Star Trek: Enterprise
Air date: 9/17/2003
Written by Mike Sussman
Directed by David Straiton
Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan
"All I'm saying is that this mission, whether it succeeds or not, is looking like a one-way ticket all the time." — Tucker
In brief: Thankfully, the F-key the writers used this time around was F5 — refresh.
Good heavens, why in the world didn't they make this the season premiere?
Last week's "Xindi," which mostly transplanted to the Delphic Expanse so many of the typical Enterprise clichés that are old and tired, ultimately arrived at a place where I mainly sensed a balloon (already) deflating. But with "Anomaly," Enterprise bounces back in a big way. This episode works for nearly every reason "The Xindi" did not.
Here's an hour that, unlike last week's "Xindi," actually feels like the NX-01 is in uncharted waters — physically, emotionally, environmentally, and morally. The crew makes some intriguing discoveries. Meanwhile, we discover just how determined Captain Archer has become to get answers.
This episode, for starters, is proof that action-centric Trek can indeed work, and work well. After the meaningless paint-by-numbers action scenes of "The Xindi," the action of "Anomaly" is tightly focused and staged with a legitimate purpose. This is clearly one of the best efforts on Enterprise from an action standpoint, and one of the better Enterprise installments so far overall.
"Anomaly" — a title that proves to be the weakest aspect of the episode — begins as, yes, a series of anomalies bombard the ship and play havoc with the laws of physics. The bulkheads bend, meal trays go crashing to the ceiling, and Archer's coffee goes floating in midair. The funkiness of the physical laws also has a more serious consequence: Warp speed is impossible, leaving the Enterprise stranded in the region until Trip can find a workaround.
About here is where the Enterprise happens upon a ship floating dead in space. The crew, along with members of the MACO team (who, in a goofy costuming choice, wear their backpacks even when running around their own ship), investigate the derelict and find its dead crew — killed in a violent raid. This investigation scene at first seems like a redundant replay of "Fight or Flight" from two years ago (darkened corridors, corpses, etc.); the scene is brief, however, and the story keeps us moving forward toward answers, which is among the episode's strengths.
Lest they be attacked by the perpetrators who raided the alien ship, Archer orders the Enterprise to get as far away from the derelict as limited speed will allow. But the Enterprise is quickly found and boarded by the alien assault team anyway, leading to a protracted action sequence that for once works, despite — and perhaps even because of — its drawn-out nature. The same sort of shootouts and fights that I complained about in "The Xindi" are effective here, because they are well-executed pieces in a puzzling situation, rather than well-executed pieces in a meaningless and obvious situation. Jay Chattaway unleashes an aggressive score of in-your-face drumbeats, which suggests that maybe the musical attitudes for TV Trek are being revised.
The alien raiders are actually of a race called the Osaarians, whom Phlox recognizes as not indigenous to the expanse. Before being repelled and escaping in their ship, the Osaarians steal a bevy of supplies from the Enterprise, including all the fuel reserves, which introduces a dire situation in need of a swift answer. Also, one of Trip's engineers is killed in the raid, which I believe is the first crew fatality since the series started.
One Osaarian raider (Robert Rusler) is captured and thrown in the brig. Archer wants information from this prisoner that may help the Enterprise find the Osaarian ship and recover the stolen supplies. The prisoner balks. Archer threatens. The prisoner looks Archer in the eye and tells him he is too "evolved" to resort to the kind of tactics he will need to in order to get answers — at least, for now. After some time trapped in the expanse, he says, the Enterprise crew will learn to become ruthless predators in order to survive. (According to him, the expanse lets you in, but it doesn't let you out. It's an interstellar Roach Motel.)
In some of its basic elements, this episode reminded me of Voyager's "The Void," in which Voyager became trapped in an area of space not unlike what is represented here by the Delphic Expanse, and was assaulted by supply thieves not unlike what is represented here by the Osaarians. If the basic premise of "Anomaly" reminds me of "The Void," where it goes from its starting point does not; "Anomaly" is sort of a "Void" in reverse. "Void" was about Janeway cooperating with others to find a mutual escape. There is no such hope of that notion here. If "Void" was the ultimate in idealism and optimism and unbending Trekkian values, then "Anomaly" is the ultimate in ruthless pragmatism and buying survival for whatever it might end up costing you.
