Star Trek: Enterprise
Air date: 9/10/2003
Written by Rick Berman & Brannon Braga
Directed by Allan Kroeker
Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan
"We don't have the luxury of being safe or cautious anymore." — Archer, perhaps talking about the battle for TV ratings
In brief: Some new places, and new faces, but some hoary old techniques. Call it a mixed bag.
It's been six weeks since the Enterprise entered the Delphic Expanse. And the Xindi are well aware of its presence. In the opening minute we see a sort of Xindi roundtable council meeting, where arguments over What Enterprise Knows are being presented by several different alien species, including one that looks like a giant fly — or maybe an ant — as well as a reptilian creature and a weird kinda-walrus-thing in a tank. The fly wants to send out forces to destroy the human ship. Maybe that's justifiable since I make it a rule to kill any fly that invades my living space.
The Enterprise crew, however, is still very much in the dark. They have not come across any hard evidence pointing to the Xindi. And, so far, the weirdest thing to have happened is that some containers are bouncing around from one wall to the other in a cargo hold, because gravity seems not to be working quite right in the Delphic Expanse. For the crew, indeed, there's been a bit of wandering and waiting thus far in the Delphic Expanse. The puzzle of the Xindi, which Archer's new mission has implored he assemble, has yet to supply any pieces.
But Archer has a recently acquired lead from a cargo captain whom Reed says is of "questionable character." Archer doesn't much care about his questionable character, because We Need Answers Dammit and we're not going to find them without taking a risk or two. The Enterprise follows the lead to a world with a harsh mining facility, where apparently a Xindi laborer is known to reside.
And so begins season three with "The Xindi," a so-so premiere that invites our curiosity while also delivering several notable disappointments that invite us to think, "You're kidding, right?" Here's an episode that tells us there is not one but five distinct species of Xindi, while also giving us a story where, almost hilariously inevitably, Archer and Trip are, yes, tricked into being imprisoned and must subsequently escape and/or be rescued. Meanwhile, 7 million human deaths from "The Expanse" have for the moment been reduced via microcosm to a personal vendetta for Trip, who has nightmares about the death of his sister.
There's a nightmare sequence where Trip sees his sister about to be killed by what we might as well call the Xindi Swath. It's an effective sequence in its visual sense of stark, melodramatic contrasts — a white, pristine paradise about to go up in the flames of a hellfire. I was less than thrilled, however, by the first moment in this episode where Trip comes in contact with his first Xindi (Richard Lineback), grabs him by the collar and says, "I'm not sure why, but I'm just itching to kick the hell outta you," which is dramatic overstatement.
(1) But of course Trip knows why he feels the way he feels, and (2) that doesn't make his actions justified under the circumstances. Given the level of information Trip has, his unchecked aggression here strikes me as not unlike an American in 2003 grabbing by the collar the first random Arab he bumps into on the street and accusing him of being a terrorist. I'm not saying such an exchange couldn't (or doesn't) happen, but in the 22nd century, Trip strikes me as cavalierly un-Trek-like here, revealing pumped-up visceral aggression without the benefit of reasoned thought. It might've been nice if the story challenged Trip on this point at least a little.
Then, of course, we get to the passage where Archer Goes to Jail™, which as of right now I'm declaring is this series' most obvious cliché — the equivalent of the Shuttle Crash™ on Voyager.
It's at this point my imagination takes hold, since the story's certainly doesn't. I'm imagining the initial writing of the first draft of the "Xindi" script, where Berman and Braga have gotten to the point where Trip and Archer meet the Xindi — who might be able to direct them to his homeworld — and the door in the mining shaft is closed by the mining foreman, who has told them, tellingly and telegraphically, "Take your time." The Xindi prisoner then informs them that they, like he, have been lured into a trap of forced slave labor.
I'm imagining Braga sitting at the computer keyboard (in this particular fantasy sequence, boss Berman dictates while right-hand man Braga does the typing). Berman stops dictating, having hit a wall, and Braga then suddenly remembers an important office tool at his disposal: He looks down at his keyboard, which has one of those plastic overlays that explains what the F-keys are programmed to do. Above F12, it says "SEND ARCHER & CREWMATE TO JAIL." Braga decides now would be a good time to press this button, since F12 is an oft-used function key that writes two acts' worth of script pages in which Archer and a random crew member (with Trip's initially equal chance multiplied by three before the random selection is made) are locked into a holding cell and must then find a way to escape, preferably by crawling through caves, tunnels, and/or ventilation shafts.
Braga presses F12. Accompanied by the default Windows XP chord sound, a dialog box appears that says, "Automatically generate random imprisonment-and-jailbreak narrative?" Braga then clicks "OK," at which point 16 pages of standard jailbreak material is generated from a database of events from previous Enterprise scripts and other action movies — in this case including Archer (and the random crewmate and the tagalong guest-star prisoner) traipsing through raw sewage and then crawling up through a shaft that is about to be filled with flames that would kill them.
