Star Trek: Enterprise: Demons / Terra Prime   Rewatch 
May 17, 2020 5:57 AM - Season 4, Episode 20 - Subscribe

It's a bad day on the Moon when xenophobic isolationists threaten Earth's nascent "Coalition of Planets"—and the baby Trip and T'Pol never knew they had.

This is a combined post for parts 1 and 2 of this 2-parter—"Demons" and "Terra Prime", respectively.

• "Demons" was the final Star Trek episode to be directed by LeVar Burton. [So far! --ed.]

• Although Mars was previously seen from space, "Demons" is the first time that the surface of the planet is shown in Star Trek. A holographic version of the planet surface was seen in VOY: "Lifesigns".

• Manny Coto originally pushed to have the short, gold-skinned species from TOS: "Journey to Babel" attend the Coalition of Planets conference in "Terra Prime", but it proved too expensive. He named the species Ithenite (mentioned in "Azati Prime").

• Ambassador Thoris was originally intended to be Shran, but the producers decided they wanted him in "These Are the Voyages..." instead. They consequently wrote him out of this episode's script.


"In the shadow of this incalculable devastation, we find ourselves facing a colossal challenge. There's an entire world to rebuild. Not only our cities and homes, but mankind itself! Now is not the time for timidity and second guessing. We cannot afford to doubt ourselves. Unless we act decisively, we will pass on the scars of mutation and decay to future generations. For the sake of our children, and our children's children, we must reject the impure and cast it out!!"
- Colonel Green


"A new era is at hand, an era that will expose the concept of interspecies unity as an absolute and vicious lie. An era that will witness the advent of a Human-centered consciousness that will place our world before all others. As of this moment, mankind casts off the shackles of alien interference and now determines its own fate… its own destiny. Terra Prime, forever."
- John Frederick Paxton


"When you invited me to join this crew, I thought it would be an interesting… diversion, for a few months… some time away from the complications of family – which on Denobula can be extremely complicated. I didn't expect to gain another family… it hurts as if she were my own child."
- Dr. Phlox, breaking the bad news about Elizabeth to Archer


"Up until about a hundred years ago, there was one question that burned in every Human, that made us study the stars and dream of traveling to them. Are we alone? Our generation is privileged to know the answer to that question. We are all explorers driven to know what's over the horizon, what's beyond our own shores. And yet the more I've experienced, the more I've learned that no matter how far we travel, or how fast we get there, the most profound discoveries are not necessarily beyond that next star. They're within us, woven into the threads that bind us, all of us, to each other. The final frontier begins in this hall. Let's explore it together."
- Archer


"If a Vulcan and a Human ever decided to have a child, it'd probably be okay. That's sort of comforting."
- Tucker


Poster's Log:
Strange that they went ahead and established that the Moon miners don't have artificial gravity when they obviously weren't going to have Moon characters bouncing around. A throwaway reference to magnetic boots might've helped.

And while we're metaphorically on the Moon, I got the sense that the Moon in the mid-22nd century must be sort of a "wild west," where oversight of things like whether a mobile mining facility has a freaking warp drive (and, as the mining scenes imply, suboptimal worker health and safety) is much more lax than on Earth. Okay, now I'm over the Moon.

It might be tedious of me to pontificate too much on the real-life resonance of Terra Prime's philosophy with—well, hell, just spin the "humans being shitty to each other at any given point in history" wheel. So I'll limit myself to saying that I appreciate these episodes' directness, their willingness to confront the topic—and in fact, their weaving of tolerance directly into the foundation of the Federation and thus of Star Trek. Gene would have approved. Perhaps that's a large part of why people say that this two-parter should be considered the actual ending of ENT. Well, that and the fact that every crew member—yes, even Travis!—gets some good meaty moments. (Don't remember whether that's the case in the finale. Haven't worked up the will to watch it juuust yet.) Of course, like a lot of ENT, this 2-parter is a little more "blah" than its content might lead us to expect, but if we consider it the true finale, I'd at least call it a better one than the flashier but hollower VOY: "Endgame." And it's also a note of praise that, had ENT done a movie, this story may have been the ideal approach.

Regarding 22nd-century Earth xenophobes, Bernd at Ex Astris Scientia notes: "If the plot stunt of the Xindi attack in 'The Expanse' had one long-lasting beneficial impact on the series, it is that it allowed for this week's episode."

