Star Trek: Enterprise

"The Augments"

2 stars

Air date: 11/12/2004
Written by Mike Sussman
Directed by LeVar Burton

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"How long can we sustain warp 5?"
"As long as the captain wants it. Or until we blow up — whichever comes first."

— Soong, Trip

In brief: An unremarkable finale to a trilogy with more potential than the writers end up tapping.

The problem with "The Augments" is the Augments. They just don't seem very bright. More specifically, their leader, Malik, doesn't seem very bright, and the rest of them are supplied no screen time, so they become faceless lemmings willing to follow Malik over a very obvious cliff. As Kirk once said, I'm laughing at the superior intellect.

The lone exception is Persis, who has a conscience and is smart enough to think on her own, but not smart enough to stage her own power play by killing Malik and taking command over the other Augments. Based on what we see of the Augments, there's little reason to believe that they wouldn't be willing to follow Persis as blindly as they follow Malik.

And that's the problem. The crux of the story is reduced to an unremarkable three-character power struggle that is supposed to be a microcosm for the trouble that comes with genetically engineered super-humans, but comes across instead as overly bland and tidy drama. On one hand we have Malik, the crazed lunatic who's willing to kill anyone who stands in his way. On the other hand we have Soong, who wants only to save his "children" and teach them right from wrong. And in the middle we have Persis, who wants to come to the right decision and do the right thing, but doesn't have the prudence to be proactive about it.

Meanwhile, the Enterprise desperately hunts the Augments' Bird of Prey in order to supply the plot with the timeless story device of The Chase.

All of the characters are wearing blinders in their own way (and in the case of Soong, that's the point), but the big problem is that Malik simply seems too stupid. He lashes out and is quick to look for the violent solution to a given problem. This is very obviously going to be his own undoing, but he's too blind to see that. When Soong suggests that the Augments lay low in the Briar Patch so Soong can birth the other Augment embryos, Malik suggests an alternative plan: launch a bio-attack on a Klingon colony that will kill millions of Klingons. His logic: Since humans will be to blame, the Klingons will launch a counterattack on Earth that will "keep Starfleet busy for years." In the meantime, the Augments will be safe from the Klingons and Starfleet.

Please. I for one don't buy it — not unless Starfleet and the Klingons are both equally as stupid as Malik's plan ... which I guess is what the script is betting on. In reality, both the Klingons and Starfleet, even if they went to war (which, by the way, is a completely contrived scenario on the plot's behalf), are still going to be looking for the people who actually did it.

There was a reason Khan gave in to his emotions and threw logic and intelligence out the window: because it was personal. He was obsessed with Kirk and wanted to get even, period. Malik doesn't have that excuse, and his argument that his plan is the best chance of ensuring the Augments' survival is pure idiocy.

Meanwhile, I kept waiting for Soong to just get it over with and throw Malik into a holding cell. Time after time, Malik disobeys Soong, and time after time, Soong lets him off with a sternly worded warning. It's obvious to everyone in the audience that Malik's power play is imminent, and yet Soong sits back and lets it happen. Part of this is admittedly the point; indeed, it's the arc of Soong's character — he doesn't let himself believe Malik will actually take things to such extremes. But with all the warning signs, you'd think Soong would put his foot down once Malik starts whispering plans to murder millions of Klingons in order to incite a war that will kill still millions more.

Eventually, Soong is thrown into a cell, with all the Augments backing Malik except Persis, who pretends to go along with Malik long enough to break Soong out of the cell and get him off the ship in an escape pod. The Enterprise finds and retrieves the pod, at which point Soong explains to Archer the details of Malik's deadly plan, which the Enterprise must now prevent, upping the ante in The Chase. In the midst of The Chase through Klingon space, the Enterprise runs into some Klingon patrols. One of these encounters ends with a rather weak con by Archer that shouldn't be fooling anybody; perhaps, based on this gullibility, the Klingons really are dumb enough to launch a war on Earth if the Augments destroy one of their colonies. In another showdown, Soong tries to reason with the Klingons by speaking in Klingon. I like how he speaks Klingon in an American accent. ("I tried," he says. Reminded me of high school Spanish class, where some of my classmates would use American pronunciation that bordered on laughable.)

Back aboard the Augments' Bird of Prey, Malik suspects Persis of letting Soong out of the holding cell. But of course he should. The question is why Persis didn't anticipate Malik's suspicions and kill him right away, before he even knew Soong had been freed. Surely she had to know Malik would suspect her and probably kill her. If any of these characters were as smart as they're supposed to be, we wouldn't have to sit through so many transparently inevitable scenes. The scene in Malik's quarters that escalates from lazy pillow talk to Persis' death is one of those where you know simply from the demands of the script who must live and who must die, and yet the story goes through the motions as if there were actually any question about it.

