Star Trek: Enterprise

"Bounty"

1.5 stars

Air date: 5/14/2003
Teleplay by Hans Tobeason and Mike Sussman & Phyllis Strong
Story by Rick Berman & Brannon Braga
Directed by Roxann Dawson

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"Why aren't you popular with the Chicago Police Department?" — Jonathan Mardukas, Midnight Run

In brief: A pedestrian and obvious main plot saddled with a shameless, obvious, and dumb, dumb, dumb subplot.

Just how many times can Jonathan Archer be kidnapped, captured, or thrown into a holding cell in a single season? With "Bounty," the answer is no less than four. He was held in a cell in "The Communicator," he was sent out on a prison ship in "Canamar," he was put on trial in "Judgment," and now he's captured by a Tellarite bounty hunter (hired by the Klingons to return him to Kronos after his escape from Rura Penthe) in this episode. I'm thinking the writers have played one plot card too many in regard to Archer being wrongly imprisoned. How many iterations do we need on this tired, tired device?

The main plot for "Bounty" is about a bounty hunter with a conscience. He wants his bounty payment, but he also begins to sympathize with his prisoner. The story follows an arc similar to the 1988 comedy Midnight Run. Archer is Jonathan Mardukas, the Tellarite bounty hunter is Jack Walsh, and the Klingons are Jimmy Serrano's crime syndicate. Unfortunately, "Bounty" is not a fraction as entertaining as Midnight Run, because that story (which itself was a formula) had priceless profane dialog, great deadpan comic timing, and a memorable chemistry between Robert De Niro and Charles Grodin. "Bounty" is simply going through the motions of a formula plot. Will the bounty hunter eventually let Archer go? Well, what do you think?

"Bounty" also has a subplot, in which T'Pol contracts a virus, or something, while on an away mission. This forces her and Phlox to be quarantined in the decontamination chamber until the virus is eradicated. It also triggers the premature onset of T'Pol's pon farr cycle, causing her to go into extreme sexual hyperdrive. "It's finally happened!" the trailers exclaim with glee. "T'Pol's in HEAT!" Please kill me now. Yep, that's what I've been WAITING to have "finally" happen on this series; I've been waiting and waiting and WAITING for the show where T'POL IS IN HEAT. Because, God knows, a show like that couldn't possibly have predictably dumb results. Are we going to see Jolene Blalock's Hot Bod™? Is she going to slink around like a sex kitten in skimpy clothes and sweat and pant and moan? Gee, I wonder. Not that the trailers left any question. The ever-embarrassed Phlox, meanwhile, awkwardly tries to fend off the aggressive advances while the two are locked in decon. I'm thinking it's about time the producers just admit their eventual goal for a soft-core series on Cinemax: Star Trek: Decon Chamber. Gene would be proud.

The oh-so-clever spark within this plot device is that it's caused by a virus-of-the-week. This allows (a) the problem to be reduced to a technical point that can be easily solved by waiting rather than having anything that requires anybody making actual decisions, and (b) means that the writers can have T'Pol go through pon farr all over again at any future time of their choosing, since this one is artificially induced and therefore doesn't "count." Gee, I can't wait until next season when we get to do this story all over again, but for real!

And by the way: Since when does pon farr affect Vulcan women? Every previous reference in the Trek canon has said that the pon farr affects adult Vulcan males. The writers are once again tweaking if not rewriting Trek history for their own benefit (and, I suppose, for the benefit of horny teenage boys across the country who do not have access to Maxim). Suffice it to say, this plot is utterly shameless and brainless. It is about watching T'Pol go berserk with sex on the brain, and photographing her rubbing herself with gel (which in the plot has allegedly medicinal purposes — ha!). It's puerile camp from the IQ Vortex, and my reaction was one of groaning and eye-rolling.

Now, there's absolutely nothing wrong with sexual titillation, but there must also be a context and a purpose behind the content — otherwise it's just wannabe masturbation fodder. (And news flash to Paramount: On an 8/7c-airing show rated TV-PG, the operative word is "wannabe.") Unfortunately, there is no context here — none — assuming there's even any content. Of course, that may be the point if UPN's demographics targeting is any indication, but that's not why I watch the shows I watch. To UPN, it's not enough to have a Hot Chick on a show; the fact that there's a Hot Chick has to be rubbed in our faces at gunpoint. Subtlety is a lost virtue, and sex is no longer sex, but simply hollow marketing.

Nope, this subplot is just as dumb as the trailers make it look. The music tries to make this intense and aggressive, as if to say this is an awful ordeal forced upon T'Pol (which, by the way, it is — but it's the writers who are forcing it), but who are they kidding? This isn't tense or funny or anything else. It's campy juvenile sexploitation, contrived by an arbitrary sci-fi catalyst. Hey, I'd be all for seeing sexual situations on Star Trek, which has been far too sexless in the past, but I want to see it in a real-life sophisticated way that is relevant or thoughtful, not this lame-ass crap.

The Midnight Run plot fares a little better but is still way too recycled, obvious, recycled, predictable, and recycled. The Tellarite bounty hunter is named Skalaar (Jordan Lund), and he just wants to collect One Last Bounty so he'll have enough to Get Out of the Business. Then he can finally finance the opening of his coffee shop — er, I mean, buy back his cargo vessel and resume his life as a cargo ship captain. Archer plays the guilt card as frequently as he can to get Skalaar to soften and ultimately relent into releasing him. Meanwhile, Enterprise chases down Skalaar's ship to rescue Archer.

