Star Trek: Enterprise


2.5 stars

Air date: 4/16/2003
Written by Andre Bormanis
Directed by James A. Contner

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"To quote Dr. Frankenstein, it's alive." — T'Pol

In brief: Not bad, but not particularly good or conclusive, either. Just simply "there."

Here's yet another episode of Enterprise for the fence-squatters among us: an episode that does some things and does them reasonably, while at the same time not reaching a satisfactory destination concerning the issues it has raised. It's a family crisis story that ends up having the impact of some very routine drama.

Ensign Travis Mayweather, after nearly two seasons of Enterprise, looks right now to be this series' edition of the Harry Kim character, albeit for slightly different reasons. Harry annoyed me because through seven seasons of Voyager he didn't grow even one year's worth of experience. Travis doesn't annoy me the same way because he's scarcely given the chance to grow or to not grow; the writers have no idea who this guy is because they refuse to give him anything to do or any semblance of a personality. He's an empty shell of a character usually used as a tool of the plot.

It does not help that Anthony Montgomery — in his limited presence — usually plays Travis as a young, blank slate of a man, without a trace of insight or opinion. Bashir was young in the early days of DS9, but he had an amusing sense of brash, exuberant naivete, and opinions that could be revealed to himself as either right or wrong. Mayweather simply has no opinions, neither right nor wrong.

So imagine my relief that "Horizon" would be a true Travis Mayweather-oriented character show, which makes it the first Travis-centric storyline (whether it be a main plot or subplot) since "Fortunate Son" aired some 17 months ago.

The results here are mixed, giving us an hour of not-unpleasant storytelling and a few reasonable and relevant observations and details, but without being convincing at its emotional core. This needed to be an episode where we could feel Travis' plight and maybe walk in his shoes. Alas, I could not quite get there. There are barriers, the first being the script, which is incomplete in its arc from emotional crisis to resolution; and the other being Montgomery, whose performance is too wooden to draw us into the drama.

The general idea here is that the Enterprise's course puts them close to the cargo vessel Horizon, giving Travis a chance to visit home. He grew up on the Horizon, where his father is captain and his mother serves a dual role as chief engineer and medic. His older brother also serves on the ship. Travis hasn't seen his family in four years, and learns here that his father passed away of an illness just a few weeks earlier; he hadn't yet received the message informing him of the news.

This permits the story to explore some family dynamics aboard a cargo vessel, as Travis settles in for a rare visit that coincides with a family crisis. Naturally, lingering regret and guilt will find their way into the story, as Travis wonders whether joining Starfleet was tantamount to abandoning a family and ship that needed him.

The family dynamics are relevant but pretty routine. We've seen all this before: Protagonist visits home after long time away; protagonist is confronted with feelings of guilt concerning unresolved family issues; protagonist is given mildly cold shoulder by older brother, who feels protagonist abandoned family in favor of idealistic dream; etc. The problem with the arc of this story is not that it has bad ideas, but that it doesn't dig very deep into its ideas. This is simply not very challenging material.

Of course, even if not very challenging, it might've still worked by evoking our empathy for Travis' situation. In some ways it does, by supplying details of Travis' old home, taking him back to his old quarters on the Horizon, and introducing us to his mother (Joan Pringle).

What I liked best about "Horizon" was the simplified feel of the cargo ship and the episode's ability to escape from the confines of the ever-familiar Starfleet setting. This episode feels civilian rather than military, more recognizably human, with a sort of blue-collar, everyone-pitches-in mentality. And Travis' mom in particular is believable in scenes like the one where she inquires about the myriad of dangerous conflicts Travis has apparently faced aboard the Enterprise. Travis knowingly and wisely downplays all the danger of those encounters.

There's also the appearance of Nora (Nicole Forester), a young woman about Travis' age. The two apparently grew up almost like siblings, an apt detail for a story set in the confines of cargo ship (and which also made me curious about the onset of teenage sexual attraction in such confines). But the character has only the one scene and disappears after the initial visit.

The story's primary conflict is between Travis and his older brother, Paul (Corey Mendell Parker). Paul has taken over as captain since the death of their father, and word around the ship is that Paul may not quite be ready. Paul also is a bit uneasy with Travis around, especially when Travis starts suggesting Starfleet weapons upgrades upon the appearance of the episode's threat of alien pirates. Eventually there's a scene where Paul accuses Travis of abandoning them for the wonders of exploration promised by Starfleet.

These scenes constitute quiet character drama, but even on that level they don't quite come to life, and I think the reason for that is Montgomery's far-too-understated performance. He's too wooden. In the confrontation scene between Paul and Travis, for example, you can clearly see that Paul, as played by Parker, is the stronger screen presence. We can understand his emotions and point of view, even if they come across as forced under the circumstances (why not accept the weapons upgrades in a case where you clearly need them?). But I never felt that way with Montgomery's performances in these scenes. He needed to carry this show, but from what I see, most of the guest actors end up carrying him.

