Star Trek: Enterprise: Bound   Rewatch 
May 3, 2020 5:46 AM - Season 4, Episode 17 - Subscribe

Archer learns the first lesson of making a deal with the Orion Syndicate: don't get caught with your pants down.

It is the nerds who are slaves to Memory Alpha:

• Orion slave girls were also featured in TOS: "The Cage" and "Whom Gods Destroy", while the Orion Syndicate played a part in DS9 episodes such as "Honor Among Thieves" and "Prodigal Daughter". Both appeared in the "Augments" story arc in season 4 of ENT.

• Both William Lucking and Cyia Batten appeared on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, playing Furel and Tora Ziyal, respectively.

• T'Pol mentions that a Vulcan survey team had made note of a species of flying reptiles on Berengaria VII. The reptiles were over two hundred meters in length and breathed fire. This was a nod to the TOS episode "This Side of Paradise", where Spock mentions seeing a dragon while visiting Berengaria VII.

"The Syndicate wants your head, Captain, and they don't really care whether or not it's attached to your body."
- Harrad-Sar, to Archer

"At least we've learned something about the Orions."
"Yeah, the women are in charge."
"It proves even the most disagreeable species have some … positive attributes."
- T'Pol and Reed

"I assure you, if I ever decide to make a joke, you'll know about it."
- T'Pol, to Archer, Reed, and Tucker

Poster's Log:
Uughhh. Well, it was nice to see these actors get some chances at comedy. Too bad the general premise isn't funny in the slightest. I'll quote Bernd from Ex Astris Scientia, who said it well: "'Bound' doesn't belong in our time, no matter what efforts are taken to update it. It doesn't help either that in the outcome the Orion men turn out to be the actual slaves. This ironical twist is too late and too inconsequential to change anything. Essentially it just makes possible T'Pol's joke or whatever it was supposed to be about the Orion women in charge - the one good thing about an otherwise disagreeable species according to her. I sort of like the joke though because it is at least one fitting TOS homage (reminding us of Spock's closing words in many TOS episodes). […] Long-time fans know and appreciate Manny Coto's efforts to fill in every gap he can find in the TOS Universe and to tie TOS and ENT closer together in each single episode than was attempted in the whole previous three seasons combined. Now he has finally gone over the top. The plot of 'Bound' is rather a farcical re-enactment of TOS than a homage."

I guess the only meager thing I can say in defense of this episode's treatment of the Orion women is that they weren't subjected to the decon gel treatment. In any other season of ENT, that scene would have been twenty minutes long.

But I can absolutely imagine a version of this story that actually redeems the sexism of how TOS established Orion women, rather than making a half-assed gesture at redeeming it while chiefly just horndogging out*—and by the way, at this late point in the last season, what was even the point? Why worry about attracting viewers?

(* = Maybe they figured this was the TRUE way to honor the spirit of Gene Roddenberry. Why yes, I have been watching TNG season one.)

But it was great to see Furel again, and "Harrad-Sar" is an excellent name for this character.

The Tucker/Kelby fight in engineering was convincing, probably in part because Kelby has been used as a quasivillain so much lately. But let's not downplay Trinneer's acting in that scene—he'd make a good warden. MA indicates that the closest he's come is, he's played a cop a few times, a coach, and a defense attorney, all on TV.

Poster's Log, Supplemental:
The next four episodes are two two-parters, which we've decided to post as two single posts—meaning the three remaining ENT FF threads will be for "In a Mirror Darkly Parts I & II," "Demons / Terra Prime," and the series finale.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil (7 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
It's just a detail, but I liked the namecheck of the Gorn.
posted by zadcat at 11:56 AM on May 3, 2020

Eww this was so gross.

And not just the whole objectification thing, or the whole confusing retconning to make it okay (?), but good lord the early-80s-style sitcom "humor" with the light music at the end was just fucking cringey. So cringey.

I don't think I have anything else to say about it. Nobody asked for another appearance, no less an entire episode, featuring the Orion slave women.
posted by General Malaise at 1:19 PM on May 3, 2020

Very much in agreement with you here. When I was thinking about this episode, I started thinking about something that someone wrote about John Byrne, the comic book artist/writer (there's a Star Trek connection in that he's a long-time fan of the franchise and has done a number of comics both about Star Trek and alluding to the show*), regarding his She-Hulk series: that Byrne seemed to find the character screamingly hilarious, but at the same time screamingly erotic, and never really resolved the two. That last part is very important; it's completely possible to do comics (and other media) that are sexy and funny at the same time--there's an awful lot of manga that does just that--but it requires a deft touch to really pull off (I just looked at that phrase and realized how double-entendreish it is, so I'll just move on and you can assume that any more of these is possibly not intended), and otherwise it's as intrusive and embarrassing as a teen boy's boner in math class.

