11: Silent Enemy – Star Trek Enterprise Season 1, Episode 12

Matt and Sean talk about the Enterprise being fitted with weapons of the future, and finding out a characters favorite food … no seriously that’s what happens in this episode.

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Sean: [00:00:00] hello and welcome to Trek in time. This is the podcast that takes a look at star Trek in order and in history. What I mean is we’re going to be taking a look at each episode of star Trek in chronological order. And we’re also going to be taking a look at the things that were going on in the world at the time of the original product.

We’ll also be taking a deeper dive into things that stand out in the episodes. And sometimes that’ll be about the era that we watched them in. Or sometimes it’ll be stuff inside the episode itself. You’re wondering who’s going to be doing all this digging and talking and it’s going to be me. Sean Farrell.

I’m a writer. I write some Saifai. I also read some horror and with me will be my brother, Matthew he’s the guru and inquisitor behind the YouTube channel undecided with Matt Farrell, which takes a look at emerging tech and its impact on our lives. So between the writer guy and the tech guy, we’ve got the star Trek thing covered.[00:01:00]

You want to say, hi Matt.

Matt: Hi Matt.

Sean: Thank you for being literal. Don’t forget. There are ways you can support the podcast. You can, of course keep doing what you’re doing right now, which is perking up your role can the years and given us a listen, you can watch us on YouTube and you can also drop by pod.fan/trek-in-time.

And there’s a little cookie jar there and you can throw some coins in and we appreciate any kind of support, whether it’s given us the support monetarily or just listening and watching and commenting. Before we get into the new episode, I wanted to share some viewer slash listener comments from previous episodes.

Karen, co-lead had an interesting comment on our episode, fortunate son, which had to do with the boomer culture and the NASSA can experience. Karen wrote, you mentioned the boomer culture as being somewhat reminiscent of the wild west and keeping with that, the NASSA might be thought [00:02:00] of as representing indigenous peoples, that puts a nasty spin on the scene where Archer is warning Manasseh Ken’s to think twice because earth has better weapons.

I wonder if the potential parallels to historical injustice is what made the writers shy away from flushing out boomer culture more. And I don’t know about you, Matt, but I really liked this. Yeah. I thought it was a very intriguing comment because it made me think of it in a completely new way. I don’t agree with it.

I don’t think that’s actually what was going on there, but it’s a very unique spin and part of the reason, I don’t think it is the way it was intended because the north skins, it wasn’t their home world. The Naussicans were, you know, the pirates they’re, they’re looting, they’re robbing the train. It’s like, it’s not.

American Indians. So it’s very different. I think that there was certainly potential though for it to, it could have been taken into a place where yes, as she described it. And I think that what you’ve just framed is part of the decision-making [00:03:00] process in writing that maintains blind them. To certain storylines like that because you take the approach of you’re writing this thing and it’s about what clearly the boomers are supposed to be the good guys and the nos.

Again, they’re doing the bad thing and what might’ve come out of it. If there’d been something about the experience where the Naussicans claimed to have some sort of right to a region of space and saying, look, this is, this is ours, and you’re just traipsing through here. You don’t have a right to it. So it could have been very, very interesting.

The result is also this comment from pale ghost who wrote about cold front. In my own head cannon, this episode, which includes the return of the temporal cold war was the temporal split that caused discovery and Picard. There’s just way too much difference in the lore for star Trek discovery to be in the same timeline as the next generation.

Plus Picard’s [00:04:00] whole Mars, Android plot line shouldn’t happen after data’s trial set of precedent and the whole deal with his daughter. It’s like, those outcomes never happened. I really wish they would’ve just left the time you why me stuff to the Zen de blot. And I really liked this comment as well. I think it’s an interesting take.

I think that one of the things that star Trek is doing right now with discovery and Picard is showing layers of evolution to the universe that can take place at a much faster pace than I think we give it credit for. And of course pale goes, has I love the reference to head cannon. He’s a critical Pell.

