Star Trek: Enterprise
Air date: 1/14/2004
Written by Manny Coto
Directed by Roxann Dawson
Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan
"These people you're fighting: What makes them heretics?"
"We believe the Makers created the Chosen Realm in nine days. They believe it took 10."
— Archer and Yarrick, reducing extremism (and, by extension, allegory) to blatant absurdity
In brief: Allegory that starts okay before turning silly.
The problem with "Chosen Realm" is that it's conceived as a show about ideas but executed like a show about clichés. It's really hard to get into things when the last half of the show feels like it was inevitable. The action climax, by this point in this action-upped season of Enterprise, has become such a predictable punctuation mark that my brain had no choice but to automatically tune out. I am officially beyond caring about any scene featuring the MACOs, because they obviously were conceived as interchangeable action pawns rather than actual soldiers. At this point, call them the Mundane Action Choreography Omens.
Granted, it makes logical sense to use them in a situation where the ship must be retaken, but therein lies the problem: Here's an episode that tries to tell a relevant and topical story, and then finds no avenue except a slew of Trek standbys. I feel like I've seen this story a dozen times. Maybe I'm old and jaded, or maybe Enterprise is tired and predictable. It's unfortunate, but "Chosen Realm" is lessened in part because it comes at a point in the season where the off-the-shelf pieces it's made of have long since lost their luster. Of course, it certainly doesn't help that the episode scuttles its own would-be allegory.
The day religious fanatics killed 3,000 people by hijacking airliners and crashing them into office buildings was predated by, oh I dunno, maybe a hundred episodes where bad guys hijacked starships on Star Trek to use for whatever reason. The only difference with "Chosen Realm" is that now hijackings and terrorism are more urgently topical. But topical isn't enough. Topical also needs to be thoughtful, interesting, or with some sort of character theme. "Chosen Realm" doesn't get to the crux of extremism, but simply uses extremism as an action-framing device.
Or perhaps that's my own cynical take on the matter. After all, one of the unavoidable truths of extremism is that, well, it's extreme, and not about mutual understanding but simply about blindly believing in something and being willing to forcefully impose it on others. Black and white. In this case, we have a group of aliens from a race called the Triannon, who believe the mysterious Delphic Expanse spheres are religious icons that were created by their gods, called the Makers. The Delphic Expanse they see as a holy ground known as the "Chosen Realm."
What makes them extremists, or zealots, or whatever you want to call them, is that they're willing to go to war with any "heretic" that doesn't believe what they believe. The leader is a man named D'Jamat (Conor O'Farrell), who is a zealot, yes, but a well-spoken one who is not insane and shows a façade of reasoned understanding. Of course, sanity isn't the issue here; like most zealots, the issue with D'Jamat is that he is absolutely, completely convinced he is right and is willing to destroy those who do not agree with him, because in his mind his cause is righteous.
The writers do their best to have the Enterprise hijacked without making the crew look like clueless dolts in the process. This is achieved by having D'Jamat's followers carry organic explosives in their bloodstreams, turning them into the ultimate suicide bombers, a tactic that goes undetected because Phlox does not scan them on the account that medical scans go against their religious beliefs. Leave it to terrorists to have arbitrary rules that work in whatever way suits them: Medical scans go against the Makers, but filling your blood with explosives is perfectly okay, since you're doing it in their name. To show that he's serious, D'Jamat has one of his followers blow himself up, taking an Enterprise crew member along with him.
What we have here is a relevant dilemma, although not groundbreaking. There's nothing really wrong with the first half of "Chosen Realm," aside from, I guess, that it just didn't really grab me. In and by itself, extremism isn't a particularly interesting issue. The problem is that it essentially boils down to: These guys think they're right, and they're going to kill everybody who disagrees. That doesn't leave much room for debate. (Sort of like watching a "debate" with Bill O'Reilly: He already "knows" he's right, the opposing viewpoint is already invalid, so what's the point of the conversation?)
No, what makes extremism worth studying is in the analysis of the issues and politics and history that surrounds such people and points to the root causes. Because the Triannon are unknowns who exist apart from any society or belief structure this series has looked at, we're unaware of their point of view, and "Chosen Realm" is loath to give us much, especially in the way of the opposing Triannon viewpoints with which this group is at war. We know nothing about the enemies D'Jamat's group intends to destroy, aside from what D'Jamat tells us. Not exactly someone you'd call a reliable source.
There are some dynamics that hint at potential conflict within D'Jamat's group. One of his followers, a man named Yarrick (Vince Grant) is conflicted over whether extending hostilities to a third party is right; D'Jamat responds with a speech that boils down to, "The Makers speak through me, so if you disagree, you are going against the Makers," which is about as self-righteous as you can get.
