Star Trek: Enterprise: Rajiin   Rewatch 
August 19, 2019 12:32 PM - Season 3, Episode 4 - Subscribe

Enterprise attempts to gain information about Trellium-D and the Xindi. Complications ensue.

Memory Alpha is thin here:

Background information
> This episode was originally titled "Enemy Advances".
> As evidenced by the final draft script of this installment, the neuro-pressure scene between T'Pol and Tucker, near the start of the episode, was an "added scene", written into the script at a late stage in the making of the episode.
> A Benzite can be seen at the alien market.
> Phlox mentions that Crewman Elizabeth Cutler broke her arm when an anomaly passed through the ship. This is the final reference to Cutler; the actress who played her in previous episodes, Kellie Waymire, died a month after this episode aired and the character was retired.

Memorable Quotes:
"You were transformed into a different species. Don't expect to recover overnight."
- Phlox, when Archer tells him about his dreams of Urquat

"I'm called Rajiin. Very grateful for what you've done, captain. I'll serve you well, I promise."
- Rajiin believing she is now Archer's property

"On our planet... wars were fought over these."
- Tucker, showcasing the various spices from Earth

"Some of our calculations may have been slightly off."
- T'Pol, to Tucker after their failed attempt to synthesize trellium-D

"Leaving us so soon?"
- Archer, to Rajiin, when she tries fleeing by using the transporter

"Have Phlox take a look at your head."
- Archer, to Tucker in sickbay

This Week In:
* Pointless STO Comparisons: Numerous. To cite a few:
- Standing and taking energy weapons fire is a common element in the MMO. (The Xindi are clearly using body armor in this encounter.)
- One of the insectoids used a pulsewave assault weapon.
- Subspace Vortex is available as a player ability via Xindi-themed loot boxes.
* Vulcans Are Superior: Vulcans have 'more resilient neurophysiology' than either humans or Denobulans.
* Non-Catastrophic Equipment Failures: The entire sequence synthesizing Trellium-D probably counts.
* Aliens Outclass Enterprise: Reptilian Xindi prove unstoppable, even by the MACOs. Their ships also have FTL technology Starfleet doesn't even recognize.

Poster’s Log:
A few things stood out to me here.

- The trope of 'vampy super seductress manipulates crew' is unpleasant.
The idea that a pretty woman can compel attraction is deeply problematic for numerous reasons. Plus, I didn't need to see T'Pol in a psychic assault with sexual overtones again.

- This is a dumb plot, and not for the first time on this specific theme.
The last time we saw an enemy faction try to use a pretty girl to pump Archer for information was, I believe, Two Days and Two Nights, where the plot didn't make much sense. A woman was left to wait for Archer someplace and hope a specific confluence of events would lead her to his quarters alone.

Rajiin is similar. Is the slave dealer in on this? How was he supposed to be sure nobody would kill him? Why are the girls not restrained, (like, did any others escape while the *one guy watching* was busy)? How long was she supposed to wait? What if Archer was gay? What if... well. It just hinges on a bunch of things breaking exactly correctly, which seems nonsensical given how little the Xindi appear to know about humans in the first place.

Also, it seems like there are a ton of easier ways to get biomedical data about humans than this.

- The Trellium-D stuff worked for me.
The one thing I really enjoyed in the whole story was them trading a spice rack for the Trellium-D recipe, right down to the chemist sneezing and laughing a bunch. Credit where it's due: that was pretty great.

The ensuing Trellium-D synthesis scene was also a nice touch. Research taking more than one episode is a spot where Trek has traditionally been weak. It was nice to see them struggling, even with the recipe in-hand, because that's what I'd expect.

Anyway. More with the 'mixed bag' stuff.
posted by mordax (7 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I just sort of remember being disappointed in the overall Trellium-D storyline. Like it was this big huge plot stopper for the first few episodes, the ship can't go anywhere without growing the crew new arms and the ship doing the funky chicken, so they find out about this new mystery compound and twiddle with the synthesis of it and suddenly it was like Trellium-D was really the friends they made along the way? be fair, I finished my rewatch probably in January, so I'm sure I've forgotten things since then.
posted by Kyol at 1:21 PM on August 19, 2019 [2 favorites]

You know what this episode reminded me of? "Our Mrs. Reynolds", the episode of Firefly that aired almost exactly a year before this, and was the first time I'd seen future Mad Men star Christina Hendricks. Same basic plot, and even has the fanservicalicious plot twist of the femme fatale trying to seduce the female crew member, only Firefly had Inara go, "Oh, you're good." (Firefly, of course, had its own problematic aspects, but at least it didn't job a physically superior crew member for the second episode in a row.)

