Category Archives: 2005

“These Are the Voyages…”

"So I checked the fleet database and under the 'Forever Ensign' list and it's got 3 names: Yours, mine and someone named 'Harry Kim'"
“So, I checked the fleet database and under the ‘Forever Ensign’ list and it’s got three names: Yours, mine and someone named ‘Harry Kim.'”

It’s suddenly six years later, Enterprise is returning to Earth for a big summit setting up an alliance of planets (didn’t that just happen?) and Archer’s going to give a speech (that definitely just happened). Then, Will Riker says “freeze program” and it turns out he’s in the holodeck on the Enterprise-D, and it’s REALLY 2370. Riker’s using a historical holodeck program (at the suggestion of Deanna Troi) of the NX-01’s final mission to figure out what to do in a dilemma shown in “The Pegasus”. He resumes the program and Shran shows up asking Archer for a favor. The mechanics of it aren’t that interesting, but Archer helps Shran out with some nasty bad guys, who later catch up with Enterprise. At gunpoint, Tucker essentially sacrifices himself to save Archer. Then, Riker (posing as Enterprise’s oft-mentioned Chef) talks to Tucker (presumably, earlier in the program) and gets a key insight about coming clean to Picard. Then, Riker and Troi watch as Archer is about to give his famous speech, and Riker calls for “end program.”

Why it’s important

For the second consecutive episode, I’m unclear as to what we see established as far as Earth’s alliance with other planets — but whatever it is, it’s important. Archer’s man-of-destiny role, which was such a big part of the series, comes to full fruition here.

"Say the word Admiral..."
“Say the word, Admiral…”

What doesn’t hold up

Well, I hope you all have a few minutes.

First of all, let’s talk about the connection to “The Pegasus”. In that episode, Riker’s former captain (now an admiral) comes on board and orders Riker to continue helping with illegal experiments to build a Federation cloaking device. Riker can’t tell Picard because his old captain has him under orders. Riker eventually comes clean after seeing dead bodies on the titular (and previously assumed lost) vessel AND when use of the cloaking device will save the Enterprise-D from the Romulans. So, yes, Riker does the right thing, belatedly.

But if you watch this episode, you’d think Riker came around because his experience on the NX-01 helped him pick right from wrong — or that he was struck by Tucker’s loyalty to Archer. But that’s just not what happened.

Also, it’s odd that during the Enterprise-D’s mission, Riker would have so much time to spend on the holodeck. In the original episode, Riker actually spends time with Worf in another holodeck program (we see the after effects when Riker has to go to sickbay with a broken rib). Was Riker making Data pull all his shifts, or something? It’s not as if the Pegasus mission lasted more than a few days.

There’s also the matter of the decision to advance things on the NX-01 by six years.

Put simply, it was TERRIBLE that the main characters didn’t seem to have changed at all, other than hairstyles and uniforms. Sato and Mayweather were both STILL ensigns, for crying out loud! And apparently Tucker and T’Pol never did get together, which really makes all the third and fourth season stuff seem not just trivial but pointless. Honestly, based on the character development we see here — other than what happened to Shran — nothing interesting would have occurred on Enterprise (character-wise) for SIX MORE YEARS. Maybe the series needed to be canceled if the creators were so lacking in ideas. You could argue that the creators didn’t have enough time to show any Enterprise character developments. Of course, if they hadn’t devoted half the episode to Riker and Troi …

Then, there’s the matter of Starfleet wanting to decommission Enterprise. Consider that, 100 years later, we see Starfleet vessels in service for decades (Kirk’s first Enterprise was around, with refits, for 40 years!). Why would Starfleet — which had TWO warp-5 capable ships when the credits rolled in “Terra Prime” — want to moth ball a ship that still has to be relatively advanced?

Oh, and of course, Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis looked about 10 years older than they did in “The Pegasus” … because they were 10 years older. The Enterprise-D sets mostly look good, though the observation lounge was off.

Before we move on, Tucker’s sacrifice — while noble — sure seemed odd. He survives for a few minutes while the bad guys who were farther away from the explosion died instantly? Also, why didn’t we see Reed or any MACOs in the area after the bad guys board the ship?

Lastly, the question has to be asked where Riker’s program came from. Was it some interpretation of the NX-01’s final mission? It’s hard to believe it could be 100 percent accurate, given the personal conversations and details. Hmmmm …

We're waiting for a fan theory that the entire run of Enterprise was just a holo-fanfic in the Enterprise-D's database.
We’re waiting for a fan theory that the entire run of Enterprise was just a holo-fanfic in the Enterprise-D’s database.