The interest in this situation would theoretically come in how Archer and our crew react to this ideology. But given the threat level and the fact that D'Jamat has made his intentions (using the Enterprise to destroy his enemies) very clear, what choice does Archer have? He can't exactly allow his ship to be turned into a rogue WMD. He could blow it up (and probably, ultimately, should), but I think we all know that isn't going to happen.
The episode doesn't take us far enough into the question of whether Triannon religion exists anywhere in a healthy form. Yarrick and his wife would seem to indicate that it does, or potentially does, but even with their doubts about killing they're still affiliated with a zealot like D'Jamat. What does that say? Perhaps that the desperate sometimes seek guidance through misguided leaders? Not in this story. It's little more than an avenue of plotting so Archer will have someone to turn against D'Jamat. (Though it might explain the last scene of vast destruction.)
All the parties involved ultimately service a stultifying battle-for-control-of-the-ship situation. Archer is able to free himself by tricking D'Jamat into believing Archer is killed by dematerializing in a transporter beam. (This seems a little too cat-and-mouse-y for an allegory show, and I was left wondering how D'Jamat didn't know about the transporter if he had earlier been scouring Archer's logs.)
Yarrick is obviously the guy who will be turned and will help Archer retake the ship. And, as I already mentioned, there's plenty of resulting boring corridor fighting/shooting involving Archer, Reed, and the MACOs. During these scenes, I could feel my eyes glazing over. My favorite part has to be when Archer and Reed have a terrorist in their crosshairs, tell him to stop, and then instead of shooting him they stand there and let him inject himself with the explosives igniter. Then they shoot him. Hello? (Yes, their plan had Phlox flood the air with a gas that disabled the explosives, but what if it had failed? The notion is so obviously staged for the audience's benefit that it comes off just looking stupid.)
There's a moment in the episode where all hope for real-world depth is lost and replaced with a laughable point that reduces the episode to an exercise in absurdity — nearly as absurd as TOS's lame "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield." Archer asks Yarrick, "These people you're fighting: What makes them heretics?" Yarrick responds, "We believe the Makers created the Chosen Realm in nine days. They believe it took 10." Um, yeah.
What kills me is that the delivery of this line is such that Yarrick seems to be scoffing at it, as if even he doesn't believe it. Why, then, is he a part of D'Jamat's cause? I only hope this is not intended as an allegory for something in the real world like, say, Israel and Palestine. These days the Israeli/Palestinian conflict seems utterly hopeless, but there are contexts there involving major disputes rooted in history, sacred ground, and ideology. The "Chosen Realm" war is essentially one of silly semantics, a dispute given no realistic weight or reason. Is that the point? If so, it's a cheap one.
A pity, because the first two acts aren't bad, and Conor O'Farrell brings a credibility to D'Jamat that makes him not simply a villain, but a dangerous ideologue.
But as Star Trek message shows go, "Chosen Realm" is ultimately a mediocre one.
Next week: Shran and the Andorians are back, claiming they want to help Archer in his mission.
Previous episode: Carpenter Street
Next episode: Proving Ground
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86 comments on this post
Mon, Mar 16, 2009, 9:08pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Dec 5, 2009, 1:55am (UTC -5)
Wed, Mar 17, 2010, 11:01am (UTC -5)
Tue, Jun 15, 2010, 7:14pm (UTC -5)
1) In Christianity, does the Holy Spirit proceed only from the Father, or from both the Father and the Son?
- How can anyone purport to understand the Divine? But this seemingly small matter contributed to the division of the Eastern and Western Churches, which continues to this day.
2) Does Jesus Christ possess two natures, a human and a divine, that then fuse together in him? Or is it one sole nature that is both human and divine at once?
3) At what precise moment does the bread and wine in the Christian Eucharist become Jesus' literal body and blood? Or do they ever become so literally? Or is it simply symbolic?
- I don't think I have to mention all the blood spilled over THAT one.
I agree the line isn't delivered in the best way, but it does in a very real way mirror some of our history.
Sat, Oct 9, 2010, 9:02pm (UTC -5)
The fanatics in this episode built their beliefs on a false premise. Namely, that the sphere-builders were gods. And in time the believers split into warring factions over how long it took the Makers to construct the spheres. Doctrinal arguments between sects don't usually end in war. Violent conflicts are more usually political or economic in origin, though they could just as easily be between sects as between different religions.
I don't believe the writers were referencing any particular conflict in this episode. It doesn't fit any that I can think of. They should perhaps have thought the story through and pointed up additional religious differences and introduced, however briefly, additional non-religious reasons for the war. Of course, it may simply be the case that these particular aliens would go to war to settle minor differences of opinion! They are aliens after all!
D'Jamat, the main zealot, was clearly too one-dimensional. It was also glaringly obvious that he ought to have known about transporter technology having gained access to Archer's logs. A sure fire entry for any future Nitpickers' Guide.
