Archive for March, 2013

Trekathon 690: The Expanse (ENT)

March 26th, 2013

Earth gets attacked for no known reason, and Enterprise has to go find out who’s responsible.

There’s a pretty bald attempt to draw everything together here – the mysterious future guy, the Klingon bounty on Archer’s head, the Suliban. It makes for an over packed episode that doesn’t really hold together as a coherent story. It all happens so fast that I have plot whiplash. In addition, now Trip is angry about the death of his sister, T’Pol has resigned from the Vulcan High Command. At least Phlox is stlll the same.

The ‘Expanse’ is set up as a big scary boogie man (boogie space region? That doesn’t sound right), in a way that is quite frankly over the top. And there’s generally some significant repositioning: the Enterprise is now on a long-term military mission, and has combat troops aboard. In other words, a soft reboot in terms of focus, if not characters.

Callbacks: The first photonic torpedoes get installed.

690 down, 47 to go.

Trekathon 689: Bounty (ENT)

March 25th, 2013

Reed is proved very correct about Archer’s lax attitude to security, as Archer gets captured by a bounty hunter.

Dull and uninteresting stupidity. Archer gets himself taken prisoner by being stupid, tries a couple of stupid things that don’t help him get out of the situation, then tries a stupid thing that does help him. The episode would work if the Tellarite captain was a more sympathetic character, but it’s hard to relate to a character obsessed with a ship that we never see.

But the worst of the episode is in the B-plot: after a couple of seasons of restraint, there’s a pretty bad ‘decontamination room’ sequence. It’s a completely unnecessary addition to the show, and the direction here serves only to highlight the unpleasant elements as it’s combined with T’Pol’s Ponn Far.

Callbacks: The first Tellarite we’ve seen in a while.

689 down, 48 to go.

Trekathon 688: First Flight (ENT)

March 24th, 2013

Archer has a flashback to the days of the NX Warp Project testing.

Not great, but not terrible either. It’s nice to see the ‘what they were like back then’ type stories, but this one is limited in scope (just Archer and Trip), and it seems that basically everyone is just the same. There was a glimmer of an idea in ‘this is how Archer became who he was’, but the episode doesn’t clearly establish anything in the way of difference from his character today. Perhaps some of the framing story’s time could have been used for that instead?

The other problem I had was that the story just didn’t seem to fit. They’re trying to tell a ‘dawn of warp flight’ story that just doesn’t fit into the chronology at this point. There are hand-waving explanations about this being the new engine/etc, but at the time of these tests there were plenty of Earth ships doing Warp 2 – it shouldn’t have been as big deal as it was made.

Callbacks: Not so much to previous Trek, but to the many images of NASA missions, and to The Right Stuff.

688 down, 49 to go.

Trekathon 687: Regeneration (ENT)

March 23rd, 2013

The Borg show up, jumping up and down lightly on continuity.

There’s a great episode of the Doctor Who reboot, Dalek, that manages to take back a villain that had become so overused we’d forgotten the menace. This episode is not as good, but it still reminds us of just how significant the Borg threat is. Two Borg can start an invasion, take over a ship, generally ruin your whole day.

The back half turns into an action sequence with a few plot holes (why exactly were the invading Borg beamed back to the soon-to-be-destroyed ship?) that’s fun without being tremendously deep.

(On the continuity thing: there’s a bit of contortion to avoid saying ‘Borg’, but they do make it plausible. To be honest, it was First Contact that created the real continuity problem).

Callbacks: The Borg. Duh. But most especially, the start of the Borg invasion is here, with the transmission to the Delta quadrant.

687 down, 50 to go.

Trekathon 686: Cogenitor (ENT)

March 22nd, 2013

Enterprise runs into a race with three genders,one of which is a third class citizen.

This episode dances right on the edge between ‘uncomfortable’ and ‘stupid’, until in the second half Trip apparently has a brain extraction and the episode lands in ‘stupid’ with no escape. It seems incredibly out of character for him to become so obsessed with the position of these ‘cogenitors’. After that it’s a pretty standard plot: crew member interferes with alien culture, things turn out very badly.

My one lasting query: why, if cogenitors are a discriminated against minority, why do they get invited to dinner at the start of the episode? It seems like that was intended only to further the plot.

(OMG it’s that guy; Andreas Katsulas, G’Kar from Babylon 5).

Callbacks: the first mention of photon(ic) torpedoes.

686 down, 51 to go.

Trekathon 685: The Breach (ENT)

March 21st, 2013

Phlox has to decide whether to treat a member of his race’s deepest enemies.

So, what can make even the incredibly phlegmatic Dr Phlox crack? How about someone who accuses his whole race of being war criminals (and who is apparently right), and that he was raised to hate. Yeah, that’ll just about do it. Until the final act ‘heroic speech’ of course. This works, but really only just. It’s a bit jarring to see this kind of skeleton in the closet of a race we like, but it isn’t completely unsupported.

The other plot is pure filler – a bunch of rock climbing scenes, a couple of cave ins, and some stubborn scientists. We learnt nothing, and there was never a moment of suspense. Waste of screen time.

Callbacks: OMG, a Tribble! And lasting proof that Phlox is a far better doctor than McCoy, if somewhat coldblooded, as he spots their reproductive rate.

685 down, 52 to go.