I also felt the story's conflicts are left largely unresolved. Paul has a comment to Travis that I found interesting in its aggressive tone: "Our problem is Starfleet and people like you." A strong statement. But the episode never really deals with the state of these cargo runners in what will someday undoubtedly become a sprawling Starfleet space arena. "Fortunate Son" last season was better at looking at that question.

Instead, we get another one of those action conclusions, which substitutes for an actual resolution between the two brothers and the issues between them. The pirates attack, and by working together Travis and Paul are able to fend off the threat. The story mistakes this resolution of action/jeopardy as a resolution for the rest of the character drama, which as a result is left unfinished. Does Paul understand why Travis went to Starfleet? Does he still hold resentment for it? Are cargo runners really part of a dying breed because pilots like Travis decide to join Starfleet instead? Is Travis really okay with the decisions he has made? The answers are perhaps implied with a happy ending of smiles and reassurance, but these are not answers of any depth.

There's also a slight-at-best B-story involving T'Pol's reluctance to attend movie night, despite being specifically asked by both Trip and Archer. The movie: 1931's Frankenstein. I thought this worked okay as lightweight filler material, but it doesn't really set out to accomplish much of anything. It certainly does not go out on a limb in any way, or try to build into an actual comedy on the concept of "Vulcan goes to horror movie." If there's a joke here, perhaps the punch line is "T'Pol becomes a movie critic," as she waxes analytical on the plight of Frankenstein's monster, comparing it to the plight of Vulcans among humans in the apparently tumultuous years following First Contact. Meanwhile, there's a visit to an uncharted planet that builds into ... well, nothing. I guess the plot revelation is that they chart it. This plot exists, I suspect, merely to give the story an excuse to cut back to the Enterprise.

Which is perhaps too bad, because the story aboard the Horizon might've benefited from being fleshed out some more. An episode like "Horizon" reveals Enterprise as an almost amazingly low-key series that seems unwilling to break free of its low-key shackles. I have nothing against low key (in fact, I tend to prefer it over ultra-action or melodrama), but what we need are some energetic performances, conclusive arguments and ideas, and characters whose problems aren't so neatly resolved with generic action scenes. In short, we need more episodes like last week's "Judgment" — something that looks and feels like real drama. "Horizon" is relevant enough, but does not emerge as compelling.

Next week: Phlox refuses to treat a man on moral grounds. Now that could be interesting.

Previous episode: Judgment
Next episode: The Breach

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43 comments on this post

Sun, Apr 27, 2008, 2:27am (UTC -6)
It's true that the characters of Maywether and Kim never got that much developement but we know more about them than we will ever know about Uhura, Sulu, Chekov, and to an extent Scotty.
Jakob M. Mokoru
Sun, Oct 19, 2008, 12:49am (UTC -6)
Yes, stallion, we DO know more about them - but do we care more about them? I do not think so!
Wed, Sep 30, 2009, 12:50am (UTC -6)
The scene in which Archer, Trip and T'Pol discuss 'Frankenstein' over dinner, and T'Pol makes the connection between how the monster was treated and how Vulcans were treated when they first arrived on earth, was expertly played and one of my favorite "little" moments in the entire series.
Wed, May 12, 2010, 5:05am (UTC -6)
Right on, David. That was a memorable scene for me as well. I thought the idea of "movie night on the Enterprise" seemed a bit silly, but that conversation made it worthwhile.
Thu, Nov 18, 2010, 9:47am (UTC -6)
Rather than including an action subplot with the space pirates, I was hoping for more scenes with the Mayweather family. It's disappointing that we have no scene with the mother and her two boys at dinner. I also would have liked to hear Travis's mother's thoughts on being the Horizon's medical officer and not being able to save her husband. Some untapped potential.

What's interesting is that if you watch Anthony Montgomery on the DVD special features, he's engaging and dynamic. Yet, as Jammer points out, he plays Mayweather like a blank slate. Reminds me of Garret Wang as well. I think if Montgomery and Wang had been allowed to put a little more of their own personalities into Mayweather and Kim, we'd find the characters more enjoyable to watch.

And I also agree with Jakob, that while we do have more onscreen background info on Mayweather and Kim than we do the supporting main characters of the original series, Nichols, Takei, Koenig and Doohan played their characters with energy. We may not have seen as much of them as we would have liked, but I've never once groaned when Uhura, Sulu, Chekov or Scott were given a key line or scene. They were able to lift what would have been characterizations (eg Mayweather and Kim) into characters. We may not have known what made Uhura what she was, for example, but Nichelle Nichols clearly knew and that made all the difference.
Sat, Sep 24, 2011, 2:15pm (UTC -6)
I wanted to point out that we got to see a side of Mayweather that we haven't seen before. That was during the argument between him and his brother. When his brother laid down harsh words on him, he got upset, and uncharacteristically showed a little retaliation- "Do it yourself!" he replied to his brother's request to take his upgrades offline.

I thought he acted this pretty well. Also, the scene where he was upside down with remnants of tears was another side we didn't get to see. I feel he was fairly convincing here too, for about a minute.