Fri, Nov 12, 2010, 1:34am (UTC -5)
Yes,the message was one-dimensional and the plot was predicatable. But the major flaw for me was actually the mediocre acting. In TOS, the corresponding show (half white/half black face) had superb, over-the-top acting and it made the show. The hum-drum made-for-tv performances here weren't convincing. Where was the passion?
Still, this was classic trek in the spirit of TOS. The answer is peace. Silly to some, maybe not realistic, and maybe too flat for non-TOS fans. But remember, most people don't do a lot of reflecting about 'extremism' or religion at all.
This episode had a positive purpose, and I hope people got something from it.
Mon, Dec 27, 2010, 12:35pm (UTC -5)
Seriously, never has a Trek series set the bar so low as Enterprise. Voyager was not great either. But, a bad Voyager episode tended to end with me being angry about some plot hole or reset button misuse. A bad episode of Enterprise usually ends with me in a coma! I'd rather be angry than unconscious from sheer boredom.
Anyway, back to this episode. This might be the first time the obligatory action sequence at the end didn't bore me to tears. I wasn't super emotionally involved with these people. But, I cared just enough about everyone's plight to want to know what was going to happen to the "enemy" ships and what was going to happen to our terrorists. That's better than Enterprise usually manages.
The transporter thing didn't bother me that much. I took that scene to mean that Archer told them he would be beamed into oblivion. Just because the aliens know Enterprise has a transporter device that can move people from place to place doesn't necessarily mean that they know enough about it to dispute the claim that it can also be used for executions. They thought Archer was a man of honor, so they took his word for it. Is it a stretch? Yes. But, did it bother me? Not really.
Here's what did bother me though. The girl who watches the terrorist blow himself up has no reaction whatsoever to seeing this guys skin turn blue. That alone bothers me. But, on top of that, why didn't Archer immediately make an announcement to the crew that they were dealing with suicide bombers? The whole scene was badly written and horribly acted.
Also, I too am bothered by the MACOS officers. It's almost as if they keep them in stasis somewhere until they're needed. They're like military robots. What a missed opportunity. Where do these people sleep? How do they interact with the crew? What are their feelings about this mission? Ugh. I'd like some real character development instead of GI Joes in space. Can you imagine how the writers on DS9 would've handled them? They would be more than comic book characters, that's for sure.
But, back to the things I liked. I actually enjoyed the scene with Phlox and his bat. But, most of all I really enjoyed the landscape of the destroyed world at the end. The effects department on this show is top notch. If only the writers could live up to the visuals!
Finally, I am wondering if all that deleted information was really deleted or if they will find a "back up" copy in the next episode. I am interested to see how they will deal with that.
Mon, Dec 27, 2010, 12:36pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Jan 2, 2011, 6:54pm (UTC -5)
On execution and effectiveness, I think this review is too generous, but the hidden potential I suppose is at least worth tuning in.
Sun, Jan 2, 2011, 6:55pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Oct 25, 2011, 7:06pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Nov 8, 2011, 10:49pm (UTC -5)
Let's take a look at the options they have for continuing on the deleted information problem.
1) They can make Enterprise gather information for more episodes. Because many of the viewers that were invested in the search for information have seen how easily that information is dismissed here, they won't be invested in it anymore. Uninvested viewers is a Bad Thing (TM).
2) They can have the disappeared information cause the crew to look at the situation from a new perspective and have this perspective be a sudden solution (if they aren't successful, file under (1)). While sort of a hack, I suppose this is not the worst way out. I would say it should have been done in this episode, though, not in the next. Star Trek doesn't often do cliffhangers, but it would have been an obvious one. On one hand it would have made the fact that the information disappeared not too much of a problem, while on the other it would actually be the good kind of cliffhanger that actually invest the viewer in the upcoming episode through a promise rather than a threat. Promises are a Good Thing (TM) (as long as you manage to deliver upon them).
3) They can have the crew find their backup module. I think this is one of the better options. Admit you made a mistake and fix it.
4) They can ignore the issue all together. It is pretending the mistake ever happened. May sound almost as good as (3), but has the unfortunate side-effect that continuity (within ENT) is devalued, which isn't exactly a good thing. Devalued continuity means less invested viewers. Bad Thing.
As you see, a negative situation in each case. Perhaps (2) is an exception, but even then the execution is off. Thusly, I present: a mistake in any case.
If anyone knows of anything the writers can do outside those four scenarios, you're welcome to tell me, I'd be interested to hear it.
Tue, Nov 22, 2011, 5:18pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Nov 22, 2011, 5:24pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Nov 26, 2011, 2:26pm (UTC -5)
I would like to add that denying an entire episode from being canon is a privilege I will hold for the horrors like Threshold.