Canon is their way of saying like, okay, how does X make sense with Y which happens at a later point and coming up with your own head Canon. I do that myself. I love that. Um, But I don’t see as big a jump between next generation and Picard as [00:05:00] pale ghost does. Yeah. I seem to, I, I feel like they, that there is enough of a through line there that it makes me feel like it’s the same timeline.

And ultimately the drastic changes between the next generation era and the P-Card era. I think we’re currently living through a time where it’s easy to see. It doesn’t take long for things to end up on a very different path than where you thought you were. So yeah, for me, Picard did a pretty good job explaining why we ended up where we did with Andrew.

Um, because they had that backstory as to what led us in that direction, which takes place after the next generation. So that to me, they kind of do a good enough, good enough job explaining it. So I don’t, I don’t necessarily agree with his temporal split for that jump, but I do agree with them that I wish they had left the you why me stuff, but the Cindy font, it’s like, it’s one of those crushes that you see a lot.

In most science fiction, especially in star Trek, it’s ripe with [00:06:00] this, which is the whole time-traveling stuff. It opens up a can of worms that sometimes they don’t do a very good job explaining. Yeah. I think that for me, and I say, this is somebody who wrote a novel about yes, you did. I think time travel is best when it’s dealt with as an all or nothing.

If your entire subject matters the time travel itself so that you can kind of not together, all the things that are going to be pulled in different directions by time travel you’re in good place. And if you’re just going to dabble in it with a little bit here and a little bit, there you are inadvertently going to you pull some threads that are going to make things fall apart.

Yeah. I think one of the things that makes Dr who work is that his entire point is come to wherever, whenever it doesn’t matter. And then in something like these episodes of enterprise where, oh, yeah, it’s a, it’s a [00:07:00] hint of time travel and it begins to be like, how, what, yeah. Why, why are they doing these things?

So there’s also the aspect of, um, Nobody knows how Trump travel works and what the ramifications of it would be. Right. Nobody knows. So it’s basically a fantasy element. And as long as the authors. Set clear rules and guidelines for their interpretation of time travel and they live and die by those rules, it can exist within itself.

It’s like back to the future does a really good job because they establish strong rules and they live to those rules. The problem is when they’re a little like loosey goosey with it and it kind of changes based on like, well, that doesn’t fit us for this story. So we’re going to nudge it in a little direction this way so we can tell the story we want to tell it’s like, that’s when it starts to go like, oh, everything’s unraveling, nothing’s working.

It’s because they’re not. Doing a good job, establishing the rules and living by them. Right. And the last listener comment I wanted to share is something [00:08:00] that you and I haven’t weighed in on yet, but this is right from the beginning of this. Rewatch has been something that has been painful banging around on the inside of my skull.

And this is from Matt. He who writes. The only thing bad about enterprise is the opening song way too corny for such an awesome. It’s been a long road. Yeah. That’s that’s me with the remote control. Exactly. How many times I have to hit the skip button to get me to it. Yeah. I hear it’s been a long road and then it’s.

Don, uh, uh, that’s all I ever hear. It’s been a long road Donta and that’s even too much for me. It’s even too much for me. Yes. It’s horrible. It is a horribleness when it comes to recognizable and capturing the flavor of a series, you think about the original [00:09:00] series, next generation, deep space, nine. All have a thing about them that captures the flavor of the series itself.

The original series is bold and, and like darting forward. It’s this super speculative like we’re, we’re leaping forward into a place you’ve never been before. Next generation has a kind of grand jury tour. That is a kind of broadening of that. Take and then deep space nine has a very sorrowful, sad tone of, of kindness, like holding up.

Like things are not where you would hope they would be voyage or had. It’s take of, of kind of being in a new place and a little bit lost a little bit meandering and then enterprise shows up and they’ve got lyrics and the lyrics and not good combined song from the tap to vein here. Matt E you’ve [00:10:00] tapped a vein.