There's another bounty hunter here (Robert O'Reilly, who played TNG/DS9's Gowron) who also wants Archer, which would make him the Marvin Dorfler character, I suppose ... but are you really interested in this off-the-shelf plot? I can't say that I was. I suppose I should laud the fact that this episode follows up on "Judgment," but I have too many reservations. The point of Archer's escape in "Judgment" was that it was orchestrated via payoffs and corruption within the Klingon prison system itself. Now here we have the notion that Archer is the only person to have ever escaped Rura Penthe — which I severely doubt — and that the Klingons are willing to track him across light-years to get him back. I don't think this tracks; it misses the whole point of their system's corruption in "Judgment."

The show ends with the usual imagination-free phaser shootouts in the corridors, while the Enterprise exchanges fire with the Klingon ship. This hoary material isn't badly executed per se, but by this point I wasn't interested in it, because there's precious little in terms of surprise or suspense. The ruse put together by Archer and Skalaar is reasonably telegraphed, but it requires mediocre Klingon security to allow Archer every opportunity to free himself.

Skalaar is not an unsympathetic figure, but he also isn't too bright. He jumps through all these hoops for a payoff that is not what he expected so he can buy back a ship that no longer flies. You'd think he'd do his homework before working for the Klingons, whom he knows to be corrupt. Skalaar is no Jack Walsh.

After this, I'm thinking the writers need to post a rule on the brainstorming board that says, "No more Archer-in-jail shows." For that matter, I hope they also post a note that says, "No more T'Pol pon farr shows." After all, it's not like they can't or won't find plenty of other ways for Jolene Blalock to take off her clothes.

Next week: Something Real Bad happens to Earth, allegedly resulting in a dramatic new direction for the series. (Season finale.)

Previous episode: First Flight
Next episode: The Expanse

◄ Season Index

50 comments on this review

Omega333
Tue, Sep 25, 2007, 5:22pm (UTC -6)
Now you can not have your cake and not eat it too!

Archer: Argh! I'm in another jail cell!
T'Pol: This cell is radiating Pon Farr beams...wanna have sex?
robgnow
Fri, Jul 11, 2008, 7:32pm (UTC -6)
And this, dear readers, is a large part of why there is no longer a UPN network. All of their programming (except for when they bought BTVS from the WB) was frickin' brain dead... like Spike TV, but more childish and less entertaining.
Marco P.
Mon, Mar 28, 2011, 2:18am (UTC -6)
Sad sad sad episode. As you said, a re-hash of the Archer-gets-kidnapped routine and then sexploitation at its weakest. Another pearl out of the oyster shell that are B&B. I wish they'd just freaking *** already.
Cloudane
Fri, Jul 6, 2012, 4:55pm (UTC -6)
I'll just post the notes I was making (yes I'm that sad, I was making notes as I went along - I don't always, but I kept forgetting what I wanted to talk about for the previous episode... which by the way was excellent):

Continuity? Ooooh. That's nice.

This is getting more and more like the pony fandom, where "plot" means "rear end". Which all stems from an image of rear ends and the caption "I watch it for the plot". Seemingly, in the eyes of the writers, this also applied to Enterprise's audience... *ahem* - anyhoof.
"Gene would be proud" says Jammer - to be fair he probably would :P
Nice, I suppose, that they threw in a bit of token equality by having a little bit of gel on Phlox. So women and bi/gay men did watch the show after all? Who'd have thunk it! How about better sights than Dr Neelix though?

"I'm getting too much interference from that decoy..."
"Then get rid of it?!"
Common sense finally coming into play here!

OMG, it's Gowron!!!! Still with the same eyes, too. O_________O you shall obey meeeeee

How many times do we have to do the Pon Farr?

Station looked like ruins of DS9 or something

Glad the doc remembered his ethics not to treat those who don't wish to be treated (temporarily)

Crappiest handcuffs ever AND with door unlocking device? OH COME ON this is sill----- oh wait, they were planted by the sympathetic bounty hunter guy. Had me going there (come on, after Voyager, the writers had trust to rebuild). Carry on!

Aaaand - the Doc didn't tell T'Pol that they _hadn't_ mated? But... why? Oh well whatever :P

To be honest, I found it entertaining enough, even if the sub(commander)plot (the brony in me giggles) was a bit gratuitous.
CeeBee
Thu, Aug 30, 2012, 4:27pm (UTC -6)
Wasn't Phlox the guy who shook his head over the prudish Tucker not to hump one of his wives in Stigma? Didn't he want to observe two crewmen mate in Strange New World? And now he suddenly feels " awkward" with seminaked women in the vicinity. They should have no only written their own scripts, but read the past scripts as well. What a disjoint couple of stories.
Ivarian
Sat, Feb 16, 2013, 11:15pm (UTC -6)
Compared to all the other problems with this episode, this one thing might not seem like that big of a deal but...

Archer escapes from the Klingon vessel in an escape pod. didn't we establish that they don't use escape pods back in the episode where a Klingon ship is trapped in the gas giant?
mark
Thu, Feb 21, 2013, 7:34pm (UTC -6)
Ugh. I feel bad for Jolene. Now I understand where her "tits and ass" rant came from. Berman and Braga should be ashamed of themselves.