The actors do their best. The always reliable Brent Spiner delivers a good performance under the circumstances, considering he has to convince us that he never saw any of this coming. Abby Brammell is effective as Persis, able to look hard-edged in some scenes and vulnerable in others. Her scenes with Soong in particular reveal a humanity that is refreshing after all of Malik's annoying posturing. Alec Newman convincingly creates a character in Malik we dislike because of his arrogance; too bad that the overall dynamics aren't more interesting.

The episode has some nice cross-references with the other Trek outings. My favorite is the way Malik, after the Enterprise's attack on his ship, stumbles out from under the rubble and confronts a control panel. The writers and director LeVar Burton successfully cite Khan's similar emergence from the rubble on the bridge of the Reliant; they do this using only visual cues.

But the story ultimately fails to draw us in or understand the plight of the Augments. By making the show completely about Malik and his madness, we don't understand what motivates everyone else. And Soong's arc, while expected, doesn't have enough of the right notes of regret. The episode ends on a note of forced whimsy, in which he decides that cybernetics are the direction he should now apply his brilliant mind. (This, of course, explains how future generations of Soong will eventually invent Data.)

Perhaps this story was simply content to show absolute power corrupting absolutely. Unfortunately, aside from Persis, none of the Augments stop to think about what they're doing or why, and the story of Malik is content to blandly repeat the story of Khan, but without the crucial personal motivator of revenge. I think the writers owed the material more than this.

Next week: A three-part story takes us deep into Vulcan culture.

Previous episode: Cold Station 12
Next episode: The Forge

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◄ Season Index

55 comments on this post

Mon, Mar 24, 2008, 5:24pm (UTC -6)
You gotta love how Klingons don't have escape pods...unless the plot necessitates it, of course.
Jakob M. Mokoru
Fri, Nov 14, 2008, 7:51am (UTC -6)
I liked this trilogy - it wasn't great but quite good. It's always great to see Brent Spiner and I particularly liked the character of Persis - not (only) for obvious reasons. Yet I wondered why she showed almost everything when she was in her "Augment-Overall" but dressed quite "chastely" when in bed with Malik. Kinda strange, isn't it?
Mon, Aug 2, 2010, 2:07pm (UTC -6)
I actually agree with you on pretty much everything for once. Very disappointing trilogy that could have been done awesomely.

Personally I hated the ridiculous homage Malik performed to WoK emerging from rubble on the bridge. It was so pedestrian and obvious that I think my groan woke up the neighbours. At this point I was waiting for Malik to start reciting lines from Moby Dick.

I might have enjoyed that kind of predictability. I mean if you're gonna copy WoK so obviously why not just go all the way?
Joe Menta
Mon, Oct 4, 2010, 10:07am (UTC -6)
Future generations of Soong will go on to create Data? I just assumed that Brent Spiner was playing the same Dr. Soong we've known and loved for years. After all, it's not hard to fathom that the brilliant scientist found a way to keep himself alive all the way to Next Gen's timeframe, where he was clearly depicted as being very old.
Dustin Hatchett
Fri, Nov 19, 2010, 5:02am (UTC -6)
This episode also did one of the things that bugged me about Enterprise (as is blatantly obvious in the screwed up finale). The writers throw in a reference to Insurrection; as if the writers are screaming, “The Briar Patch has always been here, it was not a bad plot device for a lame movie”.

Thank you for doing the reviews as I check out Enterprise on HULU. I am watching episodes I missed due to my local channel moving the shows time every month; half a decade ago. :)
Thu, Feb 3, 2011, 10:58am (UTC -6)
Big question: How does Soong end up having descendants? Are we to guess that Data's creator is a nephew? Considering that Arik Soong viewed the Augments as his children and the other implied events of his life (prison, years in the Borderland, etc.) he can't possibly have biological children, can he?

One thing about Enterprise that works here and throughout the series is regular turmoil, but not all-out war, with the Klingons. Enterprise didn't always get continuity right -- and it stretched too much to tie up loose ends here and there -- but the Klingon backstory generally leads well into TOS.
Sun, Apr 24, 2011, 12:00pm (UTC -6)
Paul... Making descendants was Step #1 in Soong's cybernetics initiative. If you could've read the paper he started writing at the end of the episode, it said, "Dear"
Marco P.
Mon, May 16, 2011, 8:56am (UTC -6)
Have to agree, the Augments trilogy didn't come to the best of resolutions. Khan's people deserved more.

In my comment of the previous episode I faulted Soong for being short-sighted. He displays similar behaviour here when instead of trying to *convince* Malik & Co. what they're doing is wrong/immoral/has an alternative, he lets things degenerate to a mutiny and then counter-plots to stop Malik *physically* (enlisting Persis's and Enterprise's help). Too little too late, which makes the ultimate (expected) morale of "the teacher has failed" a little harder to swallow for me. Like I said before, perhaps this teacher didn't try hard enough.