Although there's plenty else going on, the primary conflict in "Anomaly" is the showdown between Archer and the uncooperative prisoner, and the question of the lengths Archer will go, or not go, to get crucial information out of him. What is perhaps most striking about this episode is its focused single-mindedness. Once the plot is in motion, it doesn't let up or become distracted with irrelevancies. It becomes a series of clues and follow-ups, punctuated by bigger mysteries, action sequences, and Archer showing a determination that edges into obsession.
Let's talk for a moment about Archer, a changed man compared to last season. Just like in "The Xindi," we have here an Archer who is utterly determined to complete his mission. He exhibits a steely resolve and an all-business demeanor, apparently born from the massive weight put upon him. He isn't unpleasant to his crew, but he isn't exactly friendly, either. He's got a darker and more decisive sensibility; he's terse, direct, serious. In his scenes with T'Pol, for example, he's quick to make up his mind and challenge anything that resembles inaction. In his mind, inaction will lead only to disaster.
I'm not sure yet whether or not I'm ultimately going to like this new version of Archer, or whether it should've grown more gradually over the course of the season, but dramatically I do find him interesting so far, and Scott Bakula's performances make it worth watching. There's a scene where Archer opens a channel to the Osaarians and tersely says: "This is Captain Archer. Remember us?" — a greeting that I found refreshing in its unwillingness to screw around and waste time with needless verbiage.
I'm also not sure if this new Archer will make for a weaker T'Pol, who has here the thankless role of being the quiet Voice of Reason in a situation that seemingly demands far more impulse and guts than reason. When Archer proposes a plan to go up against the Osaarians, T'Pol quietly says, "They are heavily armed. Are you sure it's wise to engage them?" The way she says it — virtually walking on eggshells — is almost child-like, which could be a major pitfall for this character.
The episode does its best to keep supporting characters alive. Trip offers a realist's voice that works because it doesn't venture too far into forced cynicism. In discussing with Reed the crewman who died in the Osaarian assault, Trip bleakly muses, "I doubt he'll be the last," and calls the Enterprise's mission a "one-way ticket." (I welcomed the weighty tone of this scene.) The episode also shows Trip as overworked and still unable to sleep, and I found myself interested in the idea that he could possibly become dependent on sedatives for sleeping, if Phlox were not barring them.
The chase plot turns out to have a surprising amount of enticing material. The Enterprise follows the Osaarians' ion trail into a cloaking field that hides a massive spherical space station 19 kilometers in diameter, more than 1,000 years old, and apparently capable of generating huge amounts of power. It might hold the key to some other Delphic Expanse mysteries, like the source of the strange anomalies that defy known physics.
Visually, I was impressed by the straightforward clarity with which the cloaking field and the sphere are envisioned. The crew ventures inside the sphere (some more wonderful visuals) and finds that the Osaarians are using it as a storage base for their piracy operation. Here the crew is able to retrieve their stolen supplies and find information in an Osaarian inventory database, which leads to Hoshi's subsequent discovery of Xindi words printed on a looted item.
That word, "Xindi," appears to be the word most likely to send Archer into Crazy Mofo mode. Archer Needs Answers Dammit and interrogates the Osaarian prisoner about what he knows about the Xindi. More balking prompts Archer to drag the prisoner into an airlock and vent the atmosphere. Archer makes demands while the prisoner begins to suffocate. This is a dramatically potent scene, made compelling by Archer's no-nonsense, bordering-on-obsessive single-mindedness; the moral questions; and the aggressive filming technique. Would Archer have actually let the guy die if he hadn't agreed to talk? I tend to doubt it, but the extent of the action speaks for itself — this is an edgier Archer who may end up doing some questionable things in the interests of getting the job done.
The final act provides a superb space battle that is an example of how action on this show should be done. For once, we get an action scene that employs an explicit goal (downloading a valuable Xindi database from the Osaarian ship's computer) while utilizing clever battle strategies with a logic we can follow.