These events do not allow Archer and Trip and the Xindi prisoner to escape, however, as they are forced out of the shaft (flames, etc.) and caught by the guards.
About here, I'm imagining, is where Braga hits another wall and presses F11. Accompanied by the default Windows XP chord, a dialog box now appears that says, "Automatically generate shootout-and-escape sequence?" Braga clicks "OK," and this generates several minutes of sustainable action and shooting and the narrow escape of our crew and rescue team with, of course, zero casualties (unless you count the Xindi prisoner).
(Triumph voice on.) I kid, I kid. (Voice off.) I suppose it's to the credit of the production team and director Allan Kroeker that this lackluster material is somehow made watchable, almost to the point of being mildly entertaining. Completely unsurprisingly, "The Xindi" is terrific from a production standpoint, and if the writing had been up to par they might've had something here. The technical aspects of this show — the production design, the lighting, the direction, the editing, the visual effects, the action choreography, the Michael Westmore makeup — are right where they should be. The alien mining facility is a triumph of dusty, murky, grubby art design, intensely cold colors, incessantly coughing actors, and exterior CGI shots that convincingly and simply say "unfriendly."
Stephen McHattie, playing the mining facility's foreman, turns in an effective — if stylized — performance that suggests a man who has been breathing toxic air for his entire life, and probably longer. Meanwhile, Scott Bakula plays Archer in an almost unremittingly grim, no-nonsense tone. Archer is strikingly serious, of no smiles, and exudes an attitude of getting the job done so the ship can get on with its important mission.
We're also introduced to some of the ship's new Military Assault Command Operations team (MACOs), led by Major Hayes (Steven Culp). They provide much of the action in the inevitable rescue scene, but are otherwise of only limited story value. Now that they've been established, I hope future episodes will develop them or give them a purpose beyond action scenes.
Of course, no review of "The Xindi" would be complete without a healthy deriding of the "Vulcan neuro-pressure" scene. Vulcan neuro-pressure, described by T'Pol as "a very intimate act," might help the grieving insomniac that is Trip sleep through the night, so Phlox talks T'Pol into giving Trip lessons in said technique. (For the writers, such a technique is probably in lieu of a mind-meld, which, as we know, the Vulcans deem illegal in this century.)
This eventually leads to a laughable scene in which both T'Pol and Trip appear shirtless for, well, no good reason. The problem with this scene is its utter and shameless transparency. It has nothing to do with sex or intimacy or characters but simply panders — like all of Enterprise's previous attempts at pseudo-sexual material (with the exception of Hoshi's night in "Two Days and Two Nights") — to the audience with sex-LIKE material that really has nothing at all to do with sex and everything to do with puerile snickering.
When are the producers going to grow up and get over it? Do they honestly think people tune in to their show for scenes like this? I'll tell you what — under the right circumstances and writing, I'd be much more in favor of seeing two of the characters actually having sex rather than be fed this juvenile Sexuality Lite that thinks it's funny because, tee-hee, we can put almost-naked people on the screen and show non-sex sex!
Bah. (Yep, it's F10: "Automatically create non-sexual circumstance for character 'T'Pol' to remove her shirt? [OK/Cancel]")
Anyway, enough. The bottom line is that "The Xindi," while giving us some elements that work reasonably well and laying some groundwork in terms of new faces and situations, is too much business as usual: prison breaks, shootouts, a few hints that we might be going somewhere but precious little in terms of believable Xindi motivation (aside from cartoon exclamations that they "must finish the weapon!"). We do learn, at least, that there's a mystery of contradictions here somewhere; the Xindi homeworld has (apparently) already been destroyed for over a century, which doesn't track with what Future Guy told Archer regarding the Xindi and their motives. Will this end up a mystery, or a muddle?
As I said before, this season has potential. "The Xindi" is proof that such realized potential still lies ahead of us, since it doesn't lie here.
Next week: Archer does his best impression of Janeway's interrogation in "Equinox, Part II."
Previous episode: The Expanse
Next episode: Anomaly
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58 comments on this post
Mon, Oct 1, 2007, 8:21pm (UTC -5)
Although, I do find it odd that a species that has five different varieties, which would have undoubtedly have had a bajillion wars with each other, wouldn't be able to think in terms of negotiating a peace to ensure the future predicted wouldn't happen. Because I can't see any justification for wanting to get revenge for people that will continue to exist should they try things a bit differently...
But then, this is Trek....time travel is the puppet of the writters....*shrug*
Mon, May 18, 2009, 12:40pm (UTC -5)
Because we saw so little of the Insectoids in this season (and they were the species which interested me the most) I enjoy whatever bits and pieces I see. I understand that from a cost perspective it's still cheaper to go with actors in makeup than CGI characters, but here was a chance for ENTERPRISE to focus on some truly non-humanoid aliens and I don't feel that took full advantage.