As for Malik, I can only echo Jammer's comments: for someone superiorly intelligent his decisions are rather perplexing. Yet consider the scene where Soong and Malik discuss the doctor's choice to alter the genetic code of the next generation of embryos, suppressing "aggression" and "violent behaviour". Perhaps the writers wanted to emphasize that in *spite* of his superior intelligence, Malik is genetically predisposed to act violently: he cannot help himself, even it means long-term ramifications his intelligence did not consider and which are ultimately self-defeating. If that is the case, the intent can be commended but the final result isn't very effective. Emotion as a reason for irrational behaviour (as in the case of Khan) works a lot better than DNA.

I also agree as far as the rest of the Augments (Persis excluded) are concerned: lemmings blindly following their leader without offering any kind of debate? Bit poor.

Some other notes, more of a technical nature:
• How the hell did that grappler trick on the Klingon ship work??? "Shearing forces"? I really don't buy it.
• Couldn't Archer have beamed the Augments aboard Enterprise before the Klingon ship detonated?? Malik did it!

I thought the final scene, foreshadowing the creation of Data, was a nice touch however.
Wed, Apr 4, 2012, 11:18am (UTC -6)
Rewatched this one last night. There are some other logical gaffes:

1) Could an escape pod be jettisoned successfully while a ship is at warp? Wouldn't the shearing forces kill anybody inside and possibly destroy the pod?

2) What's up with the Augments' clothes? I guess the idea is that they're wearing the same things they've worn for years, but wouldn't they also be less well kept (hair cuts, shaving, makeup)?

3) Where did the bed that Malik and Persis use come from? Klingons, famously, don't have beds.

4) I guess the Klingons were cool with Enterprise disabling one of their battle cruisers?
Joseph B
Sun, Jul 8, 2012, 10:27am (UTC -6)
In an attempt to answer Paul's questions above:
1. The escape pod would have residual protection from the warp "bubble". It would "fade" into normal space. So no gravimetric shearing.

2. Chalk this one up to Writer’s License.

3. It's logical to assume that supplies from the Augments' initial planet would be brought aboard the captured "Bird of Prey".

4. Since the Enterprise saved millions of Klingons and possibly averted an interstellar war, their actions would have been deemed "Honrable" by the High Councel.

As to the ep:
It was entertaining enough to warrant at least 3 stars from me. But it had to be looked upon in context with the entire trilogy.
Fri, Dec 7, 2012, 3:37pm (UTC -6)
i think there were two flaws in the augment trilogy:
1. These were not super humans. They were just thugs. No Khan here.
2. None of the actors that were playing the augments was Ricardo Montalban
Sun, Dec 9, 2012, 12:08pm (UTC -6)
Can't really say much that wouldn't be an echo of everything else, so I'll just say..

Archer shot a hole through him! o.o

Can't exactly blame him for using maximum setting this time.. I think he'd had enough of Malik just as we all had :P
Wed, Jan 2, 2013, 4:58pm (UTC -6)
Thank goodness the Augments are all wiped out. Else we would have to organize a fundraiser to properly clothe them.

A nice trilogy, too bad that the Augments were such dumb cardboard characters. Maybe that is the message: superhumans are super in everything, including dumb and destructive. Wasn't there a war about the subject in Trek canon? A good explanation given.
Mon, Jan 7, 2013, 1:38am (UTC -6)
CeeBee: Hah, yeah, their clothes were ridiculous.

I don't know whether they were meant to suggest they'd been combat training so much that they'd torn everything, or that they had been so long without supplies that everything was torn, or that they just thought it looked cool, or what.

Also rather comical that Persis' underwear is perfectly fine in the second episode's bedroom scene (or "what passes for sex on Star Trek" scene). I don't know about you, but my underwear tends to develop holes/rips a lot sooner than my clothes. So I guess that kills the "no supplies" theory, unless they had some pretty lopsided supplies. (Maybe they ran off to start up "Dr. Arik Soong's Augment Training Camp and Underwear Emporium" or something.)
Mon, Jan 7, 2013, 1:50am (UTC -6)
I also love Malik's questioning/accusations regarding Soong's alterations to the embryos. What right does he have to alter them to be "docile"? The same one the scientists had when they altered them to be strong, smart, etc. Duh.

And who's more likely to know what the original scientists did or did not intend for the embryos? One of their fellow scientists, or one of their flawed creations?

There isn't even an argument to be had, there. As Jammer's mentioned, for someone who's supposed to be twice as smart as humans, he sure doesn't act it.
Tue, Jan 8, 2013, 3:30pm (UTC -6)
Ditto the above question: why are the brilliant augments not-so-brilliant. Brent Spiner shines nicely, though. (I busted a gut during the gag where he's watching the Big Show sway, and finally fall. Watch Spiner's face. Might be worth the whole arc.) Also agree with the disease torture scene, which raised the level of the whole arc.
Tue, Jan 15, 2013, 1:37am (UTC -6)
In short: blah

Everything that was subtle about Cold Station 12 is blasted out an airlock here. Malik is back to scene chewing and bad dialogue. Soong and Persis are oblivious. The gotcha ending is so stupid they don't even try to offer an explanation.

