Star Trek: Enterprise: The Seventh
March 11, 2019 10:39 AM - Season 2, Episode 7 - Subscribe

Against all odds, T’Pol trusts Archer with something.

Memory Alpha is pretty thin about this one:

Background information
> "The Seventh" refers to the seventh rogue operative, Menos, whom T'Pol pursued in this episode. He was believed to be the sixth, until T'Pol remembered Jossen, whom she killed. Coincidentally, it is also the seventh episode of the season.
> It seems Menos was working for the Axanar, as most of his cargo containers have the Axanar written language on them.
> The cockpit of the cargo ship piloted by Menos appears to be a set redress of the cockpit of Zefram Cochrane's warp ship The Phoenix from Star Trek: First Contact.
> Among the aliens at the bar on Pernaia's moon was a Kreetassan, several Klingons, several members of the shapeshifting species from "Two Days and Two Nights", and a member of Kago-Darr's species.
> T'Pol's experiences of pursuing Menos and Jossen on Risa and subsequently undergoing fullara at P'Jem are referred to in the ENT novel Surak's Soul.
> When Tucker impersonates Captain Archer, he wears a fourth rank pip to signify the rank of captain, but does not change into a gold-trimmed command division uniform, instead staying in his red-trimmed operations division uniform.

Memorable quotes
"Are we supposed to play some kind of guessing game?"
- Tucker on the subject of T'Pol's classified mission from the Vulcans

"Is there anything specific you and Travis are going to need?"
"Cold weather gear, restraints and phase-pistols."
- Archer and T'Pol

"Before I joined the Science Directorate, I was assigned to the Ministry of Security. I was trained in reconnaissance retrieval."
"Move over, Porthos. Let the lady sit down. Sounds like this is gonna be good!"
- T'Pol in Archer's quarters

"How am I supposed to be a good temporary captain if I don't know where my people are?"
- Tucker, when Archer refuses to tell him where he's going

"Ironic, isn't it?! Burning to death on a frozen moon!"
- Menos

"Why did you want me here?"
"Because I trust you."
"Then trust me, you were sent to apprehend him… not to judge him."
- Archer and T'Pol

"I killed him."
"Yes… and he didn't deserve to be killed."
- T'Pol, remembering killing Jossen, and Menos

"Captain Archer?"
"Yes? Is there a problem?"
"You seem very young for a Starfleet captain."
"Healthy living."
- Captain Tavek and Tucker

This Week In:
* Pointless STO Comparisons: Every player ship has a brig with a capacity for 20 prisoners. Federation captains can hand them over to Starfleet Security for modest rewards. Klingon allied players get more from Klingon Security, but also have options like selling them to Orion slavers or ransoming them.
* Vulcans Are Superior: Wildly averted. Menos displays basically neither superior Vulcan abilities nor any interest in Vulcan philosophy, and T’Pol is portrayed as suffering due to her psychology clashing with her duty.
* Non-Catastrophic Equipment Failures: Their scanners just awful.
* Aliens Outclass Enterprise: Menos’ ship has a full scale holographic hidden compartment, tech that won’t be in common Starfleet use until the TNG era. Guess smuggling pays pretty well.

Poster’s Log:
The basic plot thumbnail here is particularly troubling to me, even for an episode of Enterprise. At its core, The Seventh is about a female character being completely unable to control her emotional responses and needing a male character to guide her judgment. T’Pol is explicit about this, literally just telling Archer that. Of all the things they've done to T'Pol's character so far, I think this is the one I hate the most at this juncture.

Past that, this story suffers from making your typical ENT amount of sense:
* There’s no reason to keep their location secret from Enterprise. The nature of the mission, absolutely. But preventing the ship from providing backup should an emergency arise by providing a place to meet or a time limit or something is, as a classic character might say, highly illogical.

* There’s no reason T’Pol wouldn’t have just stunned Jossen instead of killing him. Phase pistols stun, we see it in this episode. The entire flashback thing rests on this point, and it is total nonsense.

* There's no reason Menos should be working alone. That's just bad security, and denies the episode better action sequences.