The Archer/Trip plot of being captured is repetitive of other episodes in ST, but one thing I had forgotten was how quickly it wraps up. Most episodes with this type of plot wouldn't have rescued the crewman(men) until the last act. But act 4 of this episode as everyone back on Enterprise and Trip and T'Pol doing that stupid neuropressure stuff.
I can only guess that the writers were wanting to get a Trip/T'Pol romance going. In a way I felt that since "Breaking the Ice" from S1. I can only assume that this "intimate" relaxation technique was the writer's way of getting Trip and T'Pol to relax with each other and become more comfortable. But there are more dramatically satisfying ways to do that, I would imagine.
Bakula's performance is quite stunning. In the first two seasons I kept feeling Archer was too much like a John Denver/type. Overly friendly, aw shucks, thank god I'm a Starfleet boy type of thing. Starting here and through the rest of the series for the most part Archer grows up. I felt I could take the character more seriously because Bakula was.
I've been enjoying this site for a couple of years now. Can't wait to read your review of ST XI. Thanks for giving us fans the chance to voice our opinions too.
Thu, Feb 11, 2010, 5:16pm (UTC -5)
The Xindi attacks Earth, it takes however many months at Warp 5 for Enterprise to get back to Earth. It takes however long for Enterprise to refitted with new weapons, the Command Center, etc. Then they have to launch and travel 5 months (!) just to reach the cloud that surrounds the Expanse. Then a further month and a half which takes us to the events of "The Xindi." Archer was definitely right when he told Forrest that Future Guy wouldn't have warned him about the Xindi if there wasn't a good chance of stopping them. You would almost think that by the time Archer and Reed were first visiting the mining facility, the full size weapon would have been near completion.
The ST franchise rarely did story arcs, outside of the Klingon episodes in TNG and the Dominion War on DS9 so I think that's one reason why I keep watching the Xindi arc from time to time. But for some reason I've only just noticed just how much time has passed from "The Expanse" to "The Xindi." I don't know what that says about my attentiveness as a viewer, but at least it shows that even some of the weaker episodes of the franchise can give a viewer something new to think about after repeat viewings.
Mon, Apr 19, 2010, 4:29pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Jul 4, 2010, 10:38pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Jul 6, 2010, 10:30am (UTC -5)
Mon, Mar 28, 2011, 2:16pm (UTC -5)
That said, I can only agree on Jammer's whole "F-keys" tirade. As satirical as it might be, it is probably very close to the truth, if only figuratively. Let's hope the inevitable let-down will occur as late as humanly possible.
Thu, Nov 17, 2011, 3:28am (UTC -5)
Mon, Nov 21, 2011, 8:15am (UTC -5)
Sun, May 13, 2012, 11:51pm (UTC -5)
As for the inter-species cooperation of the Xindi -- I wish humans could be so cooperative with the other intelligent species on Earth. Imagine developing a working relationship with whales and dolphins and chimpanzees for example -- they could teach us a lot about the necessity of protecting eco-systems - which we rely on as much as they do.
The alternative is an Earth that looks like that Mordor-like mining slave camp. I have to agree with the above statement that the Xindi are just doing a pre-emptive strike to protect themselves - from the sound of it - but wouldn't it be easier to simply talk with Earth folks and work it out beforehand? Clearly they don't trust us, and perhaps not without good reason: after all, look at what we have done to our marine mammals, insects, and reptiles.
Anyway, the whole scenario is totally implausible: temporal wars, stupid test weapons of mass destruction (why not just introduce a pathogen that would kill the humans and leave the flora and fauna intact?), a Delphic expanse where Vulcans go mad and Klingons get turned inside out ... Enterprise seems to oscillate between hard SF and fantasy; these segments are more on the fantasy side of it, but I have to admit, it is entertaining nonetheless.
Sat, Jul 7, 2012, 6:23am (UTC -5)
I thought everyone said ENT actually got pretty decent with S3 and 4?
So were they trying to go darker than DS9 or what? I'm getting the impression they were trying a bit too hard with it or something. Who knows.
I erm, like the remixed opening song. Carry on.