"Anomaly" is, simply put, entertaining. It works as sci-fi, as action, as mystery, as setup. It provides lots of nice details that can be built upon down the road. It is not perfect. It doesn't scrutinize Archer's actions as much as it probably could. (When released, the prisoner tells Archer, "So, you have let your morality get in the way after all." Not sure I buy that line, since Archer already got the information he wanted and had no reason to continue holding him. Seems more like the writers are trying to let Archer off the hook for the earlier torture scene.) If there's a larger comment on Archer's growing obsession, it's done without words, in the final shot, where he loads the database onto the screen. As the Xindi information fills the room, Archer's ever-serious expression says all that needs to be said.
Next week: TNG's "Genesis" + DS9's "Children of Time" = ???
Previous episode: The Xindi
Next episode: Extinction
Like this site? Support it by buying Jammer a coffee.
60 comments on this post
Sat, Sep 26, 2009, 11:19am (UTC -5)
I pretty much decided to stop watching the show after this, and sceing the first few acts of "Extinction" the following week only confirmed my feelings.
I also like your comparison with "The Void." Obviously, this is television, so whatever choices (good or bad) our characters make, it always ends up being the right one. I would like to see an episode like "The Void" where the characters decide to stick to their values and it doesn't work. But they still stick to them, because if you aren't willing to die for what you believe in, you don't really believe in much, do you?
Mon, Jul 5, 2010, 3:09pm (UTC -5)
Back on track while entertaining the core of this episode has moral problems for me anyway. Jake T. #7 out.
Thu, Mar 31, 2011, 7:19am (UTC -5)
Enterprise was trying to create some parallel's with the 9/11 attacks in the Season 2 cliffhanger, so it's not really surprising to see torture in these episodes.
You also have to remember, 24 was a very popular show at the time and they constantly showed torture.
Archer was commonly criticized at the time for being a "wussy". I think this episode was the writer's response to this criticism.
I am not defending the show. It doesn't work in 2011. We know torture is not a reliable means of gathering information, and there's no reason to think the Osaarian would give the correct codes under duress. He's far more likely to give the wrong codes just to stop the torture.
I think in 2011, this episode is maybe 2.5 or 3 stars. It doesn't resonate very well anymore at all, and it doesn't feel like Star Trek. It feels like a show trying to be something it's not.
Season 4 was the first real season of Enterprise honestly. That should have been the first season of the series.
Fri, May 11, 2012, 12:50am (UTC -5)
I agree that the torture part made no sense. If that guy was so intent on withholding information, he could have just lied. It made sense he'd talk under threat of torture, but tt didn't make sense that he'd provide 100% accurate info.
Mon, May 14, 2012, 9:55am (UTC -5)
Sat, Aug 4, 2012, 12:18pm (UTC -5)
And I love how everyone here has a Ph.D. in torture and psychology now because one guy read an article and the rest of you read his comment and thought "yea what that guy said". That's the one bad thing about the internet everyone thinks they know everything cause they can google/wikipedia it. *derp*
Sat, Aug 4, 2012, 5:03pm (UTC -5)
As I said before, the episode was written for the times it was aired - back when lots of people had 9/11 on their minds, and torture was suddenly "Acceptable" in the minds most Americans, mostly because they were sad and pissed off at the time. It appealed to them. I don't think it appeals to many people anymore, mostly because of the re-education about torture - and the evidence of what has happened since 9/11.
Thu, Aug 23, 2012, 10:09am (UTC -5)
Fri, Nov 23, 2012, 5:10pm (UTC -5)
Yes this was just after 9/11 when many Americans were pissed off and found torture acceptable. To me, this only goes serves to make the show and its writers look weaker: assuming it goes on like this, one event was enough to bring a 35 year old vision of an enlightened humanity down to its knees.
As a show in general, 4 stars seems about right...
As Star Trek, I'm sorry, 1 star. Roddenberry will have been turning in his grave.
Fri, Nov 23, 2012, 5:12pm (UTC -5)
On a lighter note, wasn't that alien ship a repainted Voyager?