* There’s no reason T’Pol should trust Archer at this juncture. ‘Archer is unreliable’ was a serious plot point quite recently, and nothing has happened since then to ameliorate T’Pol’s concerns. (I mean, he can chainsaw good, I guess, but that doesn't change the basic sequence of events or his attitude about them.)

* There is exactly no reason for Menos to be Vulcan in the first place. He doesn’t talk like one. Neither Archer nor Mayweather are wary of any superior physical abilities. We have no sense of why he’s rebelling against Vulcan culture - there’s no real philosophical dispute in play, just ‘what’d they expect, sending me in?’

The last bit is especially frustrating because it just confuses the issue of ‘what are Vulcans like anyway?’ Like... how many of them are unstable enough to lose themselves in deep cover? How many of them are even up to deep cover in the first place, given how stuffy they’re supposedly biologically required to be? Experiencing emotions isn’t just difficult for Vulcans: we’ve seen many plots where it can literally kill them or drive them insane.

Just making him another race that worked with the Vulcans and screwed them over would’ve fixed all the problems associated with him in the plot.

So basically, a deeply misogynistic trope is invoked, a relationship on the show is fast-forwarded with no justification, Mayweather is almost completely ignored again, and we don’t learn anything for the trouble.

On the plus side: Blalock is pretty game here, and I’d enjoy her performance if it were not in service to such garbage. Ditto Bruce Davidson, who is a pretty good bad guy if you leave off ‘does not seem the least bit Vulcan.’
posted by mordax (21 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Poster's Log, Supplemental:
* 'Woman has meltdown' plots were how I fell out of love with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which I was really into before that became such a recurring theme.

* My brain wanted to parse 'Kago-Darr' as 'Ka D'Argo,' and I was very confused for a second.
posted by mordax at 10:42 AM on March 11 [1 favorite]


Man I forgot how much I hated the portrayal of Vulcans in this show. Possibly coming from the Star Trek books (yeah I'm one of those nerds) where Vulcans are fleshed out in a way the shows never could I was so looking forward to this series when it aired: finally, more Vulcans! And then this...
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 11:14 AM on March 11 [1 favorite]


I was willing to grade this one on the easy curve, given that a) T'Pol isn't objectified and b) Bruce Davison is great as always. But the point about T'Pol not needing to use lethal force to stop the guy is valid and kind of plot-breaking; Leonard Nimoy came up with the Vulcan neck-pinch as something to end a fight in a non-violent way, and I can't imagine that the Vulcans wouldn't have a ranged weapon equivalent. (In fact, I'd believe that they're the ones who helped humans develop a "stun" setting for their phasers in the first place.) There are other ways that Jossen could have died while trying to escape that T'Pol wouldn't have taken personally, but then there's the other problem with the episode: it's a bit too much like VOY's "Latent Image", another let's-solve-the-existential-crisis-by-induced-amnesia episode.

That one at least made a certain amount of surface sense--restoring the EMH to an earlier save--but suffered from the same problem of the dead person's legacy being impossible to hide long-term. Plus, simply erasing a memory seems like a very un-Vulcan thing to do. One of the more positive aspects of VOY was showing how Tuvok not only practiced the mental Vulcan disciplines but also shared them with other people on board; some of that was explicitly about helping potentially dangerous psychics (Kes and Suder) maintain control, but others occasionally (at least Harry). None of his guidance and instruction was of the "let's pretend this never happened" variety, IIRC. It's not that there isn't some validity to the idea of artificially-induced amnesia as a part of therapy--at least, in terms of decoupling the traumatic effects of the memory from the memory itself--and it's the basis of the movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. But that movie is in no small part about the potential problems with and failures of that sort of therapy, as is this episode... which makes it less likely that the Vulcans would have used it and even come up with a nifty little ritual for it.
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:38 PM on March 11 [2 favorites]


is about a female character being completely unable to control her emotional responses and needing a male character to guide her judgment. T’Pol is explicit about this, literally just telling Archer that.

