Star Trek: Enterprise

“Rogue Planet”

2 stars.

Air date: 3/20/2002
Teleplay by Chris Black
Story by Rick Berman & Brannon Braga & Chris Black
Directed by Allan Kroeker

"With respect, captain, I wonder if you would be so determined to find this apparition if it were a scantily clad man." — T'Pol

Review Text

In brief: Well-intended but underwhelming, labored, redundant, and built on a completely illogical foundation.

"Rogue Planet" goes to great lengths to create and uncover a mystery whose solution is predictable, and whose reason for being is downright illogical. By the time the "mystery" was uncovered I was wondering why it had been allowed to be a secret in the first place, let alone a secret for so long. There's no rationale except for the fact the writers must try to entertain us with it. A few lines of dialog would clear everything up, but the guest characters — for reasons that are artificially imposed by the writers — don't divulge key information until late in the game, at which point I was wondering why they chose now to finally divulge that information. Meanwhile, the central subject of the mystery — a strange woman — intentionally creates confusion where it is not warranted.

Worse yet, this is a story that steps perilously close to being a total yawner, with the first three acts belaboring the same points repeatedly. It ends with your typical Star Trek respect-all-life moral — a reasonable message boringly conveyed. At the very least, the story is inoffensive and respects its emotional undercurrents, misguided as they may be.

The rogue planet (no star system so therefore no daylight, which begs the question — glossed over with useless pseudo-science — of how it can plausibly support so much plant life) is an always-nighttime hunting ground for a species called the Eska. They use this planet for safari purposes. Archer and his team come across three Eska (Conor O'Farrell, Eric Pierpoint, Keith Szarabajka) during their initial survey, and camp out with the hunters in the interest of cultural observation. One little character bit I appreciated was that of Lt. Reed taking an interest in the actual hunt action, for strictly tactical educational purposes, of course.

About here is where the central mystery begins. Archer starts seeing a beautiful, mysterious woman (Stephanie Niznik) who calls to him and says she "needs" him. She tells him he is not like "the others." Vanishes ominously. When Archer tells the others what he has seen, they write it off as hallucinating or dreaming. Meanwhile, Reed and the Eska go hunting and one of them is attacked with alarming swiftness and surprise, leading to eventual speculation that there's more here than meets the eye. But of course we already knew that, because if you're even remotely paying attention you know where this story is going from the moment the mysterious woman shows up.

Unfortunately, that's about all there is to "Rogue Planet." Acts two and three are drawn out and redundant, as Archer, convinced there's a mystery here that must be solved, is drawn into the forest where he again sees the woman, who has cast a strange spell upon him, and who again vanishes at the convenient time when T'Pol and Trip come near, lest they see her themselves and be convinced that Archer isn't imagining things.

The solution is that the woman is one of a race of shapeshifters indigenous to this planet. They can read minds, which is useful in defending themselves from Eska hunters who consider them to be the best hunting trophies. It's also useful in reading Archer's subconscious and predicting that he might take a moral stand against the hunters, which is why she has come to him asking for his help.

The problem is that the events of the story's construction are purely illogical if you step outside its need to create this artificial mystery. If the mysterious woman wants Archer's help, why doesn't she just ask for it and explain what she is? Why go to the trouble of speaking in riddles and ominously disappearing, prompting everyone else to think Archer is crazy? The simple answer is that because if the woman didn't create a mystery, this story would have little else to do and would be over in about 20 minutes instead of 60.

Similarly, we have the Eska writing off Archer's sightings. But they know about the shapeshifters and their abilities. Why don't they explain what they know? The obvious answer would seem to be because they know Archer would disapprove of their hunting of a sentient species — but no, because near the end of the story they lay all the cards on the table voluntarily. What makes them decide to do this, when nothing about the situation has significantly changed? This answer is also simple: because the story had 15 minutes left and it was time to uncover the mystery so we could now deal with its implications, leading Archer & Co. to help the shapeshifters by sabotaging the Eska's technology.

Aside from all the silly mystery plotting, "Rogue Planet" has a few good points. I liked the cinematography in the darkened setting. Allan Kroeker does a good job of managing space and motion on what is undoubtedly a few tiny sets. I also appreciated the sentiment behind the idea of reaching deep into Archer's subconscious and finding the image of this fictional woman, who has been in his memory since childhood and whom he hadn't thought about in years. It's an interesting idea with some nice psychological elements, employed by the plot, alas, in absolutely the wrong way.

The lesson here is in the tradition of enlightened Trek but far too derivative and obvious: Hunting sentient species is bad, and we should help those who are in need.

Perhaps another lesson to be learned here: The next time your life is in danger and you need help, go to the cops, but be sure to send them on a convoluted chase where the clues eventually lead them back to your actual problem. I'm sure they'll find the exercise a whole lot more interesting that way. Or not. Hopefully you won't be dead by the time they figure out the game you're playing.

