Trekathon 638: Broken Bow (1) (ENT)

February 2nd, 2013

Earth’s newest ship goes on a mission to return an injured Klingon.

So far it’s an interesting start to a series. The show is clearly trying to do something quite different to the previous series, but still connected in history. Choosing the prequel route is a mixed blessing – you get a lot more freedom in some parts of the setup, but less in others. It’s a literally down to Earth episode, with the episode starting in a corn field in Oklahoma.

The core conflict established is Humans being eager to escape the apron strings of the Vulcans. It’s a potentially interesting premise, but it’s reduced to the Vulcans being intolerant and the Humans being a bit dickish and overly aggresive. Still, T’Pol has the potential to be fairly interesting as a representative of her race – but that will necessarily come at the cost of independent character development for her.

The other characters established are mostly good, if a bit uncomplicated: we have Captain Archer, who is ‘doing this for his father’;, Ensign Merriweather, who in an interesting twist is the one who’s actually been out and seen some of space; Phlox the alien doctor, who appears to have gotten lost on his way from the Galaxy Quest set; Hoshi the cute-and-panicky linguist; and Commander Tucker, the phlegmatic but hyper-competent first officer. The main annoyance so far is Lt Reed, who seems to be more horndog than man.

There are a lot of callbacks to Star Trek of before: the opening shuttle trip to the Enterprise, harking back to the first movie. The first Klingon contact. The set design, which strikes a balance between modern set design (and aerospace) and the 1960s Enterprise (as does the sound design). Zefram Cochrane. The old-school communicators.

But – boring shadowy aliens? That’s not how you do suspense. The incredibly boring ‘people who work in space amazed by zero-G’ sequence.Which segues into the ‘three breasted women’ conversation. Some reasons for concern.

638 down, 99 to go. OMG, double figures!