Unfortunately most of the time he does seem "wooden." He has this boyish smiley face and an eternal non-confrontational attitude (which sit strangely on his totally ripped body).

I feel that Mayweather's character could be enhanced with some different type of inter-character or situational conflict. Something which forces him to break out of his mold and show some gumption.

Anyway, I enjoyed seeing some background on this character and getting a real feel for the cargo ship. (I was surprised with how small it was when it disconnected from the cargo!) I actually thought the writing was pretty good. I was impressed by the acting and wisdom of his mother's comments about accepting that it would take her son time to grow into his role, and the prior mentioned argument scene. I liked how the conflict between Mayweather and his brother was subdued at first. Unfortunately though, I don't think that whole lot is going to come from this character in this series.
Tue, May 29, 2012, 5:36pm (UTC -6)
I liked it well enough. It didn't go into extremes of examination and thinking, but it wasn't all action either. The resolution of an implied realisation and implied apology from the brother was quite befitting two proud brothers who are clearly more the "classic male" (less talking about feelings and more just implying them and reading between lines). I was satisfied that it was "resolved enough", but open for future re-exploration if they choose to.

I have a bone to pick with the Enterprise crew in grumbling about getting set off-course to go and explore something happening in space. Isn't that what they're there for? Come on guys, you're out there to explore, not to race to the other end of the galaxy, so enjoy the detour!
Tue, Feb 19, 2013, 8:54pm (UTC -6)
By this point in my viewing of the series I have come to the conclusion that Anthony Montgomery is simply not much of an actor. The paucity of Mayweather scenes throughout the series strikes me as the writers and producers having come to the same conclusion: Montgomery is the weak link in this cast, his performances are always shallow, and the more screen time he gets, the more the show suffers. He's essentialy being written out of the series, but within the limits designated by his contract. I know the character survived to the end, but killing him off in season two would have been a nice way to shake up the show and harden the Enterprise crew. Kirk hated losing a crewman; imagine how Archer would feel, having never experienced it before?

For me the real gems in this episode were T'Pol's scenes. For the first time since the series began I feel like Jolene Blalock finally has a handle on T'Pol. Her wit is still dry as desert sand but it's there. Her body language and facial expressions no longer seem haughty and contemptuous. Jolene has finally found a way to express T'Pol's logical detachment without coming across as arrogant. It's certainly strange that Jolene's moment of finally figuring out T'Pol should come in an episode in which she has very nearly nothing to do, but there it is.
Tue, Sep 9, 2014, 11:47pm (UTC -6)
I'm shocked no one mentioned the one thing that stood out to me as ridiculous. In the plot about the planet, near the end, there is an observation that the planet is inhabited. Apparently the eruptions drove lifeforms from underground. This plot thread goes nowhere and is never mentioned again. Did they save the lifeforms? If so, did they use the transporter as a shuttle pod rescue would have been dangerous? Nothing. There were just too many threads that were started but never felt as though they came to a climax.
Tue, Jan 13, 2015, 2:21pm (UTC -6)
It sounded to me like the lifeforms were supposed to be microscopic extremophiles, which wouldn't have needed to be saved, since they were perfectly capable of living in the magma. The eruptions were just bringing them to the surface, an event which could be the beginning of a new phase in their evolution. Maybe something similar happened here on Earth a couple of billion years ago.

As for the rest of the episode, this is the first one I can remember where I was so bored I couldn't wait to get back to the B-plot. The T'Pol dinner scene was excellent in its subtlety. She's totally winding them up. Hilarious.
Fri, Jan 23, 2015, 10:37am (UTC -6)
ARCHER: Maybe inviting her to movie night wasn't such a great idea.

T'POL: On the contrary. I'm looking forward to Bride of Frankenstein.

This is, in my opinion, the funniest exchange on the entire series. I laughed so hard I thought I was going to be sick. There are a great many subtleties in the post-movie meal scene and this is a sterling example.

For some reason I couldn't help but imagine T'Pol as Elsa Lanchester, with the inhuman facial expression, bird-like movements, and insane haircut.

There is also, perhaps, an implied threat in T'Pol's line: if you liked my analysis of Frankenstein, you're going to love where I go with Bride. Maybe you'll think twice before dragging me to another movie night, eh?

On the subject of Frankenstein, I got a good laugh out of T'Pol's line about a reading of the book being more true to the author's intent than a film adaptation. There aren't a lot of films that deviate from their source novels more than Frankenstein!

Lastly, I had a problem with this line of Trip's:

TUCKER: Mary Shelley wrote it, the wife of a famous poet.

That strikes me as a bit sexist. Percy Shelley was a great writer and certainly more famous in his day, but in terms of cultural impact, the poor sod has been so thoroughly eclipsed by his wife that I can't imagine him being the first Shelley that pops to mind any time after the mid twentieth century or so.