Where Cold Station 12 offered shades of grey, here we get the Augments are defective and bad. Should we even feel sorry for them, since they never even had a choice but to be evil? Was this even written by the same people? It chronologically comes after the previous episode, but has none of its smarts, character, or logic.

Brent Spiner does what he can, but he comes of more like Borderland -- half jokey, slick, and over the top. All of the wonderful drama that came from his character losing his grip on his children seems to evaporate, as this Soong just seems criminally dense and unaware.

Soong doesn't seem to be concerned about the glaring warning signs seen in Cold Station 12. There's also no followup to poor, unfortunate Smike. While I generally despise speechification, it's pretty bad when Soong doesn't even try to tell Malik that murder is bad and mass murder is worse. Parenting, is like, hard. What can you do with kids these days?

The references here failed for me. When Malik crawls across the bridge of the Reliant, it just reminded me of a better story containing characters I actually cared about. Malik doesn't even have enough substance to be Khan's second in command, much less Khan. The throwaway line about cybernetics also does double disservice -- not only does it remind us about better episodes, but it insinuates that a genius in genetics would know squat about robots. This is ludicrous.

Where Cold Station 12 showed all the characters as smart and competent, here they just pull out tricks that are never discussed before or after. Changing the warp signature. Super duper sensors. Pushing the warp drive. Torpedos targeting torpedoes. Archer moving components around to stop the Xindi weapon, sorry, pathogen release. Archer's conversation in faux Klingon. These aren't characters acting smart -- these are contrivances. "Cuz if we find we're in a bind, we just make some sh*t up" indeed. It's bad when the majority of lines for *all* the characters are just to get them from point A to point B.

What a disappointment. Cold Station 12 was great, but this episode dumps everything that was good and complex and replaces it with cliche. Malik sums it up several times with his line: There is no other choice. Really? That's all you've got? We have a super genius coming back with a grade school response that any Vulcan would brand as illogical.

Trip and T'Pol get a good scene, and Spiner does some good work, but there's no issue or discussion or weight here. It's all stop the bad guys with kewl tricks that ultimately mean nothing.
Sat, Feb 16, 2013, 1:45pm (UTC -6)
I was also disappointed by the wrap up of this trilogy.

However, watching it, my explanation for the augments to be so dumb is simple. Being smart or very intelligent doesn't mean you can't be stupid and do dumb things. If there's no balance between intelligence and emotions, the result is obviously flawed. In addition, they've been left to themselves at the adolescence, the time when children most need guidance. These augments obviously lacked affection, structure and limits, with only some stories they heard when they were kids: it's easy to twist the stories and become twisted yourself.

So obviously, you can't compare Khan to these children. I didn't have a hard time believing that some of them blindly followed a leader, because they are themselves a bit lost. However, I'd have liked to see more reactions like Persis: what made her different ?
Sun, Mar 3, 2013, 5:44pm (UTC -6)
I loved the whole trilogy because, finally, this seems like a Star Trek show. Now if only the "Vulcans" would stop being douchebags.

As for Malik's behavior: he's only about 20, he grew up from the age of ten without a parental figure, he knows nothing about human beings and so he considers them disposable cannon fodder, he's reckless, certainly, and arrogant enough to think no one can stand in his way. Comapred to Khan he's a kid. And I have to disagree with you about the potential effectiveness of his plan to wipe out the Klingon colony. Consider: the Klingons have nonsensically been chasing Archer--a man who's done nothing but try to help them, up to and including saving their ridiculous Empire from a civil war--for three seasons now, and they have violated Earth's territory and attacked Enterprise to get to him. That's already an act of war. Of course the Klingons would attack Earth if their colony was wiped out. They'd attack Earth if they stubbed their toe. The Klingons on this series have always been stupid thugs, and Mailk is just going by past history. Millions of Klingons dead by human hands (admittedly augmented humans but that would make no difference to the Klingons) and you really think the Klingons would be satisfied with capturing the augments alone, even if they could find them in the briar patch at all? They'd go after Earth with everything they had.

Also, we must remember that the augments aren't just human beings who happen to be smarter. They're genetically altered, so asking why Malik consistently attempts violent solutions to problems--essentially, the most efficient means to an end without regard for morality--is like asking why a Doberman is meaner than a cockerspaniel. It's in his nature. Khan was the same way, though he had decades of experience as a ruler of a quarter of the planet to give him insight into the human psyche--insight Malik doesn't have.
Wed, Jul 31, 2013, 1:33pm (UTC -6)
Maybe I didn't notice... but how would there be any descendats named Soong when this one is locked up for the rest of his life?
Fri, Aug 2, 2013, 2:42am (UTC -6)
The Dr. Soong from TNG can't be the same person as this one, as they have different first names, and humans don't live quite long enough. In TNG, McCoy has one foot in the grave, and he hasn't even been born yet at the time of this episode, when Arik is already somewhat old.

