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Monday, April 26, 2004

Enterprise--Damage

"Patriotism and the 9/11 Trek: T'Pol's subdued "I didn't mean what I said" vexes me more, though. Maybe I'm just overly sensitive about this. I don't agree with everything the president of my country is doing these days, but voicing my concerns tends to get me labeled 'unpatriotic.' In some sense, does Archer's crew feel the same way? The first episode of Enterprise aired about one month after 9/11, and the whole series is being written in the context of these new and uncertain times. Sometimes, the parallels make me uncomfortable. I don't want to see Enterprise become one big commercial for the Bush administration.

Like I said, I'm probably reading way too much into it. And this is a mighty gray area for Archer and company. They do have a serious threat to Earth to consider - the needs of the many, and all that. But I never thought I'd live to see the day when the Starship Enterprise, ANY Starship Enterprise, would board a friendly alien vessel and steal their warp core just because they could, desperate or not. It saddens me."
--From Monkee's Review of 'Damage'

I couldn't agree any less strongly with Monkee's analysis of last week's Enterprise in this regard. In fact, I strongly think she is reaching a lot based on her own political bias. I do not consider Enterprise to be a giant commerical for Bush and his foreign policy, especially in relationship to the war in Iraq. Certainly, Star Trek has gone decidely more of an anti-war stance and into tolerance over the years. Hell, earlier this year, Enterprise had an episode that dealt with Archer and company having to overcome their own racial profiling to see that not all Xindi want humanity destroyed. So, I think that one episode that examines a leader who's motive may be questionable as suddenly turning Star Trek into this propogranda piece for the current President and his staff is a bit much.

Anyway, onto the rest of Enterprise this week...

I am beginning to wonder if the reason that we've not heard that much about Archer and the original Enterprise mission (I mean other than the obvious that it's a prequel series and Gene Roddenberry never imagined that 40 years later we'd have a prequel series) is because of the slippery slope Archer is now on. Specifically, for all the good he's done exploring and opening up doors for humanity to go through if he isn't going to be remembered for how far he went and how much he comprimised on the Xindi mission. I think about the original series with Commodore Decker from the Doomsday Machine. He may have been a fine captain in the weeks, months and years leading up to his battle with the Doomsday Machine and losing his crew..but then he went a bit plumb loco. And even though Kirk tried to honor Decker in his last log and have his memory not be tainted, I bet the truth slipped out and Decker was thought of as--well, he did some good stuff, but boy did he go wacko. I wonder if this is what we'll get with Archer. He's a good man who has good intentions, but circumstances aren't helping him to really show that. And he's gone so far down the dark path that it's gonna be hard to see him come back to being the more light character we saw in season one.

I do agree with some critics who say that maybe Archer has gone too far and that Enterprise is running the risk of forever aliennating the audience from him long term. Yes, short term it's fun to watch him go down the dark path but how does this affect things for him long term. I know he's using the logic of the ends justify the means in taking the other crew's warp coils...but at what price to him personally? I am hoping we get some answers to this as the season continues or maybe even next year. I am hopeful, but not at all certain if this is what we'll get...you never quite know with Berman and Braga.

There were a lot of things to really like about Damage. For one, we got to see Enterprise not magically restored to working order. And the scene between Phlox and Archer as Phlox said he would prepare for casulaties--that was so well done by two good actors. It also felt like a Kirk/McCoy moment in a lot of ways and that is always a good thing.

But there were some things that bothered me and kept this one from being great. The Xindi council just calls off the attack. Also see--the "sleep" command from Best of Both Worlds, Part 2. It's just one of those ways that we quickly and easily get out of a cliffhanger. I am not sure how glaring this would be if they hadn't gone on a two month hiatus with that as the cliffhanger, but it did stick out. Also, the reasoning for letting Archer go seems a bit suspect. And as much as the crew is happy to have him back, it just doesn't make a whole lot of sense that there wouldn't be more questions asked as to his return. Also, did Degra arrange it? We're not sure. I hope that they will answer these issues as the weeks progess because they're a bit niggling. Also, having watched B5, I wonder if Archer has some type of monitoring system on him so the Xindi can keep up with what he's doing...you never know, it could be.

Finally, T'Pol and her wacky emotions. Thankfully, they came up with an idea for this that wasn't just--gee, T'Pol thought it'd be fun to explore emotions. Thank you, thank you, thank you! But her addiction, while it was established back early on this season, is troubling. Namely that Phlox lets an addict going through withdrawl to take command during a major battle. Now, I know that it's doctor/patient privilege and all that good stuff, but I can't imagine that I'd want someone in withdrawal making split second decisions in the heat of battle. Phlox really needed to weigh the needs of the many against the needs of the few or the one (can you tell I watched Star Trek II recently?)

posted by Michael Hickerson at 4/26/2004 04:12:00 PM | |
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