Next week: Ferengi — just what the doctor didn't order.

Previous episode: Fusion
Next episode: Acquisition

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Comment Section

60 comments on this post

    Well, illogical or not, I for one enjoyed this episode. I was especially taken by the great atmosphere being on the dark rogue planet conveyed.

    Well, oh well: Enterprises Log must have been lost sometime after the events shown in the series or Kirk and McCoy are not too interested in history or exobiology because they are quite intrigued by the shapeshifter in Star Trek VI - "I thought shapeshifters were a myth!". Well, they are not, they live within months of low warp travel from earth.

    I point!

    @Jakob I totally agree! Why would everyone be so mystified by Odo and his origins later on in DS9 if there was a whole planet of shapeshifters in the Alpha Quadrant that Starfleet had already visited? Even if both the Bajorans and the Cardassians were totally ignorant of the first contact records of other planets, it still doesn't explain why Sisko or Bashir wouldn't have known something about Odo's background. You would really think at some point there would have been an episode like this:

    Odo: I'm asking Commander Sisko for permission to go into the gamma quadrant. Dr. Morra thinks he may have found a clue to my past in some planetary ruins.

    Bashir: Wait, I seem to recall reading the entire library of Captains Logs since the first warp flight one night for some light reading. It seems to me that - ah, yes. Computer, bring up the memory alpha page on changlings. You come from a scientifically improbable planet about five minutes away from here.

    Odo: I've wasted my life feeling alienated for no reason.


    Odo: I've come all this way, only to learn that my people aren't just a part of the dominion... They ARE the dominion!

    Sisko: Wikipedia says there are also changlings on some random planet about 3 days east of here. Apparently, people hunt them.

    Odo: Great, so either I'm from a planet of war mongering douches... Or a planet of pussies who live in the dark and let red neck aliens hunt them for fun. I'll just stay here, thanks.

    Sorry, that comment brought out the deep space nerd in me! :)

    To summarize your review in one sentence: "neither bad nor great, and once again highlighting the lack of talent/imagination of this series' script writers."

    I agree wholeheartedly.

    I had a hard time accepting a sunless planet with a full-on leafy jungle.

    Picking hairs, maybe. And I am usually good at suspending disbelief. But it was an unnecessary, implausible setting. Why not just a regular planet? The again, TOS had countless shows like this. I just kind of expect more nowadays.

    But the lady was hot. And interplanetary hunters are cool. I found the anti-hunting morality play mildly offensive. I'm not one, but I'm aware that hunters are largely conservationsists (anyone notice the turkey is not extinct?). It's dumb liberal hollywood morality stuff like this that causes so many real riffs in our country.

    I couldn't suspend my disbelief either, and I'm a lot more forgiving than some (I tend to turn a blind eye to Fun With DNA for example). Green leaves, breathable atmosphere, comfortable temperature... eh? Sometimes the setting is so illogical as to be extremely distracting and detract from the story being told. This is definitely one of those cases. What was even the point of it being a rogue planet... surely they can do "creeping around in the dark" some other way.

    I did like the idea of it basing itself on something it read from Archer's mind (even if I did think we were in for an homage to Red Dwarf's "Camille", and there was definitely a sense of that when she turned back into Blob) but everything else was just so half-arsed.

    Still patiently waiting for something to be done really well.

    Oh and it seemed like a parody of itself sometimes. Archer: "Have you ever known me to do something foolish?" - hahahaha what is this... Episode 18? Um.... about 18 times, Jonathan.

    So they oppose hunting but in the previous episode they were eating chicken Marsala? Did the chickens commit suicide or did they just wait for them to die of old age?

    So, wait: They touch down on a planet in the middle of nowhere, yet the air composition, temperature, soil rigidity and flora are all conducive to human life-support!?! Mmm, O.K.

    Ah, not even 10 minutes into it and the gloves come off: We're on an anti-hunting crusade this time around. "Hunting went out of style of Earth over a hundred years ago." Sure it did. And we're all 7umus-scoffing vegetarians. You know, I used to sneer at those Tea Party nutjobs who forever ranted on about the "liberal media" and "commie Hollywood," but I'm beginning to think they have a point.

    I see El Capitan clearing the path later trodden by Good Kirk Humping. THe only difference being that whereas Kirk actually got some bootie, Archer is having to content himself (no pun intended...hehehe) with wet dreams.

    Altogether, a lackadaisical and deeply uninspiring show, on a par with dime-a-dozen ST: T.O.S. exploits in/with the surreal. In fact, if I closed my eyes, Archer could just as well be Kirk.

    Bleh. Next.