Yes, that made me tune out on this one pretty fast. Plus, Archer is being his usual manbaby self even when she goes to him for help; the man can't control his emotional responses to things, so he's a particularly lousy choice.

The only suggestion I have for making this better that hasn't been shared already is to have T'Pol ask Hoshi for help instead - give some linguistic reason why she's needed, and we get to have the two women work together in a nice inverse of "Sleeping Dogs" where T'Pol helps Hoshi with an emotionally fraught moment.
posted by nubs at 7:13 PM on March 11 [1 favorite]


mordax, you are sounding a little fatigued on this show. It's understandable. Be kind to yourself and consider if this is something you want to see through. Ask for help; there are tons of us here that love Trek and found the show impossible to watch.

Man I forgot how much I hated the portrayal of Vulcans in this show.

IDIC, hell yes. Unfortunately DSC has explicitly reiterated many of the foolish choices around the villanizing of Vulcans in ENT this season. I mean, yes, TOS explicitly shows Starfleet personnel interacting with Spock expressing bias against him. But fuxake, the objective of this in TOS was to demonstrate the foolishness and uselessness of these attitudes. In ENT, the intent appears to be to validate them.

In conclusion, fuck this shit. It needs to be documented and shamed.
posted by mwhybark at 7:47 PM on March 11 [3 favorites]


I will give DSC credit for maybe attempting to harmonize the issue on the basis of how differing cultural values create conflict, but the objective still seems to be to incorporate ENT beats about Vulcan bad guys as legit instead of, you know, exposing the concept as, oh, Section 31 propaganda intended to perpetuate funding for secret police and black-ops military overthrow brigades.
posted by mwhybark at 7:50 PM on March 11


I was willing to grade this one on the easy curve, given that a) T'Pol isn't objectified and b) Bruce Davison is great as always

I think if not for the 'woman has breakdown' aspect of the plot, I probably would've done the same. Leaving that gross side trip aside, this mostly seems to fall into your Ten Percent notion: they came up with 90% of an interesting story, called it good before actually finishing, and just aired it.

The only suggestion I have for making this better that hasn't been shared already is to have T'Pol ask Hoshi for help instead

That would've made more character sense: Hoshi and T'Pol have bonded onscreen, and Hoshi's been depicted as a pretty sensible person.

mordax, you are sounding a little fatigued on this show. It's understandable. Be kind to yourself and consider if this is something you want to see through. Ask for help; there are tons of us here that love Trek and found the show impossible to watch.

Nah. I mean, I appreciate the concern, but unless I'm making ENT enthusiasts uncomfortable with the commentary, I'm here for the duration. Understanding the things wrong with the franchise in a thorough way is a matter of both personal and professional interest to me. (I could go on and on about that, but the short version is basically that I spend time picking at all sorts of media to try and get at what makes it succeed or fail or succeed where it should've failed, regardless of my feelings about it as actual entertainment. It's only gotten worse since I became a writer myself.)

In conclusion, fuck this shit. It needs to be documented and shamed.

Yeah. I feel like DSC talk is probably outside the scope of this rewatch thread because it's currently airing, but there are definitely some frustrating themes at work across the back half of the franchise here. We could talk about that over in Fanfare Talk if anybody likes? The whole 'Vulcans as a stand-in for parents with all the subsequent issues' was a weird turn for the entire Trek universe.
posted by mordax at 9:08 PM on March 11 [4 favorites]


I've caught up to the Fanfare discussions!

Sometime shortly before Disco came out, I decided that I should first watch the Star Trek series I was unfamiliar with. I made my way through DS9, following along with the old Fanfare threads the whole way through (as well as The Greatest Generation and the Tor rewatch articles). What a great show. Afterward, I started Enterprise, and now I've overtaken Fanfare! This'll be the first time I won't be able to check out what people here are saying once I've finished an episode.