This one does not even score close to that episode.
Tue, Jul 3, 2012, 1:33am (UTC -5)
If you notice, he was careful not to use the name "transporter"; he instead described it as a "device to dispose of hazardous material". And then a demonstration was provided of the "device" being used for that purpose. (There was even dialog regarding the "disassembling of the molecules" during the demonstration.) Without a frame of reference, it's quite believable that D'Jamat would not have made the connection to the machine's true purpose. After all, it was still designated as an experimental device in Enterprises' computer and the various records he had time to review regarding exploration of the spheres were universally carried out by the shuttles.
Tue, Jul 24, 2012, 5:29pm (UTC -5)
Where did that crew get its training? Clown college?
Tue, Nov 27, 2012, 12:35pm (UTC -5)
Convenient also that it didn't cross the enemy's mind that the device would be a transporter. Lucky Archer (no doubt if he didn't think it would've worked, he wouldn't have had that noble moment of picking himself. Wouldn't been the most useless crew member for the chop. Sorry Travis :))
Thu, Jan 3, 2013, 7:31pm (UTC -5)
Seriously, what is it with Hollywood and hostage situations? More generally, with refusing to let the hero(es) shoot first?
This episode should have been over the moment the guy said he had two agents near the warp core. He already demonstrated that he needed to call them to make them detonate themselves. Stun the guy, send security teams out with orders to stun all aliens on sight (starting with engineering), put them all back on their ship, and leave.
Sure, fine, you don't know if maybe the leader's communicator has a dead man's switch that will tell everyone to detonate at once. But it takes them quite a while to do it, and with fast enough engineering personnel, you can undoubtedly stop them in time, or drag them away.
Also, the rule against medical scanning wasn't arbitrary, I strongly doubt it was part of their religion. Rather, it was obviously designed to prevent Enterprise noticing they were all walking bombs.
Fri, Jan 4, 2013, 12:14am (UTC -5)
Rather, I'm saying that if you, as a Trek writer, create a situation where the (non-lethal) "shoot first" solution is *so blatantly obvious and correct* that your characters look like morons for not doing it, then you've failed as a Trek writer. You're no longer creating a realistic scenario, and the entire rest of the episode is going to seem shallow and contrived -- because it never should've happened if anyone was doing their job correctly.
Wed, Jan 9, 2013, 10:54pm (UTC -5)
I mean, you're in the middle of a we-must-prevail-at-ANY-cost scenario and yet you allow a newly met species into critical areas of the ship. I don't think so.
But ultimately the main issue, as Jammer states, is the over-simplified, pointless allegory.
Sure there are religious tensions on Earth that have started out on minor differences but they're always about something more that has happened over time. None of that is even suggested here. It strikes me as a very convenient way of looking at extreemists; that all their arguments are laughable and none of the grievances they have are part of a bigger issue.
In effect, they say the bad guys are bad because they see things in black and white, and yet we, through the good guys, are encouraged to also view things is such limited terms.
So yes, there is some entertainment value here, but I just can't accept this story as plausible, responsible or terribly interesting.
Thu, Apr 18, 2013, 4:33pm (UTC -5)
The look on Archer's face as the files were deleted has reminded me to do a personal back up.
Mon, Jul 22, 2013, 4:06pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Nov 27, 2013, 1:12pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Feb 6, 2014, 5:01pm (UTC -5)
I thought these religious extremists were portrayed pretty realistically throughout most of the episode. Given their point of view, some of the things that Enterprise had done would have indeed seemed like sacrilege. The exception, of course was the 9 days vs. 10 days thing, which just seemed silly. It certainly didn't ruin the episode for me, though.
I'd give this at least 2 1/2 stars, maybe three.
Thu, May 22, 2014, 1:45pm (UTC -5)
"Uh, yeah, we just lost 18 exobytes of data."
"I'm sorry to hear that, sir. How may I help?"
"How do we get it back?"
"Just use your Starfleet Restore CD and it will automatically retrieve any backups you have made from the Starfleet SubSpace Cloud."
"Er, see, we had some religious fanatics on board and they erased all our data."
"Well, yes, sir, but how were they able to access your computer? You surely didn’t also give them access to your local backups?"
"Er, I think they got the root password."
"I'm sorry, what?"
"Or maybe they guessed it."
"Starfleet OS(TM) always asks you to change the root password to something secure. Did you not do that?"
"Uh, well, it was 'zero zero zero destruct zero'."
"So you just kept using the default root password? And even told it to a stranger over the phone? I'm sorry, sir, that voids your support contract, because your IT people are blathering idiots. I'm cancelling it now. Without your support contract, you no longer have access to Starfleet SubSpace Cloud. We are deleting your files now. Have a nice day."