    Oh yeah, another thing. I see "Dr." Phlox had no compunction about interfering in the "survival of the fittest" order of things this time around, the way he did a few episodes back.

    I guess that's because back then the point of the plot was not to peddle some politically-correct agendum.

    So, what's on next week: Anti-guns, pro-choice or a reprise of the capital punishment? Funnily enough, I'm actually pretty liberal, but this kind of blatant propaganda really grates on me and actually pushes me in the opposite camp.

    "So they oppose hunting but in the previous episode they were eating chicken Marsala? Did the chickens commit suicide or did they just wait for them to die of old age?"
    Resequenced proteins, I believe. (And maybe they see a difference between hunting and growing on a farm; the former has the possibility of causing extinction.)

    So hunting went out over a century ago? So what? Like 2040? So sometime in the next 28 years hunting is banned globally? Uh huh.

    So it's perfectly ok to breed animals to eat, but no hunt them in their natural habitat.

    Still rolling my eyes at plant life without any sun whatsoever. Even assuming that they are highly-evolved alien plants, why do they look so similar to Earth flora???


    LOL of the episode: T'Pol tells Archer he probably dreamed the woman, and he says, "It wasn't a dream! She knew my name!" My God does the writing suck.

    Hated Archer's ever-sanctimonious anti-hunting lesson as well as Reed's ass-kissing. "I promise not to kill anything, sir."

    I was hoping beyond hope, that the woman really was some sort of wraith that was trying to lure him off alone and drain him of whatever keeps him ticking. Then she talks to him. Now I hope she's lying, then the hunters confirm this! They read yeh mind, show yeh what yeh wanna see! But no. They went the heavy hannded anti hunting route. Could see it coming a mile away, just wishing it otherwise can't make it so.

    Although I did find the idea of given the wraiths a defense kind of... neat. Would have been more interesting though if the wraiths had attacked those cornered hunters. Hopefully as something more intriguing than tentacles. Then Archer would have had some consequences to deal with - his new defenses being used to set ambushes! Oh my!

    @Michael: I also noticed Phlox's eagerness to interfere in "nature's course" this time around. On a 2nd viewing 'Dear Doctor' relies way too much on the faulty science. I still think that Archer made the right decision, hell even my wife who is as left as I am right, for once agrees with me. It just makes defending that decision pretty close to impossible.

    I'm a sucker for any Trek episode involving a rogue planet or pulsar - my two personal favorite universal phenomena - so I enjoyed this solely on an aesthetic level. It's doubtful there would be plantlife, and watching now as they explore-- I take it back, rogue planets don't have atmospheres and they are deep cold, so how are they walking around in their uniforms? At least they got the sky of bright and abundant stars somewhat right.

    From the look of the creatures you'd think they'd taste less like pork and more like escargot.

    I thought this episode was very creative. The aliens were interesting, the conflict was compelling, and the setting was fascinating. It seems like the episode is based on the idea of chemiosynthesis. Of course, the elaborate life on the planet is a fictional creation. Still, a very imaginative episode.

    This episode committed the cardinal sin of many Enterprise S1 and S2 episodes: it was boring! I admit, the writers did make Archer look a fool, but at least the aliens laughed at him for it. I do think Archer is a good captain, he is likeable and a keen explorer, you can't blame the character or the actor for the writers just not "getting" his character in some episodes, or for the creative team to lack any consistency or even a sense of who the characters really are. The wraith should have been a shape shifter from the Gamma Quadrant, one of "the 100", that didn't understand who or where she was, she just wanted to live in peace and isolation and made Archer swear to not file any reports about her to Starfleet. Really though, while the anti-hunting messages were heavy handed, it didn't bludgeon us around the head with it like certain episodes of Quincy would have.

    "Why don't they explain what they know? The obvious answer would seem to be because they know Archer would disapprove of their hunting of a sentient species — but no, because near the end of the story they lay all the cards on the table voluntarily. What makes them decide to do this, when nothing about the situation has significantly changed?"

    LOL, I've often thought (and posted at least once) about how the folks on this board don't seem to get out much, and clearly that includes Jammer as well.

    What has changed to cause the hunters to reveal their knowledge? Well, what are they all doing during that scene?



    I guess Jammer's never been out in the woods for several days hunting/fishing/camping/combat training or whatever with a group of guys. After a hard day or two humping around in the woods, it would be sacrilege not to unwind around a campfire with a few adult beverages of your choice. That's when the interesting convos always happen...

    Started watching this last night, heres how cliff notes for the viewing experience.

    Oh look - a show about a planet where I have to completely suspend disbelief and all scientific knowledge, oh look theres some guys hunting alien lifeforms on this planet, I wonder if this is going to turn into a clumsy after-school special about the evils of hunting.......

    Zero stars.