(I've also been following them0vieblog reviews for Enterprise. I'm not sure I've seen them linked here on Fanfare? They're great! Lengthy and chock-full of excellent analysis and an awful lot of insider knowledge. They're much better than the Tor rewatch articles, which I found capriciously opinionated and wrong-headed. Here's them0vieblog overview of Enterprise as a whole, which gives a lot of insight into the problems the show had behind the scenes. Here's their commentary on this episode, The Seventh.)

I went into Enterprise steeled for the worst, given its reputation, but I'm enjoying it. You all here are much more negative than me. There's certainly a lot to criticize, but coming straight from a first watch of DS9: that show also consistently had a lot to criticize. My rule when watching Star Trek (or most anything) is: if an episode or a scene could be easily improved with a one-line rewrite, then just assume that that's the show you're watching. I was happy to constantly rewrite sexist lines or nonsensical plot points or gay panic dialogue in my head to make DS9 palatable, and Enterprise can be pretty good if you do the same. I think we do this pretty automatically with shows we're inclined to like; with shows we're not inclined to like, we don't extend this courtesy. Enterprise isn't too bad with the sort of mental rewrites I allow myself when watching DS9 or TNG.

Don't get me wrong: I shouldn't equate the shows too strongly. DS9 was much better in almost every way. Most Enterprise episodes are just humdrum and kinda boring. Luckily, I like humdrum and kinda boring Star Trek.
posted by painquale at 3:08 AM on March 12 [5 favorites]


congrats, painquale! and that's a useful perspective.

point taken re crossposting, mordax.
posted by mwhybark at 5:16 AM on March 12 [1 favorite]


There's certainly a lot to criticize, but coming straight from a first watch of DS9: that show also consistently had a lot to criticize.

This is completely fair.

My rule when watching Star Trek (or most anything) is: if an episode or a scene could be easily improved with a one-line rewrite, then just assume that that's the show you're watching. I was happy to constantly rewrite sexist lines or nonsensical plot points or gay panic dialogue in my head to make DS9 palatable, and Enterprise can be pretty good if you do the same.

It's okay if you want to do it that way. I pretty much can't: I'm only interested in what's actually in front of me and why. I can't learn from it if I don't listen.

I was also pretty unhappy with DS9's sexism on the last go too, which I try to keep in mind here. (Dr. Bashir is pretty terrible for a long time, Quark is a serious Broken Stair and while Kira remains my favorite woman in Trek canon, they kept shoehorning her into godawful relationships because that's what happens to lady characters in Trek until recently. I will probably never do a full rewatch again, and the next time I help a new fan through, I might troll them and say we're doing a 'good parts' watch and just show them every episode where O'Brien gets tortured.)

I think we do this pretty automatically with shows we're inclined to like; with shows we're not inclined to like, we don't extend this courtesy.

I agree completely. It's been my experience telling stories* that the trick to the willing suspension of disbelief is mostly about keeping people entertained enough that they don't want to look for the strings. This would be the main difference between Trek that is perceived well and Trek that is not: 'good' Trek is busy showing us new stuff, while 'bad' Trek is formulaic. The actual worst spot in the franchise is, for my money, TNG S1, where they had no idea what new stories they wanted to tell and picked some truly terrible aspects of TOS to emulate.

Part of ENT's problem for most of us is - as you say - that it's dull. It's just too boring to make me want to forgive much right now. That much picks up later: we all remember S4 fondly, and I'll be very curious to see how it holds up this time. Overall, I actually think ENT is probably better than VOY, despite how unhappy I am with it presently, and I bet that perception holds up after we're done. Its sense of continuity is better and the racism is tamped down considerably, though still galling.

The other thing sinking ENT is that it's a prequel, (a problem with Discovery too), and is therefore constrained about what new information it can possibly give us. It might've done better simply by being set after VOY, so they could just have some new aliens and stop tapdancing around the Prime Directive.

And then part of this is that.... Trek has never been great about racism or sexism, but it used to want to be. I remember Number One from TOS. I remember Kirk and Uhura's kiss. Rick Berman and Brannon Braga really double down on this stuff intentionally: compare literally sewing Seven into a catsuit or the decon gel stuff versus TNG's less aggressive misuse of Crusher and Troi. It's tough to watch a childhood property in the hands of bros. Half of why I'm cutting DSC so much slack right now is simply that they realized I wanted to see women, POC, LGBT, etc. characters in my Trek instead of a bunch of white guys being clueless.