And it would be nice if Archer would grow a pair and stop making friends with everyone who kicks his ass. I rate this zero stars, for being both offensive and grating.
skadoo
Sun, Jun 22, 2014, 2:58pm (UTC -6)
I think one and a half stars was generous. Must have been coasting on the success of the last few shows. What a cringefest. I agree with just about everything already said and what I find even more disapointing is that Roxanne Dawson directed this episode. I understand she didnt' write the material but geesh. Maybe that was why there were so many shots of T'Pol's legs vice breasts, the director was trying to be 'respectful'.
DFoxx
Thu, Jul 10, 2014, 9:56pm (UTC -6)
Oh come on. I can't be the only male, post-adolecent trekkie that doesn't find Jolene Blalock + Decon gel hard to look at. Not all trekkies are sexless prudes.
Polt
Sun, Feb 8, 2015, 4:13pm (UTC -6)
My usual plan is to watch the episode and then pop over here to read the review and the comments. However, I came to the review in the middle of the episode. T'Pol crawling over Reed and asking him, "How long as it been? Since you....mated. *purrrrrr*" was just too freakin' much. My eyes hurt from all the rolling they had done in this episode.

Seriously, was this thing written by a 14 year old boy? Or a group of 14 year old boys? this is sad. And seriously, this ranks as one of the WORST Trek episodes ever, in my opinion. Yes, worse than "A Night In Sickbay". It's on par with "Spock's Brain" and "Threshold".

Just a sad waste of time, characters, and an episode.
Dave
Mon, Mar 16, 2015, 1:15am (UTC -6)
On a lighter note, however, I would say that it was nice to see the Tellarites in an episode. I mean, the are supposedly one of the four founding races of the Federation. So... about time they showed up.
W Smith
Thu, Jun 4, 2015, 1:38pm (UTC -6)
Wow, that was a rather crass and crude episode. Never heard that Vulcan females get the ponn farr. I'm so tired of Archer making friends with people who abuse him. And to say he's the only one who has ever escaped Rura Penthe is laughable when all they did was bribe Klingon guards. Can't imagine that no one has done that before. Episodes like this one are why people tuned out Enterprise in season two and ST eventually went off the air for good presumably.
Jack
Tue, Jan 19, 2016, 11:11pm (UTC -6)
At the end, T'Pol seems to not remember anything that happened. Do Vulcans typically not remember what happens during their pon farr? Seems inefficient and illogical.
Jack
Tue, Jan 19, 2016, 11:14pm (UTC -6)
#David

Agreed on the Tellarites. I think the reimagined look of the Tellarite species is probably the best of the series.
Andrew
Fri, Feb 19, 2016, 12:10pm (UTC -6)
I like titillation, including with T'Pol, and a T'Pol Pon Farr story could be good but this was insultingly dumb.
Diamond Dave
Sat, Apr 23, 2016, 4:03pm (UTC -6)
'Bounty', in which Archer gets kidnapped and T'Pol gets the horn. And yes, it is as bad as it sounds.

The A-story is just utterly dull and without any redeeming factors, but at least it is not as actively crass as the B-story. I suppose it was inevitable we got a T'Pol pon farr story (even if you have to bend the canon to do it), but this was the Porky's of pon farr stories. Only not funny like Porky's. Ah well, after a decent run of solid episodes we're back to 1 star.
Yanks
Thu, Oct 20, 2016, 11:15am (UTC -6)
Sigh, we had a pretty darn good run of episode there and then boom.... we get this.

While seeing T'Pol in her undies hitting on Phlox had it's comedic moments, I remember watching and feeling bad for Jolene and John for that matter.

... and I don't think this was B&B ... I believe reading somewhere that this episode was made to satisfy the brass at UPN wanting more T&A stuff to help ratings. (I could be wrong of course)

I enjoyed Jordan Lund as Skalaar, but the story was pretty weak and we again get Archer looking for a get out of jail card. Been there, done that.... a couple times. Don't need to go there again.

So.... now we know that female Vulcan's go through pon-farr. (or maybe we don't as this might have just been a chemically induced state) Wonder if the male gets to preside over a battle to the death of two females, to classic Star Trek music. :-)

I usually skip this one.

1 star.
Pervy
Sat, Nov 26, 2016, 9:35pm (UTC -6)
For those of you that enjoy the T&A, there is a nice view of T'Pol's white undies (and possibly more) at the end when Phlox awakens her and starts to explain what happened. It's when she first sits up.
Luke
Wed, Mar 29, 2017, 6:03am (UTC -6)
Okay, can someone please explain to me what it is about a certain subsection of Trek fans and their obsessive disdain for sexuality (especially female sexuality)?

"OMG, Jolene Blalock's belly button is showing?! WHY ISN'T SHE IN A BURQA?!?!?!?! WHERE'S MY FAINTING COUCH?!?!?!?! GET ME MY SMELLING SALTS!!!!! Clearly this is only meant to appeal to those disgusting, teenaged, horndog boys - people who I'm naturally better than because I'm above such filthy things as titillation. Not that I'm opposed to sexuality, mind you; I just howl with indignation every single time it's presented in any fashion."

Seriously, for a fanbase that so prides itself on being open-minded, there is a remarkable streak of sex-negativity among us. Just look at SFDebris, for example. The man descends into apoplectic rage every time a female character wears something even remotely skin-tight, let alone when she's *GASP* scantily-clad. I just don't get it. I'd say a lot of Trek fans are awfully Victorian when it comes to sex, but that's an insult to Victorian era people. They're more like modern day Puritans.
Yanks
Wed, Mar 29, 2017, 9:29am (UTC -6)
Agree Luke. Trek has always been an American TV series that uses the same lures as any other TV series. It has always pushed the "limits of the day" with regard to drama and sex. No different than any other TV show.