    A sunless planet with a thick jungle?
    Hunting is unethical but eating animals is fine?
    I'm willing to suspend disbelief on many fronts for a good narrative, but this is a bit too much. Even in an imaginary milieu, there has to be some logical consistency.

    Shapeshifters. 10 minutes from Earth at Warp 9.
    How can you get past that?
    How can we meet ANY species in the first season of this show that isn't well known by the time 1701-D is roaming the Alpha Quadrant 215 years later, not to mention Kirk and the boys on 'no bloody A, B, C, or D' in 110 years, for that matter.
    And, oh yes. I forgot. We're going to meet the Ferengi next week with Neelix making an appearance. Why?)
    And the Borg are coming....
    We meet species Picard will make first contact with and we meet species within months at Warp 4.5 (hours, minutes at Warp 9?) that we'll never hear of again......
    Why oh why.
    We DID NOT need a Ferengi episode (and I like the DS9 Ferengi shows).
    And now it's all reboot.
    Profound sadness.
    I grieve with thee.

    Despite the total B.S. of having a rogue planet that somehow has plant life and an atmosphere condusive to human life and the left wing anti-hunting crap I still liked this episode. It was somewhat spooky. I mean who can resist the idea of running around in the woods on an alien planet? Remember how alien an Earth forest looked at night the last time you went camping?
    And the problem of the shape shifters being so close to Earth might be solved if you assume it was a mental power of the wraith and they simply use their telepathy to fool a person into seeing a different shape instead of having the power to physically shapeshift.
    I admit that the writing was a bit clumsy but I did like the idea of the wraith taking a forgotten image from Archer's mind in order to make contact with him. And finally Archer realizes why the woman seems familiar even though he knows he never met her. All in all even though it's not the best episode I though it wasn't bad. I mean come on, it's season one after all.

    Fairly hackneyed concept played out in a laboured and, ultimately, pretty boring manner. And it does raise a number of questions as to why things are as they are that are never really answered. Ironically the best idea was the rogue planet concept and that only meant everything was too dark to see! Not so much actively bad as just very dull. 1.5 stars.

    Actually what T' Pol stated is what many real life scientist consider a real possibility. That there are rogue planets capable of supporting life without a Sun because of hot gas venting from areas and that is where the life would concentrate from. As Archer said an oasis. So the scientific theory is sound, I don't know about the rest of it though.

    On a side note I found it sad and disturbing that there were people in this thread who considered this pro-liberal anti-conservative blah, blah, blah. It has to be a sad existence if you have to see real life politics in everything you watch or read.

    So.... the premise for this episode....

    "Hot gas is vented from the planet's interior. Most of the life forms are concentrated in those areas." says T'pol... I can sort of accept that. Until recently no one thought live could exist in the very deep ocean... we know that's false. The part I had a hard time with was when Damrus stated there were "higher primates". Not sure I can accept that one. :-) I know most of what we see in SCI-FI is suspension of disbelief, but this is really stretching it for me, especially when you go to the trouble starting off so scientifically plausible.

    Redd like new toys, T'Pol thinks Archer's aberration must have been quite the woman...

    Blah, blah...

    I'm not sure I can even match Jammer's score here.

    I always skip this one. (and some more coming up)

    I'll go 1.5 stars here.

    Backula was not good in this one BTW.

    Another bad ENT season 1 episode. Man... most of this season has shown a lot of promise and very little follow through.

    The rogue planet setting - Neat idea, although implausible in the way it's portrayed here.

    The "shapeshifter" - The source of her image was kind of an interesting one, but did the writers have to make her an actual shapeshifter? As people have pointed out, it really downplays the unique appeal of the shapeshifting species we meet later on in the other shows. Shaking my head...

    Also, there's a horrible cut in this episode... Archer says "I'm not done here yet" *quick cut to* Archer sitting in a tent. Uh... what? It was very jarring and poorly handled... but I guess you could say that about the whole episode.

    1.5 from me.

    For "The Man" that seemed to have condescending comments concerning my ability to see a liberal agenda that is thinly veiled in Enterprise and his assertion that it must be a sad existence to see real life politics in everything one sees or reads, my only comment is that it must be difficult going through life being so stupid that one doesn't have the ability to see it. Hollywood has had a liberal agenda for years. Anyone out there that thinks this is not true is some one without the ability to think rationally. The anti hunting agenda comes through in this episode loud and clear. Pretending it isn't there is there or criticizing someone for commenting on it only reveals you for the fool you are.

    Level the playing field? How is making one side undetectable levelling the playing field? Seems Archer and the doc had no problem administering the '"çure' this time. Guess evolution wasn't doing its job. (*)

    "Actually what T' Pol stated is what many real life scientist consider a real possibility. That there are rogue planets capable of supporting life without a Sun because of hot gas venting from areas and that is where the life would concentrate from."

