Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch: “Cogenitor”

Enterprise meets an alien culture, and there’s food exchanges, trips into the sun, flirting, and Tucker trying to fix what he sees as a human rights violation. Ol’ Trip’s heart is in the right place — his brain, not so much. The Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch meets a “Cogenitor.”

An excerpt:

This episode reminds me of two prior Trek episodes, both of which handled this slightly better: TNG’s “Half a Life” and Voyager’s “Thirty Days.” In the case of the TNG episode it worked because the person who is trying to effect change in an entire society because she doesn’t like the way one person is being treated is Lwaxana Troi, an eccentric, and very self-centered, civilian. And even there, Lwaxana comes around to understand that there’s not really anything she can do. As for the Voyager episode, it’s also got a dumbshit Starfleet crewmember acting on too little information and causing major problems, but at least Paris got a month in the clink and a demotion.

Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch: “The Breach”

On the ship, we’ve got John Billingsley being fabulous as Phlox faces some ghosts of his people’s past in the form of an understandably recalcitrant patient. On the planet, Tucker threatens to shoot a geologist in the ass. The Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch has no idea why this episode is titled “The Breach.”

An excerpt:

So it’s nice to get some notion of Denobulan culture, including that they have a boogeyman—and the boogeymen feel the same about the Denobulans. It’s not particularly illuminating about who the Denobulans are as a people, but it does that other thing that science fiction is good at, which is use alien species to shine a light on human behaviors. The tension between the Denobulan and Antaran people is completely ridiculous and also completely believable. It’s what happens when opposite sides of a war believe the propaganda even when confronted with the reality, something we still see far too often on twenty-first-century Earth. The whole thing is, of course, beautifully played by John Billingsley, who gives a very real and very moving performance as a very conflicted Phlox, who is processing so many different things: his instinctive discomfort in the presence of an Antaran, his discomfort with that discomfort, the awful memory of his grandmother’s prejudice, and the even more awful memory of the rift with his son. Just a bravura performance.

Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch: “Horizon

Mayweather goes home to sibling rivalry, while back on Enterprise, every night is Movie Night, and boy is Tucker sorry he tried to bully T’Pol into watching James Whale’s Frankenstein… The Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch does “Horizon,” a perfectly decent episode that nonetheless prompted three separate rants by your humble rewatcher….

An excerpt:

Okay, here’s a little bit of Scriptwriting 101: in a show with the format of Enterprise (and all the prior Trek shows), there’s a bit before the opening credits. While the stuff after the credits is structured the same way theatrical productions are, as acts (Act 1, Act 2, etc.), that prior bit is specifically in teleplay writing referred to as the teaser.

A teaser is defined by Dictionary.com as “a person or thing that teases,” as “presented to generate interest.”

You know what totally doesn’t generate interest or tease much of anything? A guy sitting in low-G reading a book and being summoned to the bridge for a course change.

I’ve rung this bell a lot in this rewatch, but I’ve also been rewatching Enterprise for a year now, and the thing that has really stood out more than anything over the past twelve months is the spectacular inability of most episodes to actually tease in the teaser. Combined with the sheer awfulness of the theme music that follows these unteasing teasers, it makes it incredibly difficult and challenging to scrape up any enthusiasm for the subsequent episode.

Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch: “Judgment”

It’s one of the series’ best episodes, despite — or, possibly, because — the main cast hardly appears in it at all. It’s a fascinating look at Klingon society and culture with some magnificent guest casting. The Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch makes a “Judgment.”

An excerpt:

Okay, we’re on the ninth paragraph, and I’ve barely talked about the actual stars of the show. And there’s not much to say. Aside from Scott Bakula, the main cast is barely even in it. Truly, this is a story about the evolution of the Klingon Empire and an examination of the society of the Klingon people, giving us a new look at one of Trek’s most venerable alien species while utilizing several familiar elements, particularly from The Undiscovered Country. This story would work with pretty much any generic human ship captain—which is handy, as there is no more human ship captain more generic than Jonathan Archer…

Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch: “The Crossing”

It starts out as a very promising first-contact story. It turns into a total fucking mess. The Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch regrets taking “The Crossing.”

An excerpt:

The conversation between wisp-Tucker and Archer is really compelling stuff. I loved the idea of non-corporeal life forms trading places with the humans on board so they could compare notes on how the other half lives. It’s a perfect Star Trek plot.

And then it goes straight into the shitter as soon as Reed starts macking on the female crew. We go from one wisp being fascinated by the concept of gender, and then go straight from that to “tell me of this human thing you call ‘sex’,” and it’s just so lazy and uninteresting and predictable.

Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch: “Canamar”

It’s the world’s most generic action-adventure sci-fi plot imaginable that has no surprises, no characterizations worth mentioning, and some really bog-standard action. Mark Rolston and Sean Whelan do Mark Rolston and Sean Whelan things as guest stars, and it’s really bog-standard. The Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch slogs its way toward “Canamar.”