Tue, Dec 11, 2012, 5:34am (UTC -5)
Other than that... why am I watching this? Oh yeah, 'cause I'm out of things I want to watch and can't find Babylon 5.
Mon, Dec 31, 2012, 1:27am (UTC -5)
I'm not sure how a human body would recover from the kind of bending and wrenching we see the ship take.
Thu, Apr 18, 2013, 12:38am (UTC -5)
Wed, Sep 11, 2013, 7:54pm (UTC -5)
"wasn't that alien ship a repainted Voyager?"
I had the same thought.
Mon, May 5, 2014, 6:44pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Jun 3, 2014, 11:22am (UTC -5)
Cripes. Can lazy writing get any worse?
This episode was horrible.
Tue, Jun 3, 2014, 11:42am (UTC -5)
I honestly felt Archer had decided to kill him if he didn't give up the codes and just did it slowly to give him a chance to change his mind.
"ARCHER: Which species of Xindi were they? What did they look like?
ORGOTH: I don't remember.
ARCHER: (opens cell door and holds his phase pistol to Orgoth's head) Are you sure?
ORGOTH: Your threats aren't very convincing. I told you, you're too civilised.
ARCHER: We'll see about that. (marches him out of cell)
ARCHER: As you were. "
He wasn't torturing him for information, he was going to kill him if he didn't provide it and he needed the man to believe him. If the man gave him false information he was going to die.
Torture someone long enough and they'll admit to anything, tell you anything, it's unreliable. But make sure someone knows you'll kill them? Well if you value your life that's a good bargaining chip. It was cruel, but I hardly equate it to waterboarding. Maybe a SINGLE waterboarding.
I think it doesn't do torture justice to call this torture.
Tue, Mar 3, 2015, 8:16pm (UTC -5)
Here we are, minding our own business with the ship coming apart around our ears. "No life signs - and artificial gravity is down as well!" warns T'pol. CUE SUDDEN SCENE CHANGE: MACO's GONE WILD. Cut to Corporal NotasprettyasBermanthinks "I very clearly wanted to be on a different show but this is all I got" McDeadeyes, putting up her pony while in her skivvies and surrounded by not-more-convincing MACO dudes. Let's throw in Scott Bakula for good measure, heard he was jealous that Trip was getting all the nekkid time. But we need to tie it all together - I KNOW. Let's talk about gravity boots and magnetic variances. THAT'LL MAKE THINGS SEEM ORGANIC.
I get that Trek has always been something that you might get embarrassed by if someone caught you watching it. But this just takes that to a new level of squick.
Thu, May 14, 2015, 11:08pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Jun 16, 2015, 2:34pm (UTC -5)
And please stop with the undressing/dressing scenes and massage jokes/innuendo. Why so puerile? These are the reasons why they lost the Trek audience.
Mon, Jul 27, 2015, 5:29pm (UTC -5)
I think this quote from DS9 about a similar situation sums it up quite well:
Elim Garak: That's why you came to me, isn't it, Captain? Because you knew I could do those things that you weren't capable of doing? Well, it worked. And you'll get what you want: a war between the Romulans and the Dominion. And if your conscience is bothering you, you should soothe it with the knowledge that you may have just saved the entire Alpha Quadrant. And all it cost was the life of one Romulan senator, one criminal, and the self-respect of one Starfleet officer. I don't know about you, but I'd call that a bargain.
Mon, Apr 25, 2016, 10:42am (UTC -5)
To me, avenging angel Archer is just about credible. But I'd agree with all those who thought successful torture was unpalatable in the series - it is very much a child of its times and perhaps dated because of it. Perhaps more interesting is Trip's character shift - even the famously fatalistic Reed is trying to get him to see the bright side.
Overall, I thought this looked stunning, was dramatic and entertaining, but left me feeling just a little queasy about the future direction of the show. Gritty and realistic can be good, but a series that takes Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo as its inspiration needs to play very carefully in that realm. 2.5 stars.
