Jammer's Review

Star Trek: Enterprise

"Two Days and Two Nights"

***

Air date: 5/15/2002
Teleplay by Chris Black
Story by Rick Berman & Brannon Braga
Directed by Michael Dorn

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"You think this is my fault!"
"You were willing to follow two strange aliens into a basement!"
"Gorgeous aliens! Don't forget — they were gorgeous!"

— Trip and Malcolm, after being shot and left tied to a beam in their underwear

In brief: Pleasant. Fairly amusing and entertaining as lightweight shore-leave episodes go.

One lesson that seems to emerge in "Two Days and Two Nights" is that the nookie is awarded to those who aren't trying so hard. Or maybe it's not awarded in two cases because Trip and Malcolm are overly typical males being overly obvious and trying too hard at it.

But, hell — at least hooking up is actually on the minds of members of the crew. In previous Star Trek series it was almost as if human beings were above the very notion of having a sex drive, let alone expressing it. That's not saying "Two Days and Two Nights" is the least bit sophisticated when it comes to the topic, but when Trip and Malcolm get decked out in their nightlife threads and head out to a club to look for women ... well at least that's something that's socially recognizable in our own century. And when they fail miserably ... well, that's recognizable too.

The shore-leave episode is not a new concept in Trek, but this proves to be one of the better examples because it keeps things simple and observes regular human behavior. We follow a few characters through their separate adventures in (attempted) relaxation, as they shuttle down to renowned pleasure planet Risa.

Based on evidence here, Trip and Malcolm are destined to become the best-buddy partners-in-crime a la O'Brien and Bashir. It's nice to see that "Shuttlepod One," like DS9's "Armageddon Game," firmly solidified a friendship. Their storyline hardly has anything resembling depth (hanging out at a club, doing a fair amount of imbibing, trolling for dates), but something about it rings true. The actors bring a relaxed, unforced believability to light material; I found myself not thinking about the plot and just settling back and watching two people trying to have some fun. The emerging Trip/Malcolm repartee is adequately amusing. My one complaint is that the two thieves had to be shapeshifters. That's taking the Venus-flytrap routine just a little too far over the top; the two (non)women that rob Trip and Malcolm didn't have to be morphing shapeshifters to be criminals.

Another plot — less silly — involves Archer settling into a beach resort with Porthos and some books. A woman named Keyla (Dey Young, last seen in Trek in DS9's "A Simple Investigation") is checked into a room with a nearby terrace. Inevitably, Archer and Keyla meet and go out for a casual dinner. Somewhat initially confusing is the fact that Keyla looks so completely human to the point that I began wondering if she was a civilian who somehow got from Earth to Risa. Dialog reveals that's not the case, but it raises the point of aliens that are human almost to a fault.

Archer's storyline turns out to be an effective example of taking a lightweight premise and adding some fairly meaty larger-plot implications in an appropriately low-key way. It turns out Keyla is a Tandaran operative (the Tandarans were those who had imprisoned innocent Suliban in "Detained"). She was sent with a cover story to get close to Archer and convince him to reveal more information about the Suliban. The way she goes about doing this is sneaky and very believable given what we learned about the Tandarans in the earlier episode — a people who take the concept of "we need to know what you know" very seriously, to the point of monomania.

In a third storyline, Travis falls while rock-climbing and must be shuttled back to the Enterprise. Kellie Waymire reprises her role as Crewman Cutler, Phlox's medical assistant, but she encounters the unexpected in subbing as ship's doctor. This results in Phlox having to be brought prematurely out of hibernation to treat Travis for a medicinal allergy. Lesson of the week: Don't wake a Denobulan from hibernation and expect him to be clear-headed. Played for laughs, Phlox's drowsy/insane antics are milked for all they're worth, which is to say the results are mixed: Billingsley is game for these scenes but they're hit-and-miss — sometimes amusing, other times too broad and obvious.

In a fourth storyline, Hoshi meets a friendly man named Ravis (Rudolf Martin), who comes from a planet that's unpronounceable and probably even more unspellable. Ravis and Hoshi connect instantly on linguistic levels, and I must again express my approval at the use of subtitles in lieu of the universal translator, and the pleasant, easygoing chemistry between the two characters that ensues.

It serves as some sort of justice — or anti-justice — that Hoshi is the one who ends up getting bedroom time while not being the one who had set out looking for it. Meanwhile, Malcolm and Trip spend a night tied up unconscious in the basement of a bar in their underwear, because thieves have stolen their clothes. Whoever said "nothing ventured, nothing gained" was apparently not one who was shot, robbed, and left unconscious in the basement of a bar in their underwear.