Sat, Aug 4, 2012, 11:03am (UTC -5)
Fri, Sep 7, 2012, 9:40pm (UTC -5)
I'm omitting from consideration anything to do with the T'Pol/Archer scene by Breman & Braga (aka Beavis & Butthead)! That was beyond stupid. In fact I'm quite sure this was the episode that stopped me from watching Enterprise way back when it was being broadcast (or pumped through cable). Just dumb, real dumb. Like Jammer rightly pointed out, it's not even sex, it's PG-13 titillation, sexual illusions. And Jammer got it perfectly about Hoshi (a natural beauty) on Risa having a normal, believable sexual encounter - with sex! And Jolene Blalock ... well, I just want to say I'm not very titillated. Her face is pretty but plain and featureless. She's model thin and seems fit. Of course, B&B must have cast her because of her decision to get cosmetic surgery on her lips and chest (at least those spots, maybe some more on her face). I just don't get the appeal, the proportions of both her lips and chest seem all wrong to me and not attractive. Before and after pics on the web show her smile just went to pot after the lip surgery. And her chest is so obviously augmented as to make her playing a Vulcan, a race that would never do something so vain, just unbelieavble. So Vulcan massage therapy allows us to see the bottom of T'pol's back and the top of her butt. Oh, and some side boob and the big payoff, T'pol holding her boobs. Teehe indeed. I mean even in September 2003 when this originally broadcast you could Google X Y Z and get what you searched for pretty easily. No need to even subscribe to Maxim. Ok, I'll cool off but this was the back breaker for me originally and I'm glad that I'm happily skipping stupid scenes like this now which lets me enjoy the good stuff Enterprise has to offer.
So why 3.5 stars for The Xindi? Other than the never-to-be-mentioned-again-T'Pol-boob-scene, it was solid all the way with new aliens, a great mining world, and an excellent Xindi for them to rescue. The mining world looked great, the outside shots, the hallways, the boss's office, the mines, all excellent. It reminds me of how well they do with this sort of thing. I'm sure it cost more than Battlestar Galactica episodes but wow, the difference in quality! Sets, make up, etc all stellar. Poor ENT just needs better, more consistent writing and no T'Pol. I loved the mining boss, his scabby head, his breathing apparatus, the sci-fi/steam-punk office - did you catch the 40s style microphone he used later in the episode? And the Xindi wasn't just good or bad, he was ... both. The Reed vs the military pissyness was a little fake feeling but that's ok, they wanted a tension hook. And I liked how the military guys (and a gal!) actually were very bad arse. These are supposed to be "the best" so were talking DEVGRU/Pararescue/SFOD in space. Sure, they were toned down to tv/Trek standards but still it was a good dose of military toughness. I really, really enjoyed the Star Wars Episode II homage scenes with the Xindi multi-racial council, excellent! The insect dude, the seal-men/women, all kinds of humanoids including Rick Worthy aka Simon from BSG. He's got such a good voice. I think it's very sci-fi and very new for Trek to have a "race" actually be several races mashed together into a single alien unit. Very cool. I'm excited to forge ahead, ready to skip T'Pol teehe junk, so I can see the Xindi story unfold.
Fri, Sep 7, 2012, 10:09pm (UTC -5)
Just a side note: as soon Corporal Chang was introduced I thought to look him up since I always like to see if Trek matches the real ethnicity with that of the character in the show. Well, what do you know, they got DDK for Cp Chang! Too bad a Korean actor can’t play, I don’t know, a Korean!
Corporal Chang, Chinese - Daniel Dae Kim, born in Korea
Ensign Hoshi Sato, Japanese - Linda Park, born in Korea
Fri, Nov 23, 2012, 5:19pm (UTC -5)
It's kind of.. flat and sedate?
Whilst the old was was all action-y and rocky and had its guitar riff type bits and whatnot. It's as if the series LOST confidence.
Kind of the opposite of things like DS9 o.o
Sat, Dec 29, 2012, 10:30am (UTC -5)
Sat, Dec 29, 2012, 11:07am (UTC -5)
Sun, Sep 15, 2013, 6:52pm (UTC -5)
Mon, May 26, 2014, 5:24pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Jun 19, 2014, 10:28am (UTC -5)
On reflection, I think there's two reasons.
a} As Jammer says, practically everything that happens in the episode is a repetitive, boring stereotype that I've seen I wouldn't know how many times before. The gulag looked like something out of an Unreal Tournament map, and the overseer of it was derivative as well.
b} There was very little dialogue, no character development, nothing for me to really care about. I watched Season 2's "Cease Fire," a couple of hours ago, and thought that was a lot better. I like Jeffrey Combs' character, Shran, and I especially like the fact that whenever he shows up, it means that they're working towards actually getting the Federation together, or at least it feels like that.
The other thing that bothered me about this episode was the fact that they have non-Starfleet infantry on board the ship, and in these action scenes, those infantry were killing people. That's not Star Trek, or at least not in my mind.
Sat, Sep 13, 2014, 10:42pm (UTC -5)
I completely agree, those cocky Navy Seal types bothered me too. They represent the myopic- seek and destroy aspect of the military that I find repulsive and counter to the spirit that the military career represents in Star Trek. The whole depiction really felt a touch propogandic and inconsistent considering it was established that humanity's focus after the third world war and First Contact was one of peace, self improvement through knowledge and exploration. These guys would be relics of a shameful, and not-so-distant period in Earth's history and do not fit at all in this vision of the future. Given that, I doubt active training for such commandos would even exist. Lt. Reid and Star Trek's other portrayal of tactical officers fits better than these all-America jerks.
