Category Archives: Romulan

“Star Trek” (2009)

Commander Spock, does Starfleet's vision plan cover repeated exposure to high intensity lens flare?
“Commander Spock, does Starfleet’s vision plan cover repeated exposure to high-intensity lens flares?”

A weird-looking Romulan vessel appears in what we learn later is the early 23rd century, looking for someone named “Ambassador Spock.” The ship attacks a Starfleet vessel and later destroys it while one of its officers stays behind and sacrifices himself to buy the survivors time to escape. That officer is George Kirk (Chris Hemsworth, Thor), and his wife Winona (Jennifer Morrison, that one doctor from “House”) escapes and gives birth to a child — James Tiberius — on a shuttle. Star Trek is, now, reset and rebooted.


Fast-forward 20-some years and James Kirk (Chris Pine) is a troubled dude getting in bar fights with Starfleet cadets. A Starfleet captain, Christopher Pike (Bruce Greenwood), comes upon Kirk, figures out who his farther was and encourages Kirk to join Starfleet. Three years later, Kirk is about to graduate from Starfleet Academy and goes with the just-launched Enterprise, along with Pike, Commander Spock (Zachary Quinto) and the rest of the gang from TOS, minus a certain Scottsman. Vulcan is under attack by the same weird-looking ship from earlier, and it destroys Vulcan(!) and all but a handful of its people. With Pike imprisoned on the Romulan ship and interrogated by Captain Nero (Eric Bana) Spock takes command and puts Kirk off the ship on a nearby planet, where he meets … original Spock (Leonard Nimoy), whom Nero put on the planet so he could watch Vulcan’s destruction. Turns out Nero is mad at Spock because Spock’s plan to save Romulus from a supernova in the prime reality failed. Nero then chased Spock back in time (or something). Prime Spock and Kirk head to a Starfleet outpost on the planet staffed by Montgomery Scott (Simon Pegg) who’s able to beam himself and Kirk onto the Enterprise, despite the great distance. Kirk and Spock work together to stop Nero from doing to Earth what he did to Vulcan, destroying Nero’s ship after saving Pike. Kirk is then given the Enterprise and Spock becomes his first officer, and the Enterprise’s mission begins anew.

I would have words with thee.
“I would have words with thee.”

Why it’s important

Well, we learn a bit more about what happened in our prime reality — Romulus was destroyed, Spock was still around to help, etc. — possibly because of his involvement with the Romulans way back in TNG, though that’s never explained. But, really, this is a movie about resetting the Star Trek universe while maintaining much of what we know and love.

"A supernova threatened the universe." "A lie?" "An... embellishment."
“A supernova threatened the galaxy.” “A lie?” “An … embellishment.”

And, frankly, as a concept and as execution, it mostly works. If you’re going to reboot Star Trek, well, you’d better damn well reboot it. So, hats off to J.J. Abrams and his team for going all in and having a time-travel reset to address many of the inconsistencies that otherwise would have been called out by those darn Trek geeks. Bastards.

As a result, this was a good concept and a good film. What doesn’t work is more about bad logic on smaller points and some action-movie cliches — most of which were not necessitated by the reboot concept.

What doesn’t hold up

We’ll just say, right away, that the fact that Chris Pine looks different than William Shatner and Simon Pegg looks different than James Doohan, etc., etc., are conceits that we’ll shrug off. The technology stuff — particularly the Star Wars-esque/rough-around-the-edges inconsistencies we see, especially in the engineering section of the Enterprise — are harder to ignore. But we’ll do it, anyway. As we noted in our run through the prime reality, the fact that Archer’s Enterprise looked more advanced than Kirk’s was something that you just had to look past.


No, the worst parts about this movie and “Star Trek Into Darkness” stem from bad science, bad logic and too many runs down corridors filled with lens flares.

Somehow, going to warp in the rebooted movies is more like going to light speed in Star Wars, which is really strange, given that Star Trek always used journeys at warp as a way for the characters to take a beat. Beyond that, the idea that the supernova in the prime reality was going to “destroy the galaxy” — noted in a Nimoy voiceover — was just awful. A supernova might have affected a single solar system. The worst part about the line is that it didn’t need to be there, as the threat never materialized beyond Romulus.

