Star Trek: Enterprise: Exile   Rewatch 
September 2, 2019 4:22 PM - Season 3, Episode 6 - Subscribe

Hoshi gets stalked.

Memory Alpha stuff:

Background information
* In the final draft script of this episode, the scene (numbered 53) showing images telepathically witnessed by Hoshi Sato was described as follows:
"A RAPID-FIRE SERIES OF FLASH CUTS (OPTICAL)
-- Two or three ALIEN PLANETS (STOCK)
–– A couple of ALIEN CIVILIZATIONS (STOCK)
-- A colorful NEBULA and other TBD SPATIAL PHENOMENON (STOCK)
-- TBD ALIEN STARSHIPS flying at impulse (STOCK)
-- CLOSE on a XINDI-REPTILIAN as he turns his terrifying face to CAMERA!
-- The IMAGES begin ACCELERATING in quick succession, more planets, ships, aliens... OVERWHELMING!"
* The stained glass windows seen in Tarquin's castle are taken from Shinzon's dining room on Romulus from Star Trek Nemesis. As well, the chairs in the castle were used previously on Ventax II in TNG: "Devil's Due".
* The prop piece of Xindi debris that Tarquin examines has been used before as a cloaking device in DS9: "Profit and Loss" and Neelix's malfunctioning heating coil in VOY: "Live Fast and Prosper".
* The style and the plot of the episode is an obvious reference to the movies and books like Bluebeard, Beauty and the Beast, or Phantom of the Opera, showing the old, lonely genius with unusual abilities, searching for a young woman to bring some light into his existence.
This was the first episode of Star Trek to air in high definition.
* In 2013, Brannon Braga mentioned that he thought this episode was "pretty crappy." ("In a Time of War, Part Three", ENT Season 3 Blu-ray special features)

Memorable quotes
"My only contact with the outside world has been through telepathy."
- Tarquin

"Did you bring a phase-pistol?"
"I'll keep it under my pillow."
- Archer, before leaving Sato with Tarquin

"You often feel isolated even around other people. You don't have to."
- Tarquin, to Sato

"Archer to the bridge."
"Yes, captain?"
"I assume we're getting close?"
"You assume correctly."
- Archer, contacting T'Pol after his water polo ball gets embedded in the wall while Enterprise heads towards a sphere

"Sometimes I don't know what is worse, being alone or having to bury the people I've come to care about."
- Tarquin, when Sato sees the graves of his previous companions

"Why would someone want to create a web of crippling anomalies?"
- T'Pol, on the vast number of spheres generating gravimetric energy in the Expanse

This Week In:
* Pointless STO Comparisons: Telepathy is just a minor combat buff in the MMO.
* Vulcans Are Superior: Double aversion. T'Pol's vulnerability to Trellium is referenced, and she is not the telepathically compatible crew member despite possessing legitimate psychic abilities.
* Non-Catastrophic Equipment Failures: The shuttle just floating away was pretty funny.
* Aliens Outclass Enterprise: In a shockingly TOS move, Tarquin shuts down the NX-01 with his magic paperweight.

Poster's Log:
Pardon, forgot about the holiday. Stuff:

* I liked the B-plot.
The half of the episode surrounding discovering the second sphere is good stuff. T'Pol figuring out the interference pattern at the start was a legitimate use of continuity. Insulating just a shuttle craft with Trellium-D was a good way to advance the crew's ability to deal with anomalies without removing the threat entirely. The shuttle's accident was hilarious. T'Pol's revelation about the scale of the Expanse felt earned.

Basically, the B-plot is more or less what I was hoping for out of ENT from the start: nothing groundbreaking, but competent action SF.

* The A-plot is terrible.
Last week, ENT did a passable job with the zombie horror genre. This time, I feel it failed miserably at a stab at Beauty and the Beast. Everything about this felt forced at best.

- Tarquin's story makes less than no sense.
Giving 1 in 50 million telepaths their own entire planet would mean ~150 planets with an Earth-like population. Also, a society that hates and fears telepaths keeping a magic crystal ball as a family heirloom, passed to a telepath to augment his terrifying powers, doesn't make any sense.