Yes. But anyway, onto today’s episode, we’re going to be talking about episode 12 and of course, episodes numbers are going to be different from podcast numbers because the first episode of the podcast was about a two part episode. So that was episodes one and two. Here we are on episode 12, silent. This was directed by wine, Rick Kolbe wine, Rick Colby directed a total of 48 episodes of star Trek across four television series.

This included the Hugo word, winning all good things. And he also directed the series premiere of star Trek Voyager, which was caretaker. And he was involved in the casting event series. And this episode was written by Andre woman-ness. And he is a writer who this is the first episode of enterprise that he wrote.

He [00:11:00] had written for Voyager. He was also a scientific advisor on these programs and he worked on everything from next generation all the way through to, I believe he is still working on Orville. So his star Trek bonafides are carrying on in helping shape that series, which Matt has talked about in the past as being very Trek like mm.

This episode originally aired on January 16th, 2002. So we’ve stepped out of 2001. Finally, Matt, we knew we could do it. We’ve made it to 2002. And this episode was viewed by 6.1 million people. This is down from the previous week and at this point looking forward, the series will never, again, crack the 7 million viewer.

It will have a little bit of a peak in a few weeks and then it will slide down again and it will go lower and it will basically continue to bounce [00:12:00] along in fourth place among the major networks at the time. What was the world like when this episode aired? You’re wondering, I know you’re wondering that because that’s the entire point of this book.

Well, Sad to say we have a new number, one song. And the reason I say it’s sad to say is because that number one song is how you remind me by Nickelback. Oh, it is of course considered their signature song. We’re going to have to limp along for a few weeks with this song coming out of my mouth. I don’t like that.

And in my research for this episode is covered that the, the musical genre, that Nickelback is considered to be part of his post grunge. So. No. Yeah, yeah. That is, I think that is evidence of, uh, people looking a little too hard for ways to categorize music that doesn’t really fit in anywhere. [00:13:00] The number one film at the time was the Lord of the rings, the fellowship of the ring.

And of course, this episode aired on January 16th. The previous episode that Matt and I talked about was back in November. So this is the holiday break. And what happened during that holiday break? You’re wondering, well, of course, yeah, the holidays, but what else happens? A major film, like the Lord of the rings hits theaters and stays at the top of the box office for four weeks in a row.

This particular week. It only brought in 16 million, but do keep in mind that the film overall. It only costs 93 million to make, but it brought in, in the box office $897 million. It’s insane. It is funny, crazy. The most watched show this week was once again, friends and this episode, this [00:14:00] week, why was watched by 29.2 million people.

So that’s only. Not quite four times as many people as puts it in perspective, it puts it in perspective. It makes you wonder if HBO max was to put together a get together of the enterprise crew and broadcast the way they did the friends reunion. Yeah. And had James Corden there to be the host. How would anybody, would anybody show up to watch it?

Maybe we’ll be lucky enough to find it. The New York times headlines on the day that this episode aired included Walker will face trial and civilian court. This is reference to American John Walker, who was an American who had joined Al Qaeda. And he was captured as part of a group during the early days of the fighting in Afghanistan.

And he was on trial in a civilian court as opposed [00:15:00] to a military tribunal, because he was in fact in American citizen, also in the news was Enron headlines that were beginning to talk about what investigations were discovering and for people who don’t remember. The story of Enron depicts a company that reached dramatic Heights only to face a dizzying fall.

The faded company’s collapse effected thousands of employees and shook wall street to its core. At Enron’s peak, its shares were worth $90 and 75 cents just prior to declaring bankruptcy on December 2nd, 2001. Fall took place again during the holiday break between our last episode and our new one.

That’s why the headlines are suddenly jumping forward into a story that’s already ongoing, but we haven’t heard of during the podcast yet. Okay. Enron declared bankruptcy on December 2nd. At that time it was trading for just 26 cents a [00:16:00] share. What happened? You’re wondering it was one of the largest companies in the United States.