An excerpt:

There are some moments in John Shiban’s script that work nicely. The fact that “Tom” is actually helpful is a nice touch, and Shiban also understands that different levels of criminal are treated differently by law-enforcement. As long as Kuroda is just a guy who stole a ship, he’s a nuisance. If he murders Enolian law-enforcement personnel, he becomes a murderer, and they’re going to expend significantly more effort to find him in that case. And Sean Whelan’s babbling prisoner is hilariously horrible, with Connor Trinneer doing a lovely job as his long-suffering straight man.

But this episode is so ploddingly paint-by-numbers with absolutely nothing to make it interesting. Trek has dipped into the crew-as-prisoners well before, most notably in DS9’s “Hard Time” and Voyager’s “The Chute,” both of which were light-years better than this slog. Mostly because we saw the effects of incarceration on people. Here, we don’t even make it to the titular prison, and it’s really just a hijacking-the-ship episode. And it’s a spectacularly boring example of the breed, with the added lack-of-bonus of a simply endless fist fight between Scott Bakula’s and Mark Rolston’s respective stunt doubles at what passes for the climax.

Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch: “Future Tense”

The producers decide to do a Temporal Cold War story to remind us that this plotline exists and then do precisely nothing remotely interesting with it. We do get Tholians, though, so that’s cool? I guess? Maybe? The Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch speaks in “Future Tense.”

An excerpt:

There are some isolated moments that are good, like Tucker and Reed’s conversation about time travel—with Tucker not wanting to know the future, and Reed eager to know it—Archer and Forrest speculating about Cochrane, Phlox and T’Pol’s conversation about time travel and interspecies breeding, and the time loops that Tucker, Reed, and Archer get stuck in.

Then there are moments when I wanted to throw my shoe at the screen, particularly watching them examine the ship in their uniforms with no gloves or masks or protective gear of any sort, and without things that you know the other shows that take place in the future might have like sterile force fields and the like. Plus the stuff about humans and Vulcans interbreeding is a bit too wink-at-the-viewer considering the most popular character in the franchise is a human-Vulcan hybrid…

Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch: “Cease Fire”

Shran is back! So’s Soval! Plus we get Suzie Plakson as a cranky Andorian! Plus T’Pol stands up for herself, Archer struggles for peace no matter how many roadblocks go up in his face, and Tucker gets to be awesome in the captain’s chair. Face front, true believer, this one has it all! The Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch negotiates a “Cease Fire.”

An excerpt:

Both [Gary] Graham and [Jolene] Blalock play their one scene alone together very nicely, also, with Soval prodding her and T’Pol giving near-constant pushback on Soval’s attempts to get her to stop fooling around with the humans and come back to work for him like a sensible Vulcan. Chris Black’s script is particularly strong here, with Soval using lots of clever rhetorical tricks to try to manipulate T’Pol, and T’Pol magnificently deflecting all of it. Credit also to Black for having both Soval and Tarah use the same reductive propaganda about each others’ side. (Vulcans always lie and can’t be trusted! Andorians are always violent and can’t be trusted!)

Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch: “Stigma

It’s the world’s clumsiest AIDS/HIV metaphor as the writer/producers retcon the events of “Fusion” in order to make their clumsy metaphor work, and fail on every possible level. The Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch suffers a “Stigma.”

An excerpt:

T’Pol’s decision not to report that she was assaulted by Tolaris is one I struggled with both while watching this episode and especially thinking about it afterward. T’Pol’s point is a good one—Tolaris’ act would just be used by people like Oratt as another club to use against the melders—but that also enables Tolaris to get away with what he did, which still, twenty-three episodes later, rankles. And ultimately I keep coming back to this: T’Pol is being punished for having been raped, and that’s reprehensible.

Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch: “Dawn”

It’s Trek‘s latest — and very much least — riff on Hell in the Pacific and Enemy Mine, as Tucker and an alien who fired on him are trapped on a brutal planet and must get past a language barrier to survive. The Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch waits for “Dawn.”

An excerpt:

“Dawn” is very much the least of Trek’s forays into Hell in the Pacific territory. It’s not that there’s anything actively wrong with it, but there’s nothing particularly compelling about it. Even the 1985 film of Longyear’s novella—which was mostly awful—had some magnificent performances from the two leads to keep it going. Connor Trinneer and Gregg Henry are both fine actors, but they’re given nothing here but the most rote of story beats, and absolutely no kind of characterization. We don’t really learn anything about Tucker in this hour that we didn’t already know, and Zho’Kaan doesn’t create much of an impression. (Hell, Brad Greenquist’s Arkonian captain evinces more personality, though with him I was mostly wondering why he sounded so much like Jeff Kober…)