Given the post 9/11 timeline, I feel like the whole Xindi arc should have been thrown in the trash in favor of the more optimistic and evolved version of humanity found in previous depictions of the the 22nd-24th centuries and I think a more peaceful, insightful and cerebral Star Trek Enterprise would have served as a better example for viewers trying to deal with the shock and aftermath of 9/11.
Thu, Sep 25, 2014, 11:06pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Nov 20, 2014, 3:29pm (UTC -5)
I think you're thinking too geocentrically, that's what us humans would do, perhaps the Xindi all grew up in peace. I believe the Xindi that was in the mine as a forced laborer said something along the lines of 'There are five different species of Xindi, and five different perspectives of which is the dominant species', this doesn't mean they are hostile to each other.
I thought the Xindi civilization was well thought out, just poorly executed and a poor storyline, it had a lot of potential but was crushed.
First off, why the hell would the Xindi tip there hand with the probe attack? If they needed to test it, why not just test it on a uninhabited world or something. Thanks to that Enterprise goes out looking for the attackers and ultimately convinces them to stop what they're doing, come on, I'm sure a civilization advanced enough to build a weapon to destroy an entire planet is smarter then that.
I've watched every series of Star Trek excluding TAS, and frankly I'm a bit disappointed, it kind of feels a lot like a really long JJ Abrams film, a rubbish storyline that doesn't really make sense but a lot of action, and for me the story line is what really makes Star Trek special. There were some good episodes that I did enjoy, Enterprise did have some unique humor that I didn't see it any other series, and the whole threat of genocide was new and with better writing could have been good, personally I think Braga or whatever his name is ruined the series.
Nice review Jammer, I'm not a big reader but that was a pleasure to read.
Live long and prosper!
Sun, Apr 5, 2015, 3:54am (UTC -5)
It certainly lends credence to Q's depiction (not to mention judgement) of humanity in Encounter At Farpoint. "Rapid progress" indeed. Can only imagine if Archer or Janeway were on trial. They'd have signed our death certificates.
Thu, May 14, 2015, 11:02pm (UTC -5)
In no particular order, a couple of other things spring to mind.
"Hey Andromeda - I'll see your silly insect CGI alien and raise you some whale people in water tanks!"
The jaunty elevator salsa mix of the opening song - oh dear.
We have decided to update Ms Pouty Tight Pants wardrobe to a full colour palette Pouty Tight Pants ensemble.
Nice to see some things haven't changed though - T'Pol urges caution with Archer responding by ignoring the usually clear logical advice...
Mon, Jun 15, 2015, 2:20pm (UTC -5)
The T'pol/Trip pseudo-sex scenes were just awful, please stop it now with this stupidity.
The new opening music is even worse than before.
The show reeked of the time period of Operation Iraqi Freedom with the military team on board and taking down the "baddies." Roddenberry's ashes must have ejected from his space capsule.
The insect alien was most interesting but evidently it's the one we'll see the least amount of.
Middling entertaining at best with the trademark Archer in prison plot/Archer escapes prison plot, no wonder the audience (especially Trekkies) abandoned the show.
Sun, Apr 24, 2016, 4:09pm (UTC -5)
Tonally this has definitely made a shift to the darker end of the spectrum, what with severed fingers and commando teams breaking necks with gay abandon. While it's interesting to see where they go with it, for this episode it turned out to be basically inconsequential. There's some good action, and worthy of note is Trip's dream sequence, which unlike so many of its ilk is genuinely unsettling. And it still looks a million dollars.
The T'Pol hand bra scene if of course lamentable, and you have to wonder why the series hasn't grown out of such things yet. And ultimately it all feels much like a transitional show, and somewhat unfinished because of that. 2.5 stars
Mon, May 2, 2016, 9:02pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Feb 27, 2017, 5:27pm (UTC -5)
The spatial anomaly in the cargo hold, why is it stuck there? presumably the ship is travelling through space, so they would've passsd the anomaly on their travel - yet some how its attached itself to a certain part of Enterprise.
The Xindi prisoner in his dying breath gives the coordinates to the Xindi homeworld. How did the crew know how to interperate these coordinates?
Also they reached that homeworld awfully quickly!
Sat, Apr 15, 2017, 1:45pm (UTC -5)
The mining/prison business is disappointing - and why do I get the feeling that guy's going to shoot up that liquid platinum - but the rest of the episode is working on a slower, larger scale, setting up plot developments. I get a feeling much of this story arc might consist of balancing acts between the longer term goals of the season and the immediate concerns of the episode.
The presence of the military on board may or may not work.
So far, not enough for me to judge where all this is going, but I m cautiously optimistic.
BTW, I'm not sure if anyone has mentioned this, but isn't the premise of this season rather like the premise of 'Crusade', the aborted Bab5 spinoff?
Mon, Jun 5, 2017, 2:28pm (UTC -5)
Have to give credit for the production of the dusty mining colony - ENT does create the desolate, prison atmosphere well.
