Star Trek: ENT Reviews - From Start to ... well, you know

Discussion in 'Media Central' started by Kyle, Jan 30, 2016.

  1. tafkats

    tafkats That'll put marzipan in your pie plate, bingo! Moderator

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    Seriously?
  2. TheBurgerKing

    TheBurgerKing The Monarch of Flavor

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  3. Kyle

    Kyle You will regret this!

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    From that article, it sounds like the network wanted musical acts, and B&B balked. A broken clock is correct twice a day and all, I suppose.

    Perhaps Faith of the Heart (and Wherever You Will Go, which featured heavily in S1 launch promos) was the compromise there.
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  4. Shirogayne

    Shirogayne Trolling No Jutsu Formerly Important

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    That was UPN's mandate, not theirs. The Beeps fought tooth and nail against that and thankfully won that battle.

    EDIT: Whoops, Kyle beat me to it but while there's a lot to hold Bermaga's feet over the fire for, there were more people running the show than just them--the UPN execs wanted a youthful show and Les Moonves wanted to pander to the lowesr common denominator. It's a miracle we got anything resembling Trek at all.
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  5. Bickendan

    Bickendan Custom Title Administrator Faceless Mook Writer

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    Les Moonves? That explains some of the content :bergman:
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  6. Minsc&Boo

    Minsc&Boo Fresh Meat

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    Bickendan is linda park's baby daddy.
  7. Kyle

    Kyle You will regret this!

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    No new reviews - haven’t had a lot of time.

    I did catch TNG’s Symbiosis, and noticed that ENT’s Dear Doctor cribbed about half of the episode from it.

    Two very similar races in a mutually-beneficial marriage. One is dim-witted manual labor, the other keeps them alive and safe. After it’s revealed the situation is more precarious than it appears, the doctor and captain disagree as to how to proceed. The Captain gives a speech about the Prime Directive.

    Of course, Dear Doctor didn’t have a William S. Sessions anti-drug PSA jammed in the middle of it. For those who haven’t seen it, Symbiosis is a late S1 episode of TNG - the twist (for this thirty year old episode of TV) was that one of the alien races was a planet of drug dealers who knowingly forced the other aliens to give up all their efforts, labor, and products to get the drugs that they unknowingly got addicted to. Doctor Crusher wanted to violate the Prime Directive to give them space methadone, and Picard refused to let her help. After he discovered the aliens were knowingly keeping the others addicted, he withheld fixing their ships - essentially forcing the planet to go cold turkey. And Wesley and Tasha Yar had an after school special moment where she explains drugs and addiction to him.

    It was...very much a product of its time.
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  8. Kyle

    Kyle You will regret this!

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    Oasis

    I don’t know if B&B were holding actors’ residuals checks hostage or something, because this episode has another Trek alum whose talents go wasted as well!

    Archer, Trip, and T’Pol are enjoying dinner with a merchant who is persistent enough to hock timeshares from a Vegas kiosk. He doesn’t have anything they want, but he tells them instead about a haunted shipwreck nearby that has what they’re looking for.

    They all get turnt on Scooby Snax and head out to investigate. Since nobody on this ship has any damn sense, they don’t bother taking it any security officers. Upon arrival, despite not detecting any life signs, they find a thriving hydroponics installation, and are quickly ambushed by the residents of the shipwreck.

    They’re taken to the captain of the vessel, who explains they were shipwrecked a few years back after getting attacked, and they hadn’t sent any distress calls to avoid giving away their position. Trip naturally thinks that Enterprise can fix this ship none of them have ever seen before, so he starts hitting on the daughter of the chief engineer.

    Oh, and that chief engineer? It’s Odo. Or at least, it’s Rene Auberjonois. That’s right, for anyone in the audience who has seen DS9 (admittedly, the cross section between DS9 and ENT’s viewership is probably small), it’s painfully obvious something is up. They didn’t even bother trying to disguise him - all the aliens look like humans with psoriasis on their temples.

    Anyway, back to Trip being a horndog. T’Pol calls him the fuck out, pointing out that it’s been less than a year since he got knocked up with the last alien woman he tried to bone.

    Eventually, some of the crew heads back up to the ship, and Trip somehow convinces Odo to let him take his daughter up with them. Once there, they starts digging in to the mystery of the attack. They realize that there isn’t enough food in the hydroponics bay to support the colony, and they discover from debris that the shipwreck happened a couple decades ago.

    Oh, and they find an escape pod with the body of the Captain from the shipwreck. Spoooooky.