Thu, Jul 7, 2016, 11:25am (UTC -5)
Sat, Apr 15, 2017, 5:37pm (UTC -5)
Anyway you've all dealt with that, so on to other matters. The new bad-ass Archer is refreshing, but are the writers over-compensating? I get the feeling this will get very wearing if he's going to be perpetually bitchy to everyone all season. Balance is required.
But all in all, finally the show feels like it has a sense of direction and something to look forward to. I felt that with this episode Enterprise finally staked out its ground and justified its existence. I just hope the rest of the season doesn't become Archer's monomaniacal shock and awe campaign.
One thing I've decided: I like all the fresh faces on board. It's good to see the ship bustling as if it actually has more people on board than the bridge crew. Last season was getting reminiscent of season three of TOS, where three characters got all the dialog, and the ship seemed deserted.
Tue, May 9, 2017, 11:24pm (UTC -5)
It's a re-used or very ripped off model....
Mon, Jun 5, 2017, 3:28pm (UTC -5)
The biggest thing is Archer's character development - for me, torture is not Trek although we've seen the TOS Enterprise crew tortured a number of times but don't recall the Enterprise crew in whichever series torturing an alien.
Here, I actually don't mind Archer trying torture on the Osaarian although the fact that perfect info is given is quite convenient. Archer is desperate and so gives it a shot - clearly he's a different captain from S1 and S2.
Nevertheless, it's a good story encapsulated in 1 episode that the Enterprise is coming to grips with the Expanse - laws of physics not working, need to adapt the ship etc. - and more unfriendly aliens.
The episode also had a decent ship battle scene which was well done and credible.
I give it 3 stars out of 4.
Thu, Aug 31, 2017, 5:38pm (UTC -5)
Second, let's look at the scenario of "Anomaly." Earth has just been brutally attacked. You learn that there is ANOTHER attack forthcoming that, if you don't stop it in time, will completely destroy Earth. This means you're in a race against time to stop this attack, and you've already spent two months looking for the perpetrators and have so far come up empty. You're in a region known to be dangerous and are facing down pirates who just finished robbing you and killing a crewman. You then find out that these pirates have the only - I repeat - ONLY lead to finding Earth's attackers and potentially stopping the extinction of humanity. And the one guy who can help you access that information is openly defying you by basically saying I know the information you're asking me about but I won't tell you and you don't have the balls to get it out of me. How SHOULD have Archer handled that situation? If his actions were "un-Trek," then what is the "Trek" way to solve this problem?
Tue, Sep 12, 2017, 6:08am (UTC -5)
Threatening one criminal pirate seems like not that big of a deal to me in that context.
Don't forget that Janeway tortured a member of Starfleet to save her own ship in Equinox. That was much much worse that what Archer did.
Good episode. 3 stars
Wed, Nov 8, 2017, 11:49pm (UTC -5)
Of course that brings me to the airlock torture scene, which is far more shocking now than it would have been in the early 2000s and not very Star Trek-ish. But then the Enterprise series as a whole wasn't very Star Trek-ish, so it wasn't as jarring to me as it would've been on, say, TNG. Plus I've already made a commitment to watch the entire season and I'm not going to stop two episodes in, especially when the overall episode is as strong as this one. 'Anomaly' is a message to the viewer that ENT is committed to the Xindi storyline no matter what - and that there's no way back from it, just as Trip says.
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 11:13am (UTC -5)
That's what so great about Star Trek. It brings people together.
Star Trek... well... it's about family... ... no ahhh it is... ... ... about being nice and stuff... mostly... sometimes.
And if your planet gets attacked and a shadow from the future who coincidentally is your enemy tells you who it was and that these "Xindi" are planning far worse then it is time kill and torture people maybe just because you are mad!.
This episode taught us that the strong certainly laugh about these Starfleet weirdos and their "morality"!
Star Trek boldly went where the USA already were.