    Yeah, that would form an atmosphere and could keep areas hot enough for life. But I don't think you would have enough light for photosynthesis-based plants...certainly not large jungle-type vegetation. The creators missed out on an opportunity to imagine truly alien life. I'm no expert, but I'd imagine the "plants" on such a world would have to be chemosynthesis-based, something like we find near undersea volcanic vents...although this would probably imply the atmosphere wouldn't be breathable to humans. Any "leaves" wouldn't be directed towards the sky, as there's no sun there.


    For those who compare the doctor's decision here with his previous decision: I'm sure he would make the distinction that in the previous episode he was letting a planet's ecosystem sort itself out. In this episode, he's reducing the interference of an entity from outside the planet's ecosystem (the hunters). This is generally how the other captains interpret the (yet-to-be-issued) Prime Directive: if the 'problem' is internal, you're supposed to stay out of it (not that they always do that); if the 'problem' is from off-planet, they're definitely getting involved.

    I liked the Captain's question, "Have you ever known me to do anything foolish?" as well as T'Pol's wry speculation about whether he would have wondered off alone in pursuit of a scantily-clad man. These laugh lines are good for half a star from me.

    Otherwise the episode was a disappointment. Sure, a dark rogue planet could have volcanic activity that sustains life. But Earth-style jungle vegetation and breathable atmosphere?

    If the goal was to do a cool night-time in the jungle episode, they could have made it less implausible using a different explanation. For example, the hunters could have explained their prey is strictly nocturnal. Or, they could have used some fancy orbital alignment explanation to have a planet with an extended period of night from time to time, such as in the movie "Pitch Black."

    Plenty of others here have noted the anti-hunting message was entirely too obvious and belabored. But I had a deeper issue with it, even as a non-hunter. Does any hunter actually believe in going after highly intelligent, sentient animals? The classic story "The Most Dangerous Game," wherein humans were the prey of other humans, was not an anti-hunting story. What the Eska are doing here is much more like inter-species murder than it is like going on a wilderness trip and bagging a deer. Yet the murder question is not even raised.

    Were the writers seriously equating hunting shape-shifting telepaths capable of advanced communication with the way people still hunt today? The two things aren't comparable, and this ultimately weakens the point the writers were apparently trying to make.

    I wouldn't give this episode a high rating, simply because it is so predictable. Nothing mysterious here. As soon as Archer spoke about seeing the woman, I could guess 99% of the plot, except for how exactly Enterprise would help.

    That said, I wondered why the shapeshifters didn't create an evolved society or at least an organized response against the hunt?

    My guess is that they are NOT sentient, not as we know it anyway. They are higher animals which evolved a telepathic mechanism. This mechanism allows them to 'mirror' the way the prey/predator thinks, but only when it is nearby and for a limited amount of time. So near to a Human/Eska they are sentient in a way. Alone they are just animals. Ironically Captain Archer may have delayed their evolution...

    This would also explain why it would be obvious to DS9 Humans that Odo is not related (he's sentient, and they aren't).

    P.S. I suspect The women couldn't just talk to Archer because she was not able to. She needed to have him alone (doesn't trust others, and/or others create too much 'noise'), and figure out just how to explain to him and get him to side with her.

    The first obviously doesn't occur often. The second may not be as easy as we think. Quite possibly the memory of the women was far more accessible to her than words like "hunt" or "help". How would we know what easier for a telepathic being? Perhaps the very concept of spoken language is difficult for her...

    What no one seems to notice is that this is not the only Star Trek showing shape shifters known to the federation. TNG's "The Dauphin" features two shapeshifters. Clearly they are not the same species as The Founders or Odo, but they are still there and have relations with the Federation. I don't fault DS9, however, as the series is clear Odo is looking g for his home, and his species, not merely other shapeshifters. I assume he can tell enough from the Federation database that other known species of shapeshifters are not his. He remains very interested in reports of other shapeshifters because they may be his species, not just because they are shapeshifters or "metamorphs".

    Talk about an absolutely basic, predictable, ho-hum plot and a "mystery" unraveled that isn't worth the meaningless build-up. And why make it on a rogue planet, which makes no sense? Why couldn't all this nonsense have taken place on, say, the 1 M-class planet in some solar system?

    Obviously makes no sense for plant/animal life on a planet without a star -- no underground hot gases etc. should be able to compensate for lack of a star's energy (not to mention light for photosynthesis).

    Also, these telepathic shapeshifters that need protection -- sounds like they have a leg up on the Founders as they're telepathic and can shape shift. The hunters should be no match for them. Didn't even learn much about the species from the episode.

    Anyhow, this one is just too basic -- Enterprise gives the shapeshifters a way to mask themselves better when they're scared. So what. Could have wrapped up the episode in 15 mins. And I don't see why, other than the episode is coming to an end, that the hunters have to say what they're really hunting (and thus let Archer help the shapeshifters).