TOS-Enterprise, it's never changed.
Jason R.
Wed, Mar 29, 2017, 9:31am (UTC -6)
Luke I don't really see negative comments here coming from a place of prudishness. You are misreading the situation. What people don't like is when Trek uses sex appeal as a substitute for good story or to distract from poor quality. It's not about being offended by female nudity - it's being offended by the notion that putting an actress in her underwear can distract us from a terrible episode.
Peter G.
Wed, Mar 29, 2017, 9:35am (UTC -6)
You guys are seriously going to point out that Trek's treatment of women hasn't changed since the 60's, and you're going to *celebrate* that? To be fair, I think society's sexualization of women has greatly devolved since the 60's, so from that standpoint ENT is probably accurately indicative of the general state of things. No surprises there, I suppose. But I suspect the reason Trek fans are displeased at the sexualization (of a Vulcan, no less) on ENT is because Trek is supposed to be representative of a future that is beyond racism and sexism, and certainly part of that vision should be avoiding sexualizing people for profit. Is it surprising that the producers did it? No, especially given what we know about Berman and Braga. Is it a betrayal of ST values? Absolutely.
William B
Wed, Mar 29, 2017, 10:04am (UTC -6)
I am also reminded of Ron Moore's comment in his famous Voyager rant about Seven's outfit -- if you want her to be sexualized, have her be interested in sex. Seven is put in a body suit which is designed to be super attractive for audiences but has no organic role in story. Most of the people who complain about the titillation in costuming divorced from actual characterization don't complain about all the sex (and the titillation associated with the sex) in BSG. I can't speak to this particular episode, though.
Chrome
Wed, Mar 29, 2017, 12:14pm (UTC -6)
Star Trek is still lightyears ahead of Star Wars in terms of pandering to male audiences. I was watching "Attack of the Clones" the other day, and well, Natalie Portman wears outfits that make Seven of Nine's look like baggy pajamas.

I don't think you're ever going to please *everyone* with costumes that appeal to general audiences. The best I could hope is that the actress and maybe some of the female writers have some input as to whether they think a woman in the 23 - 24th century would wear a particular costume.
Jason R.
Wed, Mar 29, 2017, 12:43pm (UTC -6)
The 90s were, to me, a really bad time for this kind of thing. You had this kind of corporatized PG13 level of tittilation that seemed gratuitous and exploitative yet tame and prudish at the same time.

In the 80s fantasy and scifi was often trashy and blatantly exploitative, but in a movie with T & A you at least got to actually see T & A.

In the 90s it was sleazy, phony and lame all in the same package. The irony with Jeri Ryan was that she was really a talented actress and the writing for her character was good - better than most of the crap we had tolerated on Voyager thus far.

Maybe I'm being naive but I honestly doubt having her in that skinsuit even mattered to the show's ratings. I feel like we the audience were taken to be idiots.
Jason R.
Wed, Mar 29, 2017, 12:49pm (UTC -6)
As an additional aside, I do think Paramount learned the wrong lessons from Ryan's success in the Seven role. When Enterprise came out the T'Pol character was all the sex appeal but with a poor actress in the role with the charisma of a bag of rocks.

I say this as someone who drooled over Blachloch's Maxim spread at the time. But looking at a hot chick was never my motivation for watching scifi and I quit Enterprise after about three episodes. Seems I wasn't the only one given how that series petered out.
William B
Wed, Mar 29, 2017, 1:12pm (UTC -6)
"The 90s were, to me, a really bad time for this kind of thing. You had this kind of corporatized PG13 level of tittilation that seemed gratuitous and exploitative yet tame and prudish at the same time."

I very much agree, Jason R. It's really frustrating in this time because it's like there is an intense prudishness about actual sex or sexuality combined with the exploitative outfits. Part of what's frustrating is that with Seven and T'Pol (at least early T'Pol -- I only saw s1 and some of s2, and I gather that she's eventually allowed to be a sexual being rather than sex object), they read as purely adolescent fantasies partly *because* it seems inconceivable that they could actually have sex or be so interested -- to appeal to teens who are hormonal but also threatened by sex (and especially by female desire, as opposed to desirable females). And that genuinely seems to be part of the design -- as if people being sex objects for audience purposes is what they want, in order to sell the shows, but for them to be sexual beings with their own desires would be a bridge too far and might alienate people.

I'm not apoplectic about it, but it certainly makes the shows feel tacky and hollow.
Chrome
Wed, Mar 29, 2017, 1:33pm (UTC -6)
I can't help but be reminded of "Let He Who is Without Sin", which was totally hyped to be this scandalous sex planet in the teaser, only to be shown costumes less provocative than the citizens of "Justice". Basically, this type of executive meddling pleases no one.

But yes, to tack onto William B's point, one of the few episode of Enterprise I caught involved ensign Hoshi Sato who for some reason couldn't complete the mission with her uniform on, and well, let's just say I probably missed whatever point the writers were trying to make with this crisis.
Luke
Thu, Mar 30, 2017, 2:28am (UTC -6)
@ Jason R - "What people don't like is when Trek uses sex appeal as a substitute for good story or to distract from poor quality. It's not about being offended by female nudity - it's being offended by the notion that putting an actress in her underwear can distract us from a terrible episode. "

Then why does this subset of Trek fans complain every single time any kind of nudity, or sexuality, appears on screen. Every. Single. Time. They even complain when it happens in an otherwise good, or at least decent, episode. Going back to SFDebris and his obsession with it, look no further than his review of DS9: "Distant Voices". At one point, after we've realized everything is taking place in Bashir's imagination, there's a Dabo Girl who sings "Happy Birthday". SFDebris complains that she's wearing a skin-tight costume even though it fits perfectly in the story as Bashir is fantasizing about having a sexy woman singing to him. Or how about VOY: "Warlord", when Torres shows up in a swimsuit at one point. They complain about that as well, even though it makes perfect sense story-wise as she's taking part in a beach resort holo-program (and it's not even a very revealing swimsuit - it's a one-piece). Like I said.... Every. Single. Time.