Thu, May 22, 2014, 1:48pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Feb 7, 2015, 1:56pm (UTC -5)
All through the 1980's Sunni Iraq and Shia Iran fought a war where Iran took to heart the idea that the last stages of mobilization are the children and the seedcorn, resulting in their launching human wave attacks partially composed of kids. Iraq responded with chemical weapons, one of which was apparently lewisite or some other mustard-gas type of blister agent. As a brand new USAR Chemical Corps officer near the end of this period, I saw pictures of the effects of this stuff, and it's not pretty. Imagine a blister on a guy's back the size of a basketball.
Oh, and the root cause of all this? Well! It was a verrrry important dispute, you see. Yes indeed. Apparently, when Mohammed died in the 7th century, there was an argument about whether his successor should be his son-in-law, or his buddy.
So yeah. Spheres created in 9 days or 10 days? Maybe a slight exaggeration of this kind of stupidity, but not by much Jammer...not by much.
Mon, Mar 9, 2015, 4:22pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Apr 10, 2015, 1:22am (UTC -5)
They sure employ more violence on here than previous star treks. That much I've noticed. Their GI Joe action figures do nothing more than advance Enterprise's moral posturing. At this point the show was circling the drain.
Sun, Jul 5, 2015, 3:50pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Jul 5, 2015, 5:25pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Jul 15, 2015, 8:56pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Jul 29, 2015, 8:42pm (UTC -5)
Chelsea, it's a reach to read this episode as a comment on Israel's colonisation of Palestine. The Palestinian terrorists, again, blow themselves and others up not for religious issues, but for territorial issues.
What this episode is really doing is presenting the common post-9/11 view of terrorists: nutty religious fundamentalists who are mad at others for vague, nutty religious reasons. In the real world, though, most major studies show that terrorists primarily act, not for religious reasons, but for issues of political/national autonomy.
Fri, Jul 31, 2015, 9:01pm (UTC -5)
I loved Phlox scaring his guard with his bat. "There's no cure for the venom!"
I totally believed D'Jamat falling for the transporter trick. He thought that he and Archer were alike and "understood" each other. He also would be apt to believe in any sort of religious custom.
At first I thought there must be a backup for the deleted database, but then Hillary Clinton and Lois Lerner's emails came to mind. If there are still Democrats in the 22nd century, anything is possible. :)
Tue, Aug 4, 2015, 8:25pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Oct 20, 2015, 9:00am (UTC -5)
Most religions - Christianity, Catholicism, Muslim, Jew all have far more in common than they differ yet they regularly kill each other over these differences.
I think the protagonists in this episode highlight perfectly the gross insane stupidity of religious extremists!
Tue, Oct 27, 2015, 9:14pm (UTC -5)
"We believe the Makers created the Chosen Realm in nine days. They believe it took 10."
— Archer and Yarrick, reducing extremism (and, by extension, allegory) to blatant absurdity
How is this any different from the basic difference (argument) between the sunni and the shia.
The argument dates back to the death in 632 of Islam’s founder, the Prophet Muhammad. Tribal Arabs who followed him were split over who should inherit what was both a political and a religious office. The majority, who would go on to become known as the Sunnis, and today make up 80% of Muslims, backed Abu Bakr, a friend of the Prophet and father of his wife Aisha. Others thought Muhammad’s kin the rightful successors. They claimed the Prophet had anointed Ali, his cousin and son-in-law—they became known as the Shia, a contraction of "shiaat Ali", the partisans of Ali. Abu Bakr’s backers won out, though Ali did briefly rule as the fourth caliph, the title given to Muhammad’s successors. Islam's split was cemented when Ali’s son Hussein was killed in 680 in Karbala (modern Iraq) by the ruling Sunni caliph’s troops. Sunni rulers continued to monopolise political power, while the Shia lived in the shadow of the state, looking instead to their imams, the first twelve of whom were descended directly from Ali, for guidance. As time went on the religious beliefs of the two groups started to diverge.
Fri, Jan 1, 2016, 6:09am (UTC -5)
I hate these guys, no matter where, and when they are.
Sat, Apr 30, 2016, 6:54am (UTC -5)
Wed, Sep 14, 2016, 2:38pm (UTC -5)
Ideally, there would just be a button they could push that would teleport all non crew members into space in case of emergencies like this one. Maybe the technology isn't there at this point. But they definitely could have phase pistols installed on the walls and ceilings of every room and corridor on the ship that could be told to stun every non crew member simultaneously.
Failing that, Archer should have knocked the guy out, taken his communicator away and given the order to stun all of the aliens and chuck them out an air lock.
Why would I carry on watching an episode when I'm already angry about how stupid it is? What will the pay off be at the end? Will I get to see someone spoon the ringleader's eyes out or break his kneecaps? Will he get what he properly deserves in any way? No, he won't. This will just be another episode where the people I'm supposed to like are morons, and the bad guys get let off easy.