A new set of challenges for ENT kicks off - with an OK episode. Have to say it doesn't feel like Star Trek though (maybe its the MACOs), but I could say that about a number of S2 and S1 episodes.
Archer has a more serious, determined character - hopefully he makes more intelligent decisions going forward. But this is an improvement for him. Perhaps also signals a darker direction for ENT.
When an individual episode is part of a larger arc, it can be weak on its own. This episode gets 2.5 stars out of 4 - ok but not good nor totally bad.
Sat, Jun 17, 2017, 6:28pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Jun 17, 2017, 6:33pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Jun 26, 2017, 10:52pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Sep 12, 2017, 5:49am (UTC -5)
Janeway killed who knows how many countless numbers of species 8472 with biological warfare. All the captains kill people constantly, actually.
Decent episode. 2 1/2 stars
Fri, Nov 3, 2017, 5:26pm (UTC -5)
Okay, let's jump into Season 3. The intro song has been remixed; it still doesn't work for a Star Trek series but it's an improvement. Less background vocals and such. On the Xindi story or what little I know of it so far, you could definitely see it as a cautionary tale about the ethics of pre-emptive strikes in war; the Xindi are so wound up they decide to attack Earth FOUR HUNDRED YEARS in advance. Four hundred years is a lot of time to, say, contact Earth and attempt to change that future constructively ... but no, let's just use this knowledge of the future to start the war on OUR terms. This must not be a very peaceful or rational species we're dealing with. The whole thing is more or less a shotgun blast to the face of Star Trek canon, setting a precedent that would affect the rest of this series and probably all future ST series as well, because you can't put the toothpaste back in the tube ... so it had better be a DAMN good story arc.
I like the physical portrayal of the Xindi council; unlike many Trek aliens, they are composed of several different subspecies, all of which have evolved in different directions. You've got the main species that are kind of reptilian, but also the insect representative (who seems to be the most hostile), the manatee-like Xindi who live in the water, and a few others. Nice. About the mines Archer and Trip are confined in: I have to say they're one of the best sets I've seen on the series, and so unhealthy to work in that even the wretched owner guy (slavemaster, really) needs to take periodic huffs of oxygen or whatever is in that mask of his. The whole bit is representative of ENT's attempt to go dark DS9-style, with some success, although it doesn't have the same authenticity yet.
You can take or leave the Trip/T'Pol scene; I would rather have left it, and all the other typically silly non-sex scenes as a thing of the past (a little early for sweeps week, wasn't it?). And speaking of bad precedents, this show really should have resisted the temptation to put a skintight bodysuit on a female character. If crew members are supposed to be equals regardless of species or gender, then just dress them all in a similar uniform and move on instead of jerking off the viewers. "This show is meant to portray a vision of a more enlightened future, when mature men and women boldly go where no one has ... HEY LOOK, BOOBZ!!" Come on writers, get serious or quit Star Trek. This show should be better than that.
I'm a little curious about why a Xindi homeworld that will supposedly be toast in 400 years has been destroyed ALREADY - 120 years in the past, at that. I don't get it. I'm with Jammer; interesting new direction, but uninspired writing and some juvenile stunts drag it down as a season premiere.
Sat, Mar 31, 2018, 1:21pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Jan 14, 2019, 10:28am (UTC -5)
Mon, Aug 12, 2019, 9:27pm (UTC -5)
I love the MACOs. It's incredibly refreshing to *finally* have a platoon of appropriately trained and equipped infantry on a Starfleet ship.
On a slight tangent from the above; It's always been a bone of contention of mine that Starfleet tries so hard to define itself as a non-military force, despite being THE arm of the Federation which conducts every military activity, up to and including total war.
Every Starfleet vessel should be staffed with MACOs from ENT through VOY and beyond. It makes absolutely no sense to fly headlong into deep, unknown, often hostile space, relying on a frankly insufficient "security team" for the inevitable combat scenarios.
My only fear with the MACOs is that they're being deliberately setup as a sort of 'thematic effigy' to be burned at the alter of 'Gene Roddenberry's Vision™', and will eventually be revealed to be stereotypically 'military jock bully' types. This will be used to show how 'enlightened' and 'superior' the non-military, pacifist, Starfleet Way is in comparison.
Maybe they won't do this. I really hope they don't do this.
On a related note, I *really* can't stand Reed. The guy has such an aggressive, overbearing inferiority complex, it's insane. It really feels like every time he opens his mouth, it's to whine, complain, or fish for sympathy. It's absolutely grating. His unilateral measuring contest with Maj. Hayes over who should do what on the rescue mission was immature to the point of being unprofessional. I'm glad T'Pol agreed with Hayes.
Speaking of T'Pol, let's talk about THAT scene. No, not the not-sex-but-Trek-sex scene with Trip, but rather the earlier scene with Phlox. The scene that somehow *no one* is talking about.