But considering all the evidence:
1) Arik and Noonien Soong look identical, are both mad geniuses, and both seem to have the same tragic flaw of not quite being able to believe that their "children" could really be evil,
2) Arik doesn't seem to be married or have any biological children, and might be too old for it,
3) Noonien Soong considers Data and Lore his children, and artificial procreation to be completely reasonable for him,
4) The Soongs in general are pretty weird,
5) Arik Soong is a geneticist.

I think the best conclusion is that Noonien is a clone. The technology exists in the time period ("Up The Long Ladder") and, even if Arik decides that cybernetics is the way to go in the future, he's not going to just forget all his biology.

Given the long lifespans of humans in Trek, Noonien's advanced age in TNG, and Arik Soong's talent for biology (and presumably life-extension), it's possible that Noonien could be a first generation clone of Arik, or maybe there are one or two intermediates.

Is there a novel that explores the Soong family tree? If so, what conclusion did it draw about the line from Arik to Noonien?
Mon, Aug 26, 2013, 6:44pm (UTC -6)
Ditto to that last comment...

That's a novel I'd like to read.
Tue, Sep 3, 2013, 11:25pm (UTC -6)
@Marco P.

"I thought the final scene, foreshadowing the creation of Data, was a nice touch however."

Oh, I hated that. It was at best gilding the lily and at worst "Star Trek for the Irony-Impaired." It was the equivalent of the writers' saying, "See this guy who's played by Brent Spiner and whose last name is Soong? He's an ancestor of the guy who created Data!" Duh. And it didn't even work on another level: I don't believe that "interest in creating artificial life" is something that would be likely to be passed down from one generation to the next -- and certainly not as many generations as exist between Arik and Noonien. One of my great-grandfathers was a cabinetmaker, another one was a peddler, and a third was a butcher -- among the three of them, they have many, many descendants who are my second cousins, none of whom has become a cabinetmaker or a peddler or a butcher, and, BTW, none of whom even knew their great-grandfathers.
Mon, Feb 10, 2014, 2:35pm (UTC -6)
I'm glad they touched on this subject in Enterprise, as it feels familiar given the ToS outings (Space Seed and Wrath of Khan).

What's interesting is that the Federation maintains its operation to genetic enhancements for over 200 years as evidenced by the Deep Space Nine episodes dealing with Bashir's enhancements.

In the Enterprise trilogy, it's mentioned that the Denobulans have got genetic enhancements figured out without any megalomaniac problems. Why can't humans do the same?
Mon, Feb 10, 2014, 2:36pm (UTC -6)
The "concentrate on cybernetics" things was silly. Arik Soong didn't have any children.

. .. although, that raises the question about Noonien Soong being descended from an Augment?
John G
Sun, May 25, 2014, 7:15pm (UTC -6)
To echo what Arachnea and Mark said, just because the augments are on paper highly intelligent doesn’t mean they will do smart things. In fact it can potentially mean quite the opposite because of overconfidence, combined with the fact that *intelligence* is not the same as *wisdom* (channelling AD&D here *g*), which they clearly lacked and had no way to gain in their isolated existence. Thus I found it perfectly legitimate to have them be adept at cracking codes and making short-term snap decisions, but make strategic blunders and misjudge how other people think and act. After all, their entire knowledge of human nature came from one single man’s propaganda, Dr. Soong.

Meanwhile regarding Arik Soong’s children or the lack thereof, well, he’s a geneticist and perfectly capable of creating a clone of himself. Maybe the later Soong is simply his clone. Or maybe he had a kid that simply wasn’t mentioned and lost contact with that kid. All sorts of plausible explanations. All in all a nice tie-in with the continuity.

Meanwhile my favorite moment by far (quite different from the other posters apparently) was Archer’s con of the Klingons, especially the look on his face when he replied to “Q’plah”. Yes, the con itself was kinda weak, but still fun, especially to see Archer figuring out that the way to deal with Klingons is to be just as histrionic and extreme as they are. Ah, the beginnings of a beautiful…relationship.

I think two stars is a little harsh myself…I’d give it three. Could have been much better if the augments had been less cartoony and more, well, Montalbany. (Come to think of it, he was pretty damned cartoony, too, but at least he pulled it off magnificently.)
Mon, Jul 20, 2015, 2:45pm (UTC -6)
I wonder what Iost 4 made of the total rip-off of TWOK in Into Darkness
Mon, Sep 14, 2015, 9:13pm (UTC -6)
When Archer was speaking to the Klingon on the other ship, clearly what was going on was that the Klingon guy's speech was being translated into English and Archer's speech was being translated into Klingonese. Thus it would have been more appropriate for Archer to reply to the Klingon guy's "Q'apla!" with "Success!" than with "Q'apla!"