    Archer is a man of action, so they all go back down to the planet to rescue T’Pol and whoever else they left down there with no support whatsoever. They quickly get in a confrontation with the colonists - when they try to stun one, though, the beam goes right through him. The colonists are holograms.

    Well, most of them are. In a move that should surprise no one who is remotely familiar with foreshadowing, Odo pipes up. He and his daughter were the only survivors - not of an alien attack, but of an accident in an ion storm that Odo thinks he could have prevented if he hadn’t been saving his daughter’s life.

    So, unable to fix the ship by himself, he set up the hydroponics bay and made a holographic copy of the very dead crew so that his daughter wouldn’t grow up to realize what had happened.

    Yes, that’s right - instead of reaching out for help for his daughter, he holed up with a bunch of holograms. His grand plan was to doom his daughter to a life of loneliness, and presumably abandon her to live out her days with a bunch of photons and force fields after he passed away. What a fucking asshole.

    Trip calls him out on all of this, even sarcastically asking him if he’d program a holographic Doctor if she got hurt. You know Braga wrote that line and thought it was fucking hilarious.

    Anyway, Odo agrees to go back to his people after his ship’s repaired - Enterprise leaves him with what he needs, and Trip kisses the daughter because apparently this is TOS again and we can’t put a blonde on screen without kissing her.

    Even Braga would later go on to say this episode was bad. Who am I to disagree?

    Rating: *
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  9. matthunter

    matthunter Antira

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    And, of course, this ep ALSO rips off a past story - featuring Odo in a major role, no less! - DS9's Shadowplay which has almost the exact same premise (except there even the daughter is a hologram and doesn't know it).
  10. Kyle

    Kyle You will regret this!

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    Detained

    Enterprise premiered at an interesting time in history - a half a month after 9/11. 87 of the series’ episodes were scripted after the terror attacks (Civilization was the last episode entirely written in a pre-9/11 world). While the series would directly address the topic with the Xindi arc, episodes would start touching on more political subjects much earlier. While not directly addressing terrorism, this episode is likely the first produced for Enterprise that would touch on the subject of how we treat cultures we fear.

    It does so with the finesse you’d expect of Enterprise.

    Jumping right into the action, Mayweather and Archer wake up in a prison after their shuttle is attacked, and it’s entirely populated by Suliban. It’s fairly low-security - the Suliban can move freely in the facility, but it’s fiercely guarded by particularly overzealous alien guards. You can tell they’re aliens because they have a flap of skin between their eyebrows. Emmy-award-winning work there, guys.

    They’re brought before the commandant of the prison. And it’s Al! That’s right, Sam Beckett and Al are finally reunited, eight years later, with a guest appearance by Dean Stockwell. Incredibly, the episode resists making Quantum Leap references. He apologizes for attacking their shuttle, and explains that his people are at war with the Suliban. Since they’re not Suliban, they’ll be released, but due to government bureaucracy, they’ll have to wait a few days in the facility before they can be released. He recommends staying away from the Suliban.

    Now, do you think Archer is just going to sit still for a few days? Hell no. Instead, he and Mayweather immediately make friends with a Suliban girl and her father (kudos to that child actress who could put up with being a talking avocado for this episode). The father explains that he and his daughter, and everyone else in the facility, did nothing wrong - they were interred simply for being Suliban. The other aliens claim it’s for their own safety - to protect them from the public during their war with the Cabal.

    Of course, few Suliban are part of the Cabal, so nobody in the facility can turn into Gumby or survive in space. They are just immigrants who were in the wrong place when war broke out.

    Anyway, Al gets a call from Enterprise, who is more than happy to pick up the idiots they lost, and he gives them the line about red tape. He then calls Archer back into his office, and starts pressing him for intelligence about the Suliban. When he refuses to give it up, Al tells him that he’s going to miss his transport. He also tells Enterprise that they’ll be running late, so he tries to pass them off to some diplomats on his home world. Since patience is a virtue they lack, so they naturally mount a rescue. Keep in mind, from all the information they have, there is no indication or evidence that Archer and Mayweather are in trouble other than the fact that Archer basically fucks up everything he does.

    They beam a communicator down to Archer, who tells them what’s going on. However, the signal naturally attracts Al’s attention. He has Mayweather beaten, and Enterprise puts together a new plan - to beam Malcolm down in full Suliban plastic surgery.