I have the utmost respect for Phlox. He might just be my favorite character so far. But, the hell?! His pressuring T'Pol into committing a very intimate act with a crewmate was plain unsettling. I get that Denobulan (and Vulcan, for that matter) ethics aren't necessarily in lockstep with human ethics, but T'Pol and Trip were *both* clearly uncomfortable with the idea, yet Phlox pressed on anyway. He both pressured T'Pol into the act, and lied to Trip about a treatment, so as to set up the encounter.
I *get* that he wanted to help Trip relax, so he can focus and perform while on the job, but really. Would he pressure Sato into having sex with Reed, to help him get over himself? Because that's essentially what he did. This feels unprofessional, unethical, and wrong. Maybe it could almost work if the whole Xindi situation became incredibly desperate, urgent, and dire, but this is literally the beginning of the arc. We're not there yet.
As an aside to T'Pol, sexuality, and feminism -- I find it interesting that during TOS, it was considered a show of sexual liberation and female agency, that women could wear somewhat... accentuating attire. From TNG through ENT, however, dressing this way developed a presumption of sexual objectification.
Having said that, I also do believe that there was a concerted effort (from B&B? The network?) to overly sexualize T'Pol (and Seven before her), and it would have been gratifying to see T'Pol switch to a Starfleet uniform in this episode.
The prison break was... eh. The MACO shootout was enjoyable, largely because of how cathartic it is to see a competent combat team at work in the Star Trek universe.
But seriously -- enough with the kidnapped/imprisoned captain. The one time it worked, there were four lights.
Fri, Sep 6, 2019, 3:19am (UTC -5)
This! I'm bingeing ST:ENT with my wife and we watched this last night. One thing we both noticed was how refreshing it is to see characters *and actors* who seem to know how to go into a room full of hostile armed people and deal with them efficiently. I've lost count of the times I've seen obviously entirely untrained actors enter a killing room skull-first with their weapon pointed at the floor and shouted "That's not how you clear a room!".
This time the MACOs dropped in, and pretty much took out the major threats where possible in a single well-aimed shot. No popping out from behind plastic barrels to wildly ping something in the vague direction of the target, like in every other Trek firefight.
Mon, Oct 28, 2019, 4:59am (UTC -5)
For all and any future Star Trek screewriters and/or producers:
Do NOT force sex into Star Trek because fanservice!
We've got them Rule 34 ***** for that, thank You very much.
And on another note: why did T'Pol cover her breasts ?
No, really, a legit question.
I, as a viewer watching a tv show, know why.
But from the character's POV: why would a Vulcan do it. Humans cover themselves when nude because they are shy/feel ashamed. But these are emotions which the Vulcans should not have or have them surpressed. Maybe it is cannon somehow, I'm not that much into Star Trek, but it seems strange to me.
Mon, Oct 28, 2019, 7:32am (UTC -5)
I suppose the simplest answer is that has internalized human norms and is enacting modesty not for her own sake but for Trip's.
Mon, May 25, 2020, 7:29am (UTC -5)
Mon, May 25, 2020, 7:31am (UTC -5)
Fri, Dec 4, 2020, 9:12am (UTC -5)
Sat, Dec 26, 2020, 9:27am (UTC -5)
The massage scenes I had absolutely no problem with despite being a deliberate push by the writing team, because a) Kirk and Riker were both depicted as horny as hell at times and no eyebrows were raised, and b) Jolene Blaylock looked fantastic!! Sad the review doesn't point out her change from the drab Vulcan colors, the fuller hairstyle, and the subtle embraces of more humanized behaviour.
I am enjoying Enterprise tremendously and though I loved the tone of the first 2 seasons, I'm interested to see where this new shift takes us, stern/sullen Archer notwithstanding.
On a parting note, all the bitching about implied sex and the tone and pace of the story in the comments seemed to have worked, as Star Trek has now given us (as I write this at the end of 2020) gratuitous, gritty, obscenity-laced and gender-fluid themed Trek series (cause who sleeps with whom is so important to the story, right) like Discovery and to some extent, Picard...series that parents have to now think twice about watching with their kids.
Sat, Dec 26, 2020, 6:06pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Apr 4, 2021, 5:34pm (UTC -5)
Don't quite know why the army types are using pigeon shit stained camo though?
Fri, Jun 4, 2021, 12:48pm (UTC -5)
Anyway, watching this again after 18 or so years, I'm going to agree with Jammer's rating. I will say Stephen McHattie gives a great guest performance as the psychopathic foreman; I found myself enthralled by his speaking and inflections. He was the highlight of the episode, in my opinion.
As for the T'Pol/Trip final scene...why exactly did she need Trip to practice on her first? I mean. I know they say why in the episode, but I'm talking about in terms of common sense, here. The last time I got a massage, I didn't need to practice on the masseuse first. And if I was reluctant to get one, giving one wouldn't have put me any more at ease.
