Star Trek: Enterprise – Season 2, Episode 15 – “Cease Fire” – The First Steps Towards Peace

 

    “Cease Fire” is an example of “Enterprise” doing “Star Trek” right. This is an episode all about diplomacy and gives us echoes of the foundings of the Federation as well as some great character work with both the Andorians and Vulcans. Before I get into spoilers, this is an episode I’d recommend to any fan of “Star Trek.” It is well worth the outing and a great example of what “Enterprise” was capable of.

The episode was directed by David Straiton and written by Chris Black.

A territorial dispute between the Andorians and Vulcans over a planet leads to Commander Shran calling Captain Archer to negotiate a cease fire.

SPOILERS ahead

The Pros:

The History and Politics – The history and politics that are the backdrop to this episode are what give it so much strength to the narrative. We have a territory that was once held by the Andorians but that the Vulcans kicked them off of because they feared it as being a jumping off point to attacking their territory. In this episode the Andorians back and are furious as they see the work they were putting into the territory to make habitable (as well as their original claim to it) as nothing more than Vulcan imperialism and aggression. This is handled really well as what this territory and the war with Vulcan means has quite a few different Vulcan and Andorian points of view. This isn’t a simple fix and the politics and history behind the territorial dispute illustrate that.

Soval and T’Pol – Soval and T’Pol have a really cool relationship in this episode. In this we see that Soval admires her and believes that she could have easily been his second-in-command if she hadn’t worked with Enterprise. T’Pol never states it outright but she admits how much she has grown with the crew and that she is grateful for Soval’s belief in her. For much of the episode she is protecting him when their ship is shot down in enemy territory and Shran’s ask of Captain Archer was that he wanted to speak directly to Soval. Soval fulfills the end of his bargain and from it begins to see where T’Pol is coming from with the humans and it is beautifully handled.

Commander Shran and the Andorians – Jeffrey Combs is the best part of “Enterprise” and always has been. He brings complexity and politics to any episode he is in and in many ways functions as an anti-hero or outright hero in conflicts that humanity and Vulcan face. In this episode we see why he is trusted with leadership as he doesn’t settle with go-betweens and arrests his second-in-command when she attempts to assisinate Archer, T’Pol and Soval. It is this conflict that helps him see that his side is hardly perfect either as the Andorians and Vulcans are both given nuance in this dispute. Combs steals every scene is in. The Andorians are also very distinct in this episode. They are warriors have an honor code and it drives all they do.

The Role of Enterprise – The role of the crew of Enterprise is handled wonderfully in this through the actions primarily of Trip. In this episode he is involved with stalling the Vulcans and Andorians from attacking each other to give time for Soval to get to Shran. In the end he succeeds and this is where the crew being stubborn is only an asset in a conflict that may finally have a chance to end.

The Cons:

Holding Archer Accountable – Archer is not a good diplomat. He talks down to whomever he’s around and seems incapable of seeing any view beyond his own except when he’s talking to Shran. When he’s talking to the Vulcans he is just as stubborn as the worst of how Vulcans are presented in “Enterprise.” He does succeed and his mentality that Trip carries on does save the day, but I still hate that mentality. Archer’s diplomacy made me appreciate the diplomatic skills of Kirk and Janeway…and both them are hardly subtle.

This is a great episode and definitely a favorite in “Enterprise.” This episode helps set the stage for further negotiations and conflict that Andoria will have with the other members of the future Federation and I love that we get to see the Vulcans and Andorians developed further as people. This episode is what I’d love in future episode of “Enterprise” as developing the world and lore is really where this show was strongest, especially in regards to the species who would later be founding members of the Federation.

Final Score: 9 / 10 This episode is great and easily one of the best episodes of “Enterprise.” The only thing keeping it from perfection is how insufferable Archer is at times.

Star Trek: Enterprise – Season 2, Episode 4, “Dead Stop” – Welcome to the Haunted Station

Ware repair station | Memory Beta, non-canon Star Trek Wiki | Fandom

     “Dead Stop” is the first episode of “Enterprise” I remember loving when I first watched the show in Middle School. You know what, it still holds up. This is a streamlined story where no character acts like a jerk. We get a great mystery and the rising action through the piece is handled beautifully. Suffice to say, before I get into spoilers that this is a story I highly recommend.

The episode was directed by Roxann Dawson and written by Mike Sussman and Phyllis Strong.

After extensive destruction from the Romulan mine the Enterprise finds itself in dire need of repairs and far away from any help. Their distress call is soon answered by a mysterious station. But all as is not as it appears to be.

SPOILERS ahead

The Pros:

The Premise – A mysterious station offers to help and spares no expense in helping the crew be comfortable as the ship is repaired after damage from Romulan Mines. First, I love the continuity. The ship isn’t just fixed the next episode. Second, the mystery of the station that adapts to their needs and will trade to make the repairs. This is an immediate draw that is only enriched as the story moves forward.

