people may view things differently today, detached from the furore that was Trek-fandoms at that time.

    It won\t be decades until my next rewatch, that’s for sure.
     
  19. shapeshifter

    shapeshifter Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2007
    Location:
    Land of Illusion
    My parents hated Enterprise during the first run. All the usual, not Star Trek, boring, weird, T'Pol sex object.

    They recently requested my DVDs to watch and the response after: "This is good Star Trek. They should make more like it."

    I kid you not.
     
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  20. Angel4576

    Angel4576 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2001
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    I remember having a similar reaction to T’Pol initially; the obvious eye-candy, not much depth etc etc. Now, I think Jolene did an incredible job. T’Pol’s one of my favourite Vulcans. Hell, I even dig Soval now!