Oh, and what’s the deal with Nero’s ship? It’s some sort of a drill, but it’s original purpose is never explained. He’s some sort of a miner … and the ship can destroy entire planets?

There are also some weird logical gaffes — the worst of which is the idea that Nero’s ship was apparently just sitting some place, waiting for Spock for 30 YEARS while Nero and his crew were in a Klingon prison. Even a line about how he and his men recovered the ship from its hiding place would have gone a long way. I know there were deleted scenes with Nero in the prison camp, but none I saw addressed this really major point. The ship should have been in Klingon control, right? And, if it was, why didn’t the Klingons tear it apart for its technology?

Genesis. Give it to me... Oops wrong choking scene.
“Genesis. Give it to me … Oops, wrong choking scene.”

And, of course, the sprints through the Enterprise corridors and the lens flares were over the top. I don’t mind the idea that Trek movies have to be more action packed than Trek TV shows (they almost always were, pre-J.J.). But the action-movie cliches and faulty logic aren’t necessary or helpful.

Finally,  the idea that Kirk would get promoted from cadet to captain at the end of the film — considering that he was nearly drummed out of Starfleet earlier — was a little too precious, even if it did set up the cool moment with Kirk taking command and Spock becoming first officer. This is sort of addressed in the next film when it’s clear Starfleet’s keeping a close eye on Kirk, but still. I’m not sure what would have made more sense, but I think the creators could have simply left it at Kirk being honored for his actions.

New Federation Times Bestseller -- From Cadet to Captain: How to climb the Starfleet Career Ladder by James T. Kirk
New Federation Times Bestseller — “From Cadet to Captain: How to Climb the Starfleet Career Ladder” by James T. Kirk

Final thoughts

Complaints aside, I really do like the reboot. Pine, Quinto, etc., were all well cast and the look and feel of the ship is pretty strong (though I don’t get the shipboard uniforms versus the uniforms on Earth). Occasionally, the characters and actors were too campy AND the film strays too much into back-story database territory, particularly for Spock. But … I suppose a reboot’s gotta be a reboot and the characters need to be explained to new audiences. Abrams did do well addressing continuity for the characters, even with the reboot.

Plus, bringing Nimoy back was a great bit of fan service. Now, someone is wondering why I’m not bringing up the time travel inconsistencies — i.e., how could prime Spock still even exist. Given that time travel went off the rails in second-generation Trek with effect predating cause, etc., I don’t think we have to hold J.J. and company to higher standards.

Coming next time …

The second rebooted movie. I guess in the J.J. Verse, the even-numbered films are the bad ones.

“Babel One”/ “United”/ “The Aenar”

I'd like to speak about the menu. "Pork chops" hits a little too close to home Captain.
“I’d like to speak about the menu. ‘Pork chops’ hits a little too close to home, Captain.”

Babel One: Enterprise is escorting some Tellarites through Andorian space to a conference where Earth will mediate a dispute between the two races on the planet Babel. Along the way, the ship comes upon escape pods from Shran’s vessel, which apparently was attacked by a Tellarite ship and was destroyed, resulting in the death of most of Shran’s crew. Shran’s out for revenge, but Archer is skeptical that the Tellarites would attack on the eve of the Babel meeting. It’s then learned that the power signature of the ship that attacked Shran’s wasn’t Tellarite and most closely resembles readings Enterprise encountered in the Romulan minefield two years earlier. Enterprise is then attacked by a vessel that looks Andorian, but has the same Romulan power signature. Apparently, the Romulans have developed a ship that can project the image of others and is trying to destabilize the region. That ship has mechanical issues, and Tucker and Reed are able to board it to find some answers. Meanwhile, Shran and Talas, (seen in “Proving Ground”) attack the Tellarite delegation, and Talas is seriously wounded. The episode ends as the Romulan ship warps away — with Tucker and Reed still aboard — and the reveal that the Romulans controlling the ship are doing so remotely, from their homeworld.