    Archer has a speech wherein he directly compares the situation to Japanese internment camps in WWII, because subtlety is a four-letter word on UPN shows. They confront Al, who screams that they’re only making the situation worse for the Suliban as they break out, steal the shuttlecraft, and rescue the interred Suliban.

    I’m willing to give this episode some points. It fleshes out the Suliban possibly more than any other episode of the series. Dean Stockwell gets to hone his scenery chewing for BSG. And, most importantly, I think it was timely, which made it brave - we still struggle today with distinguishing extremist minorities from peaceful majorities, and back in 2002, there wasn’t a lot of sympathy for collateral damage in the war on terror.

    But it loses points for being as subtle as a brick to the face. It moves slowly, and is exposition heavy. It has a huge plot hole - they beam down a communicator to chat with Archer (enabling the prison break plot), instead of beaming him and Mayweather up at the first opportunity. And, most importantly, Al has a fucking point. The jailbreak is only going to result in harsher conditions for the Suliban in all the other facilities, and only spurs the aliens’ xenophobia - it’ll probably just be used as propaganda against the Suliban. That would be fine, if Archer was going to deal with it and help resolve the situation for the others. But none of this is ever referenced again.

    Rating: **
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  11. Kyle

    Kyle You will regret this!

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    Vox Sola

    Archer fucks up the first contact with the Kreetassans because Hoshi can’t get the universal translator to deal with the fact that they’re a bunch of easily-offended dicks who get mad when dogs piss on trees (yes, that’s right, these guys will show up again for everyone’s favorite episode!). After they storm off the ship, they leave some sort of spiderweb on the ship, and it quickly makes its way inside.

    Back on the bridge, T’Pol drags Hoshi for her failure, because we haven’t had enough of T’Pol inexplicably tearing another woman down this season. Archer, frustrated, goes to watch water polo with Trip, because male bonding equals eating pretzels in your pajamas while crowded around a 15” screen with footage so compressed it proves the continued existence of Real Player in the 22nd century.

    People who aren’t important, like Mayweather, go to watch Serious French Cinema in the mess hall, but the video glitches out. Engineers are dispatched to fix the problem, but in a scene ripped off from First Contact, they are both quickly dispatched, though one of them manages to get Archer’s attention.

    Trip, Archer, His Royal Highness, and a redshirt go to investigate, and promptly get trapped in a giant spiderweb like the engineers. It apparently telepathically links them, because why the fuck not. Reed escapes, taking a tendril of spiderweb with him.

    Phlox reveals some odd readings from the tendril, and also notes it’s EM sensitivity. Hoshi thinks it’s trying to communicate, but T’Pol tells her to fuck right off with that noise, because she obviously doesn’t realize this episode is desperately trying to justify her existence in a world with universal translators. She has Reed set up EM emitters.

    As they fire them at the spiderweb, their crew mates start screaming in pain - the telepathic link must also extend to transferring pain as well as thoughts. So, T’Pol is forced to let Hoshi try to talk to a spiderweb, while Malcolm jerry-rigs a forcefield to prevent the web from grabbing her.

    As they get that put together, Mayweather is inexplicably left in charge of the fucking ship. He fields a call from the Kreetassans, and discovers they stormed off because they saw people eating - apparently the equivalent of watching people fuck in a restaurant. I’m serious - they compare eating in public to sex in public. Because everything on this goddamn show is a fucking sex joke written by a middle schooler. He learns this by talking as slowly as possible, making this scene excruciatingly long.

    He also learns that the Kreetassans know where the spiderweb came from, so he sets a course to its home world.

    Anyway, does Malcolm succeed in making a forcefield? Does Hoshi talk to cellophane wrap and silly string? Of course! It all works out, she finds out that the spiderweb just wants to go home, and they drop it off on a planet that would inspire any arachnophobe to scream to nuke the site from orbit. Maybe now T’Pol will respect Hoshi. Ha ha, no, she just blames her shitty behavior on trying to inspire Hoshi to work to the level she knows she can.

    Maybe gaslighting is a time-honored Vulcan tradition.

    Rating: *
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  12. Shirogayne

    Shirogayne Trolling No Jutsu Formerly Important

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    Fun fact: around the time Detained aired, my tenth grade English class was reading Farewell to Mazanar (which I think was the specific camp that got name checked) My teacher was brand spanking new and was looking for ways to engage the class so she let me bring the episode in and we all got a free movie day.

    Good times. :)

    I also cribbed off of that Holodeck horror story episode from Voyager for a homework assignment for the same class. :?:
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  13. Kyle

    Kyle You will regret this!

