Star Trek: Enterprise

"The Aenar"

2 stars

Air date: 2/11/2005
Teleplay by Andre Bormanis
Story by Manny Coto
Directed by Mike Vejar

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"It's never been all that hard to figure out what I'm thinking." — Shran

In brief: An aimless, unsatisfying wrap-up to this inconclusive three-episode arc.

Earlier this season, we had the Augments trilogy and the Vulcan trilogy. Now comes the conclusion to ... uh, this trilogy, whatever you want to call it. "The Aenar" is a messy epilogue in a three-parter whose most significant story arc was wrapped up in last week's "United." Watching the rather aimless "Aenar," I wasn't sure what this episode was supposed to be about, and by extension, the trilogy itself lacks a concrete through-line.

I think the main problem is that the show focuses fairly heavily on the Romulans and their meddling in the affairs of others, but we never really get the sense that this show is actually about the Romulans. The Romulans are more like arbitrary placeholders to drive the plot. We learn very little about them; they're sketchy people doing bad things for half-baked reasons. And if you stop and think about their genius plot, you're left amazed by the sheer stupidity of it all.

Most disappointing is the fact there's not much to suggest that this episode contributes to the prequel agenda that has been the selling point of this season. Unlike the Vulcan trilogy, which told a mostly coherent prequel story, we're left in a vacuum here wondering if we're going to see the Romulans again. If so, I'd hope for something more substantial. If not, then that's the way it goes and I guess the notion of Romulans sneaking around is all Enterprise intends to give us. Either way, "Aenar" has mostly wasted our time.

Not that "The Aenar" is all bad. It's never unwatchable and it has its moments. There is a scene, for example, where the Romulan admiral, a former senator, explains how he was cashiered from the senate for questioning the Romulan "precept of unlimited expansion." It would seem that reasonable people who question authority are quashed. Too bad this scene is never followed up.

It turns out the pilot of the Romulan drone is actually an Aenar, one of an Andorian subspecies who are blind and have strong telepathic abilities. The Romulans' remote-controlled drone is designed to respond directly to the telepathic signals sent by this Aenar, a man named Gareb (Scott Rinker), whom the Romulans abducted from Andoria about a year ago.

Shran explains that the Aenar were considered mythical for centuries until they were officially discovered "50 years ago." Even so, very few Andorians have ever met an Aenar, who are staunch pacifists, very secretive, and live only among themselves. Oh, and they can also read minds.

Frankly, much of this strikes me as quickly concocted Civilization Lite. These two species have lived on the same planet forever and only a few decades ago realized that the other even exists. But the story gives us little reason to believe these are real cultures that live on a real world. The Enterprise travels to Andoria to recruit their own Aenar to tap into the signal and stop the drone. But once there, we don't even see Andorian society.

Andoria is represented by empty ice-tunnels which, according to Shran, "branch off for thousands of kilometers." (The cities are all underground, with access from these tunnels.) You'd think there'd be a better way than walking to traverse thousands of kilometers of treacherous ice tunnels. I for one hope they brought a map. In any case, it strikes me as great fortune that Archer and Shran happen upon the Aenar as quickly as they do. Even greater fortune that it happens so quickly after Shran has accidentally impaled himself through the leg.

I suppose the notion of expanding this series' canvas of societies with the Aenar is commendable. Still, I wasn't all that riveted by them. The main selling point here is the decent characterization between the always-suspicious Shran and the innocent and well-intended Aenar named Jhamel (Alexandra Lydon), who, as it happens, is the sister of Gareb, the Aenar who was abducted by the Romulans. This gives her and her alone the motivation to break from her people's pacifist ideals to attempt to stop the Romulan drone.

Not that I understood how this was physically supposed to happen. You see, Trip has rigged up a remote-control chair/device on the Enterprise — similar to the one the Romulans have — which I guess has all the right frequencies and encryption codes needed to break in and interfere with the Romulans' remote-control system. One would think a remote-controlled war drone wouldn't be so easy to tap into, but then one would be wrong.

Whatever; that's one of the overall problems with this episode — too much meaningless tech and mechanical plot and not nearly enough emotion or relevance. I should care about Jhamel's plight to help her brother, but I don't. It's a perfunctory "human" tack-on to a remote-controlled plot filled with technobabble and explosions. The climax, where Jhamel is able to contact Gareb by telepathy and get him to turn the drones against each other, is overly simplistic — underwhelming at best, hokey at worst. Gareb expresses guilt over the people the Romulans forced him to kill, which made me wonder why he didn't just make the drones return to Romulus and start strafing the city. Oh, never mind; he's a pacifist. (Truthfully, he's just a weak pawn of the plot.)

Meanwhile, I'm asking myself: Why would the Romulans even design remote-controlled war drones that require a telepathic pilot, of all things? Couldn't they just design remote ships that, you know, used keys or a mouse or a joystick or something, anything, but telepathy? Even more silly: (1) These drones require an Aenar to pilot; (2) The Romulans were apparently so shortsighted as to kidnap only one Aenar to fly them; (3) the Romulan admiral forces the Romulan scientist to push the pilot to the limits of brain damage, saying his health is "of no consequence"; so (4) I guess when he dies, their brilliant plan is to mothball the drones.