United: Tucker and Reed are still stuck on the Romulan ship and eventually figure out it’s run by remote. Meanwhile, Archer is trying to build a coalition of Vulcan, Andorian and Tellarite ships to build a detection grid to find the marauder, with Enterprise — representing the only race on good terms with the others — as the command ship. Shran agrees to participate, but after Talas dies, he demands the right of vengeance (in hand-to-hand combat) against the Tellarite who killed her. In a very TOS moment, Archer takes the Tellarite’s place — knowing it’s the only way to maintain the alliance — and finds a very clever (too much so, really) loophole that allows him to incapacitate Shran without killing him. Archer’s armada eventually finds the marauder and get Tucker and Reed off of it, while the other ships pursue the marauder. The Romulan ship gets away, but not before the feuding groups unite against a common enemy. Then, Shran, Archer and the Tellarites begin talking on their way to the summit on Babel. The episode ends with the Romulans who have been running the remote ship revealing its pilot — an odd, white-skinned Andorian.

The Aenar: Turns out that white-skinned Andorian was a member of the Aenar, a sub-species of the Andorians, who are blind telepaths. Enterprise (with Shran along) heads to Andoria to find out why an Aenar would cooperate with the Romulans, and learn that one of them went missing months earlier (presumably, kidnapped by Romulans). Back on the ship, Tucker builds an interface similar to the one on the marauder to try to interfere with the Aenar pilot. After T’Pol uses it and is hurt — Tucker messed up because he was worried about T’Pol’s safety — the job falls to Jhamel (Alexandra Lydon) an Aenar female — and brother of the Romulans’ pilot — who came back with Archer and Shran. Eventually, there’s a battle, where Enterprise must take on two drone ships. Jhamel gets her brother to stop the attack and the drone ships are destroyed (with the Romulans killing Jhamel’s brother). The threat ended, Enterprise heads back to Earth — and Tucker asks Archer for a transfer to the Enterprise’s new sister ship, as it’s become too much for him to be around T’Pol.

They can do a lot with this "simple impulse" power source they've got on board.
“They can do a lot with this ‘simple impulse’ power source they’ve got on board.”

Why it’s important

This three-parter might be the most consequential of Enterprise’s final season. A quick summary of what happens:

— We see how humans, Vulcans, Andorians and Tellarites start forming their alliance. Turns out Romulan efforts to destabilize the region caused the four species to unify against the threat, a unification that ultimately leads to the Federation. Plus, we see how and why humanity takes on a leading role, even if it’s the least advanced of the races.

— We see Andoria and learn more about the Andorians, including their sub-species, the Aenar. We also see the continuing bond forming between Archer and Shran.

— We learn more about the Tellarites, though not much. Basically, they’re argumentative.

— We learn that the Vulcans have started becoming the mystics we see in TOS and beyond as a result of the previous three-parter. It’s interesting that with the dissolution of the Vulcan High Command, many Vulcans apparently left their positions on Vulcan combat ships. That makes a great deal of sense going forward, as we see Vulcans on Starfleet ships, but only sparingly. In other words, the Vulcans are still players in galactic affairs but are generally more inward-facing.

— While we didn’t get into much of the interaction on Romulus in the above recap, we do see a lot of it. None of it is particularly groundbreaking, as we all know the Romulans are sneaky and duplicitous and that they’re related to the Vulcans. My guess is the main Romulan here, Admiral Valdore (Brian Thompson) was being set up to be a recurring character. But, of course, Enterprise didn’t last much longer.

Shran?! Thee has chosen the kal-if-fee?!!!
“Shran?! Thee has chosen the kal-if-fee?!!!”

What doesn’t hold up

Part three is the weakest of the episodes, which was a problem in the mini-arcs of season four. Lots of build up, weaker payoff.

I’ve also always been slightly put off by the idea that only humans could have the patience/adaptability to deal with the other species and to get them to unite together. This is a major thread of the fourth season, and Archer actually tells Shran and the Tellarites that they should start acting more like humans. It’s pretty freaking arrogant, frankly. Granted, the other species seem pretty headstrong, but the generalizations about them — Andorians are arrogant, Tellarites are combative — are just that, generalizations.