@ Peter G - "But I suspect the reason Trek fans are displeased at the sexualization (of a Vulcan, no less) on ENT is because Trek is supposed to be representative of a future that is beyond racism and sexism, and certainly part of that vision should be avoiding sexualizing people for profit."

If that's the case then why don't these sex-negative fans get anywhere near as outraged when a man is shown without his shirt on, or with even less clothes on. I don't remember anybody getting as outraged as Jammer does in this very review whenever William Shatner appeared topless. In fact, TOS may have shown more male than female skin.

@ William B - "I am also reminded of Ron Moore's comment in his famous Voyager rant about Seven's outfit -- if you want her to be sexualized, have her be interested in sex."

Then the sex-negative Trek fans shouldn't have a problem this episode, as T'Pol's entire plot revolves solely around her intense interest in having sex. And yet, here we are.

@ Chrome - "The best I could hope is that the actress and maybe some of the female writers have some input as to whether they think a woman in the 23 - 24th century would wear a particular costume. "

Nobody ever forced Marina Sirtis to wear those body hugging costumes Troi almost always wore. Nobody ever forced Jeri Ryan to wear those catsuits. Nobody ever forced Terry Farrell to wear a swimsuit in DS9: "Let He Who Is Without Sin...". Nobody ever forced Roxann Dawson to wear a swimsuit in VOY: "Warlord". Nobody ever forced Jeri Ryan to wear catsuits. Nobody ever forced Linda Park to appear in her underwear. And nobody ever forced Jolene Blalock to wear catsuits or to appear in semi-naked scenes. Every single one of those women chose, of her own free will, to do those things. Each one said something along the lines of "yes, I'm comfortable with my body and I'm happy to show it off." They all could have simply put their feet down and refused to do it. I find it odd that as you advocate for women's agency you're willing to strip these women of that very agency and portray them as simply being acted upon by the powers that be.

@ Jason R - "In the 90s it was sleazy, phony and lame all in the same package. The irony with Jeri Ryan was that she was really a talented actress and the writing for her character was good..."

Indeed it is a shame that the sex-negative fans can't seem to look past her physical appearance. You're right: Ryan is a very good actress. I even think that Jolene Blalock is a better actress than most people give her credit for. I'd rather focus on their characters. However, the sex-negative fans always say: "We shouldn't focus on their bodies! Now shut up while I do nothing but focus on their bodies!"

@ William B - "... they read as purely adolescent fantasies partly *because* it seems inconceivable that they could actually have sex or be so interested -- to appeal to teens who are hormonal but also threatened by sex (and especially by female desire, as opposed to desirable females). And that genuinely seems to be part of the design -- as if people being sex objects for audience purposes is what they want, in order to sell the shows, but for them to be sexual beings with their own desires would be a bridge too far and might alienate people. "

And yet, again, in this very episode T'Pol has an overwhelmingly intense desire to do just that - actually have sex. It gets to the point where she's willing to jump both Phlox's and Reed's bones on the spot because she desires it so badly. And yet, Jammer and quite a few commenters still lambast the episode for daring to show Blalock in a state of semi-undress.
William B
Thu, Mar 30, 2017, 3:08am (UTC -6)
Well, again, I haven't seen this episode. And I haven't watched those SFDebris reviews, for that matter -- so maybe I just missed the big sex-negative movement. But anyway, I mean, "sexualized character is interested in sex" can be a necessary condition for liking a sexytimes Trek story, without being a sufficient one -- it still has to not suck, which is of course the problem most people (including me) have with, e.g., Let He Who Is Without Sin, and some (not me, because I haven't seen) have with this one.
Chrome
Thu, Mar 30, 2017, 6:31am (UTC -6)
@Luke

I think you read my comment out of context, but just to be clear, I'm not disagreeing that actresses agreed to wear certain costumes. I do not, however, think they necessarily LIKED doing it. There's a famous interview by Sirtis where she talks about how much she thought Troi improved after getting to wear a uniform in "Chain of Command". Sirtis obviously retained that uniform for the rest of the series.

I don't understand the point you're trying to make with Farrell's swimsuit in "Sin". It's got to be the modest swimsuit in franchise history.
Peter G.
Thu, Mar 30, 2017, 9:35am (UTC -6)
@ Luke,

Frankly I think that sci-fi fans are exactly the type to appreciate a little fan service when it's appropriate. Star Wars fans aren't identical to Star Trek, of course, but when discussing slave Leia a typical comment runs along the lines of "We realize that portraying her this way isn't so cool...EXCEPT IT'S AWESOME!!" The important detail with Leia is that she had already been established as a person with integrity previously and when the fan service came it was obviously a bit 'meta' in terms of being literally irrelevant but inserted to appeal to fans.