Really, this whole thing is more often than not a Swiss-cheese plot. Just what are the Romulans actually trying to do, anyway? Cause general chaos as a prelude to an invasion? The story never says. It's just a vague pseudo-threat — the Romulans out here stirring up trouble for trouble's sake. Not exactly enlightening, particularly in prequel terms, and it's to the detriment of the first two episodes in this trilogy, which were sold mostly on their setup and mystery, which now has not been lived up to.

The show's best scene comes at the end, when Trip asks to be transferred to the Columbia, and Archer reluctantly grants that transfer. It's a payoff that was set up in several scenes earlier in the episode, centering on the simple fact that Trip realizes he's in (unrequited) love with T'Pol, and finds that it's affecting his work. This Archer/Trip scene is a quiet one that explores actual characters and the relationships and personnel realities of a starship. I like that Trip can't confess the reason for his request to Archer, and that Archer doesn't force him to.

As for much of the rest of this episode, I'll quote Archer: "Looks like we went all the way to Andoria for nothing."

Next week: Klingons, medical mysteries, and shadowy intelligence agencies.

Previous episode: United
Next episode: Affliction

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64 comments on this post

Wed, Dec 9, 2009, 10:03pm (UTC -6)
I feel sorry for you, it must be painful to analyze everything. This episode certainly wasn't as bad as you make it sound.
Wed, Dec 23, 2009, 12:01am (UTC -6)
I enjoyed learning more about the Andorians and seeing their planet, so this was a good ep for me. Only part that didn't ring true for me was Trip's decision to leave Enterprise - but then, his character wasn't well-served at all in the series' final season.
Mister Jacobain Tee Talyor-Teetertotter
Mon, Aug 23, 2010, 10:57pm (UTC -6)
Yes, after the previous two installments of this arc being good, the payoff is downright disapointing. Never answers the whys sufficently, and the ending creates alot of more whys. Two popcorns.
Sat, Oct 30, 2010, 1:52pm (UTC -6)
Dear Jamahl,
I've really been enjoying reading you. Your analyzes are very often compelling, done with humor, and above all, very clever.

I've seen many times each epidode of all Star Trek series, and I have enjoyed all of them, each series having its own strenghts and weaknesses. Which series is the best is clearly a personal matter. Although I personally prefer Next Generation for its originality, Enterprise is second on my list, primarily for the quality of acting (Bakula, Billingsley, Blalock , Trinneer...) which cleary beats all other series by a mile... and despite the fact that the plots are too war oriented and with too many hostile species (clearly not the same Zeitgess than TNG)...

I write because I feel that you have been somehow unfair with Enterprise, being far more demanding in comparison to DS9, which appears to be your favorite. Fine, I too like the soap-like DS9 (except most, if not all, the Ferengi's epidoses), but this very refreshing (icing) episode deserves more than two stars, especially when we look at the DS9 episodes that were given two stars!

Thank you for this website and continue the good work.

Wed, Nov 10, 2010, 3:51pm (UTC -6)
I enjoyed the glimpse of Aenar society, and the characters seemed sympathetic.

The biggest difficulty I had with this episode is that there are only supposed to be a few thousand Aenar, they have no contact with the rest of the Andorians, and yet they have very advanced technology - good enough to fix Shran's leg, for instance.

Perhaps their telepathic ability allows them to access Andorian technology without physical contact. I can't see how else they could have developed it.
Mon, Dec 13, 2010, 2:52pm (UTC -6)
How could the space-faring Andorians, with sensors at least as good as Starfleet's of this time period, not have detected the Aenar on their own world, especially with that elaborate structure that they reside in?

This whole trilogy was an insult to intelligence, most notably the ridiculously out of place in the 22nd century Romulan technology.
Fri, Apr 29, 2011, 12:09am (UTC -6)
I'd like to associate myself with Paul's comments. Upon revisiting "Enterprise" on DVD, I must conclude that it was unquestionably the best-produced Trek series in terms of costumes, props, sets, lighting, makeup, FX, music, etc. Even the acting was on par with every other series. So it all came down to the writing. The factory that churned out scripts for years on TNG and Voyager fell into the troubling habit of formulaic plots, forgotten continuity, flimsy or erratic characters, and technobabble dialog. "Enterprise" also inherited Voyager's one innovation: juvenile pandering. But that turned around in the 3rd and 4th seasons, giving this series a claim to have some of the best-produced Trek scripts, as well.

However, even if all the ingredients are top quality in general, any given episode may fail to click for the viewer. I don't begrudge Jammer awarding star ratings based on his honest response. It's true that his ENT ratings skew far lower than any season of DS9; he gave 4 stars to only four ENT episodes, fewer for the whole series than in some individual seasons of DS9. That could be the result of DS9 setting a standard that ENT couldn't match, rather than judging ENT on its own merits.

On the merits, "The Aenar" works as well as any 2.5 or 3 star DS9 episode. Following Paul's suggestion, compare this episode to the 2-star outings from DS9's best season (according to Jammer's ratings), season 5. Is this episode better than "Empok Nor"? I'll say it is. Is it at least as good as the 2.5 star "The Ship"? I'd say so, and I liked "The Ship" more than Jammer did. I definitely prefer "The Aenar" to DS9's "The Assignment," which Jammer gave 2.5 stars. This is not to split hairs over star ratings or accuse this site's proprietor of bias. If anything, this shows that the rating scale does not apply across series and is mainly useful for comparing episodes within a series. In that case, "The Aenar" may be a merely average episode of ENT, but that in itself doesn't mean it's awful.
Marco P.
Tue, Jul 26, 2011, 6:10am (UTC -6)
You've raised several good points Jammer, and I particularly agree with what you said in paragraphs 2 and 3. It's true: the Romulans could have used more characterization and seem to be the routine "bad guy" of the week, but I disagree the episode has mostly wasted our time. We haven't just gone from point A to point B: if anything, albeit in a contrived way, the trilogy has laid the foundations for species cooperation within the galaxy (and further down in time, for the creation of the Federation). So what if the Romulans were used as a plot device?