    1.5 stars for "Rogue Planet" as it didn't come across as a stupid episode despite a rogue planet being M-class. This is just one of those episodes that the writers (all 3 of them) drew blanks -- there just isn't enough here. If this is supposed to be about banning hunting or some moral play on that, it fell flat.

    The premise for this whole thing was silly. Upon hearing that the Eska hunt animals on the planet, the writers make the good decision to have the Enterprise crew accept this (if grudgingly) - any attempt to proclaim that this was immoral and that it would not be tolerated would come across as remarkably arrogant IMHO. However, this all changes when the creature happens to be a giant slug that can shapeshift into a human figure. Now it's a "sentient" species that "can think" and "must be protected". Why is that creature inherently any more valuable that the other creatures? There's even a throwaway line about "hunting wild boar is one thing, but..." but - the moral is that if you're being hunted, and you look like a four-legged thing, you're out of luck. But if you can shapeshift into something that looks human, you'll be given a lot more respect. Retarded.

    episode sucked monkey nuts. some slug flirts with moi capitaine and he gets the doctor to do some voodoo so the hunters can't hunt.

    So a few episodes ago Archer let an ENTIRE species die because it wasn't his place to interfere.

    Now,.however, he meddles in another people's.hunting ritual that they have been doing for years.

    We lost Stephanie Niznik (only 52)


    She also played the Trill navigator in Star Trek Insurrection.

    RIP Stephanie Niznik, thank you for your contributions to the Trek universe.

    And at the end when Archer took the hand of the Alien/Woman and looked here in the eyes, I heard a voice in my head. It was the Cinema Snob shouting "And then they banged. HARD!"

    Jammer, sorry buddy but you got this one wrong. First, people commenting here can't believe that plants can grow without sunlight. I suggest you all Google articles on the amount of life found in extreme environments on Earth for goodness-sakes. It's a lot. Several examples are the bottom of the ocean where there is NO sunlight, in caves where there is NO sunlight, even at the bottom of underground lakes and water-sources where, you guessed it, there's NO light. Now, understand that life on other planets may be very different from life on Earth and life may have found ways to thrive in environments vastly different from our own. Considering these two ideas, then it's not at all hard to think that living things may find ways of growing without a sun nearby.

    Next, Jammer you call the plot "redundant" but you don't explain which part of the plot you're applying this word to, the mystery? As far as Star Trek episodes, I've never seen an episode like this, with aliens using a planet as their hunting ground, the planet is a rogue planet, and the species they are hunting is sentient. Those are three plot elements I've never seen in ST. This makes the episode fresh, original.

    I will agree with you Jammer on one of your central points though. Namely that the mystery was contrived. You are absolutely right when you say that there is no reason for the mystery-woman to keep secrets from Archer and likewise there is no reason for the hunters to also keep the mystery to themselves until the very end, except of course that the show was ending and they had to resolve the conflict. This is just lazy writing.

    I thought the resolution to be original though. Archer doesn't confront the hunters though he does discuss this with his bridge officers and realizes that confrontation is the wrong choice. I like that they at least discussed it, believable. Instead he gives the shapeshifters an advantage against the hunters. I'm glad there was no predictable confrontation scene, but not leaving the shapeshifters to their doom either. Strong episode overall.

    3 Stars

    Actually the "pseudo-science technobabble" is legit science. Scientist believe that there are plant and animal life on rogue planets for the exact reasons given in the episode.

    Skip this one. The episode from nearly the beginning with the horrible laser tag light goggles separates the “good team” (green) and the “bad team” (red). And that’s about how much depth the writing for the characters has as well. Enterprise crew lands on a strange new planet and come in contact with a exotic alien species of camouflage wearing redneck hunters. They don’t hunt for food and sustenance. They hunt because they are evil badly written stereotypes. They enjoy slaughtering slug ghosts. And they even do it while drunk. Enterprise doesn’t like this. Everyone should get along. So Phlox of course cooks up some magic medicine almost instantly that makes the slug ghosts undetectable on the space redneck’s radar. Next episode please.

    Spends far too much time getting to the big reveal (especially considering how blindingly obvious it is), seemingly to make up for the half hearted presentation of the issue at hand. The concept of the rogue planet is at least quite neat, and I did enjoy the initial intrigue, though it's a shame it's wasted on such a pedestrian outing.

    This was a solid 2.5 stars for a couple reasons.

    First, I agree completely with @Capitalist, that a fews nights out in the woods, a camp fire, and liquor, will let a man admit things he wouldn't necessarily do under other circumstances. I think @Jammer was just too bored to notice.