That is not what they did with Seven, and later with T'Pol. In both cases that went for sexualizing them right out of the gate before they had been established as having fans backing them up for who they were. William B's points about sex object versus sexual being are also pertinent, and I think that's a subset of what I'm discussing, which is respect. The writers of VOY and ENT were fundamentally not respectful of those two characters (or any of the characters on ENT) and went for fan service prior to us even getting to know them. It's a small miracle that Jeri Ryan was as good as she was and earned the respect of fans *despite* having the handicap of being seen as a sex object from the word go.

And although you may be able to cite to the odd duck who has a problem with Dax in a swimsuit I think they're just weird. They are not a typical Trek fan. Some people I know actually lament how un-sexual Trek can be for the most part, and although I'm on the fence about whether I'd want that element inserted, I'd much rather have some sexual tension than random bodysuits with no purpose but to show off an actress's assets. And this is relevant - when it's just the actress being shown off that really is gratuitous. It's different when the character has a certain point of view that justified her *wanting* to show off in some way. In a sort of silly way, DS9's Leeta is a good example of this, where she was dressed in a certain way but it was because (a) her job demanded it, and (b) she was a kind of cute and carefree type who actually wouldn't care whether she was exposed or not (as we see in "Dr. Bashir, I presume"). She it's 'appropriate' that she might be shown in this way, but Kira is more modest.

As Moore mentions, if you had wanted to portray Seven in a bodysuit, then have the guts to follow through on that and portray her as someone with literally no sense of shame or restraint, who doesn't care how she's seen or what people think of her. Make the costume something she's chosen, rather than a piece of unreality that even the crew members don't speak of. She could have been having her way with the male crew members and not giving a whit what Janeway thought about it. Now *that* would have been an interesting conversation.
Yanks
Thu, Mar 30, 2017, 11:06am (UTC -6)
Peter G,

'You guys are seriously going to point out that Trek's treatment of women hasn't changed since the 60's, and you're going to *celebrate* that? To be fair, I think society's sexualization of women has greatly devolved since the 60's, so from that standpoint ENT is probably accurately indicative of the general state of things. No surprises there, I suppose. But I suspect the reason Trek fans are displeased at the sexualization (of a Vulcan, no less) on ENT is because Trek is supposed to be representative of a future that is beyond racism and sexism, and certainly part of that vision should be avoiding sexualizing people for profit. Is it surprising that the producers did it? No, especially given what we know about Berman and Braga. Is it a betrayal of ST values? Absolutely."

One could argue correctly that TOS pushed the envelope more than any other series. Every female alien was a hotty in a nightgown or almost nothing and all females on good ole 1701 were in mini-skirts. Quite the god-awful sexist uniform.

I could go on and on....

As to 7 and T'Pol, I don't see their catsuits as "limiting" at all. They are beautiful women. To see them as only a sex symbol is not very fitting in the future as defined in TOS. There isn't a female included in the crew of any series that hasn't been exploited because of their good looks.

It's the future, don't fight it.
Yanks
Thu, Mar 30, 2017, 11:43am (UTC -6)
Now, just to be clear, there are many times in trek where I think they went overboard to "sex it up". This episode being one, as I posted above. People went nuts with Alice Eve's uni scene in STiD... I didn't see it as a big deal. I actually had a harder time with Uhura's undi scene in ST09 relatively speaking.

The Vulcan nero-pressure scenes were obviously put in to turn up the heat if you will, but I really didn't have an issue with them until 'Harbinger'. The decon chamber on Enterprise was added for the same pop... I didn't have an issue with that at all. Rubbing gel on in a chamber for decon purposes seemed a logical precursor to the transporter handling it.

Troi screwing Worf was too far in my book, while I didn't have an issue with the camel-toe scene with Beverly.

I had an issue with Work boning Ezri too.

I know I don't "walk in their shoes", but I'm not sure that one can feel bad for women about appearance. If they have it, they use it, so is it wrong for producers to capitalize on their wonderful appearance? Would the writing have been better if they were not as visually desirable?

In general, I think folks get too worked up about these things.

Jammer
Thu, Mar 30, 2017, 12:55pm (UTC -6)
Luke seems to have deliberately misread what I specifically railed against in the review to support his argument against supposedly prudish Trek fans: not the fact of the existence of the so-called sexuality, but the completely stupid and inane way in which it was presented. And it wasn't even the number one complaint on my list. (I led with the derivative and overused nature of the A-story.)

Also, I've talked about this in my reviews for BSG, which actually deals with these things. No complaints there.
Tara
Thu, Mar 30, 2017, 11:23pm (UTC -6)
Lordy, Luke,
Your comments are so obtuse that I suspect you are yanking everyone's chain. However, on the off chance you are looking for answers to your questions, I will pose a couple questions of my own in response to yours.

(1) Re the question "Why do people
complain about hypersexy female characters, and don't complain when a ST man is shown shirtless?"

-- Do you think the words "honky" and "nigger" are equally insulting?
-- Why is Robin Hood (robbed from the rich) a romantic figure while Scrooge (cheated the poor) is not?
-- why are we more bothered by a dad threatening to hit his kid than a kid threatening to hit his dad?

(Answer: context matters).

(2) re your assertion that "no one forced these actresses to wear cat suits":

Why do workers all over the world put up with discrimination,, dangerous conditions, exploitative contracts, or sexual harassment? No one is forcing them to. Why don't they just quit - and eat cake!

(Answer: people are often willing to accept insults and injustice ... when the price of not accepting them is exorbitant.)