Later in the season the writers address canonically the issue of why post-TOS Klingons have bumpy foreheads and TOS-era Klingons don't. Within this arc, the writers could have slyly addressed another issue by having Soong say, in response to Malik's discussion of Khan, "Noonien . . . I've always liked that name."
Tue, Sep 15, 2015, 11:12am (UTC -6)
Such a sly joke about the names would have been hilarious, but the Enterprise writers were clearly incapable of it, given that they did not get the DS9 joke about the Klingon foreheads.
Diamond Dave
Sat, May 14, 2016, 6:36am (UTC -6)
Competent actioner but could have been a lot more. Malik's descent into outright lunacy comes a bit too quickly and is rather unsubtle, and again he fails to live up to Khan as a villain. I thought the nod to WoK when discussing the Botany Bay was good, and the somewhat unsubtle work with Malik on the burning bridge less so. And his resurrection a la Die Hard at the end was a WTF moment that they didn't even try to explain.

I thought the nod at the end was a cute touch, but I guess one that I had been expecting all along anyway. 2.5 stars.
Sun, May 29, 2016, 7:43pm (UTC -6)
Yeah, I don't see why everyone is trying to compare Malik to Khan. Khan was a military commander and ruler of a quarter of the globe. He was older than Malik by at leadt a decade. Malik and his crew on the otherhand were just growing out of teenage-hood (and can any of us say we were rational at that age?) and grew up in a shack in the middle of the woods with no chance to experience human society or interact with anyone that wasn't an augment. Plus all they knew of humanity was that they were supposedly better than the rest of us were. Inflated egos AND teenage tendancies? Forget it.
Temporal Agent Section 31
Sun, Aug 28, 2016, 11:18pm (UTC -6)
Canon temporal anomaly note: At 8:18 Malik is discussing that Khan's greatest mistake was running from his enemies. I guess Malik failed to recall with his superior memory one of Kahn's most impassioned statements from "The Wrath of Khan" movie: Kahn; "He tasks me, He tasks me, and I shall have him! I will chase him around the moons of Nibia and round the Antares Maelstrom and round Perdition's flames before I give him up! ". I see no other evidence of Khan running from his enemies. In fact, the complete opposite, it was Khan's personal vendetta against Kirk that was his greatest mistake, not running and hiding from his enemies. Temporal Canon correction needs to be applied to resume correct Canon timeline. Agent section 31 out!
Peter G.
Sun, Aug 28, 2016, 11:33pm (UTC -6)
Haha! That's a funny post to make under the moniker "temporal agent" as you've got your chronology mixed up. STII tool place over a hundred years after this episode, and in any case he is referring to Khan and his people going into cryo-freeze and fleeing the Earth in the Botany Bay in the 1990's.
Marshal Dunnik
Thu, Sep 22, 2016, 7:17pm (UTC -6)
In a previous episode, it was established that Klingon ships do not have escape pods - anyone with a passing familiarity with them would know why.

And yet here we have a Klingon ship with an escape pod.

Plot Device > Continuity
Sat, Apr 22, 2017, 11:03am (UTC -6)
Don't know what to say except I'm glad that's over. Jammer nailed it with 'The problem with The Augments is the augments.' Unfortunately for me this is true of the whole trilogy. I didn't find this episode so much worse than last week's that I'd put 1.5 stars between them.

Ok, NOW can this season get started properly?
Sat, Jun 24, 2017, 12:25pm (UTC -6)
3 boring episodes played out like a Tom & Jerry cartoon, could have been one exciting episode
Mon, Jul 31, 2017, 3:21pm (UTC -6)
Not a great conclusion to the 3-part story. I just about had enough of Malik. Yes he comes across as incredibly stupid -- certainly not the incredible villain Khan was.

I didn't buy a number of things about "The Augments" -- Soong's character becomes overly sympathetic to his Augments despite the mounting evidence. Can't he finally cut them free? Soong's character weakened for me and became less compelling.

The part about the Enterprise's torpedoes catching up to the Klingon bio-torpedo and destroying it is a stretch -- and blowing up in the atmosphere, isn't that what's supposed to be avoided??

The part about Archer duping the Klingons was also a bit silly -- in addition to Malik being portrayed as stupid, so too are the Klingons. And then the Enterprise's grappler basically ripping apart a Klingson ship?? There are enough things that bug me about this episode.

Interesting twist at the end with Malik's ship self-destructing but him getting on the Enterprise and trying to kill Soong -- otherwise it would have been a bit too much like WoK (and therefore another strike against it).

I'd also rate "The Augments 2 stars -- it's the kind of episode that should at least get to 2.5 stars but there's enough about it that irritates me. It was nice to hear the references to the "Botany Bay" and how Khan's ship just left and was never found. But overall some of the decent character work from the 2nd part weakened and the action scenes weren't particularly -- kind of just going through the motions.
Fri, Sep 29, 2017, 2:13pm (UTC -6)
I really dislike the "it's in their nature" conclusion. For one, the story contradicts that by Smike (even without superpowers, he is said to be basically like them) and Seniel. It basically absorbs Arik of any responsibility for how they turned out, we have seen him telling them about how they are the master race since childhood after all. And I think it in a way undermines Khan as a character, to say he's just been engineered to be what he is. Like, I saw the "superior ability breeds superior ambition" from the original episode as just statement about human nature in general. Also, yet more "your can't escape your nature" from Star Trek. Fuck off.