I also liked the interactions between Shran and Jhamel, as it brings humanity (er... Andorianity?) to what Gareb has done (or rather been forced to do). Prior to meeting Jhamel, Shran is appalled by the deaths the drone ship caused (including obviously his mate Talas). After the revelation Jhamel is Gareb's sister, the poor kidnapped Aenar is given a background and isn't merely the pawn-of-the-Romulans any longer... he becomes someone's loved one. Despite what Jammer says, I did empathize with him somewhat even though the final scenes (him turning the drones on each other, his "sacrifice", his goodbye to his sister) were a bit too melodramatic.

I will agree on your 4th-to-last paragraph though: the whole design of the drones requiring a telepathic Aenar, as well as the elimination of a seemingly vital piece of the whole puzzle being dismissed as "of no consequence"... well it doesn't really make sense.

As for the Trip/T'Pol sublot at the end, I really felt it was unnecessary. This is almost turning into Ross & Rachel, something which really has no place in a Star Trek context.
Wed, Apr 4, 2012, 1:26pm (UTC -6)
Cynicism getting a bit outrageous bud
Thu, Jul 5, 2012, 6:16am (UTC -6)
I really do not understand why you think that love and sex are out of place and unnecessary in Star Trek. This is really a part of life you cannot avoid, to say the least. Portraying anykind of life out there somewhere without exploring romance is visibly incomplete. However much you disdain cheesyness, this is part of who we as humans are. A major plot hole in Star Trak is total lack of love – even when love is explored it is incomplete, in traces, simmering but never realised fully (as in Janeway/Chakotay) or sometimes even gross (Kira/Odo). As life is the way life is, to ignore love and delete it from a series altogether is foolish.
Can you imagine that some 80 men and women spend 3 or 4 years living together 24/7 on board a starship that cant be that big in size and never get involved romantically? Even with short excursions and short leaves, this is not feasible because humans are humans – they need emotional involvement if not sexual. This could have been a rich topic to explore, having in mind that there are a lot of internal conflicts going on and tensions piling up. Even if they never bend the starfleet rules – there are a lot of people with the same ranking on board and restrictions only apply in case superiors and subordinates get involved. I even think that star fleet should have devised elaborate rules about this, which would have to be feasible, and that it should have given it no less importance than the prime directive. You just cant expect humans to act like robots for a number of years.
You also criticised the way T’Pol and Trip got together in Harbinger. Well, that’s how it usually goes in real life – no deserted islands(planets), no extreme conditions and life-threatening situations, just some ordinary situations.
Tue, Sep 25, 2012, 8:54pm (UTC -6)
I really liked The Aenar, maybe 3.5 stars. It had excellent human drama, again anchored by Shran and the albino but also T'Pol and Trip. Neither are my faves but their strained relationship is compelling. The remote controlled ships were very cool and the whole arch was excellent. s4 Enterprise is like a whole new, good show!
Sat, Dec 22, 2012, 11:28am (UTC -6)
I'll have to jump on the "Jammer being overly critical" bandwagon here. (Though I love the reviews in general.. that's why I'm here after every episode). It wasn't that bad!

I thought it was wonderful to learn a little more about Andoria and these previously unheard of.. 'ice Andorians'?, and I felt for the girl in her strong willed determination to save her brother. Little touches like the "glow worm" things melting holes in the ice also go a long way towards illustrating a "strange new world" that the show's supposed to be about exploring.

As long as it isn't ridiculous, it doesn't all have to be "The Best of Both Worlds" or "The Inner Light". Peaks and troughs are fine, and this was an enjoyable and quite possibly memorable average-to-good episode. IMO.
Sun, Jan 6, 2013, 5:35pm (UTC -6)
If people don't want analysis, in-depth critique and ratings, why are they reading a review site?
Thu, Jan 10, 2013, 2:35pm (UTC -6)
Plot hole alert: Gareb says the Romulans told him all his people were dead. But he's a telepath. He could easily find out if they were lying.

But, he's not supposed to read their minds without permission, right? Well, he's evidently willing to give up pacifism at the demand of his captors, flying their ship and blowing up countless others … yet he still refuses to read their minds to see what their true motives are. Which is the greater transgression, hmm?
John TY
Wed, Jan 23, 2013, 8:43am (UTC -6)
I'll back you up here Jammer, although I found the plot holes in all 3 episodes to be too much of a distraction. Not to mention the shallow characterisation in all but a few scenes.

It was reasonably fun but ultimately left me flat. An ok cross between TOS and VOY.
Sun, Feb 17, 2013, 5:26am (UTC -6)
"If people don't want analysis, in-depth critique and ratings, why are they reading a review site?"
I believe that most of the people here enjoy these reviews. Jammer is good at writing (as far as I can tell, being a non-english speaker), has insight and owns his opinions. If he didn't wish a feedback, he wouldn't have let comments.