Thierafhal
Sat, Apr 1, 2017, 11:28am (UTC -6)
I don't think the corruption of the Klingon justice system is really ignored. It is as far as this episode is concerned, but there's a simple way around it. Because of the corruption, the cliche of the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing explains what probably happened. Duras found out about Archer's escape and was like wtf! Using the corruption, he payed off the right people and in a round about way, the bounty was put out to get Archer back, simple.
Lupe
Sat, Apr 15, 2017, 10:47am (UTC -6)
It couldn't last - FOUR good eps in a row was a bridge too far.

All the same, it wasn't as terrible as I'd expected, given my previous complaints about Archer constantly getting captured.

Getting back to the bits of the episode which weren't about T'Pol giving fan service, which is mainly what this thread has discussed (though I can't help adding, Braga claimed that when casting T'Pol he wanted an attractive woman who could act, and wouldn't leave to go make movies. I'm starting to get an idea which order of priority those criteria may have been in)...

Jordan Lund makes it three Trek series with his appearance as Skalaar. He's a likeable sort, which makes you wonder how he could have kept up bounty hunting innocent people for the Klingons so long. The hostage stuff is so old by now, but this played out slightly better than the previous two entries in this genre. Skalaar is a bit clueless, though. This caper should never have gotten off the ground, considering his plan was to stun whoever opened the docking door and drag the captain off without being stopped. What if there'd been a security detail in the corridor? Oh well, no biggie.

At the end of the episode, Enterprise fires on a Klingon ship and extensively damages it. This, one would presume, would be considered an act of war, and logically we probably just witnessed the spark which ignited the human-Klingon hostilities. I don't know if this act is shown to have consequences, but it seems to have recieved no real attention.

Don't get me wrong, this was pretty lame, and the T'Pol scenes must have been embarrassing for everyone involved, but I can think of a few ENT episodes I'd rate lower.
Andrew
Sat, Apr 22, 2017, 10:05pm (UTC -6)
I think a lot of the outrage against Troi's and Seven of Nine's and T'Pol's costumes is at best excessive but I thought a bit part of why this episode felt so dumb and unpleasant was because it did feel exploitative, T'Pol's horniness was completely forced, with no real connection to let alone impact on the character.
A really sad aspect is that Dawson as a director pretty much does wrong everything she as an actress did right in the broadly similar "Blood Fever," there she and the episode overall treated the scenario with respect.
artymiss
Mon, Jul 24, 2017, 10:26am (UTC -6)
This episode was embarrassing to watch, but more importantly: What the hell has happened to Porthos?! Haven't seen him for several episodes. And who looks after him when Archer is busy escaping the Klingons etc for the 1000th time?!?!
Dave
Mon, Oct 2, 2017, 11:32pm (UTC -6)
T'Pol's false pon farr is a lot like Kes' false elogium...
Gooz
Sat, Jan 6, 2018, 6:34pm (UTC -6)
I just skipped the embarrassing T’Pol/Phlox scenes. Made it a very watchable episode. We get it. T’pol is hot, and some Trek fans are awkward teenage boys who’ve never had sex before. You need to give them something. But this was horrible and very gratuitous. I feel really badly for the actress who plays T’Pol.
Peter
Tue, Jul 10, 2018, 4:14pm (UTC -6)
Ok, I think you definately have issues with sex here. I just KNEW you were going to be hard on this episode because of T'Pol's pon far thing. To me it was just vaguely amusing and nothing more. Juvenile and wannabe? Perhaps, but like you said that's what you get with TV-PG. I'm prettymuch certain that people a lot younger than you or me also watch Star Trek. To them this whole pon far thing may be much more than annoying, amusing, or juvenile. I don't know. Perhaps you should find something with a higher rating to watch? Maybe I will go look for a less hot heated reviewer with sex related issues.
Peter
Tue, Jul 10, 2018, 4:16pm (UTC -6)
Typos, grrr. That's "headed" not "heated".
Peter
Thu, Sep 27, 2018, 5:58pm (UTC -6)
(Note: I’m not the same person as the previous commenter, although I tend to agree.)

The main issue I had with this episode was the “A” plot, where Archer is once again taken captive. It is cringeworthy in its dumbness. You’d think after the third or fourth time the same starship captain is kidnapped, they’d come up with some procedure to try to prevent it happening yet again.

As for the T’Pol and Phlox “B” plot, if they were willing to change the canon to the extent that Vulcan females can experience Pon Farr, shouldn’t it at least have warranted its own episode? I don’t recall Amok Time focusing on some secondary peril-inducing plot. The focus was on Spock and his homeworld.

Speaking of Amok Time, it’s strange that when Spock enters Pon Farr, none of his crew mates know anything about it—not even McCoy. We’re Federation medical records destroyed at some point? This could have made for an interesting bit of plotting: the Vulcan council could have ordered the Federation to expunge the record regarding T’Pol’s embarrassingly ill-timed “affliction.” My point is, it just feels like the writers didn’t think it through, nor did they ever watch TOS.

As someone else pointed out, it’s not exactly difficult to watch Jolene Blalock panting and sweating and slinking around in her underwear, but, because I’m not a 14-year-old boy, I would expect that to be accompanied by a coherent and intriguing story. Otherwise it just feels like they decided to film some second-rate fan fiction.

I also felt like the Phlox character didn’t ring true in this. Previous episodes established that he and others of his species are very different from humans in their lack of hang ups over sex. It’s not that I would expected anything to actually happen between the two characters, but it would have been interesting if Phlox had been inclined to “help” T’Pol as if her request were no more embarrassing than asking for a drink of water, and some of the officers pointing out (via intercom) that this is not appropriate given that the hormonal cascade or whatever is due to a disease organism. That sort of plotting would actually have been relevant in raising questions of consent, inter-species ethics, self-agency when impaired, etc.