It's a small miracle of sorts that these four unrelated plot threads manage to end up being not only watchable but fairly entertaining. Michael Dorn, who directed one of Trek's all-time best comedies, DS9's "In the Cards," brings a similar sense of restraint and straightforward humanity to the material. Admittedly, none of these plots on their own would be sufficient to sustain an episode, or even half an episode. But together they manage to work adequately for a low-key vacation episode.

And in the end, during the shuttle ride back to the Enterprise, everyone is content to forgo conversation about vacation. What happened on Risa stays on Risa. I like that.

Next week: A catastrophic accident suggests an end to the Enterprise's mission. (Season finale.)

Previous episode: Desert Crossing
Next episode: Shockwave

Season Index

17 comments on this review

Jakob M. Mokoru - Fri, Oct 3, 2008 - 3:40pm (USA Central)
This episode again proves: My favorite character on Enterprise is....PORTHOS! And I'm saying this being absolutely no dog-lover, quite the contrary! But Porthos is cute (and a good actor! ;o) )
Christina - Mon, Aug 10, 2009 - 12:34pm (USA Central)
An "entertaining" episode? Three stars??
Frankly, I had to stop myself from falling asleep during this big pile of nothing. Jammer, you're far too lenient on these episodes.

There's a reason a Two Days and Two Nights recap is featured in The Worst of Trek section of the Agony Booth.
http://www.agonybooth.com/recaps/Star_Trek/Enterprise/Two_Days_and_Two_Nigh ts.aspx
Josh - Sat, Oct 16, 2010 - 11:59pm (USA Central)
Jammer,

I think you neglected to think about Riker, as he was well known for wanting sex wherever he could get it. "They have sex at the drop of a hat"
Kirk prolly had 18 varieties of alien Chlamydia.

I disagree with your statement that the previous series acted like humans are avove it.

Also, this is one of the less potent episodes of Enterprise. I think 3 stars is being very generous. But that's my take.
Pete - Thu, Oct 28, 2010 - 9:48pm (USA Central)
I would hoping they gave a little nod to Voyager here. Remember when Janeway and Chakotay were discussing the Vidiians in "Fury"?

JANEWAU: Remember the old story? A man goes to Risa, where he meets a beautiful woman who invites him over for an evening of passion.
CHAKOTAY: He wakes up in the morning, feeling wonderful, until he discovers he's missing a kidney.

Would've been cool to see the genesis of this story told to Starfleet cadet for years to come.

Imagine how much more Trip and Reed would've bonded if one lost a kidney and the other had to donate one of theirs?

Oh well.
Marco P. - Wed, Nov 3, 2010 - 5:09am (USA Central)
Thank you Christina. Up until recently, the only thing that made watching ST Enterprise bearable for me was to read sfdebris.com's review after each episode. The perfect way to outline all the ridiculous/nonsensical script/dialogue created by Brannon & Braga.

Unfortunately, sfdebris.com's author eventually grew tired and his reviews turned into one-line micro-reviews near the end of Season 1. This made watching the show considerably duller.

Thankfully your agonybooth link just restored some of my faith (and entertainment) in humanity.
cc - Tue, Dec 7, 2010 - 5:26pm (USA Central)
Two days and two nights: Featuring a flying rat/dog! Or is that phase shifting? Anyway, its abilities impress me.
Cloudane - Tue, Jun 7, 2011 - 5:09pm (USA Central)
Yay, Planet Brothel. Well it's better than the other Risa episodes. At least they didn't shove the "soliciting" angle down our throats like they did with Captain's Holiday, even if the Trip+Reed stuff did get a bit eye rolling.

I too am most curious about the flying dog.
(Oh and the growling scene.... sorry but that was so terrible it was hilarious)

Phlox being woken up reminds me of myself on a morning. There's one very apt line though, someone mentions Mayweather to him and he says "er... who?" - heh, indeed.

Hoshi's story was pleasant and sweet though. At first the guy looked like one of those creepy types.. he reminded me of someone of that description off TNG (can't remember who) when he was standing there staring and eavesdropping - I don't know why, but he just has the face of a Creepy Malicious Guy - but I'm glad to see that he wasn't. A refreshing change.

All in all it was okay, but like most of ENT so far, I only consider it "okay". I'd have given it 2 stars.
Tinker - Wed, Aug 17, 2011 - 5:41pm (USA Central)
"Who's an emergency?"
"Ensign Mayweather."
"WHO?"