Sat, Jan 28, 2017, 12:02am (UTC -5)
Sat, Feb 18, 2017, 5:52pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Apr 11, 2017, 3:07pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Jun 2, 2017, 5:06am (UTC -5)
It's a throwaway line that shouldn't be taken too seriously, but it is intended to parody and parallel the real world absurdity of religious fundmentalism.
Mon, Jun 19, 2017, 5:33pm (UTC -5)
The episode is cloaked in a religious battle - which is purposely portrayed as being extremely silly (how many days it took the Makers to create the Chosen Realm -- 9 or 10). The leader is a zealot and has a discontent in his camp. Ho-hum.
Like I said, standard ENT, and hard to really get excited about stuff like this after seeing it so often in prior episodes.
What also drags this episode down is when ENT gets guest actors to portray the aliens, they tend to be poor actors -- very wooden. The scene where D'Jamat points a phaser at the black guy's head to pursue the smaller ships is a perfect example, although the actor who played Yarrick was slightly better.
I did think it was clever that Archer got himself transported in order to simulate death -- bit of a risk given D'Jamat had been going over the ships logs.
It's not a bad episode, it's just redundant and pales in comparison to TOS's "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" which had much better guest acting and provided more appreciation of the (racial) conflict. Here we only get one (biased) view of the conflict.
I'd rate this 2 stars -- almost a filler episode but one that's not stupid so not deserving of a lower rating.
Thu, Jun 22, 2017, 7:24pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Aug 5, 2017, 7:46pm (UTC -5)
The title of this ep should have been Chosen Cliche
Sun, Aug 6, 2017, 7:50pm (UTC -5)
And yes, religious differences do often come down to silliness over "9 days or 10".
Corey says: "the Sunni/Shia conflict has always spawned, not from religious doctrinal disputes, but issues of power, politics, resources and land. Religious mumbo jumbo comes after."
eehhh...of course the people in charge of each sect seek "power, politics, resources and land". That's true of pretty much every religious or governmental leader. Once two groups are divided, they naturally compete over all of those things.
But religious doctrinal issues are special monstrosities that leaders use to channel power to themselves, dehumanize their opponents, and make compromise extremely difficult. These doctrinal issues aren't just pushed by the top leaders, but by clerics at all levels of society, who have an incentive to continue to advance the correctness of their views. This is essential for clerics to maintain their own importance in society. This whole system is key in keeping the divisions permanent.
Mon, Oct 23, 2017, 11:04pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Nov 5, 2017, 6:50pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Nov 19, 2017, 1:57pm (UTC -5)
Bit of a stretch to call this the root cause of a war between two majority Shia countries in the 20th Century. Note that it was a secular Iraqi government that started the conflict by invading Iran, not the other way around.
Sat, Dec 9, 2017, 1:19am (UTC -5)
The murdering zealots want to force Enterprise to help them destroy a rival group of murdering zealots - and the head zealot, despite his alleged loathing of scientific technology, is willing to use it to win a holy war. Speaking of which, can anyone explain why the head zealot knows how to access Archer's log and delete files from the ship's computer, but has no concept of transporters? Because apparently the writers couldn't bother. Once again T'Pol is portrayed as weak and unable to overpower one guy, despite Vulcans' supposedly superior abilities. This is one telegraphed, dunderheaded episode and I don't like it. I'm trying to stick with this season and review it to the end, but these last few episodes have been a real slog. Going on what I've seen so far, I don't blame Jammer for being jaded about this particular Trek series. One and a half stars.
Fri, Feb 2, 2018, 1:08am (UTC -5)
Mon, Jun 11, 2018, 8:21am (UTC -5)
Tue, Oct 9, 2018, 3:15pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Nov 17, 2018, 6:52pm (UTC -5)
Fanatic religion is bad. Violence is bad. This is basically everything this episode is telling us. And you can see it all coming from miles away. There just isn't anything clever or surprising. I liked the start of Enterprise but this whole thing in the Expanse is turning out to be a disaster.
Fri, Dec 14, 2018, 1:52am (UTC -5)
Fri, Dec 14, 2018, 10:17am (UTC -5)
Let's look at the Islamic's attacks world-wide since 1979. I'll let you remember the significance of that year and Islam.
Not just against those "evil" white men either.
Mon, Dec 17, 2018, 10:28pm (UTC -5)
1979, the year when Iran overthrew their western puppet government? When the Zionist entity was forced to give back the Sinai peninsula?
“Islamic terrorism” is a misnomer. If you abuse someone for centuries, they’re going to respond. The West has occupied and ethnically cleansed entire countries and that’s just fine by you but desperate people fight back and that’s an outrage?