I hope the negativity isn't a problem. For what it's worth, nobody here is going to tell you that you're wrong to like it. I'm actually interested in hearing more about aspects you did enjoy, and it's cool that you're positive. Please know that your point of view is welcome here too, and thank you for talking.

point taken re crossposting, mordax.

Sorry. I am totally serious about having that talk though - I hadn't really been thinking about it, but you're onto something. (I'll write something up when I have time later, if you don't. Cross show stuff is especially fascinating in Trek due to the number of hands it's passed through.)


(* Ran tabletop RPGs for about 25 years before deciding to get paid for writing stuff. I have many Big Thoughts about how stories should be constructed. ENT will do some interesting things later, and I'll be sure to talk about the good as well.)
posted by mordax at 11:19 AM on March 12 [4 favorites]


Thanks for the welcome!

I'm only interested in what's actually in front of me and why. I can't learn from it if I don't listen.

On the contrary, I'm not advocating uncritically ignoring the problems. I'm advocating fixing them. Doing tacit mental rewrites requires a full understanding of exactly why something doesn't work and what improvements could be made, so there's a sense in which it's a more demanding writerly exercise than just identifying the problems and leaving them be. And the end product gives the viewer a better viewing experience!

Part of ENT's problem for most of us is - as you say - that it's dull.

That really is its worst sin. I'm also not thrilled with the characters. Even boring DS9 episodes were redeemed because I loved getting to hang out with my buddies Odo and Dax. Adoring characters takes time, so Enterprise might get there eventually, but so far the only progress that has been made is that I no longer hate Trip.

I'm actually interested in hearing more about aspects you did enjoy, and it's cool that you're positive.

I guess I'll just state my most renegade opinion among you: I actually kind of like the xenophobia and conservativism in the show. I mean, I hate those things themselves, but I think the show is more interesting for not knowing what it wants to say about other species, for being inconsistent, and for not having a traditionally Trek attitude toward other cultures. It's definitely over-the-line much of the time, but I don't mind it being the thing that makes this Trek unique among the Treks.

This is partly because I'm coming in late and I've got some remove from the actual airdates, so the show has become more of a document of the past and an anthropological curiosity. What does Star Trek become when it's infected with the War on Terror? The reviews at the m0vie blog talk about this a lot. In a review for an upcoming episode, they compare TOS to ENT in a sharp way. TOS was similarly politically inconsistent. We tend to remember the liberal and progressive parts of TOS, but it also had a huge number of conservative and reactionary plot resolutions. This reflects just how divisive the Vietnam War was at the time: a number of episodes allegorically comment on the war but different episodes come to different conclusions. ENT is similarly grappling with 9/11, when writers who were self-avowedly liberal were simultaneously crazed with xenophobic fear. It's pretty interesting to see Roddenberry's utopian vision of Star Trek slam against the inconsistencies of American culture in 2001.

But that's just an explanation for why the show is anthropologically interesting. I also think it occasionally works in-universe. On DS9, when O'Brien was uncomfortable about an insinuation that he was gay... that was something that you couldn't explain in-universe, and you'd have to write it off as the show being a product of the 90's. When Archer is suspicious of a Vulcan just because he's a Vulcan... well, he's being shitty, but this is a time in Starfleet's history where everyone is shitty. The Federation had to be built from something that was bad, and we get to see how it went from bad to good. What makes this series unique is its mixture of fear of the unknown and excitement for the unknown, bequeathed to it by the political situation in which it was written. I think that's neat. Thank god this series is a prequel! I don't think they could have had these themes be a continuation of the Star Trek universe. (DS9 already started tearing apart the utopian harmony of TNG.) They make sense as something to move away from rather than something to move toward.