I can accept that the creative team was ordered by the network brass to add some titilation, but that doesn’t mean the writers couldn’t still come up with something original, memorable, and thought-provoking!
Zakalwe
Mon, Oct 1, 2018, 4:04pm (UTC -6)
Jolene Blalock in her togs, covered in “gel” panting like a mutt in a greenhouse. What’s not to like?

Phlox, that’s what! All the blatant fan service thrown in with having nympho T’Pol on screen is cancelled out about 876 million times over by seeing Billingsley with his man-tits, horrible chest/torso rug and weird prosthetic spinal ridges on display. I vomited a little bit in my mouth when I saw T’Pol rub that shit with her hand like that was supposed to be sensual. It would hardly have been worse to look at than if she’d started scrubbing her hands in one of the doctor’s freshly laid jobbies.

I think I’ll need to do an auto frontal lobotomy to excise those images from my brain.
NoPoet
Fri, Oct 26, 2018, 6:07am (UTC -6)
I was ready to call season 2 a disaster, but am reminded of a line from Only Fools and Horses:

Rodney Trotter: "Disaster? A calamity, more like."

The first two seasons of TNG were unbearably awful but they still had more quality episodes than Enterprise seasons 1 and 2. This show is soulless, passionless, as bland as 24th century humans, with very little spark or creativity except where demanded by the plot. I am going to go on record and say I can finally understand that Enterprise killed Trek.

(Nemesis didn't help either, it should have been awesome but was so pompous and unfriendly, so much sitting around, each scene and each plot point so protracted. I don't think it's a terrible film but I also have no desire to ever watch it again. In fact Nemesis made the same mistake as ENT by pointlessly killing a main character at the end.)

This is paint by numbers, it's monkeys bashing typewriters. Where is the quality control? Were Bermaga simply surrounding themselves with yes-men, cooing over every shitty idea, shouting down anyone who voiced disagreement?

How do you produce a show with so many identical episodes? Who thought that audiences would want to see Archer getting kidnapped every week? It didn't even work the first time they used it, so why keep on doing it? You've got to remember that Archer is a complete nobody to the galaxy at large, Earth is unknown, Starfleet apparently consists of a single ship, so what's going on? Do the crew not learn from experience?

So far in this show, we have had multiple instances of:

* Archer getting kidnapped.
* T'Pol placed in sexual situations.
* The crew are asked to do something by alien allies (generally rescue people, usually three of them for some reason, or transport someone with a hidden secret).
* Enterprise makes a run for a friendly Vulcan ship.
* Trip meets an alien female who fancies him.
* Rude and unpleasant aliens who simply will not communicate or co-operate (fantastic writing there guys, thanks for adding such depth).
* Alien authorities who "do not know" where Archer is.
* Enterprise crew on a planet in the grip of a civil war.

Am I missing any out? This is mad, it's just terrible, terrible writing, a failure of imagination. Don't even get me started on "Bounty", it's yet another hour that nobody will get back, as pointless and routine as expected.

It's hard to understand how they got a third series after this toss.
Steve McCullagh
Sun, Nov 11, 2018, 3:56pm (UTC -6)
Re: Enterprise and sex:

I think the difference between this and the other shows is that the T'Pol stuff comes across as so much more sleazy and gratuitous and exploitative than on the other "brands".
Steve McCullagh
Sun, Nov 11, 2018, 3:58pm (UTC -6)
Oh and as far as a review of "Bounty" goes: So bad it could have been an episode of Voyager. Nil stars.
Rahul
Fri, Nov 23, 2018, 7:27pm (UTC -6)
Overall ENT S2 ends quite strongly with 4 of the last 5 episodes being great to exceptional, but this is the one turd. The B-plot with T'Pol in heat is just absolute trash -- hard to believe Berman and Braga wrote this. The A-plot is too simplistic and I chuckled after reading Jammer's review -- yes, we might as well term ENT S2 the "Archer gets captured" season.

So we know ENT can be pretty good but every now and then it tries to cater to the worst of the teenage boy audience. I think this must have been demeaning to Blalock -- while she can be a sex symbol, it can be done in a more respectable way like 7 of 9 on VOY. Writing a plot for her like this is totally unacceptable in Trek IMHO.

Too bad Robert O'Reilly didn't have a greater role to play - loved him as Gowron. He didn't even get to use his bug-eyed stare.

The whole bounty hunter plot was nothing special -- Archer manages to soften up the bounty hunter who has a conscience and helps him escape the Klingons. But I've grown seriously tired of the escape from prison phaser-fight scenes -- especially in episodes that have already proven themselves to be weak. It's as if the action scenes in such shows just fall flat, whereas in an episode like "Regeneration", they're so much more riveting.

Also had plenty of convenient resolutions here with no deeper meanings -- Phlox's cure for T'Pol works in time, and Enterprise subdues the Klingon vessel while the grappler snags Archer's escape pod. Not close to good enough.

1 star for "Bounty" -- a decent run without any stinkers since "Precious Cargo" comes to an end with this terrible episode. Just filler stuff other than continuing the story of Klingons pursuing Archer (which unfortunately continues in "The Expanse"). Really did not appreciate the B-plot with T'Pol's pon farr. This is ENT running out of ideas and trying to fill an hour with rehashed crap and immature entertainment.

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