If sometimes we disagree, it doesn't mean we don't respect his points of view. We're all geek or nerd enough to talk about TV shows ! We're individuals, we have different expectations and different points of view and we're sharing them. And while most of the time the reviews are pretty fair, there is a slight bias for or against one series or another (for DS9/TNG, against Voyager/Enterprise). I'm ok with it because reviews also come from emotions and perception. But sometimes, we feel like defending some episodes we believe being underrated. We should get a life, don't we ? ;). (Actually, I'm never really "angry" with the reviews, but with some of the comments :p.)

For instance, this episode is the conclusion of a trilogy. Jammer seems to have had high expectations about a romulan analyse or a view of andoria, instead we have a (mostly) quiet episode that tends to develop more about characters than the plots or politics. I do agree that there are some plot holes but I for one did enjoy the ice caves and the explanation for them. Contrary to him, I cared about Jhamel's and it made us see another face of Shran.

The subplot about Trip/T'Pol was well done too. It seemed very realistic and emotional without falling into pathos. What's surprising is that it gets the same rating as Daedalus which was very inferior in script, dialogue and character developement.
Tue, Mar 5, 2013, 5:14pm (UTC -6)
I'll agree there were plot holes, but I don't agree that the Romulan plan was stupid--it was quite smart, up until Enterprise figured out that the warp signature doesn't match the type of ships the drone was representing. If Enterprise hadn't figured that out, the Andorians and Tellarites would have been at war and that would be the end of any potential cooperation between them. I do think the Aenar plot device was shoehorned in; it would have been much better if the Romulan drones didn't require a telepath, or maybe they had used a Reman telepath (aren't they supposed to be telepathic?) instead.

I still thought the Aenar were an interesting new species though (much more interesting than the Remans ever were.) As for the Andorians never having discovered them until recently--well, didn't Shran mention something about sensors not working that far below the ice? And I suppose if the Aenar didn't want to be found they could have always used their telepathy to screw with various Andorian leaders' heads.

As for the notion expressed above, and in other review threads, that you'rte being too critical of ENT--well, on the one hand I mostly consider the show to be a failure, so I have no problem with your critiques. On the other hand though, I think you gave the previous series--especially Voyager, which I would argue was worse than Enterprise because it was so utterly craven and never did anything interesting with its premise--more of a pass when it comes to weak plotting. But then, 25 seasons (or whatever it is now) of Trek shows probably do all feel "been there done that" after awhile. I still think season four, so far, feels more like a Trek show than the previous seasons ever did, and so far its batting average is higher than previous seasons. The only outright stinker for me was Daedalus, but by this point in previous seasons, the Lousy Episode Percentage was a lot higher.

One more thing about this episode--it has lots of Jeffrey Coombs, and that's at least an extra half star right there.
Sat, May 24, 2014, 5:59pm (UTC -6)
I really liked this episode--not sure what Jammer was looking for, but I liked seeing Andoria, and I thought the chemistry between Shran and Jhamel was nice, and boded well for their future. Maybe Jammer wanted more emphasis on the different races forming alliances, but we did already see that in the first and second eps. And I didn't see anything stupid about the Romulan bits. It was interesting to see Romulus, and the Romulans just are what they are. I would like to see more of Andoria. There are Andorian threads in the DS9 re-launch series of books…a fascinating species.
Sun, May 25, 2014, 8:13pm (UTC -6)
Disappointing conclusion. In addition to the plot holes mentioned by Jammer: Couldn't they have written some way for the Andorians, Tellarites, Vulcans and Enteprise to take down the drone ship together rather than Our Heroes doing it on her own? Otherwise, the entirety of "United" seems pointless. LAME!
Tue, Jun 24, 2014, 1:49am (UTC -6)
I've always been curious, are the prehensile Andorian/Aenar antennae part of the prosthetic make-up, or are they added on in post-production?
Paul M.
Tue, Jun 24, 2014, 2:28am (UTC -6)
Probably prosthetics as it would have been too costly to add them digitally every time we see an Andorian.
Mon, Apr 27, 2015, 12:47am (UTC -6)

This is the first episode that I disagree with you on. I do feel you got a bit too cerebral on this one, a bit too analytical.

I really enjoyed this episode. if I use this kind of analysis when I sat down to eat I probably never would eat. Thinking about where food came from, the processing, the poor animals that gave up their lives for my meal; well it just be too much.
Sometimes, simply put, a good steak is a good steak. Just enjoy.
Tue, May 19, 2015, 10:50pm (UTC -6)
I've been watching on Netflix and reading Jammer's review after every episode. Feel the same as Azdude, this is the first time I disagree with Jammer. To me, this was one of the best eps of any of the Star Trek series. Can't dispute the plot holes mentioned by others, but the Aenar really moved me, loved learning about their culture and seeing the interaction between Shran and Jhamel. The Aenar may be my favorite alien species yet, wish we could see more of them. The Romulans were also interesting, particularly the conflicted scientist who followed orders but was clearly unhappy about what they were doing to the pilot.
W Smith
Fri, Aug 21, 2015, 2:05pm (UTC -6)
A disappointing conclusion to the three-parter but not terrible either. The Aenar were interesting, and the Romulans had a clear motivation: chaos in the galaxy serves their plans for expansion. But the big plot hole was Gareb's motivation in going along with the Romualans' orders. If he really believes his entire species is dead, then what are the Romulans holding over his head? I figured either the Romulans threatened to kill all Aenar if he didn't cooperate, or he was being injected with some kind of "obedience" serum. Didn't make any sense that he would cooperate since he gave up his life as soon as his sister contacted him.