Final thoughts

Now, we get to the question about what the creators were thinking, and if it worked.

Generally, the answer is “no.” This episode doesn’t really serve as a finale for Enterprise. It’s really a finale to second-generation Trek. That wasn’t an awful idea and it was billed as a “Valentine” to the fans. But it’s too bad that Enterprise got short-changed. It almost feels like the creators sort of figured that Enterprise was a failed series and threw in a TNG connection to try to make everyone happy. The best moment was probably the final montage of the three Enterprises — but that could have been done even if the previous 43 minutes had been different.

Was Enterprise a failed series, though? Certainly, it got canceled. But the third season was quite daring and the fourth — while filled with too much fan service — was an improvement over seasons one and two and quite entertaining at times. As I’ve noted before, I’ll take daring and flawed over boring and flawed. That’s why I stand firm that Enterprise is a superior show to Voyager.

Big picture, Enterprise did feel like a series that never quite clicked, but it came close while dealing with a shifting dramatic TV landscape and general Trek fatigue. I would have enjoyed watching more seasons, but ratings are ratings, I guess.

"This won't make any sense to you T'Pol. But Al said after I make this speech I'll leap!"
“This won’t make any sense to you, T’Pol. But Al said after I make this speech I’ll leap!”

Coming next week …

We’ll be back with a few wrap-up articles, but this will be our final review — at least, for a while.

“Demons”/ “Terra Prime”

I knew there was something fishy with that "official DNA collector" who  wanted a sample of my blood and my credit card number!!?!
“I knew there was something fishy with that ‘official DNA collector’ who wanted a sample of my blood and my credit card number!!!”

Demons: Enterprise has returned to Earth — for like the 10th time in the fourth season — for a summit with all the aliens Archer has buddied up with (Vulcans, Andorians, Tellarites, etc.) to form an alliance. But a woman with mortal wounds enters as the conference begins and gives T’Pol a strand of hair — which turns out to be from a human/Vulcan child created with T’Pol and Tucker’s DNA. The child was created by Terra Prime, an isolationist group who wants limited contact with alien races, who plans to use the child as a symbol of the evils of inter-species breeding. T’Pol and Tucker try to find the child and are quickly captured (duh) by Terra Prime’s leader, John Frederick Paxton (Peter Weller), who is based on the moon. The episode ends as Paxton takes control of some devices used to divert comets on Mars and aims them at Starfleet Headquarters — and broadcasts his threat to wipe it out if all aliens don’t leave the system.

Terra Prime: With the summit in danger of collapsing, Archer leads a dangerous mission to get to Mars and stop Paxton. T’Pol and Tucker are still held captive and T’Pol learns the child is dying. Eventually, the good guys prevail, but the child (whom T’Pol names Elizabeth after Tucker’s sister who was killed in the Xindi attack) dies — apparently, a result of Vulcan/human incompatibility. Archer returns to the conference and gives a speech that results in rousing applause, with the idea that the alliance will still happen. The episode ends with T’Pol and Trip talking after learning that Paxton’s methods — and not genetic incompatibility — led to Elizabeth’s death.

"Sir, Robocop is on UPN." "On screen, Mr. Mayweather".
“Sir, ‘Robocop’ is on UPN.” “On screen, Mr. Mayweather.”

Why it’s important

It’s sort of hard to figure to what degree, but the groundwork laid here apparently leads to the Federation and the events in the next episode. So, even if the conference in this episode just paved the way, it’s extremely important.

Also, there’s a cool callback to Colonel Green, an historic bad dude mentioned way back in “The Savage Curtain”. Naturally, Paxton admires him.

What doesn’t hold up

Well, Paxton’s plan is really strange.

In addition to taking over the comet-deflecting thing, he genetically engineers the human/Vulcan hybrid to make a larger point about inter-species breeding. And, I guess, that could have been somewhat disturbing to some people.

But why bother making the kid a combination of Trip and T’Pol? It’s sort of alluded to that Paxton knows that the two of them had been intimate, but why not just make a hybrid child with any old Vulcan and human? There was just no advantage for Paxton if Trip and T’Pol are Elizabeth’s parents, and getting both of their DNA couldn’t have been easy.

Then, there’s the plan to find the child. First of all, sending T’Pol (a Vulcan) to a supposed hotbed of isolationist activity makes NO sense. But beyond that, Trip and T’Pol were global celebrities after the Xindi incident. That neither of them wore any sort of disguise was just ridiculous.