The pity is, if the showrunners could have resisted the impulse to take even the slightest pretext to sex things up, it could have totally worked; we've seen the crew go out of their way in an attempt to free someone who's being oppressed (disastrously, in the case of "Cogenitor"), and that could have been mentioned, in the same sort of offhand way that last week's episode was, and instead of having Raijiin clad in some sort of space lingerie and being all seductive, they could have gone with the idea that her people learned about things by touching them. That could have fed into all sorts of things: the difference in not just different species but in different personality types in how they responded to being touched, with some people maybe digging it and others not so much. T'Pol could have talked about mind melds and her own problems with that in the past; Reed probably would have been very uncomfortable; Porthos would probably enjoy being petted. Phlox probably would have been intrigued at first, but then realized that it wasn't just casual exploring but directed information gathering. It also could have tied into Trip's discomfort with the acupressure sessions.

I did like the process for getting the trellium-D synthesis process, and their attempts to synthesize some; the bit with the spices hearkened back to the ancient trade on Earth in spices for various things. I also thought that the retrieval of Raijiin from the NX-01 was a good demonstration of the Xindi's capabilities; the crew got set up for being boarded, and still couldn't stop them. My only big problem with the Xindi so far is that the less-humanoid Xindi seem to be the more aggressive and ruthless ones. (I'm guessing that the aquatic ones are mammals.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:21 PM on August 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

Cheap Chianti. Even cheap Chianti isn’t terrible- but you, and the episode doesn’t deserve the good stuff. Bonus points if it has the straw bottom. Minus points if it costs more then a ten note. Not looking forward to the “Trellium D makes Vulcan’s WACKY and VIOLENT!!!” Subplot.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 7:28 PM on August 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

What if Archer was gay?

Star Trek has pretty much always been super heteronormative except for about one episode per series where they get all Very Special Episode and try to reestablish their progressive credibility. I gather Discovery has gotten better for that, but still everything else is very yeeesh to watch. It's just fatiguing, more than anything.

I did really like the spice trading scene, it made sense! And it reminded me of Vonda McIntyre's Starfarers series, where it turns out culture is Earth's most valuable export commodity and it gives us the social capital to get accepted into galactic Civilization.
posted by traveler_ at 3:59 PM on August 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

One thing I really liked about TNT's Fallen Skies was that I read somewhere that Spielberg had directed the showrunners/writers to not show any scenes from the point of view of the aliens. It really did add to the air of mystery, and made the writers actually write well crafted plots that they couldn't cheap out on by showing the "bad guys" plotting. It's a great show, and I highly recommend it if this show is so close to being okay to you but just isn't there. It's a master class.

Anyways, I say that by way of introduction because I feel like the plot was totally given away, cheaply, right in the first scene.* It's possible—possible—that the "OMG she was a plant the entire time" "twist" could have been successful (albeit remarkably choreographed and obvious), but thanks to the first scene, it felt cheap predictable.

Also, I mean, it was gross and unbelievable. But y'all have taken care of that already.

The spice trade stuff though: chef's kiss.

*Since I'm doing other sci-fi space shows, I can say at least they had a Plan, and at least it existed in a much more real way than the Cylon's so-called "Plan" that never came to anything.
posted by General Malaise at 5:28 PM on September 13, 2019 [1 favorite]

Something very random: When Hoshi says to Rajiin something on the order of "I would love to hear your language," and then we cut to Rajiin seducing T'Pol, it struck me that's it's super weird that in the Star Trek canon, we have heard enough Klingon to recreate an entire language, but over the course of six (?) series, we've only heard like, what, ten words of Vulcan?
posted by General Malaise at 6:30 PM on September 13, 2019

I was pretty confused by that cut from Hoshi to T'Pol, for a second I thought Rajiin had budded out some clones of herself and was taking on the whole ship at once. But I guess simply Hoshi got scanned off camera and the show didn't really care. It reads a little like they suddenly changed their mind and decided they'd rather have something happen to T'Pol instead.
posted by fleacircus at 6:18 AM on November 6, 2019

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