It disintegrated almost overnight, and it was a result of Enron’s leadership, fooling regulators with fake holdings and off the books, accounting practices, they used special purpose vehicles, which are called SPVs or special purpose entities as PEs to hide mountains of debt and toxic assets from investors.

And creditors, it was a huge scandal that embroiled itself around there were, there were politics and incredibly wealthy people who lost a lot of money as a result of the companies. Next time we see something like that would be with fairness that happened three years ago. Yep. This episode, Matt, do you want to give us the synopsis for [00:17:00] silent enemy?

Sure enterprise is attacked by an unknown alien star ship. As captain Archer orders, the crew to install experimental phase cannons. Meanwhile, Ensign Sato is asked to find out what Lieutenant Reid’s favorite food is for a birthday dinner. Two storylines that you go, how do those go together? Yes. My question to you, Matt, right off the bat was, do you want to talk about this as if it’s actually two episodes?

No, no, no, no. This is good because I don’t have a lot of love for one of them. And I think the other one is pretty cool. I’m going to, I think we might actually be semi opposite on that. Really? Yeah. A little bit, not much just a little bit. I think I’m going to be a little kinder to that one storyline than you will be.

Uh, okay. So here we go. September 1st, 2151 and while deploying subspace amplifiers to improve their ability to communicate with Starfleet enterprise is [00:18:00] approached by an enemy vessel. I an alien vessel. I’m sorry. It’s not an enemy yet. They haven’t done anything. Just real quick, a brief aside, I really liked the fact that they show them dropping these amplifiers in space.

Yes. Yes. It’s part of that. It’s a little nudge toward hard Saifai that I, I wish the show had a little bit more of more often. Uh, it’s nice to see that they would be having to drop these things. Otherwise they’re just completely on there. Yeah, alien vessel shows up captain Archer immediately hails them, but the vessel returns to work.

So it’s a very confusing, why did you show up if you weren’t going to say anything and yeah, Paul makes a point of saying not everybody has motives that are understood in human terms. I think that that is. Another nudge toward hard Saifai yeah. The idea of alien experiences will not necessarily be a humanoid shows up on your screen [00:19:00] and they say, so where are you from?

Yep, I did. I did like the, that scene happens in, Archer’s getting more and more frustrated that they’re not responding. And when it warps away, it’s like, they didn’t just go, oh, well that’s weird. And then to go on with our day, I liked that there was a whole scene of the group of them around the table going.

What do we think about this? What does this mean? And they were trying to figure it out because it’s not necessarily a good sign when that happens. So I thought it was really nice just showing them, getting on their toes. Like, yeah, there’s something going on here. We should be aware. Okay. I also appreciated that there was a conversation with incent Sato at that point where she points out that the universal translator is not perfect.

So this is, they are, they are really in a precarious position where the interaction, the first contact with some of these species could boil down to a good game of charades, of being able to communicate without being look at me and Kate.[00:20:00]

Are soon approached by the ship again. And this time the ship scans the enterprise and this scan is a high pitched screeching noise that affects the comms systems. Everybody on the ship is affected by it. And then the ship also attacks the enterprise briefly. Uh, it seems very much like. At this point, everybody on the crew, especially Archer is very aware that this alien vessel seems to be testing the waters.

Seeing what the enterprise is capable of the scan itself obviously is to test its capabilities, but then the brief attack and run away seems very measured to be a let’s see what they’re capable of. If we hit and run. So at this point, Archer notes that the enterprise is now encountering more aggressive species than anticipated.

And he decides that the [00:21:00] best thing for them to do is to return to Jupiter station so that the enterprise, which was originally supposed to be fitted with phase cannons can have that work completed. He mentions that they left space dock earlier than anticipated. If you remember, in the first episode, There is a cling on who is.

Injured and needs to be returned to Kronos. And it’s that mission that gets them out of space dock three weeks ahead of schedule. So at this point they have been flying around effectively, not fully completed this and that. I was, I was torn on that because. There’s. I love the fact that they brought it back to the beginning of like, remember the decision we made months ago.

