Star Trek: Enterprise: The Catwalk
April 15, 2019 1:29 AM - Season 2, Episode 12 - Subscribe

The crew weathers a space storm with some guests.

Memory Alpha has a bunch of details about the time taken for script revisions and filming, which I thought were interesting:

Background information
Production history
> Final draft script: 22 October 2002
> Further script revisions: 22 October (blue), 24 October (pink, yellow), 25 October (green, goldenrod), 28 October (buff)
> Final final draft script: 12 December 2002

Filmed:
Wednesday 23 October 2002 – (Paramount Stage 8/18)
Thursday 24 October 2002 – (Paramount Stage 8/9/18)
Friday 25 October 2002 – (Paramount Stage 18)
Monday 28 October 2002
Tuesday 29 October 2002
Wednesday 30 October 2002 – (Paramount Stage 8)
Thursday 31 October 2002 – (Paramount Stage 8/18)
Friday 1 November 2002 – (Paramount Stage 8/18)
Air date: 18 December 2002

Story
> The concept for the episode originated from a magazine article read by writer Mike Sussman, about the radiation dangers faced by astronauts on any future Mars mission. Sussman noted that: "[it] seemed to me that the crew of Enterprise [...] would be vulnerable to something like an ion storm, and there might be some kind of radiation-proof chamber they could evacuate to". (Star Trek Monthly issue 108)

Production
> This episode is considered a "bottle show". (Beyond the Final Frontier, p. 376)
> According to the call sheets, "The Catwalk" was filmed between Wednesday 23 October 2002 and Friday 1 November 2002 on Paramount Stage 8, 9, and 18.
> Though identified in dialogue as a clip from the Kung Fu episode "The Tide", the short sequence seen on the monitor during movie night was not from the actual episode.

Cast and characters
> Elizabeth Magness previously appeared in the second season episode "Minefield".
> Brian Cousins previously appeared as Parem and Crosis in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes "The Next Phase" and "Descent" and "Descent, Part II".
> Aaron Lustig was previously seen as the Banean Doctor in the first season Star Trek: Voyager episode "Ex Post Facto".
> Scott Burkholder appeared as Commander Hilliard in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "When It Rains...".
> Danny Goldring previously portrayed Legate Kell in DS9: "Civil Defense", Chief Burke in DS9: "Nor the Battle to the Strong", Karr in VOY: "The Killing Game", "The Killing Game, Part II", and the Nausicaan captain in "Fortunate Son".
> For his only on screen appearance, Chef was portrayed by regular background actor and stand-in Richard Sarstedt. On the call sheet for day 7 of the production, Thursday 31 October 2002, he is listed as "1 Chef (Richard "Isaac Hayes" Sarstedt)", a reference to Isaac Hayes character in the animated television series South Park.
> Captain Archer's water polo bag previously appeared in the episodes "Desert Crossing" and "Two Days and Two Nights" and will also appear in the episode "Cogenitor".
> One of the walls in the command area compartment was later used in the fourth season episodes "Borderland" and "The Forge". ("The Forge" text commentary, ENT Season 4 DVD & Blu-ray)
> This episode is the first time the pantry and the catwalk aboard Enterprise are seen.
> This episode is the first television episode of Star Trek which featured product placement, the Nike, Inc. logo on Captain Archer's water polo bag.

Continuity
> T'Pol mentions to Archer that she participated in the kahs-wan ritual in which she was taken to the desert and left to survive for ten days, a reference to TAS: "Yesteryear".
> This is the only episode that Chef is really seen, albeit with just his legs and his hands.
> The first playback of Archer's log is taken from "Fallen Hero" while the second playback could not be pointed to a specific episode.
> The incident in this episode was later referenced in the second season episode "Horizon".
> A neutronic storm was previously encountered in VOY: "Fair Haven" and referenced in VOY: "Live Fast and Prosper".

This Week In:
* Pointless STO Comparisons: As with many hazards encountered in Star Trek, neutronic radiation has been heavily weaponized in Star Trek Online, down to a variety of hand-held devices.
* Vulcans Are Superior: Averted. The last Vulcan ship to encounter a similar situation was lost with all hands.
* Non-Catastrophic Equipment Failures: None, but the fact the ship can’t go Warp 7 is a problem.
* Aliens Outclass Enterprise: The aliens turn out to be immune to neutronic radiation.

Poster’s Log:
I thought this one was pretty decent. The way they decide to ride out the storm makes the sort of intuitive sense good Star Trek technobabble does: if there’s radiation, hiding out in a shielded section of the ship makes sense. It makes sense for it to be next to the engine, which canonically puts out a ton of radiation. It also tracks that they would need to turn the main engine off and get by on maneuvering thrusters if they did that due to heat. I even laughed at the ‘captain’s chair’ gag.

Further, I thought the interpersonal interactions were fine: people were on edge, but nobody crossed over into being completely unprofessional.

I also thought Trip’s EVA suit encounter with unshielded aliens was suitably creepy. Them just walking around in their uniforms while he ducked their personnel worked for me.

Finally, the choices made by the aliens of the week made some kind of sense: the deserters had a reason to lie, and the idea of radiation-immune aliens using a radiation storm to hijack a starship seems reasonable.