    By the time Keith Szarabajka is able to tell the Enterprise crew that they are there to hunt an especially cunning and intelligent prey, there is a level of apparent trust - especially with Malcom, who went with them on the hunt. That Archer betrays that trust says more about Archer than about Keith Szarabajka.

    It is clear TPTB were going for a DS9 vibe with this episode. Aside from the shapeshifters, a closer analogy was to an early DS9 episode called "Captive Pursuit".

    In "Captive Pursuit," Miles O'Brien makes friends with a creature from the Gamma Quadrant called Tosk, who is being hunted by other Gamma Quadrant aliens who came through the worm hole.

    But of course what sells Captive Pursuit is not the hunt - it is the wonderful friendship O'Brien and Tosk develop ( ). Archer and the Lady of Shallot (or whatever her name was) never have that same chemistry.

    Imagine Rogue Planet, but with O'Brien - instead of Archer - spending a few nights with these hunters. Drinking. Singing songs ( ) around the campfire. That would be awesome. Just goes to show you how much Archer dragged Enterprise down.

    @Peter Swinkels is spot on. The magical forest atmospherics are fantastic. That makes this a 2.5 star episode for me.

    Would it still be 2.5 stars if the apparition had been a scantily clad man? Probably not ;)

    I watched Star Trek: Insurrection on Amazon Prime--then looking for commentary I saw that Stephanie Niznik had died, and that she was also in this episode of Enterprise. She was good in this episode (and also in Insurrection). I wish she had more to do. Rest in peace.

    Yes, the pandemic and boredom have led me to watch these old episodes of ST: Enterprise. Now I know why I skipped this series when it originally aired.

    The basic concept for this story is sound, "rouge" planets (also known by several other names) have been discovered and are estimated to be profoundly abundant. Finding and exploring one should be an interesting experience without having to concoct a nonsensical (and derivative) story about hunters and shape shifters. It astounds me how often ST writers fall back on tired, regurgitated ideas. And not only that, but why, oh why should every new species they encounter basically just be another human variant with different bumps on their heads? Did anyone else notice how human-like the Eska behaved? Just forget for a moment how completely ridiculous it is for every single new species to be anatomically almost identical to humans. It's inexplicable how similar their behavior is. Same hobbies, same drinking habits, same tendencies toward gender issues, same deceitful nature...and that's not even scratching the surface.

    Shall we question how, with an entire planet available, the crew sets their shuttle down within walking distance of the Eska's party? Shall we ask how this planet is not as cold as Niflheim? Why is there an oxygen rich atmosphere? Plants? Mammals? Just not possible. And I know this is picky but why do night vision goggles have to glow outwardly? They don't; that would defeat the purpose of keeping you out of sight while seeing your prey.

    In many ways, the writing on ST: Enterprise regressed back to the days of TOS. The characters are often just cardboard and flavorless and the "plots" are comically elementary. After the TNG and Voyagers series, this should not still be happening.

    Anyway, this episode rates a D- in my gradebook because of the unimaginative nature of the story and the points many others have made on the comments. I thought Jammer's review was dead on except I just couldn't give it 2 full stars. One maybe. At least episodes like this are good for one thing, curing insomnia.

    Again, I don't know what everyone wants. I personally liked this episode. I don't see it as anti-hunting as much as anti-exploitation of people. When it was thought that the hunters were just shooting wild boar, Archer had no problem letting Malcolm join them (even if he wouldn't do the actual killing), but of course killing an intelligent lifeform is wrong.

    Many hunt in the area I live in, and I've gone myself before. We do not kill for sport, but actually eat what we hunt.

    I would honestly like to know what the nay sayers here want the episode to be like. I read one response that they wanted the wraiths to be evil and trying to tempt Archer. Ok, that kind of thing has been done in episodes too, but Star Trek has always had episodes where the "alien monster" was not a monster at all (Like the Vorta in Devil in the Dark) Classic Dr Who did this as well (I am thinking of the episode " Doctor Who and the Silurians" in the Jon Pertwee era)

    'have you ever known me to do something foolish?.....I mean really foolish'. On the evidence so far he has never anything else. more piss poor predictable and trite writing.

    I have to disagree I loved and very much enjoyed that episode. But let me explain a few things though.
    1. The rogue planet 🌎 : When they detect a planet without a planetary system and they view it on the view screen they notice it isnt frozen but instead has plant and animal life. T'Pol explains that the reason this rogue planet is not frozen is due to the planets molten core still active and producing heat through geothermal vents through the planets crust creating many oasis around the planet that support life. Impossible? No, it is actually very possible that life can exist in the absence of light.

    2. The mystery women/shape shifter 🌸👱🏽‍♀️🐖 : The reason why the mystery women took so long to explain herself was because she was always being spooked by other people which was a natural flight response. And she wasnt 100% trusting of Archer yet, so she was being very cautious and paranoid since they have been hunted for hundreds of years and Archer was the new guy that according to her seemed to be different. When Archer continued to seek her out and never once showed any form of aggression she knew that he can be trusted to help her people.