It makes humanity’s role seem really important, but only if you accept the conceit that the aliens we’ve encountered are one-dimensional — or, at least, the ones that would be part of the Federation. This might be a big reason why I prefer the third season to the fourth. The Xindi end up being so much more layered and interesting than the Andorians or Tellarites. It’s also why the Vulcan three-parter is the strongest of the arcs, as the Vulcans (thankfully) get good and compelling texture.

Lastly, I don’t quite buy that Archer could end the struggle with Shran by incapacitating him. The idea is that Shran is so impressed that Archer respected his culture that he would put aside his anger against the Tellarites. Sorry, but that’s goofy. It would have made more sense to cut out the “fight to the death!” and have Shran come to his senses because of the Romulan threat.

I want off the ship Captain. It's not likely to have another seaso... uh voyage... yeah another voyage after this one. At not in this timeline/universe.
“I want off the ship, Captain. It’s not likely to have another seaso… uh, voyage… yeah another voyage, after this one. And not in this timeline/universe.”

Final thoughts

I haven’t really gotten into the Tucker-T’Pol stuff that started in the third season and continued into the fourth. There are parts of it I really liked, but the will-they/won’t-they gets extremely repetitive (especially, knowing what we know of the series finale). The best part about it was that it opened up the T’Pol character, making her more interesting than she was in the first two seasons. Of course, it’s too bad that the main female character on the show had to have a love interest to become more interesting. Sigh.

We’ll talk more about the Tucker transfer in subsequent episodes, as I’m not crazy about the way the characters handled it (particularly the writing and acting for Archer). But more on that to come.

Coming later this week …

Fan service at its greatest (and most absurd) heights. We’re getting canceled? Better explain why Klingons didn’t have forehead ridges in TOS!



“The Forge”/ “Awakening”/ “Kir’Shara”

Live long and prosper? How?! More like, find some shade and chill out, eh T'Pol?
“Live long and prosper? How?! More like, find some shade and chill out, eh, T’Pol?”

The Forge: A bombing occurs at Earth’s new embassy on Vulcan, killing (among others) Admiral Forest (Vaughn Armstrong), Enterprise’s friend and handler back home for the first three seasons. Vulcan’s big boss, Administrator V’Las (Robert Foxworth) tells Archer the bombing was the work of a group of extremists called the Syrannites, who follow a supposedly perverted form of the teachings of Surak (the Vulcan messiah, seen in “The Savage Curtain” and referenced elsewhere). T’Pol learns that her mother (whom we met in “Home”) is among the Syrannites, who live in isolation. Archer and T’Pol go on a dangerous desert journey to find them, and encounter a Vulcan wanderer, who is quickly killed in a sandstorm but seems to mind meld with Archer before he does. Back on Enterprise, Phlox, with the help of a VERY cooperative Ambassador Soval (from the pilot and many other episodes), determines that the evidence pointing to the Syrannites was planted by one of V’Las’ men, but the crew has no way of informing Archer, who, along with T’Pol, have been taken prisoner (because Archer) by the Syrannites.

Awakening: Soval is stripped of his title by for subverting the High Command and using a mind meld to gather information on the bombing. V’Las has also eliminated any linkage between himself and the bomber, and Soval decides to help Tucker in his investigation. Meanwhile, Archer and T’Pol meet up with Syrannite leader T’Pau (Kara Zediker, reprising a character seen way back in “Amok Time”) and T’Pol’s mother T’Les (Joanna Cassidy). Archer begins to see visions, apparently of Surak, thanks to the mind meld in the previous episode. Granted permission to look around some ancient ruins by the Syrannites, Archer finds the Kir’Shara, an artifact that will show that the Syrannites interpretation of Surak’s teaching is correct. But T’Les is killed as V’Las begins bombing the Syrannite compound. The episode ends as Tucker sets course for Andoria — after Soval has informed him that V’Las is planning a major offensive against the Andorians.

Kir’Shara: Archer, T’Pol and T’Pau have escaped with the Kir’Shara and must try to get it to the Vulcan capitol. Tucker and Soval make contact with the Andorians, specifically Commander Shran, who is part of a small fleet hiding in a nebula between Vulcan and Andoria, anticipating an attack. Shran doesn’t initially believe Soval but buys the story after Soval won’t break under torture. Back on Vulcan, T’Pol has been captured, but Archer and T’Pau make their way to the capitol, eventually getting to V’Las’ chambers and showing the Vulcan leaders the Kir’Shara, preventing the Vulcan fleet from a full out attack against the Andorians (Tucker has delayed the battle). Surak’s katra is taken from Archer, there’s some indication the High Command will be disbanded and V’Las is discredited. But the episode ends with V’Las meeting with a shadowy character, apparently a Romulan, discussing how their plan failed.