Then again, maybe Percy's works have enjoyed a new cultural relevance in the Trek universe?
Sun, Feb 22, 2015, 6:49am (UTC -6)
I also love the scene where T'Pol basically shuts the doctor up during the movie and even sticks her hand in Archer's bowl of popcorn.
W Smith
Sun, May 24, 2015, 1:47pm (UTC -6)
The movie b-plot was way more interesting than the cargo ship plot, which was marred by leaden acting, and utter cliche and predictability. I almost fell asleep during the cargo ship scenes.

I was also struck by Tucker referring to Mary Shelley as being the wife of a famous poet, she is certainly his equal in literary stature and even surpasses him in my opinion. Frankenstein as the modern Prometheus is a prescient and great read to this day. Just another reason to dislike Tucker as he really grates on my nerves with his shallow and backwards thinking.

And herein lies one of my main issues with Enterprise: the humans on the ship don't appear to be the best and the brightest on Earth. They should have more sophisticated tastes and interests than watching water polo and old films. They're such boring, milquetoast and mundane people that it's hard to watch them or believe they are the best crew Earth could put together for the most important mission in history. Where's the dynamic renaissance man like Picard? Janeway and Sisko had serious interests in science, religion and history. I can't imagine Kirk wasting his time watching movies. Those captains were mature adults of action leading active lives, while the Enterprise crew are passive bystanders acting like children. Again, I can see why I gave up on Enterprise on its first go-around as it's such a dismal and depressing future with these humans supposedly being Earth's finest. T'pol (and to an extent Hoshi and Phlox) saves the show as the only adult on the ship.
Diamond Dave
Sun, Apr 17, 2016, 11:52am (UTC -6)
Yet another in a run of perfectly competent but broadly unexciting episodes. I thought the Mayweather story somewhat typical of these things - the character is basically insufficiently well developed for us to care enough about him to engage us in the story. There is a nicely melancholic atmosphere to it, but it's all fairly standard stuff.

In the B-story, the crew watch a film. And a whole bunch of stuff gets introduced and never comes up again. Can't help feeling this script needed a bit more work. 2.5 stars.
Fri, Jul 1, 2016, 7:47pm (UTC -6)
God a season and a half for Travis to get his own story by that point in voyager Harry kim got at least three or four. All I know about the guy is he likes to be upside down and he grew up in space. This is what happens when you ignore a character for a long time if he didn't appear on the title cover on Netflix I would have never known he was a main character until season 4.
Wed, Oct 19, 2016, 10:16am (UTC -6)
Jammer: "...but even on that level they don't quite come to life, and I think the reason for that is Montgomery's far-too-understated performance. He's too wooden. In the confrontation scene between Paul and Travis, for example, you can clearly see that Paul, as played by Parker, is the stronger screen presence. We can understand his emotions and point of view, even if they come across as forced under the circumstances (why not accept the weapons upgrades in a case where you clearly need them?). But I never felt that way with Montgomery's performances in these scenes. He needed to carry this show, but from what I see, most of the guest actors end up carrying him."

Man.... I thought the problem with this episode was Parker's over-performance. It was like every time he and Anthony have a scene together he was trying to make his chest bigger than Anthony's :-) I thought Anthony did fine in this episode. Very well in fact. He came off as much more mature and level-headed than his brother.

I kept waiting for the Mom to take command and slap Paul around a bit. He was acting very childish and immature. No reason not to accept Travis' help with the weapons etc.

The minimal "B" plot was one of the most enjoyable afterthought b-plots thingy's in all of trek I thought. Some say "movie night" on a Star Ship is not realistic. I beg to differ. When I joined the Navy there was no email or satellite TV, or computers, or pocket sized movie gadgets. Reel-to-reel movies were exchanged between passing ships. This was a big moment for the crew because most of the time repeats/re-showings came into play. (I can't tell you how many times I've seen Blazing Saddles and High Noon :-) ) Movies were shown on the mess-deck with the responsibility for showing them, making popcorn and cleaning up rotating from division to division as the deployment passed. This was a great way to break the monotony and riggers of the day to day life aboard a Navy ship on deployment. Also a great way for the crew to get to know one another. Even on small ships, jobs and watches make it so you don't get to socialize much with those you aren't working with.

Movie night was precious in this episode. Loved it.

All that said, I'll go a little higher than Jammer and give it 3 stars.
Nate Fleming
Tue, Jan 17, 2017, 7:41am (UTC -6)
I'm surprised nobody's mentioned the problem with casting in this episode. The Horizon seems to be manned by the same pretty young things that staff a Starfleet vessel. With the exception of Travis's mom, everyone was young and cute.

Seems like a freighter would be manned by all kinds of grunt workers like an oil rig or something. Not models.
Sat, Jun 10, 2017, 1:00pm (UTC -6)
What a great episode! Jean Luc returns home and gets the cold shoulder from his older brother and ... no wait that was the TNG version. Come to think of it, I found that boring too . Oh well. at least this one had space pirates.
Wed, Sep 27, 2017, 2:28pm (UTC -6)
Consider: Purpose of TV teasers is to excite you for the episode and to give you some idea what it's going to be about this week, often with a dramatic cliffhanger. All that happens in this teaser, is that we see Mayweather sit on his favorite place and Archer calling him to meet him. Meaning that just doing a Mayweather story at all was a shocking twist. That's both hilarious and sad.
Mon, Dec 4, 2017, 12:28am (UTC -6)
2 stars
A poor man’s “Family”
Sun, Mar 25, 2018, 3:42pm (UTC -6)
Why the heck one whole episode spanking a dead mule?