Yes. Exactly.
chris - Tue, Oct 18, 2011 - 10:30am (USA Central)
""Who's an emergency?"
"Ensign Mayweather."
"WHO?"

Yes. Exactly."

LOL!!!

Oh well, another boring nonsense story.
Steve - Sun, Feb 5, 2012 - 2:09am (USA Central)
Didn't Archer found it odd that another dog was on Risa? Unless Dogs somehow can transport themselves 90 light years. Actually, that explains how it got on Archers deck
Paul York - Sun, May 13, 2012 - 4:19pm (USA Central)
A planet devoted to inter-stellar tourism was portrayed as surprisingly human - somewhat like the Carribean or Medditerranean -- but at least it was an improvement over the cliched Star Wars bar with alien strippers and reptilian underworld characters. It was realistic to portray petty crime (a la Rio) -- though as noted above, stealing organs is more likely than stealing clothes, as well as the allergy to alien medicine, as well as spies. The strength of Enterprise is that the scenarios are more believable than some of the things we often encounter in other ST shows ... and that is intentional, as it is closer to our time. It is believable fiction, crossing over into hard SF in many episodes. That may make it more boring for some viewers, but also certainly helps to suspend disbelief a great deal more, and supports the notion that humans could very well meet aliens in the future, as pictured here.
Captain Jim - Sun, Jul 22, 2012 - 11:43pm (USA Central)
Jammer said, "Somewhat initially confusing is the fact that Keyla looks so completely human to the point that I began wondering if she was a civilian who somehow got from Earth to Risa. Dialog reveals that's not the case, but it raises the point of aliens that are human almost to a fault."

Am I the only one who thought those looked like Trill spots?
Rosario - Fri, Nov 9, 2012 - 3:32pm (USA Central)
Frankly if I had information that could out a spy, I would confront her with a little more than the bioscan that outs her and I certainly wouldn't touch/let her touch me!

What does everybody mean "believeable situations?" I really thought Trip/Malcolm were playing the cliche. Has my gender fallen so far that this depiction is no longer comic but realistic? That is beyond saddening. This is why I prefer to live under a rock. All the garbage that convinced me to stop watching television in the 90s has now not only become the norm but is now accepted and real. Scary!

Jammer you didn't note Vorox from "Vox Sela" is the shuttle pilot to the surface. More Below Decks continuity.
John the younger - Fri, Dec 7, 2012 - 11:59am (USA Central)
Add my name to the list of people who thought you must have been smashing some grade-A happy pills to have given this episode 3 stars, Jammer.
Arachnea - Sat, Feb 9, 2013 - 12:26am (USA Central)
The micro-stories are put well together and there's a nice pace. I liked the Hoshi story and the end.

I found very believable that Malcolm would want some woman, that's the way he's been depicted (first time when he looks so mesmerized watching the "eating-butterflies strip-teasers in a previous episode). However, until now, Trip hasn't been depicted (except by T'Pol) as such. He's been acting like a gentleman, even shy when around women. He said he's had only 3 relations so far and the way he described his first dance doesn't strike me as a guy who'd behave like that.

So, even if the continuity with the buddy-buddy with Reed is good, the theme is wrong.

For the rest... well, it was a Risa episode...
mark - Tue, Feb 12, 2013 - 11:19am (USA Central)
Three stars?

I really disliked this episode. The only one of the plot strands that felt at all natural was Hoshi's one night stand; Tucker and Reed were painted as sleazy rubes, Phlox's resuscitation from hibernation was a painfully labored and unfunny attempt at humor, and Archer's femme fatale really wore my patience down to the bone as far as "aliens" who happen to look and act just like humans are concerned. (And she even had a dog? Come on!) The fact that she turned out to be a surgically altered Tandaran doesn't make it much better as the Tandarans look pretty much exactly like humans too. But my main problem with Archer's portion of the hour was the completely bland, lifeless dialogue between him and this mysterious woman; there was nothing interesting about these scenes whatsoever.

This episode doesn't even rate one star from me-- I'd give it half a star for Hoshi's scenes, which, while not riveting, at least played naturally. As for the rest, it was a lifeless bore of an episode. Easily my pick for worst episode of the season.
Jack - Mon, Sep 23, 2013 - 11:39pm (USA Central)
Every Risa episode has been excruciating, but this one is the worst of all...worse than the DS9 weather sabotage one and worse than the TNG tox uthat one.

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