Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch: “The Forgotten”

Tucker’s ability to compartmentalize his grief over his dead sister is completely shattered after more than a dozen of his crewmates — including one of his best engineers — is killed in the Xindi’s attack. Plus Archer gets Degra and Jannar on his side and T’Pol deals with her emotions. The Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch gives us one of its best episodes in “The Forgotten.”

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Connor Trinneer absolutely knocks it out of the park here, as Tucker is in eighteen kinds of pain. His ability to compartmentalize his grief over his sister has been completely blown to pieces by the bodies dropping all around him, plus the ship is being held together with, as he himself puts it, spit and bailing wire and he’s responsible for fixing it. Then, as the rancid cherry on top of this awful sundae, the guy responsible for the weapon that killed his sister is standing there on the ship being all chummy with the captain.

Randy Oglesby hits a back-to-back homer here (he says, abusing the baseball metaphor), as he also is having a great deal of trouble reconciling his need to save his people with everything he’s learning from and about the Enterprise crew. At one point when Tucker is yelling at him as he leaves the room, Degra hesitates, and you expect him to turn around and say something. But instead, he leaves, shoulders slumped, saying nothing—because what can he possibly say? It’s a brilliant choice by writers Chris Black and David A. Goodman, phenomenally executed by Oglesby and director LeVar Burton.

Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch: “Damage”

Enterprise is damaged and desperate, so Archer crosses a line he really shouldn’t, but has no choice but to do. Plus we find out why T’Pol’s been acting weird, and we get a guest shot by Casey Biggs! The Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch suffers some “Damage.”

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One of the great frustrations of both TNG and especially Voyager was an unwillingness to regularly show consequences. They would occasionally dabble in it—Worf’s discommendation, e.g.—but far more common was it to not explore long-term effects, whether it’s Picard living somebody else’s life or La Forge being brainwashed or Tuvok and Neelix being merged or Voyager sustaining catastrophic damage.

The latter was particularly frustrating because Voyager didn’t have access to starbases or any other kind of Federation repair facility. The ship should’ve become more and more scarred and unrecognizable as the show went on.

So to see Enterprise heavily damaged, and knowing that it will retain that damage for the rest of the season, is extremely gratifying.

But it’s not just the damage to the ship, it’s the damage to the people on board it. T’Pol has become a trellium junkie and Archer is starting to realize that being a square-jawed action hero means doing some really really horrible things.

Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch: “Azati Prime”

At long last, eighteen episodes into the Xindi arc, and four episodes after they learned its location, Enterprise arrives at the site of the Xindi superweapon, just as it’s being completed. And then all hell breaks loose. The Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch arrives at “Azati Prime.”

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I love how Archer’s continued response to violent interrogation is to be a smartass (cf. “The Andorian Incident,” “Detained”), and I like how Scott Bakula plays his desperation in trying to convince Degra (whom he knows is not an entirely bad person), Jannar, and the Primate councillor (for fuck’s sake, why the hell couldn’t they give Tucker Smallwood’s character a damn name?????) that they’re on the wrong path. Randy Oglesby in particular continues his excellent work in showing Degra’s moral struggle that we started to see in “Stratagem.”

Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch: “Hatchery”

Enterprise finds an abandoned Xindi-Insectoid ship with a room full of gestating eggs. Archer goes a little binky-bonkers trying to protect them, turning what should’ve been an episode with a good debate and moral quandary instead into a Tired Mutiny Story. The Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch visits the “Hatchery.”

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On top of that, we have the ridiculous conflict with the MACOs, who are portrayed as automatons who will just blindly follow whatever stupid order the captain gives. At the end, after being told by Phlox that Archer was under the influence of an alien neurotoxin, Hayes says, “Not the sort of thing they trained us for at West Point,”and I have to call bullshit on that. They absolutely do train you to notice signs that your commanding officer might be compromised or acting in a way that jeopardizes the mission. Depleting the ship’s antimatter reserves, hanging out on a planet when they’re supposed to be booking it to Azati Prime, reprimanding the acting captain for doing his fucking job when the ship is fired upon, giving an order to betray their position to the Xindi, and, again, not sleeping for three days are all things that should’ve been red flags to Hayes if he was actually any good at being a military commander.

Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch: “Doctor’s Orders”

The Enterprise is flying through an anomaly and the only one who can survive it is Phlox, so everyone else is in a coma while he’s all alone on the ship — or is he???? The Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch follows “Doctor’s Orders.”

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This, by the way, is a much better example of how you do a “filler” episode in a season-long story arc. (As opposed to, say, a ridiculous diversion to The Western Planet.) They’re en route to Azati Prime, the urgent sub-mission that they’ve had since learning of the place in “Stratagem,” but they’re delayed by something that gives one of the show’s breakout stars a chance to flex his thespic muscles.

And there’s lots of Porthos. As it should be. He’s a very good dog…

Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch: “Harbinger”

We get forward movement on the Sphere-Builders, but to do that, we have to wade through macho idiocy between Reed and Hayes and a lust triangle among Tucker, T’Pol, and one of the MACOs that feels more at home in a 1980s teen sexy comedy. The Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch plods through “Harbinger.”

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And that’s not the worst of what happens in this episode, because, of course we have the T’Pol’s Bare Butt scene.

I mean yeah, sexual tension, jealousy, Tucker flirting with someone else, gobby gobby gobby, but ultimately, all of it was in service of the producers’ continued efforts to make sure that their show primarily appealed to heterosexual teenage boys who used their allowance to buy copies of Maxim.

Star Trek: Picard third season overview

The final season of Star Trek: Picard has come to an end, and I look back on it with a critical eye, but also an enthusiastic one. Click here for my lengthy discussion of this incredibly popular season of Trek.

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Thing That Cannot Be Denied: Picard season three was a huge hit. It got the best viewership of any Trek show on Paramount+, actually rivalling network offerings. It is being talked about all over the place, with lots of people hailing it as the finest season of Trek in ages, lots more simply expressing their joy at seeing Picard, Riker, La Forge, Worf, Crusher, Troi, and Data together again—and on the bridge of the Enterprise-D, no less!

Thing That Can Be Argued: whether or not this season was actually any good…

Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch: “Stratagem”

It feels like a retread of “Twilight” when it starts, but it quickly becomes much more interesting than that, and turns into one of the show’s best episodes, a glorious Mission: Impossible-style bit of misdirection and clever trickery. The Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch employs a “Stratagem.”

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There are so many things I love about this episode, and not just because I’m a fan of the M:I TV series (among other things, Leonard Nimoy’s landing spot after Trek was cancelled, starring on that show as Paris for two seasons). I like that the crew get information, not by threatening to throw people out of an airlock, but by using actual humane interrogation techniques. (Okay, you can argue that wiping out someone’s short-term memory isn’t that humane…) Yes, it involves trickery, but as anyone who does interrogations for a living can tell you, trickery is a very important part of a good interrogation, especially when the person you’re questioning is hostile.

Star Trek: Picard‘s “Vox”

Forgot to post this last week — not that the post needs any more pimping, as it’s already passed 200 comments in four-plus days — but I reviewed the “Vox” episode of Star Trek: Picard, which I predicted that everyone would be talking about, and OMG was I right.

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Whatever one might say about this season of Star Trek: Picard, it absolutely has people talking. This season has achieved quite the Q-rating (far more than the season with Q in it). This is purely anecdotal, but I’ve been seeing a lot more people talking about this season than they have the other seasons, or even the other current Trek shows—more to the point, I’m seeing people who almost never talk about Star Trek talk about this season of Picard.

Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch: “Proving Ground”

Shran and the Andorians show up in the Delphic Expanse, ostensibly to help Archer and the humans, but in reality to help themselves. But they do help Archer a little bit… The Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch looks at the best episode of season three so far, “Proving Ground.”

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Shran’s sudden-but-inevitable betrayal works mainly because everyone is in character. Most Andorians are likely to view humans as little more than the Vulcans’ pets, even taking the events of “Cease Fire” into account. Shran knows better, and he’s stuck between a rock and a hard place—either betray someone he’s come to respect and sabotage a potential ally, or follow orders. The latter is really the only choice he can makes—if he’s court-martialed and tried for treason, everything will happen the same way anyhow—but at least he mitigates it by helping Archer out at the end.