Mon, Jul 26, 2021, 10:15am (UTC -5)
I enjoyed this, was very impressed with The MACO and LOVED it when T'Pol shoved it in Malcolm's face and sided with Hayes. Malcolm is such a whiny bioch sometimes. Grow up man.
Yes, Archer get's captured once again, but this time it's actually realistic. Better than most of the Klingon stuff IMO.
Yes, Trip is "over the top" with anger and wouldn't you be? I didn't have such a hard time as some here with the neuro-pressure sessions. We all know why it's in there, but I trust Phlox's word here. He can't keep pumping Trip full of drugs every time he needs to sleep.
"Sexy-but-no-sex" has been in Trek from 1967. It's ALWAYS pushed the envelope for what is allowed on TV... this doesn't bother me. The DECON chamber didn't either. This is better than Dax wanted to marry everyone and leave star fleet on a whim.
3 stars from me
"On a parting note, all the bitching about implied sex and the tone and pace of the story in the comments seemed to have worked, as Star Trek has now given us (as I write this at the end of 2020) gratuitous, gritty, obscenity-laced and gender-fluid themed Trek series (cause who sleeps with whom is so important to the story, right) like Discovery and to some extent, Picard...series that parents have to now think twice about watching with their kids."
Spot on Ray. Sadly.
Mon, Jul 26, 2021, 10:56am (UTC -5)
"Spot on Ray. Sadly."
No, not really. While Discovery is somewhat gratuitous and gritty, when is it obscenity- laced? And for anybody who wants to know why gender fluid was included in this sentence. Intolerance. Naming three bad things and then adding gender fluid. Well, hello bigotry.
Mon, Jul 26, 2021, 11:53am (UTC -5)
Now we got nu Trek and I agree with Ray that you do have to think twice about watching it with kids -- and I'd argue kids should not watch it. Plenty of gratuitous gender-bending, swearing, nihilism. It's what television is these days. But I'd also add that in rare cases, the gender-bending theme that DSC tries so hard to push can be used in a sensible way to tell a good story -- I keep coming back to "Forget Me Not". What a shame it is that you can't watch the Trek that's produced these days with kids, whereas you used to be able to -- TOS was awesome that way.
Now, knowing what the show-runners for nu Trek are like, I'm really thinking "Prodigy" is going to be unsuitable for kids...
Mon, Jul 26, 2021, 2:12pm (UTC -5)
I think we will soon see a general shift in themes. People want more positivity. Stuff like Ted Lasso is an early sign. I have pretty high bar for negative news but even I find myself looking more for soothing content were people have hope and avoiding just negativity. Still the NuTrek writing staff will probably not notice this developing trend.
Mon, Jul 26, 2021, 2:16pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Nov 11, 2021, 5:08pm (UTC -5)
It was this episode where I began to dislike Malcolm due to his unnecessary competition with the marines. Malcolm is a tactical/security officer of a starship, not a special forces operative trained for hostage rescues. Since Starfleet is not a military organization, his primary role is defense and protection. Neither he nor his "security team" (random redshirt of the week) should have left the ship to rescue the captain. They lacked the training and equipment for the job. Furthermore, their primary role is to protect the ship, which was in danger of attack.
The marines, in contrast, are the right people for any type of advanced combat operations. They had the weapons and training to get the job done, and Malcolm just seemed to be ineffective and in the way on the rescue mission.
The writers created unnecessary conflict here, and expected viewers to side with Malcolm. All it did was turn me against him.
Sat, Mar 5, 2022, 5:44am (UTC -5)
"On a parting note, all the bitching about implied sex and the tone and pace of the story in the comments seemed to have worked, as Star Trek has now given us (as I write this at the end of 2020) gratuitous, gritty, obscenity-laced and gender-fluid themed Trek series (cause who sleeps with whom is so important to the story, right) like Discovery and to some extent, Picard...series that parents have to now think twice about watching with their kids. "
It seems someone fails to understand Star Trek has always been progressive, it's just that progressive has luckily evolved from the 60's to today, because we've gotten a bit closer to a Star Trek society, at least in some ways. Economic inequality both nationally and internationally is still a big issue though. And sexism is less prevalent but certainly still existing, particularly towards nonbinary people as you yourself contribute to the ridicule of.
Anyway I like the new variation of the intro theme! Much better!
@Booming: It would be refreshing with more positive sci-fi, as Trek has often been, unlike most other sci-fi, and the news of today. Bad news attract more attention, and social media rewards that which gets attention with even more of it. And so there's an overabundance of negative news, which easily makes it seem like we're in a hopeless downward spiral. I think positive visions can literally help us get there.
Thu, May 12, 2022, 11:26pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Mar 23, 2023, 8:36pm (UTC -5)
I really enjoyed it.
Some great sets, make-up, bad guys, awesome phaser fight!
This gives me hope!
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