Archive for March, 2013

Trekathon 684: Horizon (ENT)

March 20th, 2013

Ensign Merriweather visits home.

Gah. I know I sometimes call for episodes that tell us a bit more about the character of the main cast, but this is a good example of how not to do that. Sure, we get to see a lot of Travis’s background and family, but the plot is just not that interesting. The conflicts are straight out of the book of cliches, nothing unexpected or novel at all.

The B-plot was silly, but T’Pol’s reaction to Frankenstein was interesting and appropriate – and there we saw her develop her horizons a little, becoming a slightly new person. In about one third the time of the ponderous main plot as well.

Callbacks: Families on starships, along with the ship’s counsellor get suggested. Reed is appropriately horrified.And, in Merriweather’s quarters, a copy of ‘Chicago Gangs’, one of the most obscure callbacks to date.

684 down, 53 to go.

Trekathon 683: Judgment (ENT)

March 19th, 2013

Archer is put on trial by the Klingons.

Ah, the venerable trial plot. We’ve seen it so many times: Star Trek VI, Tribunal, The Drumhead, The Menagerie, Court Martial, Rules of Engagement, and even *The Magicks of Megas-Tu’. But I suspect the Greeks were the first to use this plot.

I thought it was all nicely told, with a relatively restrained use of flashbacks and the rest of the crew. The main missing element for me was any sense from Archer that he was apprehensive or worried about the situation he was in – sure, worry about the crew first. But the inevitable rescue at the end comes off as inevitable, not miraculous.

Callbacks: This entire episode is basically the plot of Star Trek VI, without the diplomatic negotiations component. This goes from the small (the judge’s ‘gavel’) to the large (the Rura Penthe dilithium mines). Oh, and there’s also a Duras ancestor, and some bloodwine.

683 down, 54 to go.

Trekathon 682: The Crossing (ENT)

March 18th, 2013

Enterprise runs into some non-corporeal aliens.

This episode really clicked for me. It’s a pure science fiction tale, and would not be out of place in either TOS or TNG. There’s a good mix between the purer ‘exploration’ side of things and the more menacing side of the aliens. And the build up into the conflict works well.

I was particularly glad that these aliens didn’t seem to have any incredible powers. They were non-corporeal, but not super powerful. It’s much more interesting when the wits of the crew can save the day, rather than the whim of a god (cough Q cough).

One thing puzzled me – there were a lot of little clues set up that maybe everything wasn’t as it seemed with Phlox. Perhaps it was a deliberate mislead, and it added to the suspense for me. But with the episode now complete it didn’t make a lot of sense.

682 down, 55 to go.

Trekathon 681: Canamar (ENT)

March 17th, 2013

Archer and Trip get themselves taken prisoner.

A collection of cliches – mistakenly taken prisoner, swept up in the prisoner revolt, etc – that somehow rises above its components to deliver an entertaining story. I think a big part of it is the sheer menace of Kuroda, who I was a bit disappointed to see knocked off at the end. He had a lot of potential. I can’t say that anything along the way was a huge surprise, but everyone involved seemed intelligent enough (except the Nauciscan falling for the old ‘come help me with this’ routine, but that was in character).

The small subplot with Trip’s annoying fellow prisoner was also good, in that it went somewhere a little unexpected. The traditional plot for such is that the ‘nice but annoying’ guy is killed, and we all feel sad about it. Instead Trip pays a real price for not getting on his good side, and I think that was quite good writing.

681 down, 56 to go.

Trekathon 680: Future Tense (ENT)

March 16th, 2013

Enterprise finds an abandoned ship with a mummified Human corpse.

Mostly more confusing time travel arc stuff, without the benefit that we normally have in those episodes of someone to do the exposition scene. I’m really not 100% sure about what really happened in this episode. Certainly someone (the writer?) needs to go revisit temporal logic 101 – either time is irrelevant or it’s not.

Still, some nice moments, including the time loop scenes.

Callbacks: Zefram Cochrane’s disappearance, to be resolved in Metamorphosis. Half-human Vulcans, of whom Spock would be the most famous. And Tholians, of course.

680 down, 57 to go.

Trekathon 679: Cease Fire (ENT)

March 15th, 2013

Archer mediates a dispute between the Vulcans and the Andorians.

There’s a lot to like in this episode. Involving the Vulcans in a war puts them in a very strange position relative to the rest of Trek, and Shrank and the Andorians have also been consistently interesting. But we spend a lot of the episode in silly action sequences that go on for too long. And the betrayal by the Andorian deputy isn’t really the most interesting choice that was available.

It’s pretty clear at this point that the writers are deliberately setting up Vulcans as being very different ‘now’ to how they will be in the future. Here we hear that the Vulcans have a reputation for lying and duplicity. But we better get the other half of this – how do they change to the cuddly Vulcans we all know and love from later Trek.

679 down, 58 to go.