That certainly seems to be the case here; there seems to be some good intentions at work here, and there could have been a really good episode made of this material, but this is not that episode. The problem with flipping the script and making the allegedly submissive slaves secret dommes is that it's still making them all about sex; there's more than one way to flip the script that would have made it more interesting and less fanservicey. One would have been for them to find out that their reputation was wildly exaggerated; another would have been for them to be broadcasting their pheromones only at a certain time in their reproductive cycle and then it gets switched off, and then you find out who actually likes them as people and who was in it just for the green nookie. Or, and that this could be considered unlikely to happen under that Trek regime shows you how far behind Trek had fallen from the times, nearly forty years after the show's premiere, it would be an opportunity to find out who in the crew wasn't heterosexual. As it was, it was an illustration of how the show's general S4 strategy (both paying homage to TOS and building on its legacy) could backfire on them; per COB's mention of Gene Roddenberry above, the man was likely a bonafide sex addict, and there are more than a few eyebrow-raising stories about him in both volumes of The Fifty-Year Mission. "The Cage" was a canny pilot, with Vina's** turn as an Orion dancer just one of the ways in which she collaborated with the Talosians in trying to lure Pike away from his ship and into embracing the psychic holodeck experience, but I don't doubt that Roddenberry was hoping that the emerald booty would also help win the network's approval.

William Lucking's turn as Harrad-Sar was quite good, louche and world-weary in turn; I was also surprised to note that he was in Stripes. Cyia Batten was good enough for the part as it was (I think that it was after watching this for the first time that I found out that she was a founding member of the Pussycat Dolls, which helped with the dancing, I'm sure), but her turn as the first Ziyal was still her best Trek outing, I think. (She was also in VOY's "Drive", where she arguably did better as the friendly alien with hidden ulterior motives than she did in this ep, through no fault of her own.) And the Orion male piercings are interesting, as they were in "Borderland", although there's still that sense of it being used in othering the aliens of color.

*Speaking of Byrne, Star Trek, and green women: he did a solo She-Hulk story in his run on the Fantastic Four that deals with the aftermath of someone in a helicopter getting topless photos of her sunbathing on the roof of the Baxter Building (going for a darker shade of green, I guess?), and the resolution of the story ties into the story about how the early test shots of the green Orion makeup for "The Cage" kept coming back with Caucasian flesh-tones because the film processing place didn't realize that it was intentional and kept color-correcting the footage. (The model for the test footage was Majel Barrett, BTW. Previously on the blue.) Also, the publisher of the skin mag that was going to publish the photos (it was some sort of commentary on the publication of old nude photographs of Madonna and Vanessa Williams) bore a suspicious similarity to Stan Lee.

**Speaking of Vina, I just watched the documentary on Susan Oliver, The Green Girl (also previously on the blue), currently streaming on Amazon Prime, and it's great--she had quite a life. One of the sadder parts was that she wanted to direct at least one episode of TNG, but was rejected because she didn't have any SFX/green screen experience--something that, as another woman director who did a couple of episodes of VOY notes, didn't stop her, nor any number of male directors. Thanks again, Gene.
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:39 PM on May 3, 2020 [4 favorites]


I loved the way the men refuse to give up any of their authority even in the direst circumstances. I an actual pulp-era story would have had a more active T'Pol character, or at least not be so dumb as to have male guards guarding the prisoners. T'Pol's whole purpose in this episode was to provide immunity to Trip and then like, yield the relationship upper hand back to him.
posted by fleacircus at 10:43 AM on May 6, 2020 [1 favorite]

Yeah, it made me angry first that the first thing T'Pol didn't do was relieve the captain of his authority, and then leaving only male guards was almost as dumbfounding. We know there are women MACOs.
posted by General Malaise at 11:54 AM on May 6, 2020 [1 favorite]

WRT the women taking over when the dudes are impaired, TAS did it better.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:12 PM on May 6, 2020 [2 favorites]

Exactly, like, a true pulp writer would be kind of fascinated by the idea of a society run by women and women taking charge. It would still be gross and sexist, but ENT can't even imagine it because it's not only regressive; it's just plain staid. (Also I liked the part where Navaar drags the Enterprise for being boring looking on the inside.)

I guess it comes back to why the creators decided the Enterprise's crew would be only 30% women. I would love to hear the conversations they had around that. It's such a weasely number. Thirty percent is enough to sound significant, but seventy-thirty is a comfortable-sounding majority that lets them write as if it was more like ninety-ten.
posted by fleacircus at 5:34 PM on May 7, 2020 [2 favorites]

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