Also, AGAIN, complex sympathetic villain seeing the light and being replaced by the second bugfuck evil villain by the end. Is anybody else bothered by this? Am I the only one who even noticed this happening over and over again in Trek?
Sat, Oct 7, 2017, 3:31am (UTC -6)
I know the Augments are smart and all, but being left all alone from the age of 10 on, they would all be pretty stupid 10 years later, with no teachers or role-models or any sort of guidance whatsoever. They'd actually be closer to wild monkeys than people most likely.

And who taught them all karate? Soong? lol. I guess they just figured it out themselves.

I didn't like the augements the whole trilogy and I like them even less in this one.

2 stars
Thu, Nov 9, 2017, 7:04am (UTC -6)
I see a lot of parallels between the stupid Augments and the stupid crew of the Valiant (DS9). Both groups consist of bright individuals who have been told about their brightness, and they all fail miserably because of overconfidence and lack of experience.

Also, both had an anormal upbringing: The Augments spent their first 10 years with only one adult, and then were on their own for another decade. I am sure they studied a lot (books, videos, whatever), but they were still unprepared for the Real World™. The Red Squat cadets had been fast-tracked and elite-educated, but had little contact with other and cultivated a feeling of superiority. They did not know that you may well talk yourself out of an exam question, but can’t do the same in battle situation.

The question Nature vs. Nurture comes up a couple of times in this trilogy, but is never really explored. The result is pretty underwhelming: Augments are bad because they are bad. That would of course be OK in SW, but ST should and could do better — see e.g. the DS9 episodes on genetically improved humans.
Wed, Nov 22, 2017, 9:14pm (UTC -6)
I agree that the trilogy is held back by the lack of development of the augments as characters. Still, it was entertaining enough that I'd give this story a passing grade (with this episode being the weakest of the three).

Brent Spiner's acting is one of the best things about the trilogy. Even with the problems already mentioned (the character never teaches the augments, only preaches rules to them), Spiner is great all the way through.

Another thing this trilogy did well is world building. It references all sorts of stuff that were first mentioned elsewhere, but that's mostly for the good. We got a good feel for galactic civilization, with references to Orions, Klingons, Denobulans, and (of course) humans, and how all these races interact with each other. The props, sets, makeup, and special effects teams did a particularly good job with the Orion slave auction & the medical outpost.

Two references that I didn't think worked: The imitation of Khan on the floor of his ship at the end of WOK & Soong's reference to artificial people (both for reasons others have mentioned on this thread).

This is an early indication of how Enterprise would benefit by spreading stories over multiple episodes. Without that extra time we wouldn't get to explore Spiner's character, nor would we have the time to really investigate the different locales.
Wed, Jan 10, 2018, 12:14am (UTC -6)
Agree with others this augment trilogy was entertaining but flawed. But how can people praise Cold Station 12 yet complaint about this finale for its cardboard characterization? CS12 made it clear Malik was a psychopath, the other augments were going to follow him to whatever end; and that they were going to turn against Soong who did have a moral core. I think the trilogy would have been more interesting if the augments were kick-ass but not evil; that would have been a real conundrum for Archer.
Thu, Mar 29, 2018, 11:24pm (UTC -6)
These Augments aren't bright because they are bully teens who think they are smarter and stronger than really are.
Lizzy DataLover
Mon, May 13, 2019, 10:35pm (UTC -6)
I know these comments are like six years old but, I'm totally working on a novel (series actually) that is all about the Soong family! And it explains all kinds of stuff about them, including the tie ins and things that a couple of these commenters mentioned. Be warned :) they are kind of dark books, coz I got issues-but for anyone who is interested in the *true* origins of Data and Lore and they're ancestors, you will be pleased. Hey it may not be *necessarily* canon but it all depends on what you want to believe. ;) I went thru great effort to make sure the continuity was perfect, and it lined up with already established themes. Hopefully soon enough they will be available for your enjoyment! Just give me a little longer this is tough work. :P
Lizzy DataLover
Mon, May 13, 2019, 10:42pm (UTC -6)
Btw the books are called Datalore. I couldn't resist. Hey what could be more perfect a name?? ;) just thought I'd let you know.
John Daniels
Tue, Mar 31, 2020, 8:17pm (UTC -6)
As a whole I like this series but some episodes I just do not like. I feel like the writers can just make up stuff, like the escape pod on the Klingons ship. It seem like whenever Enterprise meets up with a Klingon ship they always get their butts kicked, but now all of a sudden they are so much stronger. When I first started watching I could already tell how it was going to play out, like watching a trainwreck in slow motion.

The Klingons are A$$ Holes, I would not mind seeing them get blasted out of the sky along with the other people who abducted t-Pole :)

They should have mixed it up and had the Augments outsmart Enterprise and then leave without being able to catch them. That way they could come back later in the series.
Latex Zebra
Thu, May 28, 2020, 3:29am (UTC -6)
Having re-watched a fair few episodes of Enteprise during lock down I have come to one conclusion.