- Hoshi's take on this makes no sense.
A woman basically demanding to be left alone with a boundary-ignoring stalker capable of inducing hallucinations in her is... well. It's a bigger leap for me than warp drives or transporters. IMO, genre fiction is at its best when you believe the characters would react the way they do given the fantastical premises. For me, the A-plot fails completely the second Hoshi turns down having the NX-01 stay in orbit to pull her out if there's trouble.

So. This episode manages to encompass both the stuff I like the most in ENT when it turns up, (good use of continuity, fun action, good SFX), with the absolute worst (stupid nonsensical plots that mistreat female characters).
posted by mordax (4 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
SO weirdly I remember the first time I watched this with my parents, as a wee baby neanderthal, and I remember being so embarrassed for Hoshi that I closed my eyes for that part of it. Make of that what you will.
BUT the sphere stuff continues to be SO well done for the era, that I suppose we deserve another good, affordable Spanish red. Of your choice however, as my eyes are still closed from embarrassment.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 5:44 PM on September 2 [2 favorites]


Very little to add this week, except that Tarquin has the sort of very oddly selective telepathy that can faithfully reproduce Hoshi's favorite pizza from memory, but skips over the part where he creeps her out to no end. He even catfished her! Straight-up catfished her! They try to sell the idea that Tarquin gets her like none of her crewmates do--which does tie in very loosely to "Vanishing Point", in which the entire ship seems to be ignoring her--but instead of Beauty and the Beast, it comes off as some sort of incel parable in which the lonely guy "nobly" decides to help save billions of people even though he's not going to get a girlfriend out of it.

And yeah, the stuff that ties in better with the Xindi/Expanse arc is pretty good. Not only is it good competence porn, but the scale of what's happening in the Expanse, and the still-unresolved mystery of who's doing it and why, are great. Looking forward to more of this and less of cribbing from whatever the showrunners or their kids were watching on any given week.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:42 PM on September 2 [3 favorites]


it comes off as some sort of incel parable in which the lonely guy "nobly" decides to help save billions of people even though he's not going to get a girlfriend out of it.

That is beautifully phrased. I think you hit why it's so icky. To me, it isn't even that such a character exists or that such a dumb subplot happens (although seriously, who maintains his big ass house?), it's more that it is clear from the way Hoshi is written and his 'noble' act at the end that we're meant to sympathize with him, and he is indeed basically espousing an incel worldview: 'Alas, I am rejected for being different, living in continual isolation, and that justifies me being a gigantic creeper.'

Urgh.

My favorite part of that: he can make contact with people at a distance and could have simply left his planet any time. But it would've been uncomfortable. It's clear he can only handle life in a position of relative power rather than one of potential uncertainty (which makes him even more incel-y).
posted by mordax at 4:07 PM on September 3 [3 favorites]


(MA link)

Agreed across the board on this one. There was something vaguely Pacific-theater about the sphere-hunting B-story, which I imagine the staff would consider high praise.

Tarquin has the sort of very oddly selective telepathy that can faithfully reproduce Hoshi's favorite pizza from memory, but skips over the part where he creeps her out to no end.

I'm thinking he knew it. The writers should've had her call him out on that exact point. 'Course he probably would've just said "But among my people, skin-crawlingly skeevy behavior is considered a compliment" or whatever.

it is clear from the way Hoshi is written and his 'noble' act at the end that we're meant to sympathize with him

Yup, and I wonder if the writers patted themselves on the back for NOT giving Hoshi a final-act glimmer of affection for him.

This A-story was gross in 2003 and 2019 ain't doin' it any favors. They wanted to do something deep and psychological (and gothic, judging by the Buffy set they appear to have repurposed for his castle interior), but they also can't miss an opportunity to put a woman in underwear a lot, so that's the level that everything stays at.

I guess one other iota of praise that comes to mind is that the Tarquin actor did some good subtle work through all that makeup, particularly with his voice and posture. He's clearly trying to walk the line between merely weird and full-on creepy, which was the script's apparent intent. That character could easily have been overplayed in any number of directions.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 3:39 AM on September 5 [3 favorites]


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