There were some minor details that bothered me, (Archer got shilled again in a minor way with the crossword puzzle, pushing T’Pol to fraternize is still inappropriate), but I was mostly just happy to see a competent outing after last week’s fiasco.
posted by mordax (7 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
I liked this one as well, even though it once again went to the well of the crew Die-Harding their way through the ducts to fend off invaders. This time, it made a lot of sense, in that not only does the crew not know that the invaders are on the ship until they've established a foothold, but the invaders don't know that the crew is still on board. And there's some good old-fashioned Trek competence porn in seeing how the crew rapidly works out the details of cramming everyone into the nacelles, even getting Phlox's animal cages squared away. It also made sense that Reed, being the most private and introverted of the crew, was the one who chafed the most at the tight quarters. I will remark that it bugged me a bit, especially on a ship that's supposed to be a bit more submarine-ish than the later starships, that they'd apparently lost the ancient technology of earplugs and headphones, but that's a relatively minor quibble.

Good guest cast, especially Danny Goldring as the head of the militia, alternating between poking around in Archer's logs--and trying to use what he's learned against Archer--and being frustrated that they can't get the ship under control. He had a memorable role as Burke, the dying soldier in DS9's "Nor the Battle to the Strong." I also was puzzling over Zach Grenier, because his face was so familiar that I was sure he'd been in another series; it turns out that this is his only Trek credit, but he's got a long list from other movies and series.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:09 AM on April 15 [2 favorites]


And there's some good old-fashioned Trek competence porn in seeing how the crew rapidly works out the details of cramming everyone into the nacelles, even getting Phlox's animal cages squared away.

This, and the overall effective handling of interpersonal tensions, is why I actually pretty much enjoyed the first half of the episode. Good directing choices too, in terms of everything feeling nice and busy (though the music was overdramatic at times).

In fact, when you think about it, this "refuge from radiation" trick should've become standard contingency procedure in Starfleet thereafter. Kind of weird that this is the first we've seen of it!

I felt like, after the sequence with Trip and the invaders, things became pretty rote. Not bad, not incompetently done, but predictable enough (in a vaguely Voyager-ish way, somehow) to make it tougher for me to stay engaged.

pushing T’Pol to fraternize is still inappropriate

Mrs. CoB remarked upon this too, and while I agree, pushing her to *get to know* the crew (not necessarily to be best buds with 'em) seems to suit the First Officer job description, assuming it's similar to how it was in Riker's time.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 8:08 AM on April 15 [2 favorites]


It also made sense that Reed, being the most private and introverted of the crew, was the one who chafed the most at the tight quarters.

Oh, good catch.

I will remark that it bugged me a bit, especially on a ship that's supposed to be a bit more submarine-ish than the later starships, that they'd apparently lost the ancient technology of earplugs and headphones, but that's a relatively minor quibble.

Also fair, heh. I suppose it's all part of their slow, canonical slide toward just wearing pajamas to explore space in the TNG-era.

Mrs. CoB remarked upon this too, and while I agree, pushing her to *get to know* the crew (not necessarily to be best buds with 'em) seems to suit the First Officer job description, assuming it's similar to how it was in Riker's time.

Hmm. Yeah, I could see that.
posted by mordax at 9:44 AM on April 15 [1 favorite]


In fact, when you think about it, this "refuge from radiation" trick should've become standard contingency procedure in Starfleet thereafter. Kind of weird that this is the first we've seen of it!

I think a combination of more durable materials with better shielding properties and more effective deflector shields made this technique obsolete by the time of TOS. I imagine radiation-stopping deflector shields are right up there with atmospheric control in terms of critical life support systems.

Also, from the "Enterprise is more submarine-ish" angle: It's true that the radiation shielding built into a submarine's reactor compartment bulkheads would work just as well stopping radiation coming in as it does radiation going out. There's no plan in place for hiding inside the reactor compartment to escape radiation, however, because:
a) Radiation levels inside the RC after shutdown are still significant (though not life-threatening)
b) A few inches of lead and poly are no match for the supreme radiation stopping power of hundreds of feet of water. I got significantly less overall radiation exposure during my time working on a nuclear submarine than you did just standing in your back yard like a dope.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 2:21 PM on April 15 [4 favorites]


So I just started watching this episode, and if I can be forgiven a little bit of a liveblog reaction:

-this already feels much more solid than the last several episodes!
-they actually raised the question of a latrine in the catwalk area!
-so we established early on that sickbay was a possible shelter space for some; so why is the doctor bitching that not all of his animals have room in the catwalk? I'm guessing because there's no way to ensure they get fed/watered, but can no one rig up an automated system for that?
posted by nubs at 8:23 PM on April 15 [3 favorites]


-so we established early on that sickbay was a possible shelter space for some; so why is the doctor bitching that not all of his animals have room in the catwalk? I'm guessing because there's no way to ensure they get fed/watered, but can no one rig up an automated system for that?

Three problems with that:
- No way could they rig automatic feeding in 4 hours. Trip didn't even get a shower in place.
- Phlox is the only one who knows how to feed them, but he's the ship's doctor and cannot reasonably be separated from the crew.
- Phlox might've needed one of his critters to cure someone if things in the catwalk got dicey (a fire, falling equipment, whatever).

I gotta give ENT some credit: this mostly really did make sense to me for a change.
posted by mordax at 11:25 AM on April 16


Rewatching this following the fanfare comments, it struck me from the top: they had just arrived at a viable planet, which is mentioned in the intro but never referenced again. Given the "storm" is a plot device, we're told it's giving off some sort of radiation. Shouldn't the planet itself have been able to function as a shield?
posted by zadcat at 7:11 AM on April 21 [1 favorite]


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