Ensigns bossing around other ensigns. Did Starfleet run out of Lt. Commanders?
Ensigns bossing around other ensigns. Did Starfleet run out of Lt. Commanders?

Final thoughts

There was a lot of subplotting that didn’t make it into our review, from the Mayweather/reporter love thing to the Terra Prime spy on Enterprise to Sato taking command of Enterprise while everyone else is on Mars to the Earth “minister” (Harry Groener) who previously had been in Terra Prime. The two-parter covers an awful lot of ground — and even despite the strangeness noted above, it works pretty well.

Some consider “Terra Prime” to be the “true” finale of Enterprise, as “These Are the Voyages …” was not well-received. More on that later this week.

Coming later this week …

Trek’s least favorite finale. And no, we’re not reviewing “Turnabout Intruder”.

“In a Mirror, Darkly”

I liked you better with the goatee.
“I liked you better with the goatee.”

Part one: We’re in the evil universe — the credits tell us so! — first seen in TOS and again in DS9. This time, though, there’s nobody from our universe who’s crossed over. Humanity still has an evil empire and it dominates the other Enterprise-era species. The ship’s captain is this universe’s version of Admiral Forest (Vaughn Armstrong), and Archer is first officer. Archer takes over the ship and sets course for Tholian space where a Starfleet vessel from about a century in the future has been found. The Tholians are tearing it apart, but Archer takes a team on board to save it. Turns out it’s the Defiant, a Constitution-class ship that disappeared in Tholian space in our regular universe in “The Tholian Web” on TOS. Archer is successful in saving the Defiant, but the Tholians destroy Enterprise (killing Forest) as part one ends.

Part two: Archer and Co. escape with the Defiant, but are stuck at impulse because a Gorn(!) slave master (employed by the Tholians and still on the ship) has stolen some equipment. Archer eventually tracks the parts down and heads to Terran territory to crush (crush!) a rebellion with 23rd century technology (technology!) led by Vulcans, Andorians and others and take hold of the empire. After putting down an insurgency led by T’Pol and goateed Soval on another Terran ship, Archer’s plan almost works. But Sato — his consort and Forest’s before — poisons and kills Archer and declares herself Empress Sato in orbit of Earth.

Ladies and gentlemen... Enterprise's only official red shirt!
Ladies and gentlemen… Enterprise’s only official red shirt!

Why it’s important

Well, this one was borderline for us. It’s another example of Fan Service Gone Wild — and the information about the mirror universe here doesn’t really play into what we see later. But we do see more here about some key races from TOS (the Tholians and the Gorn) and it ties into two episodes of TOS and “Star Trek: First Contact”.

And, hell, like Enterprise as a series was in early 2005, we’re nearing the end of our run — and we just wanted to review this one as there’s a lot to talk about.

Peak Fan Service™: Archer, in a Kirk wrap-around tunic, fighting a Gorn.
Peak Fan Service™: Archer, in a Kirk wrap-around tunic, fighting a Gorn.

What doesn’t hold up

The hardest thing to swallow is that humans apparently got their hands on 23rd-century technology in the 22nd century but only had 23rd-century technology in “Mirror, Mirror” … which occurred in the 23rd century. Apparently, the Terran Empire in Kirk’s time wasn’t just corrupt and on track to collapse. It was technologically stagnant — provided Kirk’s Enterprise wasn’t the Terran Empire equivalent of a garbage scow.

Also, T’Pol and Soval in part two are just WAY too emotional. There are also plenty of other small things — like the Enterprise firing while cloaked in part one or the ridiculous uniforms worn by Starfleet crew women. And the Gorn looks NOTHING like what we see in “Arena”. But my biggest problem is what the creators do with mirror-Archer in part two.

In part one, he’s a conniving guy who’s finally got his shot to make it big. In part two, he’s a whiny, off-the-hinge nut job! Scott Bakula’s performance “Great men are CONQUERERS!” was just way, way, way over the top.

On the shooting script it literally said "See script for Ridley Scott's Alien"
On the shooting script it literally said, “See script for Ridley Scott’s ‘Alien'”.

Final thoughts

Despite Bakula going too far with the scenery chewing — he really likes saying technology! —  there’s a lot of good stuff here. Giving Sato something to do (for once) was great, even if it was the evil version of her. And many of the evil versions were fun takes. I particularly liked the radiation-scarred Tucker.

There is an interesting line that I wanted to address. At one point, evil Archer and evil Sato, on board the Defiant, look at the bios of their good-universe selves. Interestingly, good-universe Archer is said to be the “greatest explorer of the 22nd century.” Frankly, this is pretty silly.