I have real doubts that the writers/showrunners would've had the cojones to kill off Trip and T'Pol's baby in any earlier season. OTOH, and maybe I missed something, but I'm a little fuzzy on exactly how making the baby in the first place aligns with Terra Prime's goals. Just to demonstrate that it's possible? And they didn't worry about the universal cuteness of babies undercutting their whole message in the public eye?

I also enjoyed the stunt casting of Buckaroo Banzai himself, Peter Weller, as Paxton; his performance has plenty of those little odd Peter Weller nuances to it. But!: the shape of his head makes it criminal that Trek never used him as an alien. Even without makeup, he looks like Fake Balok!

If the Andorian ambassador from "Terra Prime" looked familiar, it's probably because he's the strikingly-bejawed Gul Jasad from the pilot of DS9.

If the Paxton flunky from the start of "Demons" who might as well have been wearing an "I Will Be Killed for My Hesitation" T-shirt looked familiar, it may be because the actor has been on Mad Men and apparently a 2003 episode of Angel.

And of course, Minister Samuels is the always (and seemingly effortlessly) compelling Harry Groener, whom we likely know best as Tam Elbrun from TNG: "Tin Man" and the Mayor on Buffy.

Poster's Log, Supplemental:
Next time, Halloween Jack caps off the Enterprise rewatch with the long-dreaded, widely-derided series finale! One can't help but remark upon the considerable distance of this metaphorical motorway.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil (7 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
“Up until about a hundred years ago, there was one question that burned in every Human, that made us study the stars and dream of traveling to them. Are we alone? Our generation is privileged to know the answer to that question. We are all explorers driven to know what's over the horizon, what's beyond our own shores. And yet the more I've experienced, the more I've learned that no matter how far we travel, or how fast we get there, the most profound discoveries are not necessarily beyond that next star. When I was in my early twenties on a trip to East Africa I saw a gazelle giving birth. It was truly amazing. Within minutes the baby was standing up, standing up on its own. A few more minutes and it was walking and before I knew it, it was running alongside its mother, moving away with the herd.“

I can’t believe we made it to the finale. It’s been a long road getting from there to— what? There’s one more episode? Are we sure about that?
posted by Servo5678 at 7:42 AM on May 17 [5 favorites]


I'll tip my hand just a skosh WRT the finale and say that, yes, that this would have been fine as the finale had occurred to me too, even before we got to Archer's big speech at the end. It's got the action, it's got something for everyone to do, and it even came up with a decent message: that, in the end, after three seasons of humans complaining about aliens picking on humans and not giving them their tech or whatever, it was a bunch of humans who were the ultimate barrier to everyone getting together in the Space UN. It even had Paxton (and agreed about how great Weller is as a villain; he was also much better used here than in Star Trek Into Darkness) musing about how Colonel Green was misunderstood by history; Green was originally shown in TOS' "The Savage Curtain" as one of history's great monsters--yes, even worse than you-know-who, apparently. The episode was not without its flaws, though, or at least things that they could have done better:

- The thing that really stuck out to me was having Trip and T'Pol infiltrate the mining camp, without disguises. They're not only global celebrities, they're the subjects of this cloning experiment that's the whole reason (well, not the whole reason, but you know) why they're there. At least dye Trip's hair and give him a fake beard and give T'Pol a hat.

- Gannet Brooks' whole set-up, not just that she has no way of proving that she's with Starfleet Intelligence but that she had to hook up with her ex just to get aboard the ship; I realize that she had to keep her cards close to her chest because of the Terra Prime mole (and I will say that they did a good head-fake with Kelby WRT that), but couldn't they have at least tipped off Archer and had him simply let her on the ship as a reporter? They'd still have the mystery of the identity of the mole.

- I too looked a bit askance at their building a warp drive into the moon base, even though the effect was cool when it took off. Even less likely was that they could just land on the Mars base and take it over (#GetYourAssToMars) without the proprietors of the big-ass death-ray that could hit targets on Earth having some sort of auto-destruct kill-switch for just such an occasion, unless Terra Prime really does have moles everywhere. (And where was this death-ray when the Xindi came to party?)