At least the Frankstein gag was funny.
Fri, Jun 29, 2018, 3:23pm (UTC -6)
Nothing special here although there were a few nice moments. Montgomery's acting holds things back and it turns into a pretty formulaic hour. I liked the idea of revisiting life on the cargo ship and giving Montgomery a chance to shine, but the latter didn't happen. There's also the definite sense that the cargo ship folks want to take care of themselves, they see StarFleet almost as the enemy -- resentment toward Travis for joining the Enterprise (although his father gave him a strong endorsement to Archer).

I liked the B-plot with life onboard Enterprise, movie night and T'Pol's take on Frankenstein. This was decent light-hearted stuff with an interesting twist, although it's just decent filler material.

The scenes between Paul and Travis just didn't resonate -- so Paul initially is fairly cold because one of their own left. Travis has his guilt, but I'm somewhat surprised he just does the upgrades without even telling Paul or his mother. Didn't the chain of command in StarFleet teach him anything? And of course, they turn out to work -- the Horizon fights off the pirates and Paul/Travis are on good terms again. Predictable.

2 stars for "Horizon" -- didn't push the envelope enough with this story, Montgomery's acting is a let down. The episode is not horrible but just not good enough. One does get the sense of the difference between the Enterprise and the Horizon and a bit more of an idea of who these freight runners are but "Fortunate Son" was a much better episode for these themes.
Jeffrey Montgomery
Wed, Aug 8, 2018, 8:40pm (UTC -6)
I have to disagree here. I like the Mayweather character ut the problem is they chose to focus the story on trip, tpol, and Archer. That's what I'm leaving it with. And Paul pissed me off. Kinda like my own big brother pissed me off but it's the opposite. My brother left for college and never looked back till 6 months later our dad died. So I understood where Paul was coming from but if I was Travis I woulda told Paul to go f himself lol
Sat, Sep 29, 2018, 4:43pm (UTC -6)
I gotta push back against W Smith's assertion that the line of Mary Shelley being poet's wife is a reflection of Trip's character. Maybe because I'm a big Trip fan but I see it more as bad writing that any indication that he's backwards or shallow. I don't know any of Percy Shelley's works and haven't come across anyone talking about this episode who has either. So saying that Mary Shelley was the wife of someone she far overshadows is just weird.

Also, Kirk wouldn't waste his time watching movies? WTF? Unless you're a couch potato who watches Netflix all day long, I don't see how that's wasting your life. It's a way to decompress like it was for Yanks in the Navy. Obviously, W Smith didn't get what T'Pol learned: movies can teach important lessons. Plus since Enterprise was an earlier time, they're supposed to be less evolved than TOS.
Mon, Mar 18, 2019, 9:45am (UTC -6)
I thought this episode was an average outing. As mentioned above, the acting on the cargo ship was not Emmy-worthy, I did not buy into the tension between the brothers, and I thought there was going to be more of a mama-bear intervention to slap them around (well, verbally anyway). For me, it came across as a mild dysfunction, with some sulkiness and sibling jealousy. Jammer describes the unresoved nature of the feelings at the end of the episode and I totally agree. One of the frustrating things about character development on this series, is the fact that we have tension, a common enemy, come together with guns blazing, and then the credits roll. A pity, as a 2 minute family supper scene with mama might have resolved some of this, and made the audience more sympathetic towards Mayweather's character.

And who is Nora? Just a buddy? Former girlfriend? That could have been a good opportunity to develop some backstory.

The episode did make Mayweather look very advanced, with his knowledge of weapons, systems, enemy ship specifications. On the other hand, his brother comes across as "in over his head," and a weak leader. At the end of it, I would not be surprised if more of his crew left to train for Starfleet.
Dr. Worm
Mon, Aug 5, 2019, 10:41pm (UTC -6)
I have a general issue with Berman/Braga era Trek, and that's the bizarrely over-written, clunky, stilted dialog. Characters often don't feel real, because their interactions don't feel like actual human interactions.

Travis Mayweather is a prime example -- his general persona is one of a bafflingly 50's 'gee whiz!' little boy who's seeing space and ships and aliens for the very first time... *every time*. This strikes me as completely out of place for a Starfleet officer. Especially one who is trusted to man the helm of his world's flagship.

The Travis/Paul scenes have no weight. No gravitas. We have two characters who grew up on a cargo ship. One is a weirdly naive kid-in-uniform, while the other seems to be a childish, impetuous drama queen. Neither character is believable as a deep-space cargo guy, and their interactions reek of Days of our Lives-level 'acting'.