By this stage of Enterprise, Archer hasn’t distinguished himself as an explorer. Really, he was more of a statesman and a diplomat — or even a soldier. There are even meta lines about this in the third and fourth seasons that are clear indications the creators knew and understood this. Granted, Archer’s exploratory accomplishments could come after the series ends …

It also was very cool to see a Gorn and a Tholian (no one said the season of fan service didn’t have its charms). And the recreation of the Defiant, of course, was exceptionally well done. Archer wearing a Kirk-style wraparound — which William Shatner wore in the original series at times to disguise his weight fluctuations — was great.

I’ve heard some fans say this is Enterprise’s peak, and I’ll grant that the two-parter is a lot of fun (even if part two sort of goes off the hinge). But I’d say the end of the Xindi arc or the Vulcan three-parter were better. Enterprise, despite all its flaws, was a strong enough show where events that actually happened to our normal characters were more compelling than events that happened in alternative universes or reset timelines. Voyager, OTOH …

And if we’re talking about universes or reset timelines, I frankly like “Twilight” from Enterprise’s third season better. We’ll get to that in our series wrap up in a couple weeks.

Are you not amused?!
“I said ‘It’s green!’ Are you not amused?!”

Coming next week …

Our last two reviews of Enterprise. It’s been a long road …



"Captain Archer, I represent a deposed Orion prince. If you can send me your bank account and pin number he can deposit..."
“Captain Archer, I represent a deposed Orion prince. If you can send me your bank account and pin number he can deposit…”

Orion trader Harrad-Sar (William Lucking) asks Archer to go into business with him (really). As part of the deal, the Orion trader gives Archer three Orion slave girls as gifts (ridiculously). Archer allows the slave girls aboard the ship (amazingly) and they start driving all the men wild (predictably) and give all the women headaches (stupidly). Turns out it’s all a plot by the Orion females to take over the ship and turn Archer over to the Orion Syndicate (laughably). Oh, and we learn that Orion females actually run Orion society (goofily). But Tucker — who’s still on Enterprise despite being chief engineer of another ship — is immune to the Orion females’ charm because … he really digs T’Pol’s chili (hard-to-swallowy). Tucker and T’Pol are able to foil the plot and Tucker, before the episode ends, tells her he’s going to stay on Enterprise, setting up a will-they-or-won’t-they thing for the rest of the series and beyond (pointlessly).

Why it’s important

We learn about the Orions. The enslaved females are really the ones running things. Everything else we seen has been a rouse.

Haven't you ever had some reaally goood "chili."
“Haven’t you ever had some reaally goood ‘chili.'”

What doesn’t hold up

We learn about the Orions. The enslaved females are really the ones running things. Everything else we seen has been a rouse.

Nope. Not a copy-and-paste issue, folks. This episode is significant for the same reason it, well, sucks. Or, at least, one of the reasons it sucks. The “drive men wild” part is pretty stupid and so is the “women get headaches.” Yuck.

I’m not saying that any species couldn’t be dominated by women. I’m saying that the twist here — considering that Orion females have ALWAYS been referred to as slaves — is far too cutesy and dumb. It’s almost like modern Trek trying to retcon ’60s Trek into being a little less sexist — in an episode that features more scantily clad women than just about any episode of this series. Irony is pretty ironic at times.

The only thing that could have worked in this episode is the Tucker/T’Pol stuff. But it’s just done much too flippantly. Considering the weight that their relationship had (and will have) at times, putting it into rom-com territory was a terrible decision. And how can Tucker get a transfer and a transfer back so easily? Bah.

Of course, Tucker’s short-lived replacement on Enterprise, Commander Kelby (Derek Magyar), is one of the weakest characters/plot devices in all of Star Trek. He’s about as competent as Cameron/the Enterprise B’s captain from “Generations,” despite holding a very high rank on Starfleet’s most important ship. In this episode, he’s basically conned by one of the Orion women into nearly KILLING EVERYONE — which doesn’t make sense, as the Orions were trying to capture Enterprise, not destroy it or kill themselves in the process.

I've never tried "chili" in that pos... uh configuration.
“I’ve never tried ‘chili’ in that pos… uh configuration.”

Final thoughts

File this one under the we-don’t-like-it-but-had-to-review-it category, right up there with “The Savage Curtain” and “The Assignment”. The Orions — and, particularly, the Orion slave girls — are iconic in Star Trek. Too bad more wasn’t done with that, as this is really a poor excuse for a callback. It’s fan service for fan service’s sake with extremely bad execution.

Coming later this week …

Mirror universe time!