The best part was the Trip/Archer scene at the end. It rang very true, and something that anyone that has gone through a romantic breakup can relate to. It's not easy to get over unrequited love, and sometimes it's just best to get far away from that person in order to move on.
Daniel C
Sat, Aug 22, 2015, 9:47am (UTC -6)
I enjoyed the episode and I do disagree with the overall review.

I though the scenes with Shran and the Aenar were well acted, substantially better than many TNG and DS9 equivalents.

As to the technology (using the telepath, etc.) I can think of logical reasons the Romulans would have to use that technology. For instance, presumably the distance from Romulus to the ship is far, so only a telepathic signal could travel that far. There's some willing suspension of disbelief required, as always. As to why they would only kidnap one Aenar, I mean, this was a pilot and presumably they could always kidnap another.

And it is shortsighted to assume that the Aenar had to be a pacifist because he was raised that way. Maybe he was afraid for his life or just didn't care about a bunch of random strangers. Maybe he was angry, drugged, brainwashed, or confused, and went along. And maybe when he saw his sister he had a change of heart or couldn't kill her. It isn't a "plot hole" if humanoids act emotionally, humanoids are erratic and emotional. Shran certainly is.

Anyway, Jammer, I've really enjoyed your reviews as I watch through Enterprise. Thanks again and keep up the good work!
Mallory R.
Tue, Sep 1, 2015, 9:44pm (UTC -6)
Really a fun episode, and I love how it stays true to TOS. Hats off to Mr. Combs, awesome character actor, consistently great, and too often overlooked. He never lets up, whether as Weyoun in DS9 or Shran here. "Hands off, pinkskin." This was the first Enterprise episode I ever saw, and I was frankly amazed at how good it was
Mallory R.
Tue, Sep 1, 2015, 9:51pm (UTC -6)
...and whoops. I thought then and now that it was a deserving heir to TOS - as much as TNG. I guess it's just the nature of things that the good die young and the real irritation seems to persist, and that hack monstrosity Voyager unfortunately served as the anti-Trek.

Trip was especially great at the end, once again reminding us that Connor Trinneer was overqualified for the role.
Mon, Sep 14, 2015, 4:29pm (UTC -6)
I think the prototype ship makes some sense but I think this fails a plausibility test-why not use an artificially intelligent computer to run the robot ship?
Diamond Dave
Sun, May 15, 2016, 8:11am (UTC -6)
Another solid enough episode to conclude the arc I thought. I too enjoyed the glimpse of the Aenar and I did like the more personal element introduced through Gareb and Jhamel, which at least made the episode feel like it meant something at the conclusion. More Shran is always good of course - even impaled through the leg.

I also very much liked the low key coda, in which Trip's resignation was the most noticeable factor. It felt real and grounded. 2.5 stars.
Wed, Jun 1, 2016, 4:20pm (UTC -6)
Yeah, this episode isn't that bad. Maybe not a great conclusion to this trilogy, but almost a setup for things that, alas, were not to come. Jammer complains how the story didn't really give background on the Romulans, but then, that wasn't really this episodes point.

This episode's purpose was to get the characters and audience more aquainted with the Andorians, and streangthen relations, building to the alliance and later the Federation.

The Romulans, meanwhile are here to lay the ground work for the Earth-Romulan War. It's shown that by being a force for cooperation, the Romulans see Earth as a threat to their desire for conquest, no doubt why they singled us out. I'm confidant that, had the series continued the War would've become central to the series (indeed T'Pol was to be revealed as half-Romulan) and likely would've progressed to match up with Spock's statements in TOS.

As for the plot holes in this episode regarding the Aenar, they ARE telepathic, it's been shown that they can fool the minds of others, interfere with how they read sensors (the party being lost in the caves despite standing five feet from the entrance) the real question is, what made them come out of seclusion? More answers we were to get but never did?