Yeah. It’s biting us in the ass now. I liked that. But at the same time, I didn’t, because so much time has passed. It’s like, wait, you can’t tell me Starfleet nobody was going, Hey, you guys aren’t fully [00:22:00] armed. Why don’t you come back? It’s like, they’ve been through so many fights and so much. Instances where they could have used something like that.

It’s a little it’s stretching believability for me that they would have gone this long before doing it themselves or went back to space stock. So it’s like, I liked it and didn’t like it because too much time has passed. I completely agree with that. And the character, if you’re going to have this as a story element in this, at this point, and you’re going to reveal like, oh, guess what?

We did have access to phase cannons, but we just didn’t go back and get them. In place. This should have been, there could have been a line or two of dialogue from Reed who could have said something at this point. Along the lines of captain I’ve been working on getting these things up and ready for when we need them.

So I’m ready to do this myself. What they do argue is trip and read both argue, Hey, we can do this work ourselves. But I think to, to meet the point that you [00:23:00] just raised, if Reed had said, look, I’ve been already prepping all of this stuff so that we could do that. I’ve been looking for an opportunity to ask for your permission to put the phase Canon that we have in place, test it and demonstrate that we can do it ourselves.

He is a character who would have done that. Yes. And the fact that it’s not laid out in that way, it’s laid out as almost an improvisational. Hey, whoa. What if we could do it ourselves? Didn’t strike me as true for him because as we’ve pointed out in previous episodes read is the one character who seems to be writing the textbook for what first context situations will look like in the future.

He is constantly commenting of maybe we should do things like raise shields immediately upon meeting in a vessel. We don’t know. Maybe we shouldn’t go down to a planet without certain levels of armament and testing. All of that seems to be a part of his character. And in this moment it doesn’t seem to be.

Yeah. It’s especially with the other storyline that you don’t [00:24:00] like, which is he is a man. He is a man of planning and caution and being prepared, like being a boy scout. It’s like you, he would have been hammering the captain for months about this because they have this technology, but they’re not installing it.

We left before we were early. And the fact that it was just like, oh, Hey, we can do this ourselves. A very casual impromptu thing was a little. Disingenuous and, uh, didn’t fit with the character we’ve been getting to know as well as the character that they’re actually trying to get us to know in the exact episode before.

Yes. Which is the perfect segue to bring us around to the B storyline, which is when I look for the episode Synopsys of these, I go mainly to Wikipedia this Wikipedia synopsis. Completely ignores the B storyline. You wouldn’t know there was a bee storyline in this episode, if all you [00:25:00] did was go to Wikipedia, what is the B storyline you’re wondering?

Well, it’s a very important mission that captain Archer gives to Ensign Sato, who. As the communications officer, she of course, would be critical to this first context situation, which is spiraling out of control. Yep. You have an alien vessel showing up. They are trying to communicate. Is there potentially something that could be picked up from sensors?

Is there something in the scan that might include communication? Is she spending her time trying to. Figure out if the universal translator was not up to snuff now she’s been given this very special mission. She has to figure out what Lieutenant Reid’s favorite food is because his birthday is coming up.

Yep. I’m going to let the importance of that mission sink in for a moment. Do we want to get into why? I don’t think this is as bad as you think it is. I think you better because I thought this was absolutely terrible. And let me just say real quickly before you get [00:26:00] into your thing, one of the things that makes me most upset about this is what a waste of time for this actress.

Yes, it is. Such a fluff storyline that they are giving to her. It is one of the things we’ve pointed out in previous episodes is they don’t always handle the female characters. Well, Nope. And this to me is. Just about the most insulting thing that they’ve done to a female character up to this point and figure out what the favorite food of this guy is.

She is given a, not only an unimportant task. It is made a direct order. As if there’s not something more important going on, you want to have her running around doing this because she thinks Reed is a great guy or Archer says, I wish we knew what his favorite food was. And she says, let me take care of it, captain, make it her desire [00:27:00] to do this.