Anyhow, this is a moot conversation. Whether you like it or not, hate speech is illegal in most of the world (and before you go on about hate speech against whites, there is no such thing, just as there is no such thing as bigotry against the flu, it is reasonable and logical to despise a death bringing scourge) and soon it will be in Yankland as well. You belong in jail and to be perfect frank so does the person hosting this site and the writers of this episode as well.
Mon, Dec 17, 2018, 11:40pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Dec 18, 2018, 1:06pm (UTC -5)
"ethnically cleansed entire countries" ..... ?????
Desperate people? .... lol
Hate speech doesn't count against whites.... lol
Well, there you have it. the route of all evil in the world.
Jammer and I belong in jail.
Sat, Dec 29, 2018, 7:31am (UTC -5)
Wed, Feb 6, 2019, 10:19pm (UTC -5)
I'm kidding, riffing on his "hate speech" and "incitement". I don't respect the drivel he dribbled, but no, I don't hate him. I'll add: thank God I live somewhere that allows speech that mocks religion, though preserving that right (or in sadder cases, restoring it) is something we all should be vigilant about, wherever we live.
As to the episode, just one more little nit to pick, regarding the writing (of course). It really would be nice if the writers would aim for consistency in their cardboard characters within one episode. To whit:
Lead fanatic: You humans, so obsessed with numbers.
Was that really a put-down someone would make when their entire schism was based around a number? Seems improbable. I could give the benefit of the doubt* and assume this was an intentional absurdity... but then it was carrying absurdity too far, since the casus belli was already pitched to be ridiculous in viewers' eyes.
(*: but I don't)
Tue, Apr 9, 2019, 7:07am (UTC -5)
Thu, Aug 1, 2019, 6:20am (UTC -5)
I thought this was a strong episode. Not great, but very good. I usually don't like "take over the ship episodes" either but I like the freshness of having religious zealots as the "bad guys of the week". We don't see that a lot in Trek. It fascinates me how a person, or group, can look at a circumstance, like the spheres, anomalies, etc. and fashion their own belief system from this.
Some posters complained about the seemingly frivolous nature of the dispute between the two sides in this conflict but Human History is riddled with exactly these types of frivolous differences that culminate in wars where thousands die. Of course Protestant/Catholic is one example (read European History - Middle Ages) and the differences between Sunni and Shia Islam as well. This is not a stretch.
It's totally plausible that D'Jamat and his followers have never heard of or seen a transporter. Just because technology is prevalent in one area of the galaxy doesn't mean that it's everywhere or that people in another region have heard of it. Also, someone complained above that D'Jamat is "one-dimensional", yes, that is a zealot. Someone who is one or two-dimensional in their goals and ways to achieve those goals. I have a History degree and once you've studied enough history you see patterns, such as people like D'Jamat who only have one mindset. Usually it's to gain power, other times it's to gain money. People that attain power first usually then attain lots of money, or vice versa. Their means for attaining power, in the past it's usually through violence. So the fact that he's one-dimensional is completely believable.
Ease up on the MACO's. You have to bear in mind that this show lasts less than 50 minutes. The showrunners cannot show everything that's happening with everyone. Personally, as someone with military experience, having MACO's is totally plausible. I love TNG and TOS but to always have your away team, and one or two nameless crewman, going to fight someone or act as guards is ludicris. This is why the U.S. Navy has Marines and the British Navy has Royal Marines, because you can't always expect the people running the ship to also be proficient in combat. It works for TV but it's more believable to have a dedicated fighting force like the MACO's on your ship. And again, there is not enough time to get to know everyone on the ship so chill out people. The MACO's are a great addition.
Lastly, the ending was awesome. They land on the devastated planet and Archer tells D'Jamat that his war was going to bring peace, then walks away. Awesome because the war between the two factions DID bring peace, only not in the way envisioned by D'Jamat, who stands there dazed. This is a History lesson that cannot be told enough times so that people learn that wars can lead to the extinction or near-extinction of a civilization, which is why wars should be avoided almost at all cost. The ending was sober, realistic, and wise.
Strong episode: 3 stars
Thu, Aug 1, 2019, 7:47am (UTC -5)
Could you please follow the Jammerian peace accords.
§1 Do not attack Jammer
§2 Follow §1
§3 Don't be a dick
a) If you have to be a dick be like Booming
a1) it is impossible to be like Booming!!!
§5 Follow the great leader Booming
Wed, Mar 4, 2020, 5:42am (UTC -5)
Fri, May 1, 2020, 8:15pm (UTC -5)
Thu, May 28, 2020, 9:05am (UTC -5)
I guess that it is an indication for the episode not being great.
Still I could enjoy it. Conor O'Farrell argued in the same way as some esoteric / Feng shui / anti 5G / religious fanatic people do. Luckily most of them does run around with implanted bombs. His interpretation / acting was good / convincing.