This episode is another reason for my disappointment at Enterprise's cancellation. It was finally going to interesting places, but never got there. My one hope is that, if this new Bryan Fuller led series is indeed an anthology series, with different characters set in different eras, they'll revisit Enterprise again, and take to those places it was heading. Maybe even spin it off out of that show for a few more years if it's popular.
Sun, May 21, 2017, 10:02pm (UTC -6)
Captain Experiential, here. I am rather liking the development of the relationship between Shran & Archer. Plotholes be damned. It's heartwarming to see their friendship strengthen with each stressor they conquer together.
Mon, May 22, 2017, 12:00am (UTC -6)
Oh, I think Shran is one of the best things about this series. And I like ST:E, more than a lot of people.
Paul Mehlin
Mon, Jun 12, 2017, 7:25pm (UTC -6)
I don't know why Jammer is so harsh in his review. I just watched this three-parter for the first time and I really enjoyed it. Every show does not have to be perfect "hard Sci-Fi" (like, say 2001). I found several parts of this story very touching and I enjoyed it. Why all the sour grapes? I'm a Star Trek fan from the very start and this was good Trek in my opinion.
Tue, Jun 13, 2017, 6:51am (UTC -6)
I agree Paul. I haven't got around to reviewing this one yet, but it is one of my favorites.
Weyoun Zero
Thu, Aug 17, 2017, 2:22am (UTC -6)
Everybody can say what they will about Enterprise, love it or hate it. But I don't think anyone can deny that there is one thing that this show did better than all the rest. It was the most.........human. For once we got a cast, and a captain, who weren't constantly trying to invoke Shakespeare with every speech. And yea, like Kirk said of Spock, and then said TO him in TUC, "everybody's human." THAT, I believe, was Gene's original message, and it's a damn good one. Even the aliens are human on Star Trek. May not turn out that way in our universe, but that's the point cause Star Trek is supposed to be about humanity in all shapes, sizes, colors, AND personalities. I think Gene may have been hopelessly naive when he figured all human conflict would be gone by then, but what person living in 2017 would want to blame him for that, ya know?
Weyoun Zero
Thu, Aug 17, 2017, 2:33am (UTC -6)
Or was it hopeFULLY naive? Hmm....well, they both mean the same thing in this case, at least until our actual official first contact (and if E.T. is smart, we'll get one more like Independence Day than "Live long and prosper."........."Thanks." We all know this.)
Weyoun Zero
Thu, Aug 17, 2017, 2:39am (UTC -6)
Or was it hopeFULLY naive? Hmm....well, they both mean the same thing in this case, at least until our actual official first contact (and if E.T. is smart, we'll get one more like Independence Day than "Live long and prosper."........."Thanks." We all know some fool is gonna end up making it the beginning of In a Mirror, Darkly instead).
Mon, Aug 21, 2017, 3:17pm (UTC -6)
A good episode - the Aenar are an interesting and curious people -- and I enjoyed the scenes and dialogue between Shran and Jhamel. They've both suffered a loss and it's probably looking like they have a future together.

Jammer's review is much too harsh here. I think it's sufficient to believe the Romulans are trying to disrupt things and have bigger goals -- no need to specify what they are for this episode. Sometimes Jammer's reviews are fuelled by a personal agenda against an episode it seems...

However, it is ridiculous that Romulans use Aenar to pilot their drones and run them to the point of exhaustion/death. Yes, they should have better methods for controlling the drones. Also a bit of a stretch for the Enterprise crew to concoct something to control the ship with telepathy so quickly. But my 2 criticisms aren't so bad that they make the suspension of disbelief excessive. The episode still works from a story / action standpoint.

As for Gareb realizing all the people he's killed -- I think it's clever that he makes the 2 drones destroy each other. I would assume the Romulans had drugged him sufficiently to just follow orders and not worry about his pacifist beliefs but when Jhamel makes the connection to him, he realizes what he has done.

I'd give "The Aenar" 2.5 stars. The ending with Trip and Archer I suppose concludes the Trip/T'Pol nonsense romance, which was kind of the B-plot here. The dialogue is well done, Trinneer is, as I've said many times before, the best actor in the series. Should be the last we see of Shran, which is too bad -- last 2 episodes we got to see a different side of him other than the pure warrior commander.
Thu, Aug 24, 2017, 2:24pm (UTC -6)
I have really enjoyed these 3 episodes, especially this one. I didn't notice any plot holes in this episode but then I wasn't looking for any I was too enthralled by what I was watching. I was fascinated by the info about Andoria and the Aenar. And Mr Combs was wonderful as usual. Poor Shran, he was really put through the wringer in these 3 episodes! Hopefully things are looking up for him now he's found Jhamel. They were very sweet together in a tentative kind of way.
Just another fan
Thu, Oct 12, 2017, 12:39pm (UTC -6)
I, too, enjoyed these 3 episodes. Yes, there were plot holes and you do have to suspend belief with some of the technology, but I thought bringing the Aenar in solved one of the bigger ones -- that the Romulans have this advanced technology this early in the canon. Without the Aenar they cannot make this drone technology work and apparently it's also susceptible to being hacked so perhaps they abandoned the idea and chose other development pathways.

I will say I have seen a marked improvement in the treatment of romantic liaisons and relationships in the series. More than half of the series featured gratuitous, meaningless pursuits that seemed flat, without basis and engineered for commercial reasons. But in recent episodes, development has been more thoughtful, with a basis on shared experiences, shared viewpoints, common interests--in other words, how grown people behave, not adolescents. Here I'm referring to Archer and Hernandez, Shran and Talas, and Trip and T'Pol.

I rate this arc a solid 3 and maybe an extra half star for Mr. Combs.
Fri, Jan 12, 2018, 9:47pm (UTC -6)
An well-done three-parter; although perhaps it would be better labeled a 2-parter with a 1 episode follow-up. "The Aenar" follows the events of the previous episodes, but it has quite a different feel.

I agree with most of the commenters here; "The Aenar" was a solid character episode. I also have to highlight the production crew; the ice planet of Andoria felt very different from the normal "planet of the week" settings we're used to in Star Trek.

I'd give the group of episodes 3 stars, though it's worth more than that to long-time Trek viewers. A solid examination of the beginning of the Federation, with further development of 2 of the founding races.
Fri, Mar 30, 2018, 7:12pm (UTC -6)
Good episode. I loved the pacifistic white Andorians. I don't get why they're called "subrace". Such thing does not exist.
Tue, Jun 26, 2018, 7:21am (UTC -6)
No no no, I loved this episode. 3.5 stars. I thought it was really touching when she telepathically linked with her brother and he said "remember me" just before he died. The destruction of the Romulan drones had me cheering and for once I totally enjoyed the convenient happy ending. Then at the end, presumably Trip wanted to leave the ship because of his feelings for T'Pol?