This is like too many Enterprise episodes -- a solid story idea, utterly failed by bad casting, awkward and unconvincing acting, and badly written dialog.

T'Pol was the standout. And I think I'm figuring something out about her in this episode. I don't think she's the arrogant, self-assured prickess that she seemed to be at first. I think T'Pol has actually grown attached to her crewmates, and wants to show it, but doesn't know *how*. She's like a cat that wants to meet you and be your friend, but still doesn't understand people and is afraid of them.

The scene where she grabs a handful of Archer's popcorn -- it seemed like she actually really wanted some, but didn't know the right *protocol* for asking, so she just grabbed it. During dinner, her analysis of the movie, and banter about looking forward to 'Bride of Frankenstein' was almost... adorable? She's trying. She's reaching out. She is, in her own way, just a kid who wants to fit in.

T'Pol also definitely has a sense of humor. It's obviously Vulcan deadpan, but It's definitely there.
Sat, Nov 30, 2019, 4:40pm (UTC -6)
^^ Love this analysis of T’Pol in this episode. I have a soft spot for these lightweight, “just another day in space” subplots. They humanize the Trek universe and make it feel real. It’s the exact opposite of Star Wars, which is epic space action all the time. Not a complaint about Star Wars; it usually succeeds on that level. But I don’t buy into the Wars universe as much as Trek, because part of me craves funny, warm, everyday plots about movie night on a starship. I got a great chuckle out of imagining Soval sitting down with intense Vulcan meditative focus to watch Frankenstein!

The episode, though, is awkwardly written on a basic structural level. There’s the mention of lifeforms on the erupting planet which goes nowhere. There’s the one scene featuring Travis’ childhood buddy (girlfriend??) who we just start to get interested in before she disappears into oblivion. Though I really enjoyed the B-plot, it’s like they shoved it in because they were afraid that Mayweather couldn’t carry an episode on his own. Anthony is… fine. Merely fine. Though I do enjoy the understated mentor / mentee relationship between Archer and Mayweather. Feels very much like an experienced actor (Bakula) showing the ropes to a newbie (Montgomery).

*** stars from me. Nothing too special, but I appreciate the insight into Mayweather’s background and how the episode makes the Horizon a believable world.
Wed, Jun 24, 2020, 1:01am (UTC -6)
I chime in these many years later to say I don’t see Travis as a “blank slate,” but rather very earnest and optimistic. And revisiting this episode after the jaded, downright deplorable character traits on display in ST:Picard, that fresh, eager, openness is extremely welcome. I only find myself disappointed that Travis is relegated to the background when in many ways I prefer him to Hoshi’s blandness or Malcolm’s “must follow the rules” routine.
Sun, Aug 30, 2020, 6:11am (UTC -6)
Jeff probably won't see this 10 years later, but this is the first time for me watching Enterprise, so it's fresh for me. Somewhere I saw an interview with Montgomery in which he said he had no vision for the character of Travis, no conception of where he wanted him to go. To me that goes a long way toward explaining why his performance was so poor. HE didn't know who the guy was either. If he had, the poor scripts wouldn't have been quite so noticeable.
Wed, Sep 16, 2020, 9:46am (UTC -6)
I think Enterprise fell victim to the trap a lot of early 2000s shows did, namely feeling the need to stack the cast with nothing but beautiful people with less than 5% body fat. Every guy on the main cast is ripped for some reason, and T’Pol is a silicone injected sex symbol. Even Bakula looks like he significantly buffed up for the role. I wouldn’t be surprised if Phlox took of his shirt at some point and you find out Denobulans have an 18 pack (a 6-pack for each wife of course).

Granted, TOS had a lot of ladies in mini skirts, but they still had realistic looking bodies, plus it was the 60s and Roddenberry was a little sexist. What I’m getting at is while the acting is generally acceptable, It’s the weakest of all the series and it becomes more and more apparent as the series progresses, these actors were hired for all the wrong reasons. In an effort to pack a Starship with a super sexy cast, they also made it the blandest ship in the quadrant.

2/4 stars from me. Also, if the guy who played Paul was actually casted as Travis, it would have probably helped the series.
Sean J Hagins
Wed, Dec 2, 2020, 6:28am (UTC -6)
I liked this one. I do think Travis' brother was a little pigheaded at first, but I can understand that he had big shoes to feel, and did not want to "lean on" Starfleet like a crutch. He might have even been a little jealous of Travis for leaving. I also understand his point that it is getting harder to get recruits for the shipping gild with everyone joining Starfleet.


I think what the show is trying to say is that everyone in the future will be more active and eating healthier, so all people will be "beautiful people with less than 5% body fat" I honestly don't see many of the women on the show as attractive (I can't really explain it-their faces just aren't attractive to me), but yes, everyone is in shape and healthy.