Do not, you get a direct order. She argues against following this order saying captain and please. And he makes it her primary task during this experience is. Not really. Yeah, no, it would have made more sense to have trip doing this because trip and Reid have had kind of a growing relationship or Mayweather and Mayweather, we’ve made more sense.

They’ve got more of a relationship going between the two of them as friends. So it would make more sense for like somebody who is getting close to read to want to do this on their own. Like, I’ll take care of that captain. Let me, let me figure that out. On top of it. He has nothing to do with this episode anyway, so let’s have any way to do it.

Uh, for me it wasn’t that the storyline that they did, like all the things that happen along that storyline of talking to his parents, his sister, his best friend, all that stuff. I loved it. I was eating that stuff up. It’s the right, right storyline in the wrong episode. It’s like, it was, I agree with you a hundred percent this happening [00:28:00] at the moment that they are, we don’t know at a moment’s notice, this thing could show up again and attack us again.

And we’re still trying to figure out what his favorite food is. It’s like, it’s, it’s banana stupid, but it could have worked a different episode in a much better place with a different character that was trying to track it down. What I loved was the parents, seeing the parents and how stiff and rigid and how they don’t really actually know their own son.

And then the sister being like who, somebody who really does know him really well. And it’s like, I have no idea. He just ate whatever you gave him. And it was like, it was like, it was nice insights into the character breed. That’s like, oh, this makes so much sense for him. And for me, I was loving that character development of read based on what other people say about that character.

That’s one of the things that like when you’re seeing a play or a movie, it’s what characters do. And what other characters say about that character that really helped to develop that? Character development. And for this, I was loving that it was just in the wrong [00:29:00] episode with the wrong character tracking it town.

Yes. I loved seeing all of his family members and friends talking about him and learning about him and it really funny way. Yeah. I, I agree with everything you’ve just said. I think that to transplant. All of the particular moments you’ve just described into a different episode with a different character or a different character motivation to do it.

Like I said, if Sato is like, I think Reed is a great guy and I want to do this because I think, I think I want to get to know him better. And I think this is a great way to do it, to celebrate somebody’s birthday. It’s the first birthday, a board, the enterprise, whatever. And like, just like something about it.

That’s her drive. I do like the scene with the parents. I think. The father in particular is a demonstration of like read doesn’t fall far from the tree. Yeah. His father is completely undigested than any of this. And that’s exemplified in the scene where Sato finally tries to take the approach that to Paul suggests, which is why don’t you just ask.

What his favorite food is. And she does this whole little song [00:30:00] and dance of trying to figure out through what seems like casual conversation, what his favorite food is. And he, in that moment, he’s literally trying to build a phase. From scratch and he can’t be bothered. He doesn’t even know what he’s eating.

He’s sitting there eating and she’s like, oh, ravioli’s good. And he’s like, what? He’s just putting food in his mouth. Cause he has to eat. And he’s looking at a data pad the entire time. He is more focused on his work. Yeah. It is a good character development. Scene. It’s just the set up and the way that it’s handled overall for the story, which seems so outside of the literal life and death situations of at any moment, this craft could come back and blow us out of the sky.

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. We’re in complete agreement on that. Yes. So returning to the, a storyline, the alien ship doesn’t fact return it disables the enterprise, and then they are [00:31:00] boarded. And the boarding situation, this attack scene, I thought it was particularly well handled. The power going off the enterprise effectively being dead in space, suddenly nobody can stop these aliens from boarding them.

I thought it handled the tension of all of that really well. What did you think about that? I thought the, it felt really ratcheted up the tension when that was all happening. Um, and especially like the first scene where the, you see the aliens walking down that hallway, it’s like you only get a brief glimpse of them going through flash.

Like beam. And it was like, wait, what was that? Cause it looks so not human it’s. I love the aspect that they made. These not act, not just act differently than we would expect, but to also look Hmm. Very alien. Yeah. My one nitpick is it’s like there was it their own grasp, you know, they, they weren’t able to quite achieve the top [00:32:00] level CG effects.