Would thee likest to joinest my Shakespeare company?
“Would thee likest to joinest my Shakespeare company?”

Why it’s important

One of the key gripes about early Enterprise was that it painted Vulcans as officious at best and almost villainous at worst. Archer and Co. were often at odds with Soval and other Vulcans, making it a major thread of the first two seasons and beyond. Particularly concerning was the duplicitous nature of the Vulcans when interacting with the Andorians.

This three-parter sort of set things right. The “true” teachings of Surak would apparently go on to have a profound impact on Vulcans to make them more in line with what we saw in TOS and beyond (i.e. logical AND honorable). That T’Pau goes on to become leader of the Vulcans — and even shows up more than a century later in TOS — is more proof that the Syrannites’ way was embraced by the entire Vulcan society. Put another way: All Vulcans we see in other series and movies are Syrannites.

This is also another moment where humanity (through Enterprise) became more tied to other species, eventually leading to the Federation. It’s interesting here that Tucker takes point on that with the Andorians and Soval while Archer and T’Pol follow a parallel track on Vulcan. Archer’s place in history, if it wasn’t already, gets further cemented here.

What doesn’t hold up

V’Las’ timing has never made a lot of sense. Apparently, he decided to take out what he views as an extremist faction (the Syrannites) and mount an offensive against Andoria all around the time Earth’s embassy was set to open. As the bombing was orchestrated by V’Las to implicate the Syrannites, why not wait a few weeks or months before attacking Andoria? At the very least, Starfleet wouldn’t have been around to intervene. It’s not as if the Syrannite threat gave V’Las more power to attack the Andorians.

There’s also the matter of what Archer ends up knowing while he possesses Surak’s katra. In part three, he has very specific knowledge of V’Las’ plans, even though Surak had been dead for centuries. The implication is that Surak is ethereal, allowing him to know things from beyond the grave — or that Syran (the Vulcan who passed Surak’s katra on to Archer) knew about V’Las’ plan. Neither scenario makes much sense, especially when you consider that Archer didn’t need more motivation to bring the Kir’Shara to the Vulcan leaders (and that the audience didn’t need the exposition). He could have been trying to get the Kir’Shara to the capitol to supplant V’Las and to start the Vulcan awakening.

Then there’s Soval. Granted, there were some slight indications that he was starting to respect Archer and humans generally. But he goes to friend territory FAR too quickly here. I can buy that he would disagree with V’Las, but not that he’d go rogue and work with Tucker. I think the idea is that his friendship with and death of Forest played a role. But Soval basically acts as impulsively as he accused Archer of doing for three seasons. Hmmm.

Finally, it was cool of the creators to bring back T’Pau, as this episode explains why she was so revered when Kirk and McCoy met her in TOS. But T’Pau the first time we see her speaks like she’s from a Shakespeare revival festival, and doesn’t here. I suppose having her speak as she did in TOS would have been odd/hard to explain, but I still need to note it.

Let's continue this nefarious Romulan plan in Season 5...
“Let’s continue this nefarious Romulan plan in Season 5… Oh wait.”

Final thoughts

While the season’s first three-parter is classic Trek mythology, this three-parter is more significant in that it shows how the Federation is beginning to take shape and how Earth will be involved. It’s also executed better and doesn’t have the (ahem) logical problems of the Augments trilogy, even accounting for the weirdness with Soval.

The events here show that the Vulcan will become less active players in interstellar events, opening the door for the more neutral humans to build a coalition with the Vulcans, Andorians and (later) the Tellarites. That’s important, as Vulcans had sort of been the big players previously.

The Romulan appearance at the end of the episode is interesting, too, as it shows how the Romulans were working to undermine stability in our corner of the galaxy. That shows up later this season, but we never see the Romulan-Vulcan angle again on Enterprise, which is too bad. I’m guessing it would have happened had their been a fifth season.