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    Fallen Hero

    This episode starts with T’Pol asking Archer and Trip if they want two tickets to boner-town. Yes, T’Pol has decided everyone is horny as fuck, so they need to go to Risa, the Mustang Ranch of space.

    And that’s it. That’s the entire teaser for this episode. Sit through a cover of a bad eighties song! Endure commercials where announcers scream UPN at you! And your reward shall be watching the results of a focus group and a 48-year-old destined to lead a CBS procedural try to get their fuck on!

    Anyone actually looking forward to this would be sorely disappointed. After Trip (really, really prematurely) changes into a Hawaiian shirt, Starfleet orders them to go pick up a Vulcan ambassador. T’Pol does her best to provide a full state visit, even kicking Hoshi out of her quarters (Hoshi says she volunteered, but we know how their relationship really works).

    But when the ambassador, V’Lar, arrives, she’s downright pleasant. She shakes hands. She is appreciative of Hoshi giving up her quarters. She even makes light jokes.

    So naturally something’s up. She was ambassador to the Mazarites, and they’ve kicked her out for doing all the crimes. And she doesn’t really deny it. This disturbs T’Pol, because obviously a Vulcan would defend themselves if innocent - never mind that V’Lar is the only tolerable Vulcan they’ve ever encountered that wasn’t a horndog or a rapist.

    The Mazarites show up again, and demand that she be returned to them to face judgment for her crimes. When Archer takes exception to the fact that they made them come get her, only to just want her back, they attack. Since the Enterprise is woefully unprepared for virtually any circumstance, they run away.

    While on the run, T’Pol talks to V’Lar. She explains that Archer will be willing to help if she actually tells him the truth about what’s going on. And then they talk about a conference they both attended when T’Pol was young and uppity, which would be interesting if it was more than filler exposition.

    T’Pol then goes to Archer and explains that the charges against the ambassador are false, but the only way to get her back to Vulcan without arousing suspicion. This is nonsense, because if these clowns are preventing her from going anywhere, they’re obviously not going to just let her go if she trips and falls into a flower box or something, so it seems like she could have just said “I am going to a conference where we debate the tenets of Vulcan logic” and they would have been so fucking bored that they would have given her an expresss ticket.

    After the Mazarites force the ship to Warp 4.9, Archer finally convinces V’Lar to explain what’s going on. It’s something that she had absolutely no fucking reason to hide from Archer. Seriously, a third of this episode could have been erased by one sentence. The mafia or something infiltrated the Mazarite government, and she was collecting evidence to oust them. And she needed to go to Vulcan to do this. Or something.

    Eventually, the Mazarites force the ship to a full Warp 5. Despite the fact that we’ve been hearing for twenty plus episodes that this is the first Warp 5 ship, it turns out that it practically shakes itself apart if it actually goes that fast. It’s like a speedometer that goes to 140 MPH on a Ford Fiesta - it could go that fast, if it didn’t disintegrate first.

    And the Mazarites still catch them anyway. They board the ship, make their way to Sickbay where they’ve been told V’Lar is, and shoots her inside the CT scanner machine thing Phlox has. Except, surprise! They’ve captured them murdering her on video, and she steps out from behind a curtain. The Vulcans that Wnterprise was meeting up with show up and demand the Mazarites surrender - the attempted murder of the ambassador apparently proves the existence of the Mazarite DEEP STATE.

    It’s the worst kind of bottle episode - people talking for 45 minutes. The undercover plot didn’t make any sense. V’Lar’s actress did a good job of being a Vulcan who was convincingly in control of her emotions, but obviously still had them, which is impressive for a one-off spot. But still. This is why 20+ episode seasons have gone away. At the very least, after the teaser, it wasn’t actively awful.

    Rating: **
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  14. matthunter

    matthunter Antira

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    Never got the "let's make Enterprise struggle to hit warp 5!" thing, because warp 5, whilst game-changing for a spacefaring species, is fucking slow anyway when it comes to building dramatic tension. But writers don't understand how big space is.

    Hypothetical scenario: Enterprise gets a call from a colony 3 light-years away under attack by Klingon raiders.

    At warp 5, going by the old TOS warp-cubed formula, it takes them 8.76 days to get there. Better bring a mop and bucket because cleanup is all that's gonna happen. Even under the TNG scale, they'd take 5-ish days.
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  15. Kyle

    Kyle You will regret this!

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    Well, Enterprise was the same show that decided that Qo’noS was four days away from Earth at Warp 5.