Tue, May 8, 2018, 5:16am (UTC -5)
Fri, Jun 15, 2018, 3:37pm (UTC -5)
Archer and starfleet may have the good will to act honorably when dealing with space and the races found out there, but up to now not too much appreciation was given to them in return - as someone says in this particular episode, everyone seemed to be keen on hurting them instead. So we have some sobering up here, a blow dealed by the Xindi demands determination. Archer has revised his previous behavior and came to the conclusion he was in deed too nice most of the time. We have to forgive his falling back into 'less civilized' human behavior such as torturing. Mankind is still just at the beginning of finding its future in the middle of other races and the Federation. Still some way to go. And it is like in real life; under stress and in exceptional situations the old 'barbarian' mindset comes popping up and pushes the 'civilized' cover aside for a glimpse of what we were thousands of years before. This is what Cpt Archer goes through, and it is understandable, given the circumstances - shock of the Xindi attack on Earth and the anomaly effect on ship and crew, which wonders as Trip does, if they are ever gonna make it back...
Thu, Jul 12, 2018, 5:44am (UTC -5)
Wed, Oct 3, 2018, 4:44pm (UTC -5)
A thought experiment:
You’re in bed late at night when suddenly your bedroom door gets smashed in by three blokes brandishing pliers and a pair of electrodes. They quickly overpower you, then strap the electrodes to your plums and hook them up to the mains, whilst getting to work on your fingernails with the pliers. A few minutes and some screaming later, they ask you for the keys to your car. Do you think you’re telling these bollock-burners a lie to stop the torture or are you going to tell them where the keys are? That’s a rhetorical question because any rational, sane person in this situation is absolutely terrified that a lie will simply result in further torture whilst giving away the information demanded might lead to a reprieve. So you hand over the bloody keys sharpish.
The reason torture isn’t a reliable method of extracting information is because, much of the time, the poor sap being tortured doesn’t actually have the information being demanded. In that event a person will often make up a story in the hope of stopping the torture. Unlike the scenario presented above, they have nothing to lose by lying because the alternative is the guarantee of prolonged torture and/or execution.
If you have the relevant information and assuming you aren’t a highly unusually resilient individual or specially trained to resist (e.g. special forces soldier) then any sufficiently unpleasant torture will make you squeal like Miss Piggy in Kermit’s bedroom. It isn’t in any way outlandish that in this episode the alien gave accurate information under duress. In reality it might’ve taken a bit more than a few seconds of hypoxia to make him spill his guts, but then again it is a family TV show.
Fri, Oct 12, 2018, 8:20pm (UTC -5)
That said, the episodes through the first two seasons have been very uneven and above average at best. If it wasn’t for the characters, I’d have given up by now.
This third season so far has been a big improvement. I agree that Archer’s theatening of the captive pirate is dark for Trek, but it is also clear that the stakes have never been this high. Archer said something, one or two episodes ago, that he no longer bears the responsibility for the lives of the crew, he now has the entire Earth depending on him and his mission. He wasn’t exactly pulling out the pirate’s finger nails but rather convincing him that he wasn’t just bluffing, as the pirate clearly believed.
In any case, the whole look and feel of the shownjas gone through some sort of upgrade. I don’t know if the effects budget got a boost, or Berman and Bragga hired a better writer or what, but this very uneven show seems to have improved noticeably this season.
Thu, Nov 1, 2018, 5:49pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Nov 17, 2018, 10:28am (UTC -5)
Mon, Jan 14, 2019, 11:37am (UTC -5)
Ask yourself this question: If you were serving aboard the Enterprise as a lower decks crewman or woman would you rather have this guy as your Captain or that 1st season dude as your Captain?
Which one do you think has a better chance of getting you home in one piece?
I like this guy. Shades of Benjamin Sisco!
Tue, Feb 26, 2019, 9:09pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Mar 18, 2019, 2:06pm (UTC -5)
1) These aren't 24th century evolved humans, these are humans a scant 100 years after their civilization nearly wiped itself out. Archer probably heard first-hand stories from people who lived in the pre-First Contact days. They still eat meat, they don't have any protocols whatsoever for First Contact or diplomacy or anything. Archer is way closer to viewers watching this in 2003 than he was to Picard in 2364.
2) Malcolm seems horrified by the torture. Everyone seems nervous around Archer for the whole episode, even Trip. You aren't supposed to think his actions are righteous. Archer isn't the hero of the episode.