It really was shit.
Fri, Oct 2, 2020, 10:09pm (UTC -6)
I have to agree with many commentators on here and say the biggest problem of this arc is Malik. He was written very 2-dimensionally (maybe 1-dimensionally). Also, the actor just didn’t cut it. Montalban was equal parts menace and charisma, while this guy was about 90/10 in that ratio. I guess you can only do so much with what you’re written. I especially hated the ending part “might take a generation or two...” You know, we get it, writers. I was waiting for him to say something like “the positron is brain would have to store a lot of... data.... yeah, data.” Ugh.

Despite those glaring annoyances I’d give this a 2.5, slightly above average. While the execution fell through at the end, the arc does bring up some interesting sci-fi questions, and it was kind of cool seeing Data’s great grandfather, or whatever he is.
Fri, Jul 2, 2021, 1:57pm (UTC -6)
I loved the grappler taking out a warp nacelle idea. They actually used their non-tractor-beam old-tech as an advantage! I also loved Archer's con, where he is winging it on the fly. He is learning Klingon culture, mannerisms and politics on the fly. I laughed out aloud at the Q'Plah, and the way Archer looks around for appreciation from his crew. Great thespian he is not, but he seems to have pulled this one off! I always find it interesting when good actors play bad actors. I liked that the bird of prey warp effect matches the bird of prey warp effect in STIV:TVH. Very well done. Finally, I liked the subtle allusion to why the names Noonien Singh and Noonien Soong are similar, a question that I had asked other star trek fans all the way back in the year 2000, and got surprised reactions.

The augments remind me of the TOS episode "Miri". Children who grew without supervision. They would produce an ape-like society -- a power hierarchy, as shown in Miri, and as shown in this trilogy. The supreme tragedy is we will never know if the augments would have turned out better with better supervision, the nature v nurture debate left unfinished. Both Erik Soong's presence and his later absence turned out to be not great supervision. An outcast, an egotist an and ideologue, Soong is hardly the model parent.

People are understandably upset at the "Meh"-inducing Malik, a cardboard villain if there was ever one. I think the trilogy is better viewed as the supreme tragedy of one Erik Soong's failed attempts at giving augments a second chance. Similar to Jurassic Park's John Hammond.
Steve L.
Thu, Aug 12, 2021, 12:34am (UTC -6)
On the science of exposure to space. It is highly unlikely that Archer’s very brief space encounter would leave him half frozen. Space is a vacuum and devoid of matter, consequently it has no temperature. The only mechanism by which heat can leave a body is through radiative cooling, which would have a negligible effect on Archer’s body temperature in the two seconds he was exposed to space.
Tue, Nov 16, 2021, 10:21pm (UTC -6)
Interesting prequel to the eugenics storyline in Trek series and the Wrath of Kahn. Brent Spiner was excellent here playing the role of evil genius with a conscience. His acting alone carried the episodes.

I just didn't care enough about this story to warrant 2 episodes, let alone 3. The plot isn't nearly as good as any of the multipart Trek episodes like Best of Both Worlds, and yet endlessly drags on. The interactions between Spiner and the augments becomes tiresome. The whole story could have told in 1 episode.

It was a big risk to invest 3 episodes on this story, and they struck out badly.
Wed, Nov 17, 2021, 10:35am (UTC -6)
I think one of the things that made Khan great was that he genuinely came across as a (flawed) genius. These augments mostly act like they're in a high school drama.
Wed, Jun 15, 2022, 11:05pm (UTC -6)
Watchable but not great. Not a good follow-up to the middle episode of this arc, which was by far the best.
Sat, Jul 23, 2022, 12:47pm (UTC -6)
methane said "Brent Spiner's acting is one of the best things about the trilogy. Even with the problems already mentioned (the character never teaches the augments, only preaches rules to them), Spiner is great all the way through."

Good point. He, a mere human, tries to preach to them while simultaneously telling them that they are superior. He really was sowing the wind and I never really noticed that before. I also agree with you about the quality of Spiner's performance.

I kind of wish Coto had tried more Trek-centric stunt casting in season 4. I know Shatner asked for too much money, but I can't help but think there are other Trek stars who could have brought some eyes back to Enterprise. Michael Dorn might have worked nicely in Storm Front. George Tekei might have made a good Dr. Lucas. Roxann Dawson would have made a great Captain Hernandez.
Michael Miller
Tue, Jul 25, 2023, 8:39pm (UTC -6)
Yeah I also wasn't sure if the space exposure scene was accurate. Since heat has no way to escape via conduction or convection, it has to very slowly radiate away, which wouldn't have frozen him in 2 seconds. As soon as he was in the transporter bean he should have been protected anyway. In that season 1 episode with Temporal agent Daniel's when Silik escaped via the hatch and Archer almost got sucked out, that I felt was inaccurate, once the air was vented he would have passed out in 10-15 seconds from decompression and extreme pressure differentials. He wouldn't be able to just hold his breath like that until the bay repressurized.

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