The Station – This station has replicator technology, which for the humans is their first time experiencing it. The station also appears to be meeting all their needs. This until Travis goes missing and when they find him he is dead. We soon learn his body was perfectly replicated minus the vaccine that the Station was unable to replicate. This is where the horror factor of the station comes in as Travis and aliens bodies are connected to the station. The Station is also self-repairing and even after it is defeated, it isn’t. The one thing against this episode is I did want to know a little bit more. For such an amazing antagonist, I wanted more lore.

The Crew – This is an episode where every crewmember has a moment. For Travis it is sadly getting captured. For Hoshi it is a touching moment recalling a memory with him. Phlox discovers the Station is lying. Trip distracts the Station. T’Pol and Archer go to rescue Travis and Malcolm fights the Station when it tries to prevent the rescue and escape.  The action and relationships are handled beautifully.

The Escape – The escape is a great use of action. Malcolm in the ship fight the Station and even have the chance to lose. Within the Station the stakes are high too and it is only through the plasma the Station wanted being used as a bomb that the crew escape with Travis. There are so many moving parts and they all work making this one of the best action sequence in “Star Trek.”

Roxann Dawson did a beautiful job directing this. The action flows, I cared about the characters and you can feel the tension in scenes. It was also great seeing her work outside of “Voyager” where she plays B’Elanna Torres. This was such a fun episode. Every member of the cast got the chance to be a part of the story and the story was all the more richer because of it. The mysterious station that is self-repairing was also a fantastic threat. This is an enemy I would not mind seeing in a more evolved more in future “Trek” if any of the writers remember it.

Final Score: 9.6 / 10 Would have been perfect with even hints of the Station’s intent or origin.

Star Trek: Enterprise – Season 2, Episode 3 – “Minefield” – An Exploration of Reed as we Introduce the Romulans

Minefield (episode) | Memory Alpha | Fandom

   “Minefield” is in early season 2 of “Enterprise.” This was an enjoyable episode that is largely based around Malcolm Reed and what motivates him. This episode also introduces a classic “Star Trek” antagonist who I’ll go into further below. Overall, I enjoyed this episode and recommend it to anyone who likes “Enterprise.”

The episode was directed by James Contner and written by John Shiban.

When Enterprise is damaged in a cloaked mindfield, Malcolm must disarm a mine that has attached itself to the ship while the crew must tend for the wounded and make first contact with the forces who control the minefield.

SPOILERS ahead

The Pros:

The Crew Working Together – This is an episode where all the crew are working together. We have an injured Hoshi translating the communications from the mysterious threat, we have Reed preparing to detach the area where the mine is, Travis navigating through the minefield, Archer saving Reed when he is trapped by the mine and T’Pol commanding the ship as Phlox treats the wounded. Everyone is involved and it lends strength to the story.

Malcolm Reed – In this episode we learn that Reed was raised in a military family and because of that was always taught to keep distance in relationships on the ship. Archer is anti-thetical to this and over the course of the episode they come to understand one another. It is really well done as Reed is ready to die as one of his relatives did for the safety of the crew and ship. Dominic Keating is fantastic in this role.

First Contact With the Romulans – I really like that this mysterious threat are the Romulans who think that Archer was there to sabotage them. This fits the Romulan paranoia and how ruthless they are as they don’t get why the crew doesn’t just let Reed die as it is what they would do. We never see them on screen but their beautiful green ships show up to threaten Enterprise over the course of the episode.

The Cons:

Captain Archer – Archer is really annoying in this. He doesn’t care that Malcolm is uncomfortable when they are eating together and clearly has trouble empathizing with perspectives outside of his own. He is the weakest part of this episode as someone who came off as more understanding would have had the peace with Reed at the end feel more believable. Bakula is a good actor so my guess it is writing and direction that make him come off as so dismissive. Him also being the one to go save Reed was very stupid as he is the Captain of the ship.

This was a great introduction to the Romulans and really shows how well the crew can function together in a crisis. The weak link is really only Archer and I blame that more on the writing. “Enterprise” is my least favorite of the “Star Trek” shows but I think it still has a lot of good and enjoyable stories within it. This is one of those stories and shows what can happen when you have the crew working together to solve problems.

Final Score: 7.5 / 10 Enjoyed the story and would have rated it higher with better writing for Archer.

Star Trek: Enterprise Pilot – Broken Bow Part 1 and 2 – Missing the Point of Star Trek

Broken Bow

We end the “Star Trek Pilot Series,” with the worst of them all, “Star Trek: Enterprise.” When I first heard about “Enterprise,” back in High School I was excited…early human exploration and making contact…the Romulan War, the fallout of the Eugenics War…these stories that the “Original Series,” had suggested left so much potential for this prequel series. This of course was assuming the writers knew what they were doing after the horrible “Voyager” finale and the later “Next Generation Films,” which if I had a lot less optimism would have brought me closer to how disappointed I would be.

Without further ado, I’ll get into the reasons why:

Pros: The premise – Again the premise is exciting, the first military/exploration vessel from Starfleet going out to make contact with new life and new civilizations. We even have a Klingon as the catalyst as he was attacked by a mysterious enemy known as the Suliban. Sadly this doesn’t go anywhere.