This was a mature, well-written, well-acted episode and thoroughly enjoyable. Jammer has been wayyy too harsh here.
Mon, Jul 30, 2018, 8:11am (UTC -6)
Brainwave equals genome?!
Mon, Nov 12, 2018, 10:15pm (UTC -6)
As the final episode in a three-parter, the excitement factor felt flat. I like the earlier comment about being a two-parter with another episode. I also agree with the comment that this episode had a different feel from the preceding two.

But oh the characters. The scene between Trip and Archer was wrenching. Trip’s pain was palpable and you could see his heart was broken. I just wish T’Pol would listen to the advice her older and wiser self gave her in the episode where the Current Enterprise meets the Old Enterprise. Come on, girl, give it up for this deserving guy. (Note: I’m an old lady who was around for the original TOS.)
Wed, Dec 19, 2018, 5:32pm (UTC -6)
Too harsh on this one Jammer. At least 2,5 antennas from me. Really liked the shot of the underground city. Brother and sister is a nice touch. And yes, too much illogical tech but hey, it looked cool and it was a new concept. They couldn't have done much more with the Romulans. Might have been better if it was a reconnaissance mission and like the Chinese who came near South Africa the Romulans had concluded: the hell with expansion. We're staying right here.
Sun, Mar 17, 2019, 11:53am (UTC -6)
2.5 stars

Another uneven season four episide with some good stuff like the introduction of the Aenar, the visit and trek to Andoria, the visual depiction of the underground landscapes and cities, shran and Jamel. The the not so good stuff like the telepresence and the Trip T’Pol angst which dragged on the episode
Mon, Apr 8, 2019, 12:13am (UTC -6)
Not a bad episode. 2.5 stars, possibly 3 if I had a couple beer in me!
Lew Stone
Sat, Sep 7, 2019, 12:49am (UTC -6)
Aenar women are HOT! Serious big crush on Jhamel!
Thu, Jan 30, 2020, 11:59am (UTC -6)
Let me join the chorus here. I really liked this episode and thought it made a solid conclusion to the trilogy. The Aenar are a great addition to Star Trek lore, helped along by awesome visual design. The pale, creamy color palette in the Aenar city is visually distinctive and consistent across the sets, costumes, and makeup. Great coordination between talented designers that makes the Aenar stick in your mind more than dozens of generic “aliens of the week” in TNG and Voyager. (The ice caves looked fake, but fake-looking caves are a Trek staple.)

I also loved the idea of a reclusive, pacifist group of Andorians as a foil for their dominant martial philosophy. The relationship between Shran and Jhamel is particularly well done as a microcosm of their two societies. At first, Shran is contemptuous of the Aenar. He thinks they’re weak for not “serving their society.” To him, honor and virtue comes solely from military service; that’s the culture he was raised in. But when Jhamel volunteers to come along to save her brother, he develops a respect for her. He realizes that strength comes in different forms, and that by breaking the traditions of her people and putting her life on the line, she’s showing a strength that’s just as powerful as the martial strength he’s been taught to respect. It’s a powerful, understated arc. This and Shran’s doomed romance with Talas really make him a fully-fleshed out character, with more compelling relationships, perspectives, and screen presence than several Enterprise leads!

That said, we needed more on Gareb for this trilogy to really soar. In hindsight, I think it was a mistake to save his reveal for the end of “United.” We didn’t get enough time with him to grasp his arc and really feel for him as a person. The telepathic conversation between Gareb and Jhamel hints at an emotional, wrenching story: the Romulans convincing Gareb that his people are dead, then manipulating him to betray his deepest beliefs to kill others until a final, redemptive moment when their deception is revealed. But you just can’t convey all that in one scene. The facts come across, but not the feel. I actually assumed that Gareb was drugged until this final conversation, after which he seems to have free will and turns on his Romulan captors way too quickly.

The final scene between Archer and Trip is excellent. A down-to-earth, genuine feel of two friends having a tough conversation. The subtext of Trip’s love for T’Pol hangs over the scene like a cloud.

In the end, I’d give “The Aenar” 3 stars, scraping the edge of 3.5. But definitely some 4-star moments.
Fri, Apr 10, 2020, 7:08pm (UTC -6)
@Quibbles, great comments.

"The final scene between Archer and Trip is excellent. A down-to-earth, genuine feel of two friends having a tough conversation. The subtext of Trip’s love for T’Pol hangs over the scene like a cloud."

Just re-watched the episode and yes, that final scene between Trip and Archer is excellently acted. Bravo to both Trinneer and Bakula. Well-written as well. Less is more as they say.

The developing relationship between Jhamel and Shran is very natural and the military leader does really change the way he thinks about the Aenar, realizing strength is not just military.

I liked this episode a fair bit as an epilogue to "Babel One"/"United" as it provides a different feel for large parts with the wondrous world in the ice and the character moments (Jhamel/Shran, T'Pol/Trip, and the excellent finale between Trip and Archer).
Fallen for Shran
Sun, May 10, 2020, 4:55pm (UTC -6)
For Shran/Combs-Fan this episode was a real treat. (And for Shran-Fans the rest is quite irrelevant, really.) Often we see Shran with aggressive outbursts, a dominant male with a temper. While we already got a glimpse of his warm empathic side of his personality with Talas' passing, in this episode we saw him all soft, tender and caring.

