Star Trek: Enterprise: Azati Prime   Rewatch 
November 24, 2019 9:39 PM - Season 3, Episode 18 - Subscribe

Back to the future! But is Archer giving short shrift to the Power of Love?

Memory Alpha has seventeen separate temporal violations – the biggest file on record:

- Three crewmen are shown being blown into space through a hull breach; they are later mentioned among those missing in the following episode.

- The damage inflicted to Enterprise in this episode is not fully repaired until the fourth season episode "Borderland".

- This episode relies to a large extent on information obtained by Archer in "Stratagem".

- The eleventh starship to be called Enterprise with the registry NCC-1701 is depicted in this episode, although the ship's class is not mentioned. Ships named Enterprise that do not have this registry and are not counted include the OV-101, XCV 330, and the NX-01.

- Many of the ships in the Battle of Procyon V are reused studio models from throughout the various series. Among those that can be clearly identified are Vor'cha-class, Prometheus-class, Nova-class and Dauntless-class starships, as well as the Vissian starship and Devore warship standing in for the Sphere-Builders.

- Some of the damage done to Enterprise NX-01 appears to be reused from previous episodes, including hull damage from "Shockwave, Part II" and "Regeneration" as well as the significantly damaged port hull from "Minefield".

"I'm going to ask all of you to think back to the day when this ship was first launched. We were explorers then. When all this is over, when Earth is safe, I want you to get back to that job. There are four hundred billion stars in our galaxy – we've only explored a tiny fraction. You have a lot of work to do. Of all the captains who will sit in this chair, I can't imagine any of them being more proud than I am right now."

- Captain Archer, in a farewell speech to his command staff

Poster's Log:

Well, I'm feeling a lot more sanguine about this episode than previous installments this season, for the most part, because not only do we advance the season arc significantly, but also there are some solid action sequences and a scene set in a possible future, always candy for just about any Trekkie who wants to imagine what Starfleet and/or the Federation will be like in the twenty-umpteenth century. (The DSC S3 teaser trailer gets this.)

But, first, a bit about Archer and his role in this episode. He seems to have not been liked much generally in this series overall so far, in no small part because he is so spectacularly ill-suited for the role of diplomat/first-contact lead, and boy howdy does he prove that yet again here; he is so insistent on running the suicide mission that it actually turns out to be funny--he scoffs at the idea of going and actually talking to the Xindi, but of course ends up doing so, hanging from his wrists in a cell. (Although, given the number of times he's been in jail in the series, maybe that's how he's most comfortable now.)

The whole thing about reptiles all having brains the size of walnuts is not only racist but also wrong WRT the dinosaurs (let's hope the Voth don't hear about this incident), not to mention that early proto-primates weren't that smart, and also they're not painting a very good picture of T'Pol, although eventually they'll get around to explaining what her fragile emotional state is all about. But at least they're starting to recognize the Archer problem and suggesting that he's got some development to do. They're also recognizing the same problem that VOY had, that of the wrongness of the ship staying in cherry condition so far away from any friendly drydock; the ship being banged-up for extended periods of time is kind of what VOY flirted with in "Year of Hell" and "Equinox".

Also, as I said before, the glimpse into the future is great, with the Enterprise-J looking sufficiently futurey (in honor of a certain past poster and commenter, I'd like to note that the E-J's class is available in Star Trek Online) and mention that not only the Klingons have joined the Federation by the 26th century, but that another race named the Ithenites have; they haven't been identified in canon, but may have been these guys from "Journey to Babel." Always cool to see things like this. Also, I really liked the views of the weapon underwater.
posted by Halloween Jack (3 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Yes the interrogation and capture scenes in Enterprise have a boy's adventure magazine kind of logic to them. Archer's comeback is like, "You are stinky, and lizards are dumb," and would be kinda sub par for an eight year old.

I don't think they've ever made a good case for why the Xindi are so keen to destroy all humans, of all people. What proof were they shown, how did they really come to believe it was necessary? If they've ever said at all, they sure do miss every opportunity to reiterate. And why doesn't Archer push back on it?

Woulda been neat if they could have disabled the moonbase with a surgical strike or a transporter party. Coulda sent down those MACOs.
posted by fleacircus at 4:07 AM on November 25, 2019 [3 favorites]

I'll add another Pointless STO Comparison of the Week: The Battle of Procyon V is a mission in STO, at or near the end of a major story arc IIRC. Among those involved are Daniels and Pavel Chekov (original actors' voices).

also they're not painting a very good picture of T'Pol

This jumped out at me as well. The slow zoom in on her doing nothing but holding back panic was an odd choice when we'd heretofore been given no indication of what, if anything, is going on with her.

Anyway, yeah, this is at least watchable and fast-paced. But thinking back on it, it seems like the only material with more depth than a typical J.J. outing was Degra's.

I don't think they've ever made a good case for why the Xindi are so keen to destroy all humans, of all people. What proof were they shown, how did they really come to believe it was necessary? If they've ever said at all, they sure do miss every opportunity to reiterate.

I think some of this is elucidated a bit in the next episode, but yes, it's been vague. My hunch is the writers decided that the Xindi-council-being-pissy scenes are talky enough as it is, which is true, but they cut some of that motivation stuff on the assumption that we'd just go along with it because they're obviously the heavies.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 6:43 AM on November 25, 2019 [2 favorites]

I remember liking this episode much better the first time I watched the series. It's still a highlight of this season, and a highlight of the series in general, because it does a lot to finally move the plot along and introduce us—finally—to what will be the impetus to what we kinda know is coming in regards to the series as a whole (what is this Federation you're always going on about?). But, yeah, on this rewatch, it's obvious that his decisionmaking is abysmal, and the interrogation scene is bad bordering on hilarious.

That said, the look into the future is still terrific, and since I saw this episode the first time, I've been hoping we'd get a series in that era. Not sure why, when technology moves on and production values keep increasing, we keep getting hard-to-believe an retcon prequels and alternative timelines when we could get the future of the future.

One thing stark about this episode as we careen quickly towards the end of the season is how these episodes are even more serial than the rest of the season, and the audience is kept a little in the dark about motivations and implications until later episodes. Not sure how smart that was of the show runners, but I feel like some shading around the motivations would be a little better than what we get here.
posted by General Malaise at 2:38 PM on November 30, 2019 [1 favorite]

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