    3. The Alien Hunters 👱🏼👨🏽👨🏾🗡🔪🐖🌴: The reason they didnt confess to Archer, Reed and Tpol in the beginning was because they didnt want them to know they were actually hunting a sentient species (frowned upon in ST universe) but when one of the hunters is injured they send him up to enterprise and he gets patched up and brought back down the hunters were grateful of Archers help that they began celebrating the hunters survival of the shape shifter and with alcohol 🍺 consumption they saw Archer trusting so they confess and brag about it and Archer plays along to see how much info the hunters will divulge now that they trust Archer with their secret. When the hunter said the creature releases a chemical enzyme when the shapeshifters are scared and thats how they are able to detect them Archer quickly devises an idea to help the shape shifters mask this chemical enzyme so they can have a very fair chance at survival.

    Thoughts: The whole point of this episode was to be mysterious. You have 1. A mysterious rogue planet that has life on it. 2. The Mysterious hunters 3.The mysterious beautiful women.

    I for one think the story of this non humanoid sentient species was very intriguing. And we were still left with the mystery of who are these shape shifters are they really not sentient like the hunters claim? And just give the illusion of sentience? or are they really sentient and talk and play like humanoids? do they have technology? This was a mystery episode its up to the viewer to extrapolate and dissect their own conclusion of this mystery.

    All fantasy of course, but I was left wondering about the masking agent. How long would it last with the shapeshifters? Long enough for the Eska to lose interest in them? Or would the masking agent be like a vaccine, good for life? Would it transfer to the next generations? That's about as far as I'm willing to think about this episode, but I did watch it again because there was nothing else on TV and I like Enterprise, so I'll give it 2 stars, which might still be generous.

    The natives: As I think someone pointed out, they don't have to be shape shifters, being telepathic is enough. If I can make you see a rock, I don't need to be a rock. We know they're read-telepaths. Occam's razor says they're read-write telepaths, not read-telepaths and shapeshifters. Odo's backstory is safe...

    I'm not sure how you could reasonably test a telepath for sentience. Running a Turing test on an AI would be child's play compared to a "cunning but not sentient" telepath.

    The planet could have life. Primitive, low-energy life. And certainly not an oxygen atmosphere -- it's way too reactive to be released from volcanic vents.

    The only thing that could have saved this episode is if at the end the chick is revealed to be the Salt Vampire from the Man Trap.

    Good point about the redundancy of their powers, zz. This is an episode full of inchoate ideas that might be turneinchoated into something interesting but instead they just threw them all together and called it a day.

    p.s. Why were Berman and Braga writing so many episodes of this series? Berman only had a handful of writing credits on TNG, DS9, and VOY, but he co-wrote almost 40 (mostly bad) episodes of ENT. What was going on?

    So many hostile remarks about a rather enchanting episode inspired by Yeats. I'm an upvote along with @Illuminate me, Mal, Sean J Hagins, Lew Stone, Straha and a small band of thoughtful wanderers across the years. I thank your sweet souls, and I bid you all good morrow.

    Didn’t care for the anti-hunting polemics, but I still
    Enjoyed the episode, cool and mysterious rogue planet!

    I liked the FX, the bioluminescent millipede was cool, reminded me of Avatar FX, and this was several years before that film!

    Ok now back to the Enterprise for a
    Nice juicy steak in the mess hall!

    I fail to see how volcanic gas emissions create a breathable atmosphere, or how that keeps the planet at a goldilocks temperature for life to evolve. Usually gas emissions keeping a planet warm implies a greenhouse effect, which you would still need a star. Also did they not go through decon after coming back up to the ship? I'm assuming they didn't show it, but if the life on the planet is that complex than they probably picked up a couple dozen pathogens from brushing against all those plants and rocks. As for the anti-liberal comments, what is wrong with you? Hunting NOT for the purposes of gathering food or controlling a species population but just for fun is disgusting. They were coming to another planet to do it, they obviously weren't doing it for either of those two reasons.

    Hunting went out of style but they’ve been eating big steaks and chicken which tpol won’t touch because she’s vegetarian so i guess it is meat and they’re still doing high speed factory farming and that’s better than hunting somehow?

    Also how is it not freezing? There’s zero sun. Iceland has vents but it’s still pretty cold

    Surprised phlox is willing to change their dna : isn’t this supposedly evolution.
    felt like imperfect/temporary solution regardless. Wouldn’t it be better to relocate them.

    Also ugh archers different to the being, Tpol isn’t? Way over romanticized. Ugh. I was waiting for him to kiss her. What a cliche

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