I actually don't see Travis' acting as poor. (Or the actor's rather-I know "Travis" is a character)

As far as movie night goes, I can kind of see it being an entertainment among the crew. I am surprised that all they watch are old classics. I imagine the "real" reason for this is that it is easier, (or cheaper) to show clips of oldies rather than new movies, but I would think they would just show a clip of some future movie that isn't out yet (maybe that would be expensive to film though?) I mean really, every week they watch films that are at least 100 years old? That seems unlikely.

I do like T'Pol's reactions. I think this is an intentional choice that now late in the 2nd season, she is having more emotion (kind of subtle like Spock) Even the Vulcan Ambassador said in the Andorian mediatior episode that she has a trace of a human accent.

What I really like about this show is that it seems that the crew is gradually changing over time (like they would in real life)

Something else that kind of surprises me is that there is no mention of freighter refits. I mean, I understand that Enterprise is the first Warp 5 engine, so I don't expect every freighter to have one of those, but I find it odd that they all (the "J-types" mentioned) have Warp 2 engines that are 50 years old. A comparison to me is this: Tesla (or other "modern" cars) are fairly new and rare. I don't expect everybody to drive one. But I also don't expect that everyone on the road that doesn't have a Tesla would have a 1990 Ford Taurus!
Bob ( a different one)
Mon, Mar 15, 2021, 3:29pm (UTC -6)
Jason said: "For some reason I couldn't help but imagine T'Pol as Elsa Lanchester"

T'Pol as the Bride of Phloxenstein:
Tue, Mar 23, 2021, 3:05am (UTC -6)
Biggest thing with Travis is that he should have been a lieutenant in far less than four years. He had more space travel time than anyone else on Enterprise, he did his job through innumerable trials and tribulations, and he never made any mistake that I remember.

I am choosing to assume that the holodeck images in "These Are the Voyages" were six years out of date: no rank increases, no hairstyle changes, no new wrinkles, etc.
Frake's Nightmare
Wed, Mar 24, 2021, 5:55pm (UTC -6)
So no films were made after the 20th century ?
Wed, Mar 24, 2021, 7:55pm (UTC -6)
@Franke's Nughtmare

My headcanon is that World War 3 and EMP's pretty much wiped all 21st century digital stored and recorded culture.
Frake's Nightmare
Sat, Mar 27, 2021, 2:13pm (UTC -6)
Maybe they should watch some Star Trek films, get a few tips on how to run a mission ?
Chris Nash
Tue, Apr 27, 2021, 8:22am (UTC -6)
@Mark - I think he left Horizon four years ago and spent two of them at Starfleet Academy (or wherever this century's Starfleet trains its officers - Archer mentioned that Starfleet wasn't chartered when he was a young man making career decisions, which would have been only ~25 years prior, so it might be too young of a service branch to have the dedicated "Academy" - but I digress). Then two years aboard Enterprise.

I'd imagine that the promotion track for Starfleet officers is less well defined, too, given that Enterprise is their only long-range explorer and it's out charting the galaxy for an indeterminate amount of time. Crew rotation is at least another 18 months away at this point, as it'd take them just as long to return to Earth as it has done travelling away from it. Enterprise is more like Voyager in that respect - it's definitely got a feeling of "all alone in this big bad galaxy" that Voyager did pretty well. (But then, that just contributes to how similar the two shows feel in terms of their scope and ambition - see my comment on "The Crossing" earlier this season.)
Mon, Sep 27, 2021, 9:19am (UTC -6)
This episode worked better for me than I thought it would. I found the basic premise of it to be solid, and I really appreciated the civilian "Boomer" perspective from a world-building standpoint. Honestly Montgomery showed that if he were given actual things do with his character, he could handle them *passably*.

However, there is a key problem with this episode's attempt to flesh out Mayweather's character, and give him actual things to do. Namely, its fundamental inconsistency with everything that has gone before, esp. with regard to Travis's competencies and capacities. In the past, Mayweather has been little more than a helmsman, with other skills only having been hinted at. Suddenly, in "Horizon", because it serves the plot, we see him as someone who has been a keen pupil and observer, learning from Reed and Tucker to the extent that he is able to implement their solutions and skillsets, even in a jury-rigged fashion, using the substandard hardware of a "J-class" freighter.

Don't get me wrong: I think this confidence and competence is welcome, and arguably realistic. Mayweather is a *bridge officer.* Even only a year out of spacedock, his training and experience should include a fair amount of knowledge of the inner workings of a starship, to the point that re-routing power to a few relays should be manageable for him.

So why do I bring it up as an inconsistency? Because it helps me to echo and reinforce Jammer's big criticism that neither the writers nor the actor have any idea what to build on top of the blank slate of this character. The inconsistency extends not only to his skillset, but also to his *personality*, highlighting a major logical flow in this episode. In the past, Travis has always come across as inexperienced, but here he is suddenly confident enough in his own abilities and his modifications that he decides to fight off the raiders himself. He does a handy job of it too, using his piloting skills to out maneuver the raiders, and then his juiced up weaponry to disable them.