Wed, Mar 20, 2019, 11:47pm (UTC -5)
This is the first time viewing Enterprise, and it is not great, but not as terrible as I was expecting. I am tired of the theme song though, thank god for fast forward.
Sat, Oct 26, 2019, 5:01pm (UTC -5)
This episode was frankly boring! The one we recently had where Trip commits the sin of teaching a slave to read and making her womb wander was equally if not more offensive, but at least it was engaging.
Sat, Jan 4, 2020, 4:33pm (UTC -5)
Jamahl Epsicokhan, that's not an "In brief".
Generally, I found the problem with the prisoner to be that he was too helpful (even before the airlock). He was a device to set up future Expanse-verse plots, and it was all laid out in his thinly veiled exposition. As a plot device, he would have given the info for a good meal. So the airlock was just to let us know Archer means business. To bad he couldn't have demonstrated his determination in a more sophisticated manner (like ben sisko getting back into the heat box).
Mon, May 25, 2020, 11:52am (UTC -5)
Sat, Sep 26, 2020, 6:22pm (UTC -5)
This is a very different show from seasons 1 and 2.
Fri, Dec 4, 2020, 11:37am (UTC -5)
Yea, this really wasn't an episode I liked
Mon, Dec 28, 2020, 7:14am (UTC -5)
Sat, Mar 13, 2021, 5:19am (UTC -5)
In 'Anomaly', the 'torture' Archer imposed on the Ossarian is not even supposed be the primary focus of the story. Rather, what is at the core here, is the insanely difficult burden Archer carries on his shoulders and the toll it is taking on an otherwise friendly (sometimes to his own detriment) character of the first two seasons. The purpose of the air-lock scene is to show Archer's determination in carrying out the mission and finding the Xindi and obviously not to take pleasure in the act as was the case with Madred and Picard. The final shot of the episode with Archer examining the data in silence and cold determination speaks volumes about the whole endeavor - it is the only thing in the captain's mind. Finally, the prisoners is let go and reunited with his crew mates, which doesn't fit the narrative some of you are trying to push here.
The situation the crew of the Enterprise is put in is nothing short of extreme, and I find some of the attitudes here ridiculous given that this show aired on the wings of Deep Space 9 which tackled the same subject matter (albeit, usually with a bit more nuance) with Section 31 and episodes such as ITPM or 'Inter Arma', among many others. Finally, I am fairly certain that no one was planning on dedicating a whole season of Enterprise to a doomsday plot when the show was originally conceived, so the fact that the Xindi-arc is the direct result of declining ratings is also something that shouldn't be ignored. I was never really a fan of the whole arc due to the simple fact that it doesn't really work well with the rest of the established canon so I always regarded Enterprise's S3 as a black sheep, but it still makes for an engaging story I always enjoy watching.
As a final remark, I wonder what the commenters condemning this episode would say about the latest incarnations of Trek which proudly feature some very graphic and gratuitous gore, but that is a discussion for another time.
Sun, Apr 4, 2021, 5:58pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Jun 23, 2021, 2:49am (UTC -5)
“Ask yourself this question: If you were serving aboard the Enterprise as a lower decks crewman or woman would you rather have this guy as your Captain or that 1st season dude as your Captain?”
Neither, I would ask to be transferred, report all the infractions, and should there be no consequences I would resign from Starfleet.
1st / 2nd season Archer: no idea what he will do next, completely erratic in his judgments and decisions. Immature judgemental jerk not fit to command a starship, and certainly not represent human kind for first contacts.
“New Archer”: single-minded maniac on a heroic save the earth / revenge mission who doesn’t give a **** what his senior officers have to say. Prone to take reckless hasty decisions.
As for the action-hungry idiots supporting Archer’s actions in this episode, here is how things would have developed in reality:
- Archer threatens to kill the pirate / tortures him
- Pirate gives him wrong co-ordinates (he will be killed anyway when he is returned to his ship if he gives the right ones)
- At best this makes Enterprise loose the trail to find the enemy ship, at worse it gets Enterprise into trouble, like a nasty nebula or something
Torture in this situation is not only unethical, but it is also plainly stupid and counter-productive. So yeah you can call people ‘whiners’ all you want to vent your personal life frustrations but it will not change the fact that this was a bad course of action under more realistic circumstances.