I'm not gonna pretend that it's all good, or even mostly good. A main problem is that the show itself has a point of view, presented through things like music cues, the sorts of arguments that it lets characters voice, or even plot resolutions, and it often comes down squarely on the xenophobic side. (Like in this episode: the fact that the bad guy was actually carrying biotoxins was a real WTF moment.) That's when I tend to imagine rewrites. What if the show were neutral about, or critical of, Archer telling T'Pol to shoot? If you pretend the show interrogates these moments, the show often becomes pretty interesting. Of course, you can only do so much. The show's politics are often inescapably terrible. But the general idea that Starfleet was once far from a bunch of Picardian diplomats, that Vulcans were borderline hostile to humans, and that space was full of racism that would eventually be defeated: I like that as the show's primary theme, even though it might not have been entirely intentional.

The sexism is pretty galling though. And from what I hear, it just keeps getting worse.
posted by painquale at 2:58 PM on March 12 [4 favorites]


Sorry.

Oh, no need, it was a worthy point, truly. Part if the issue for me is that as these Trek threads grow and cross-reference, a big part of my experience of Mefi (well, FF but I am sure you feel me) is the social sense of this sprawling, episode by episode conversation on Trek with people I have known online now, in some cases, for nearing twenty years. It's wonderful and feels somewhat like my earliest days online. Thus, referencing ongoing conversations in the DSC threads (and therefore plot points) feels natural because even in the ENT thread I feel like I am talking to my Trek peeps on the site. It's not what the terms of conversation are in FF, and I need to do a better job respecting that.

That said, painquale, the remark that mordax cited in which you used the phrase "extend the courtesy" reminded me very much of a plea from Halloween Jack in the DSC threads in which he implored us, the posting audience, to be "kinder to the show" (although I must confess that may be a misquote, I didn't look it up). Online, being kinder can be an important social goal to maintain, and I felt your remark chimed with HJ's.

Anyway, I triple-dog cross-my-fingers swear to minimize Trek crosschatter via my ten hot digits here. Also it's lovely to have these conversations with you all.
posted by mwhybark at 4:57 PM on March 12 [2 favorites]


Thanks for the welcome!

The more the merrier! I honestly dunno what we're going to do when we finally run out of Star Trek. I don't think I can watch this much Star Wars. (I gave up halfway through The Clone Wars cartoon.)

On the contrary, I'm not advocating uncritically ignoring the problems. I'm advocating fixing them.

I guess my problem with that is that it's necessarily a solitary exercise - sort of fanfic for one. Whatever one person imagines isn't what the rest of us saw. I can't imagine there's anything wrong with using that as a means of enjoying a property more - same as broader uses of fanfic - but it's not really a help to anybody else. All we can really do as a group is engage with what's in front of us.

My take is more... everybody makes mistakes. Some people and works are worth the trouble on various grounds, some aren't, and everybody is going to draw those lines a little differently, which is okay.

But that's just an explanation for why the show is anthropologically interesting.

Oh, absolutely. It's fascinating. And horrible. But fascinating.

It's not what the terms of conversation are in FF, and I need to do a better job respecting that.

Eh. I remember us discussing this before, and it's fine to just commandeer some space for this. I put something up real fast over here. Please, expound. I'm still mulling this over.
posted by mordax at 12:29 AM on March 13


Thanks, good start!

P.S. I have just started a new gig, we shall see how it goes; it seems like it will be quite time consuming and may reduce my posting output. I never thought I would be taking employment guidance from Zonker Harris in my not-quite-old age, but it appears I have. There are likely rules about how much or little I can go into detail about it and thus I have been very transparently circumspect here.
posted by mwhybark at 5:44 AM on March 13 [1 favorite]


This is one of those that I had no memory of at all.