But that's just the usual nit-pickery. Agreed with your assessments of the guest stars; the scientist-guy reminded me of this guy. MA also said that Eric Pierpoint, aka Harris, was one of the regulars on Alien Nation along with Gary Graham, which I didn't know.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:04 AM on May 17 [3 favorites]


Some barely-hinged-together thoughts due to having severe ADHD brain today.

Well, despite it all, that was dark for Trek. In one episode we have a self-inflicted phaser shot and the death of the child of two of the main characters.

It was pretty...okay? I dunno.

I assume the moon colony's warp engine was already existent for electricity/power? If the Vulcans can spot a warp drive from space, no idea how it could have been a surprise that the moon colony had a warp engine ready to go. How the hell they built a space ship out of it, well, okay I'll suspend disbelief.

But how in the hell did the Mars colony have the ability to shoot a massive frickin laser at the earth? The Xindi weapon, which was apparently unheard of, pales in comparison. And you can aim it within meters from as far away as Mars? Sorry, no.

Oh, cool, Nazis again. Or, some facsimile at least. While I guess that fits with the rest of the canon, it seems a well that's been dipped into enough already.

Peter Weller was a good, though. The whole cast was, although I'm not sure what the writing is for Mayweather that perpetually makes him seem like a naive goody goody, when he's actually supposed to be...not that? I mean, he's a bad-ass pilot and probably the most-traveled of the entire crew from a life of bad conditions. He should be, like, really cool? Did they ever establish how he knew that reporter/spy/double-agent?

I have no idea why the Nazis Terra Prime needed/wanted to combine Trip and T'Pol...I thought maybe they thought that they needed Trip, which seems to fit what happened, but come on: They built a warp-drive star ship out of mining colony—did they really need one more engineer to focus the giant frickin laser? And why T'Pol? It makes no sense, except maybe they realized they had to retcon how Spock was possible, and this was the last opportunity?

The thing that really stuck out to me was having Trip and T'Pol infiltrate the mining camp, without disguises. They're not only global celebrities, they're the subjects of this cloning experiment that's the whole reason (well, not the whole reason, but you know) why they're there. At least dye Trip's hair and give him a fake beard and give T'Pol a hat. Oh my god I screamed. Like, what in the hell are you even doing!? Then again, I think I mentioned before that journalism is apparently dead in the future*, so maybe there are no longer celebrities as such. Who knows.

* Apparently journalism isn't dead? But then again, the "reporter" was actually a spy, so.

Eh, then they brought it back home with a nice Archer speech and it seemed like a nice ending of the series.
posted by General Malaise at 9:11 AM on May 19 [2 favorites]


These were fine, though it felt kind of thin for a two-parter. Perhaps missing a good B plot, there was just something a little too perfunctory or formulaic or something. They spent some money on the Moon and Mars, though.

Nice of them to have T'Pol actually address the Naziism with an argument, even briefly, about how humans and Vulcans were different a million years ago and will be different in a million years. Of course, it's massively undercut by her magical attachment to this cloned kid who happens to have her DNA.

A rare genuine subplot for Mayweather, though it didn't really develop. Maybe it was the stiff acting, but man, it reallllly came off that he pretty much hated his ex, even if the sex was great. "The very least I can do is give you a ride;" I bet!

Is Hoshi really in line to be in command? I thought she was sort of a civilian adviser kinda and not a real ranking officer. Did she get made after S3? I don't remember. I would have liked to see a reaction from the Buffy Mayor when the comet zapper cannon actually fired, like a shriek and falling down on his butt.

If Spock is The First mixed Vulcan/Human, I guess that means Trip and T'Pol never spawn their own kid? I will imagine they adopt, and it's fine.
posted by fleacircus at 11:40 PM on May 20 [2 favorites]


I guess that means Trip and T'Pol never spawn their own kid?

We will, um, get to that.
posted by Servo5678 at 6:19 AM on May 21 [1 favorite]


lol I can't wait for this horrible finale
posted by fleacircus at 6:42 AM on May 21 [2 favorites]


An early draft of the script did include Archer’s speech. Here’s how it starts:

When I was in my early twenties on a trip to East Africa I saw a gazelle giving birth. It was truly amazing. Within minutes—

One last chance to use that joke. Thanks, gang. This rewatch has been fun.
posted by Servo5678 at 4:47 PM on May 24 [2 favorites]


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