But when you apply any amount of critical thinking, you realize that this approach to the problem is ridiculous, irresponsible, and totally inconsistent with what Travis (as portrayed so far) would do. The first thing they should have done was to send out a distress call to Enterprise. A Warp 5 ship could have arrived in minutes, and "Lt. Reed" could have disarmed that explosive beacon himself. Defending Earth civilians is presumably one of Starfleet's primary mandates, even in the 22nd century. Surveying gas giants can wait. So with Earth's most advanced starship within communication range, it's ridiculous that they did not simply call for help. If I were Travis, and it were *my* family and childhood friends on the line, I would not rely upon what I had learned from higher-ranking experts. I would just bring in the higher-ranking experts to save the day. Travis has never come across as overly cocky, self-assured, or having unearned confidence. He's come across as grounded (and bland). So it makes no absolutely no sense that he wouldn't bring in the cavalry. It's a major plot flaw that Horizon is depicted as being on it's own by default here, and the proximity to Enterprise is never even brought up.

This leads me nicely to the final absurdity of the episode -- the lack of any sort of debriefing and report. For whatever reason, Travis DOES take this on himself, and he succeeds! A single officer manages to defend an entire ship full of civilians. Again, that's a major reason why Starfleet is out there, so he should be getting a commendation for this! Instead, he chooses not to report it! He pretends to Archer that his family visit had been entirely routine, and that all was well. Leaving aside the fact that he's giving up the chance to get credit for a job well done, this decision is also short-sighted on his part, and arguably negligent. What if the raiders aren't discouraged, and they do continue to prey on Earth ships? He's putting his family at risk. If Earth is going to begin to set up systematic defence of its shipping lanes, then Starfleet needs intel on this raider ship, on its tech and its MO. Admiral Forrest needs to know in what sectors raiding activity is taking place. *Ensign* Mayweather should thus be obligated to give a full report on the encounter, and Enterprise should have requested a download of all the specs on the raider ship that were obtained from Horizon's scans.

Once again, the writers' decisions on this series fly in the face of any sort of logic and realism.
Mon, Nov 8, 2021, 9:58pm (UTC -6)
Glad to see Travis get some screen time, and the review is spot on. The plot is a ripoff from TNG with Picard clashing with his older brother for the same reasons.

The problem with Travis is that he's too bland like Harry. He has a mildly likeable, friendly personality, but the character has no passion. There are some Trek characters that I loved, and others I hated, but I have no emotional response to Travis. Keiko O'Brien made my skin crawl, but at least she triggered a reaction. I did like when he snapped back at his brother though, and for a second, I thought he was going to score in the bunk bed scene. I guess he has the same luck with women as Harry.

This episode made me realize that a key problem with Enterprise is having Berman and Braga behind it. They did phenomenal work with other Trek series, and I don't mean to fault them. but at some point, you run out of ideas and start recycling old ones. Almost every Enterprise episode borrows ideas from their past work. In contrast, DS9 had additional creative voices like Ira Behr that resulted in fresh ideas and creative stories.
Wed, Feb 23, 2022, 3:32am (UTC -6)
Montgomery has to be the most flat actor in all of the Star Trek main casts. When I first started watching Enterprise, there was something about the crew that I couldn't stand right from the get go, and it took me a while to realize it was Travis. There's something about his overly basic acting that brings down the tenor of every scene he's in. I can't figure out exactly if this was a directorial problem or the actor's choice, but I err on the latter because even the other actors, when given mundane material, management to show some breadth. But even in the best written episodes, Travis is portrayed without much spark. I found this episode difficult to watch as well as the other few episodes that featured him because he adds virtually nothing to the show. At least Harry Kim had an attitude sometimes.
Wed, Feb 23, 2022, 11:21am (UTC -6)

"Montgomery has to be the most flat actor in all of the Star Trek main casts. When I first started watching Enterprise, there was something about the crew that I couldn't stand right from the get go, and it took me a while to realize it was Travis. There's something about his overly basic acting that brings down the tenor of every scene he's in. I can't figure out exactly if this was a directorial problem or the actor's choice, but I err on the latter because even the other actors, when given mundane material, management to show some breadth. But even in the best written episodes, Travis is portrayed without much spark. I found this episode difficult to watch as well as the other few episodes that featured him because he adds virtually nothing to the show. At least Harry Kim had an attitude sometimes."

While I agree with you concerning Anthony's acting skills at this young age, I thought he did pretty well in this episode. I thought the other guy was overacting.
Sun, Jul 17, 2022, 1:07pm (UTC -6)
When a new Trek series starts the first few tie-in novels are always a little "off" because the authors start writing before the first episode ever airs. So the characters are going to be different and the plots may be a little generic. Weirdly I get the same impression from Horizon.

This episode feels like a script that has been stuck in a drawer since sometime before Broken Bow aired. Mayweather's story was a boring kitchen sink drama, and the regular cast, particularly T'Pol seemed slightly out of character.
Fri, Mar 10, 2023, 3:19pm (UTC -6)
Sometimes I think Enterprise is sort of the Frankenstein of Trek - stitching together bits and pieces and body parts from other ST shows!

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