When Shran sees Jhamel for the first time in the cave he looks like he has just been struck by love on first sight. Later in their conversation Jhamel apologises for having sensed some of his thoughts, while Shran says "it's never been that hard to figure out what I am thinking". Yeah, it was that obvious, indeed.

Frankly, I am still not sure what exactly they intend to achieve with the conversation later about Talas ("Talas was a fortunate woman" - "I was the fortunate one") with regards to their developing relationship. Sounds like she thinks of him as a decent partner? It can also be seen in the context of both of them struggling with grieve, both comforting each other. He keeps encouraging her, emphasises her bravery to use a machine he wouldn't dare going near to. Now, "Keep being strong. For me." while holding hands gives empowering speeches a new layer.

And then at the end this embrace...
Boys, when an Alpha-male shows his soft side, how vulnerable he is, my ovaries explode.

Now I wish there had been a 5th season with Shran as a permanent character... One of the roundest characters in all Trek; superbly played by Combs, who shows he can play any emotion and is a much better actor than many of the permanent casts (TNG, looking at you). With his talent he should have been a star beyond the horror/Trek-niche.
Mon, Jul 13, 2020, 5:04pm (UTC -6)
Gotta emphatically disagree that Jammer is biased against Enterprise. This episode was a dissapointment and he still gave it 2 stars; I think he was generous, considering. If this was reworked as a stand alone episode, i think it would have been an intriguing drama, but as part 3 of a triology, it felt aimless and unnecessary. All part 2 needed was a decisive ending and we'd have a good two-parter that took us to a similar place that part 3 didn't build much upon.
Cody B
Tue, Aug 4, 2020, 5:46am (UTC -6)
I agree with the review. We finally go to Andoria and all we see is their equivalent of Antarctica. Not to mention we just got done with a three episode arc about a rogue offshoot Vulcan group causing trouble only to begin a three episode arc about a rogue offshoot Romulan (who look like Vulcans) group causing trouble. Not the greatest episode but not the worst either.
Gail NYC
Thu, Nov 19, 2020, 6:44pm (UTC -6)
Loved this episode! I thought it was a great end to the trilogy. I loved the Aenar and Shran's burgeoning relationship with them. Captain Archer striking the right note and not being overly shrill/self-righteous. The Trip and T'Pol situation finally being handled realistically. Overall I give it four stars.
Thu, Jul 1, 2021, 5:21pm (UTC -6)
Yes many weird plot holes, but overall enjoyable.

The aenar are an interesting cousin of the andorian (sort of the opposite of what the romulans are to the vulcans), and it was touching to see shran getting all cosy with that aenar woman (although there was a bit too much of a Born Sexy Yesterday syndrome for my taste).

Best part, which I think was intentionally meta by the writers:
Aenar lady reading Archer’s mind: "You have an interesting mind, captain – many facets. Some of those facets are in conflict."
Shran: "That explains a lot!"
Wed, Jul 7, 2021, 6:13am (UTC -6)
Rather than thinking of this episode as the end of the Romulan arc on Enterprise, we should think of this as the end of Shran's arc. Then it makes perfect sense.

(P.S.: I don't know if Shran shows up again or not, so by "end of arc" I just mean getting to know where an important character landed up. Like Spock in Reunification.)
Tue, Jul 13, 2021, 10:00am (UTC -6)
@Daya let’s just pretend that the awful very last episode never existed and that this episode was indeed where we parted with Shran. A great ending for that character.
Mon, Nov 22, 2021, 10:45am (UTC -6)
Jammer seems to have a hate bias against Enterprise even when it has great episodes. All his Enterprise reviews sound like he has a bone to pick with everything writing wise when he would be fine if the same happened in most previous series

Season 4 of Enteprrise for example is considered one of the best seasons but most of his reviews are 2 stars
Mon, Nov 22, 2021, 11:41am (UTC -6)
Actually think Jammer's ratings for ENT S4 (and ENT overall) are fair. His most common rating for ENT S4 is 3 stars (10 episodes) and just 5 episodes were rated at 2 stars.
Tue, Mar 1, 2022, 8:03pm (UTC -6)
I thought this was the weakest of the trilogy, towards the end I was thinking "isn't this over yet?". I'll admit it was nice to see some world building for the Andorians but the out come of the episode was kind of predictable.

Over all score: 4/10
Wed, Jul 20, 2022, 1:49pm (UTC -6)
There is a deleted scene on the blu-ray that I really wish they had incorporated into the home video release. It's a final scene with the Romulan scientists and the senator. It was a less than a minute long but it wrapped up their parts of the story nicely.
Mon, Feb 20, 2023, 12:09am (UTC -6)
My biggest nit was the marauder itself.
Once you know it's out there, the holo-emitters and "multi-phasic" weapons are useless.... you simply shoot anything that doesn't respond to a coded "friend or foe" query.
OTOH, the marauder is incredibly small, incredibly fast, incredibly maneuverable, and heavily armed. Where did the Romulans get all that technology? It's a 22nd century Defiant -- who cares if there's a telepathic pilot?
Wed, Oct 4, 2023, 9:55pm (UTC -6)
Enjoyable ep, it was cool to see the Andorian ice caves.

Very cool subterranean ice city.

Very strong scene between Trip and Archer at the end. Man, Trip has gotta make his move, that boy is love sick something fierce!

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