Coming next week …

So, you say you want a coalition … well, y’know …


“Somehow, my plan to detonate a totally alien mine using my knowledge of Earth explosives didn’t work that well. Huh.”

The Enterprise decides to check out a new planet and stumbles onto a minefield. One goes off and causes some significant damage. Another attaches itself to the hull, but doesn’t explode. Reed dons a spacesuit to try to diffuse it, but gets trapped when a mechanical leg from the mine goes through his leg and attaches itself to the ship. Then, a vessel decloaks, and identifies itself — audio only — as Romulan (thunderclap). After some warning shots, the Romulans move off, but the Enterprise is stuck in the minefield. Archer joins Reed on the hull to try to diffuse the bomb and save Reed — allowing the two some bonding time — but is unsuccessful. As the Romulans return, Archer has Trip detach part of the hull, allowing Archer and Reed to be beamed home and the ship to escape.

Enterprise suffers some major damage and it’s not gone the next week! Gold star to the creators.

Why it’s important

This is humanity’s first encounter with the Romulans, even though they don’t see them (other than their ships) or get much information about the future enemies. Enterprise as a series often was criticized for not being enough of a prequel, but this episode is very much something that could lead to what we see in TOS.

Also, it’s significant that Enterprise is still dealing with the damage in the following episode, in which the ship is largely repaired by an automated space station (with nefarious motives). We won’t review that episode, but props to the creators for not going all Voyager on us. In this series, with much more limited technology, not addressing major damage to the ship would have been even more egregious.

“At last! We can test our new weapon that erases any knowledge of cloaking devices from humans and Vulcans!”

What doesn’t hold up

Well, there’s the continuing issue of Archer and Co. knowing about cloaking devices when the technology was apparently only thought of as theoretical more than 100 years later by Kirk and Spock in “Balance of Terror”. Before this episode, Archer’s crew had only seen cloaks on Suliban ships — but now we know that Starfleet knew the Romulans had them. And we can infer that the Romulans probably used them in the war with Earth that took place a decade later. All that makes the dialog in “Balance of Terror” seem really odd.

Again, maybe this is more proof that Archer and Co. are living in an alternate timeline, thanks to all the time travel in previous series. Kirk did bring a cloaking device to 1980s Earth.

I guess the only other question is how the Vulcans don’t know more about the Romulans. Granted, you could pose the same questions about “Balance of Terror” — particularly when it comes to the Romulans’ likely exodus from Vulcan — but here, there’s direct interactions that seem like they’d provide T’Pol a clue as to who these people are. If nothing else, wouldn’t there be similarities in the languages?

Regarding this question for “Balance of Terror”, you could argue that Vulcans weren’t involved in the conflict in the 2160s, as dialog in that episode makes it sound as is the conflict was simply between the Romulans and Earth. However, the establishment of the Federation (or the precursor to the Federation) as shown at the end of this series makes one wonder how the Vulcans wouldn’t have received any information about such a conflict. After all, humans and Vulcans were allies at the time (based on what we know).

Finally, why would Reed’s knowledge of human explosives help him at all in efforts to diffuse the Romulan mine?

Final thoughts

This is a solid episode providing for some good character moments between Archer and Reed. I didn’t care much for the opening breakfast scene — Reed was too awkward, considering how long he and Archer had served together — but the dialog on the ship’s hull was strong.

Oh, and some might wonder why we didn’t review “Carbon Creek”, as the episode depicts the first appearance of Vulcans on Earth, a century before the events of “Star Trek: First Contact”. Big picture, it doesn’t appear that the encounter had any lasting consequences — other than humanity’s introduction to Velcro — so it’s more of a footnote than a Tapestry-worthy episode. At least, that’s our take. YMMV.

Coming later this week …

Archer has to think real hard about being more careful when it comes to alien societies.

“Message in a Bottle”

It says "Welcome to the AT&T Long Distance Network. Please insert 25 cents to place a call"
“It says, ‘Welcome to the AT&T Long Distance Network. Please insert 25 cents to place a call’.”