The Special Effects – Like the later TNG films “Enterprise,” had a very sleek look and the best Special Effects since “Deep Space 9,” and later “Voyager,” this is one of the few things I have to give it, because the rest is just bad.

Cons: The Human and Vulcan Relationship Dynamic – What the Hell was Brannon Braga thinking? He starts out with Archer calling the Ambassador pointy eared as an insult when he was a child…and we see later nothing has progressed since then. T’Pol the first officer and Vulcan liaison is condescending to every human she comes in contact with (“I was told English would only be spoken on the Bridge,” (to Hoshi the communications officer)) and countless other examples. The humans aren’t much better and Archer is the worst. “You felt emotion therefore you are a hypocrite and wrong,” basically…and Trip the Engineer is the same way (and same way on Ryjal judging every alien he comes in contact with). I expected tension but not hostility between allies, it missed the entire point of First Contact and Roddenberry’s bright future.

The Characters: The characters are either inept and useless or condescending jerks. There aren’t any characters who are in the middle. “Voyager,” was average and way too focused on proving Janeway right, but it at least had SOME interesting character dynamics and characters.

Captain Archer – Who thought it was a good idea to put this guy in charge? He doesn’t think things through, he condescends to those who don’t agree with him and is more prejudice against his Vulcan allies than Kirk ever was towards the Klingons. It’s a shame there is on one on the ship who could replace him…this is a ship of imbeciles. Also he keeps putting Trip in charge of things just because Trip is his friend. No way that isn’t corrupt.

T’Pol – From going on her high horse towards those who eat meat, to saying humans are irrational and unready to travel…Braga missed the point of the Vulcans. It isn’t logical to alienate your allies and that is exactly what she does…and she is supposed to be a diplomatic liaison. I don’t think that’s why she was created though. She was made to sexualize Vulcans (see the picture above). Blalock is a model and Braga and Co. fully embraced that rather than creating a well rounded character.

Trip Tucker – Once again, how did this guy become an engineer? He crashes the shuttle in dry-dock into Enterprise and has no idea what is going on in the entire episode. It’s like he hasn’t even been in space yet is expected to be an engineer of a space ship. He is purposefully ignorant and just doesn’t care (when he’s learning to fly a Suliban vessel just says it can’t be too hard (he crashed a Federation Shuttle) and acts like it is easy when Mayweather is trying to teach him to pilot).

Malcolm Reed – Is the least bad but still bad. He doesn’t do anything.

Mayweather – The pilot does nothing but talk about being in space. This would be his character for the entire series.

Hoshi Sato – The communications officer who is afraid of everything. This is a shame too since she gave up her University position to join the ship. The writers never use her though or deal with what she gave up. It is only a factor at the beginning and never again. She is there to be the damsel in distress.

Phlox – Up there with Reed as being the least bad at this point in the series, he just doesn’t do much. He is there to be an alien.

The Villains: The Temporal Cold War was a wasted idea…as were the Suliban (who are only in this series). These issues never get resolved and the big bad jokingly known as “Future Guy,” is just that in the end. He isn’t a character or even all that competent of a villain (even this inept crew could stop his plans throughout the series). A War through time and space yet we see none of that in this episode… not in relation to the Vulcans or Klingons (who you think the Time Agents would be using since their tech. is already the most advanced). It goes nowhere, same with contact with the Klingons…we don’t see any of their advanced Imperial Culture that we did from the Original Series…they’re just space barbarians. Suliban, Temporal Cold War, Klingons, Future Guy…wasted antagonists on a waste of a show.

The sexualization of T’Pol/When Star Trek went Soft Core Porn – See the picture up at the start. This decontamination chamber will be used in this way all through the show. Characters will strip and lather each other down. What is this, a Michael Bay show? We see T’Pol’s erect nipples and other characters junk in this chamber…it was here that I stopped watching originally. Star Trek has had problems like this before, but never this blatant…it was like this was what was being sold, not the exploration…certainly not the characters. Just special effects, sex and violence. Things that when taken all together…miss the point of Star Trek.

It is for these reasons I did not accept this show as Canon. It has moments where it feels like it could be tied to Star Trek Canon but so much of it misses the point. From sexy Vulcans to a useless crew…to a species/racist Captain and Engineer. I couldn’t get past the other stuff because the crew was so useless or unlikable. There are some okay episodes I’ll review in the future, but this where Star Trek died. “Star Trek: Enterprise” and “Star Trek: Nemesis” were the two things that killed Star Trek, and they deserve that responsibility. They had turned Star Trek into the worst kind of action movie where sex and violence were more important than substance. It is for this reason as much problems as the Abrams reboot has…it never gets this bad to this degree. So glad “Enterprise,” got cancelled, it’s just a shame it didn’t happen sooner. There was never enough good to keep it going since it started things out missing the entire point of what made Star Trek, Star Trek.

1 / 10. I’m only giving it a point for Special Effects…and it isn’t the worst episode. That will be reviewed later in this blog.