Fri, Jul 9, 2021, 7:24am (UTC -5)
Tue, Aug 31, 2021, 12:06am (UTC -5)
"Torture doesn't give reliable, and there are far better methods to get that information without using torture. "
Thu, Nov 25, 2021, 9:07pm (UTC -5)
Fri, May 13, 2022, 11:36pm (UTC -5)
Now to address the controversy that has taken over this comment section. Gene Roddenberry had a great vision, and his universe has given me more enjoyment than any other television franchise ever created. If there is one thing I think he was a bit too optimistic about, it was the idea that one day humans would stop being human, they would become perfect. I like that, starting with DS9, we start to see humans aren't perfect. Humanity has still come a long way from where we are today, it is clearly a much improved version, but people still are capable of doing morally wrong things, because they are human. I also what to point out that, since the events of this series take place 100 years prior to the events of TOS it should stand to reason that humans would not be as far along in this process as Kirk and his crew.
@Filip pointed out a few comments up that people are missing the point of the torture scene, and I think he is right. It's not supposed to be the main thing you take away from the episode, what you should take away from it is the change in Archer. He's gone from being a kind man, who's constant refrain was "we're explorers", to a man who resorted to torture in an act of desperation. It was morally deplorable, but it's the type of morally deplorable thing a human in these circumstances could easily make. I think people forget how much different the situation is for Archer than it was for Kirk or Picard. There is no other Warp 5 ship, Archer is the only chance. If he fails at his mission their is no back-up, Earth is destroyed. The fate of the entire human race is on his shoulders and now he's seen all of his fuel stolen from him, undercutting his mission. It is a truly desperate situation, couple with the fact he lost someone under his command for what I believe is the first time. He does something morally deplorable, because he isn't perfect.
I know many of the perfect people in this comment section would never do that, they know they would let themselves and the entire human race die, before they ever abandoned their moral principles. I am assuming none of you have actually had to test that conviction before (if you have I apologize for the assumption). I can tell you I have never had to test my moral convictions in such a desperate situation. I can tell you my sincere hope is that I would never violate my moral convictions, and I certainly would never plan on it. I do know i'm not perfect, which means I could end up doing something I would regret for the rest of my life (yes I believe Archer would regret this action). Thinking about it scares me, I hope I never have to face that kind of situation.
I appreciate ST showing us that all though their characters have come a long way from where we are at today, they are not perfect, they are still human and capable of making major mistakes.
Sun, Nov 6, 2022, 12:34am (UTC -5)
If you think it never works, go research torture by N. Korea on US POWs during the Korean war. (And who knows how effective it might be on non-humans.... some species may be incapable of resisting.)
Is it "moral"? No. Neither is war. Is it defensible? Maybe.
Civilizations get the morality they can afford. In TNG, the Federation was at it's apex -- there's no real threats and torture was never necessary nor justified. In DS9, the Dominion posed an existential threat to the entire Alpha Quadrant. One of my favorite quotes is Sloan: "I sacrifice my morality, Doctor [Bashir], so you don't have to". And then there ITPM -- one of my all-time favorites.
In ENT, the Xindi pose an existential threat to Earth. Archer isn't their to negotiate, he isn't there to sing Kumbaya -- he's there to stop the Xindi. Torture is the least of the "questionable" things he'll do to save Earth.
Fri, Mar 24, 2023, 9:42pm (UTC -5)
Great ep, hope they keep it going!
Mon, Apr 3, 2023, 9:55pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Apr 10, 2023, 12:20am (UTC -5)
Mon, Apr 10, 2023, 11:42am (UTC -5)
You can be against torture, incarceration, and execution, but unless you come up with realistic alternatives, you have to be ok with realizing that holding fast to your moral principles & doing nothing could result in your demise & the demise of many others. Yeah, being human ain’t easy & we don’t have all the answers yet—it’s why this discussion board is so lively.
Sun, May 21, 2023, 4:52pm (UTC -5)
Submit a comment
◄ Season Index