The only kind thing I can think to say about it is that I can see where they were going with it. But that's very faint praise, because "where they were going" was another attempt at a gritty crime story (wherein T'Pol is the Cop on the Edge Who Doesn't Play by the Rules, and wherein I totally expected Archer to take on the Beleaguered Police Chief role and tell her that This Is Not Your Personal War!). Trek tends not to do gritty crime stories well—see DS9: "Honor Among Thieves" and "Prodigal Daughter", or that one early VOY with the alien femme fatale (who despite living in the Delta Quadrant has a dog so that they can have Tuvok be Holmes and steal the dog clue from "Silver Blaze" BUT ANYWAY). Half-assedly folding in the Eternal Sunshine element was clearly just a concession to having a sci-fi element in every script, which (we know from VOY) was a mandate in the writers' room.

But the big issue for me in this one was that, at almost every turn here, these characters are behaving even more incompetently and middle-school-y than they usually do. Only Phlox comes off well, and that's just because he seems to be pointing out incompetence. It feels as though it was written by somebody whose familiarity with this franchise, and these characters, was limited to skimming a few TV Guides.

Whatever one person imagines isn't what the rest of us saw. I can't imagine there's anything wrong with using that as a means of enjoying a property more - same as broader uses of fanfic - but it's not really a help to anybody else. All we can really do as a group is engage with what's in front of us.

Well, we can certainly do both. And we have! How many times in the VOY threads were we guilty of embarking upon FF rewrites? ;) Hell, I even did one in the "Endgame" thread.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 4:26 AM on March 14 [1 favorite]


Oh, hey there - can I interrupt our more meta-level discussion to point out that the B-plot of "Trip finds the Captains chair uncomfy" feels incomplete and flat? It isn't funny (but it's trying), and it doesn't do anything to further the character outside of reminding us of the unprofessional nature of both him and the crew.

It feels to me like there's a missing scene that might have brought it together in some way.
posted by nubs at 5:36 AM on March 14 [3 favorites]


Ah yes. I amend my earlier statement, in that I can think of one other thing this episode has going for it: it displayed Trineer's comedy chops for a moment or two. He can pull off some pretty subtly comic facial expressions. It wasn't quite funny, due to the writing—the whole thing was simultaneously incomplete and too long—but I smiled in amusement at Trineer, anyway.

Speaking of things I forgot about:
This is a fitting thread to mention this Octodon account that I've been following that's well ahead of us in rewatching ENT but similar in terms of detailed focus, yet much more negative (often entertainingly so) than we tend to get. Right now the recurring tagline is "Space 9/11 Changed Everything!", for context.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 6:33 AM on March 14 [1 favorite]


Huh. That just might be my gateway drug to the Mastodonverse.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:23 AM on March 14


It feels to me like there's a missing scene that might have brought it together in some way.

Yes, that subplot felt like the middle part of a joke. None of Trip's problems felt like they came from anywhere, but if it had worked better I could have accepted that as character development. I kept waiting for, say, the Vulcan commander to hail the shuttle and get a 'But YOU'RE not Captain Archer!' (freeze-frame, credits roll) or for Archer & Co. to get back to Enterprise only to find the weapons and the warp core both off-line and half crew being violently ill because Trip tried to split the difference with Phlox's or Reed's requests. Or...basically any actual followup, at all, to any of the Trip-has-a-hard-time-as-Captain setups they did.

It's like the joke about the party with terrible beverage options: there's no punch line.

This does fit right in with the broader critique of Enterprise and Voyager as shows that frequently get 90% of the way to 'good' but don't do the work to polish up that last 10%: it could have told us something about how Trip sees himself, and how he sees authority, or been a moment to explain how actually Archer has a lot on his plate, but it does neither and then compounds it by failing to land an actual joke. Apparently it was fine to avoid resolving either issue, and the ship is actually totally fine without Archer around. That's 100% not the point they were aiming for, but.
posted by cjelli at 12:01 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]


Enterprise: the ship is actually totally fine without Archer around.
posted by mordax at 12:27 PM on March 14 [2 favorites]


Honestly, and this has no backing in anything, but when I first watched this episode, I assumed the uncomfy chair was some kind of meta TOS reference to that prop chair being uncomfy and that was why it seemed hokey and out of place.

This rewatch has been very revealing to me in how much mental work I was doing for the writers despite not liking the show.
posted by neonrev at 8:54 PM on March 14 [2 favorites]


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