Yeah. They only had so much budget and at the time. I thought the CG looked awful. Cause it just like, especially when they got to the closeup of the aliens, it looked so bad. It looked, it looks horrible. It took me out of the moment where it’s like, you saw them for a brief moment in the flashlight. It was like, oh my God, what was that?

That was really cool. Oh my God. My hairs are up in the back of my neck. And then as soon as they come around the corner, you see what they are. They’re like, you’re like, oh, oh, that’s so stupid looking. Yeah. And it wasn’t that the design was bad. It was just, the execution was. Money constrained all that kind of stuff.

So you can understand why they don’t do that very often. So for me, I liked what they were trying to do. They just weren’t able to execute it on as well as they could have, just because of resources. I think in that moment, they would have been better served to stay with backlighting on the aliens, make them spectral figures that were a halo of light behind them, the obscured, the viewer, and having the actors really react with a, we don’t even know what we’re looking at.

Sort of [00:33:00] response, more feeling more impact. Yeah, because I do agree. There are a couple of moments where you’re seeing a little too much. And because you’re seeing so much, you are taken out of the moment, it might even benefited from using a puppet. Yes. Instead of having the CGI, because the CGI looks very CGI in those moments.

So the aliens do board the ship, they assault two crew members. They leave them and effectively what looks like a vegetative state. The doctor is very worried about them and. Even speculates that they might have some levels of brain damage as a result of what happened, the them, the aliens returned to their own ship.

And then again, attack the enterprise before departing this time damaging the warp muscle. So the enterprise is able to reclaim power, but they are not able to reach warp. So now they can’t get away. So now you’ve got a situation where these aliens have tested the ship to the point of breaking it enough [00:34:00] to keep them.

Basically completely isolated at this point. I really liked the next scene that took place where Mayweather suggests contact in the Vulcan high command to ask for help. And Archer has again, his knee jerk reaction of, yes, I’m sure they would love that. And then he does it. And that for me, was a beautiful rendering of the evolution of the thinking around what are we doing out here?

And what’s my role and Archer of course, wants to represent the best of humanity and represent a strong humanity. He was able to go out and take care of their problems on their own. But in this moment has responsibility to the crew really does take precedence. There’s another moment in the episode where he speaks very openly about feeling responsible for having the crew in a place where they might be in danger because he rushed them out to space.

[00:35:00] Yes. And I liked that scene as well. I think that to tie those two things together and kind of loop back to something, Matt referenced earlier reads. If Reed was a character who had been saying, we should return to space dock and get these phase canons put in, this is another spot where a line of dialogue could have filled in all of that backstory.

Yeah. In this episode of Reed had said something like, sir, this is, this is why I had been asking for us to go to space. Earlier to get these phase cannons. If Archer in this moment had said, I understand that. And I recognize, right. Yup. That would have been a powerful moment. So they right. Reach out to the Vulcan high command.

And unfortunately they discover at this point that there are subspace amplifiers, which they’ve been so carefully dropping behind them. As they’ve been moving deeper and deeper into space, [00:36:00] the amplifiers have been destroyed. I found this to be an interesting. Element it’s a little bit like they’ve been leaving telephone poles.

Yes. And with no expectation that anybody might come along and chop down the telephone pole. Yeah. It really does kind of open up the questions of, I wonder how they hide those amplifiers in the future. Where do they put them that people won’t find them easily and just destroy them? Yes, it really is a moment where they, as a ship this far out into space, the moment that the recognize that the amplifiers are gone and they can only move it in.

Speed as opposed to warp there now. So alone, you can, you can sense. Uh, in that moment, I think the director did a very good job of having the crew of the bridge, not devolve into panic. Nobody’s raising their arms over the head and running around screaming, but there definitely is a moment where the crew kind of looks at each other with a sense of, oh boy.