The moral at the end was also very clear.
There is a risk that I will write a similar comment in a couple of years having forgotten this.
Sat, Jun 6, 2020, 7:25pm (UTC -5)
The Shia-Sunni schism started when the followers of Muhammad disagreed on who should succeed him: his cousin Ali or his best friend Abu Bahkr. They diverged in other ways since, but that's the root of it all.
The Catholic-Orthodox schism started in a silly fashion as well. And what of the Protestant or Anglican ones? Just because Henry VIII wanted a divorce, a bloody conflict was initiated.
I think it's important to show the danger of fundamentalism, and I really enjoyed the scenes were T'Pol and Archer verbally clashed with D'Jamat.
Thu, Jun 11, 2020, 5:54am (UTC -5)
Tue, Jul 21, 2020, 2:56am (UTC -5)
Sat, Aug 1, 2020, 11:41am (UTC -5)
Also. The message fighting for a believe of creation was done for spheres 9 vs 10.
Tells Us how, aburd our wars have been.
Not only, The west continues opening new war fronts but it also has the influence to end them, but oil industries and resources and the influence of Jewish interests control the direction of wars.
Excellent...enterprise S3 E12 .
Fri, Sep 25, 2020, 6:45pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Oct 31, 2020, 3:51am (UTC -5)
--Is it really possible that an airborne agent like the one Phlox synthesized could actually render the subdermal explosives inert, given the small amount of agent released into the air, and Enterprise being so big? Seems like a stretch to me.
--Very lucky for Archer that one of the only heretics he came across was Yarrick, who was possibly the only one open-minded enough to go along with his plan to go to the Bridge and re-route the environmental controls to Sickbay.
--And is it really possible that the Triannons hadn't heard in the previous 8 months that the war had already ended on their planet? Is it possible that their Comm system had failed? Or were their coil emissions normal? :)
Another point...if this really happened, yeah the heretics might've been unhappy about the spheres disappearing, but on the bright side there wouldn't be any more spatial anomalies to wreak havoc in what had been the Expanse. All this said, the episode contains some good turns, I like its subterfuge, and the guy who plays D'Jamat is suitably acerbic. It was almost like he sucked on lemons before his scenes.
Sun, Apr 18, 2021, 3:26pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Jun 20, 2021, 1:54am (UTC -5)
Maybe the writers were attempting to quickly convey religion-v-religion conflict, through the words of a basic religious zealot. Many on this board are reading too much into it and expressing their disdain that religious conflict is much more complex than such an absurdist reduction. Yes, it definitely is, but if you had to reduce it to a single sentence, it would seem as absurd. E.g. conflict over whether some guy was resurrected or not.
Fri, Nov 12, 2021, 8:34pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Feb 21, 2022, 4:32pm (UTC -5)
interesting to watch this way, and it's more believeable.
The man has read all sorts of logs of theirs, of course he would've read about the transporter.
Boring once the action starts, but I guess that typical of many tv series including trek, at least for the vast majority of action scenes that are inoriginal.
What an awesome, in-your-face ending! And shown in such a Christian country!
Thu, May 26, 2022, 12:10am (UTC -5)
Fri, Sep 30, 2022, 7:21pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Sep 30, 2022, 8:05pm (UTC -5)
"Story had clear resemblance of TOS' The Way to Eden. Wouldn't call it a bad episode."
Haha, sounds a little contradictory! :) But I kid.
Fri, Sep 30, 2022, 8:35pm (UTC -5)
Nice one...LOL. It truly is atrocious, but I tread softly on TOS. : )
Fri, Sep 30, 2022, 8:36pm (UTC -5)
Part of the problem with the episode may have been this: the writers (so they said) wanted to engage September 11, but were afraid of offending one group or another. So, stories came off as vague racio-socio-political allegories that either had an elliptical point (is wanting to destroy an entire species wrong only if Sphere Builders re not driving you to it), or a point that was too obvious (desperate to,es call for torture)
Sat, Oct 1, 2022, 8:26am (UTC -5)
"The coup de Grace of lameness did not come when we learned the reason for the source of the disagreement - nine days vs. ten. Differences pettier than that have caused war, or could, given religion’s unique ability to breed people who Brook not even the slightest dissent."
Good point. Would add that the number game 9 v. 10 is somewhat suggestive of Seveners /Twelvers sects within Shia, and projects how those doctrinal differences seem to outsiders.
I did like the visual effects at the end of the episode; it was a great matte painting effort which I can understand the director wishing to have the camera linger on. The art had me "with" the two shuttlepods on the devastated surface. In a general way it struck me as being similar to the closing sequence of the original Planet of the Apes. "You blew it up!"
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