Voyager finds an ancient relay network that allows Seven to spot a Starfleet ship thousands of light years away. When a traditional message can’t get through to the ship, Janeway sends the Doctor to make contact. But the ship (the experimental U.S.S. Prometheus) has been taken over by Romulans, and the Doctor must work with the vessel’s holographic doctor (Andy Dick) to save the vessel. Amid some fairly witty banter, the two EMHs are successful, the prototype ship is returned to Starfleet and the Doctor returns to Voyager with news that he’s informed the Federation of Voyager’s whereabouts.

Why it’s important

Voyager making brief contact with the Federation is hugely important, even if the ability is relatively short-lived. The cartoonish bad guys who control the relay network (the Hirogen) destroy it in the subsequent episode and Voyager doesn’t again have regular contact with Starfleet for a while.

As bad guys go, the Hirogen are pretty stupid, though the creators seemed to put a lot of time into their development and they show up a lot in season four. Still, we only mention their introduction here as a side note. The Hirogen aren’t that significant in the larger scope of Voyager or Star Trek as a whole.

The USS Voltron everyone.
The USS Voltron, everyone.

What doesn’t hold up

While this is a fun episode, there is just so much that makes me scratch my head.

For one thing, how did the Romulans get aboard the Prometheus in the first place? I don’t expect a ton of backstory on that — only so much plot and dialogue can fit in a 45-minute show — but presumably, they got there on a ship, and it’s odd that we don’t see that ship escorting the Prometheus back to Romulus.

This episode also is probably Trek’s worst example of using extras who clearly can’t have lines of dialogue. The most glaring moment is in sickbay when Neelix speaks for crew members suffering from indigestion (thanks to Neelix’s chili). Paris and Neelix talk as if the crew members have no ability to talk! The Romulan commander and helm officer on the Prometheus also seem to be the only two Romulans with verbal abilities. Oh, and did anyone else notice that the Doctor and EMH-2 talk openly about their plot while an injured Romulan is nearby and clearly conscious?

Last point. EMH-2 mentions the Federation’s war with the Dominion, which was going on at this time — with Voyager unaware — on DS9. But it’s weird that the Voyager crew seems to have no knowledge of the Dominion (the Doctor has none and Chakotay and Torres are seemingly unaware in the next episode), even though hostilities with the Dominion started a half-season before Voyager’s trip to the Delta Quadrant. But, bigger picture, shouldn’t the events here have pretty much killed any chances of a Federation/Romulan alliance against the Dominion? At least one Romulan ship appears to have been destroyed. Granted, a few months pass before Sisko’s skulduggery in “In the Pale Moonlight”. But still. I know this is supposed to be a light-hearted episode, but there was a major war going on in the Alpha Quadrant at the time — and the Federation and Romulans doing battle in previous Trek was always viewed as something that could lead to war.

Our antics are just about the only redeeming thing in this episode.
“Our antics are just about the only redeeming thing in this episode!”

Final thoughts

This episode is classic Voyager, and that’s not entirely a compliment.

It’s well-acted and amusing (Picardo really shines) and the side stories back on Voyager as the crew waits for word are actually pretty amusing. But there are just so many goofy logic and continuity issues. Hell, you could argue that Janeway was reckless sending the Doctor to the Alpha Quadrant when he had a good chance of being lost and considering that Paris is the ship’s next most qualified medic. At this point in the series, there’s no word of a backup Doctor.

Aside from that, the EMHs might be the luckiest photonic beings in the universe, given how they activate the “multi-vector” attack mode in a way that defeats the Romulans. Everything else on the ship requires a lot of specific knowledge that the EMHs, not surprisingly, don’t have. But EMH-2 accidentally hits a button and everything is fixed? Weak.

All that said, it was a nice development — with follow up in the next episode — that allows Voyager to communicate with Starfleet and let their families know they’re still alive. There are some things that don’t get mentioned — like the 10-20 Voyager crewmen who died in the previous three years and whether Janeway notified Starfleet about them. It’s also odd that there’s no discussion (yet) of how Starfleet would likely view the Maquis on board as criminals. Again, these aren’t items that wreck this episode or the next one. But not addressing them was a missed opportunity, IMO.

Coming next week …

Species 8472 is back — and it’s pissed.