Yeah, we’re totally alone. [00:37:00] So they’re basically limping their way back. And two days later, the enterprise locates an uninhabited planet. And at this point, Reid and trip have been spending those two days working. Literally 24 hour a days. And I liked how they showed the exhaustion of the two men with read at dinner, just basically shoveling food into his mouth without really tasting it.

Yeah. Trip is shown in the engineering room. Uh, he doesn’t look like he’s been shaving and Archer makes a point of saying, are you getting rest? Because you look terrible. And his response is an amusing, like, unless the warp core is thrumming the right way. I don’t feel right. And I, I can’t sleep, but it is a moment of, I was gonna say, one of the notes I wrote to myself is all the five o’clock shadows, exclamation mark.

It’s like, I did love how it was just like, they did a wonderful job through very subtle things of [00:38:00] their clothes, looked a little more wrinkled and worn. Like they haven’t been changing their outfits. The five o’clock shadow is getting thicker and thicker over the course of the episode. I thought that was a really nice touch.

It’s a subtle, uh, show the wear. So they have a phase cannon prepped and they are going to do a weapons test. They pick a mountain on a desolate planet that has no life on it whatsoever. Archer kept double checking. I thought that was a nice touch as well. And double checking with DePaul multiple times.

You’re absolutely certain there’s nothing on here that might evolve into a species at some point billions of years from now and reassured that that will not happen. They fire the phase cannon. And I like how Archer’s response to it’s. It’s a large mountain on this planet. He says, just take a few meters off the top.

Let’s just see what we can do. And they effectively level the mountain.[00:39:00]

There’s a nice bit of special effects. I thought that that was a neat, yeah. I need element in this episode and. To Paul looks into what has charge the phasers and discovers that there’s a device in launch bay, too. This is obviously something the aliens have left behind and they track it down and find that it is tapped into all of the various systems aboard the ship, which means the aliens have been watching and, and learning everything they can about the enterprise.

In the past two days, Archer logs onto the communication. System and basically just tells the aliens to get bent. He says, you may have us in a position where we’re clearly uncomfortable and we are not safe, but we will do whatever we have to in order to protect ourselves. And then he destroys the device at this point, the alien vessel returns.

In [00:40:00] a clever bit of editing uses Archer’s own message against them. Sending a message that now says you are helpless, surrender your vessel and the. Crew is scrambling to figure out how they can fight off. What will surely be the most drastic attack at this point, the alien vessel has not had a lot of difficulty in shutting down the power systems on the ship, crippling them, boarding them, doing what they want with the crew.

So if there is going to be another attack and particularly if there’s going to be another boarding, it seems obvious that it’s going to be drastic and bad for the. It was at this moment, Matt, I’m wondering if you had a similar flashback as I did. Wouldn’t it have made sense if this was a return of the space vampires from the earlier episode?

Yeah, that’s true. I hadn’t thought of that, but yes, it would’ve made a lot of sense [00:41:00] that that’s what this is. This is the second time that the enterprise has come across an alien vessel. Clearly has the Mount Gund and the earlier episode really did seem to be laying the groundwork for an interesting new enemy.

And it just seems like a missed opportunity that they didn’t pick up on that here. If something about this alien vessel had made them connect those dots and say, oh, I think we’ve recognized that these might be the same. Species. They may be after us again, and in a way that we’re not going to be not only uncomfortable with, but they’re looking to harvest us.

Yup. That could have added a special lever level of tension to the episode. So they try using the phase cannons and they discovered that they are not up to snuff yet. They just don’t do what phase cannons that we’re used to in star Trek, which we watched [00:42:00] them do everything. Four holes, boreholes into board ships and things like that.

These phase cannons are not there yet. So they take a shot. It doesn’t work. And then they’re left with, well, what do we do now? And there is the suggestion that well, and device had effectively ramped up the phase cannons. Maybe they can recreate that effect. And this is something that Reed and Tripp had discussed previously.

And to go back again, Matt, to your enjoyment of the B storyline as showing character development and exploring Reed’s character. Yeah. This was a moment where this was the one moment that I felt like the B storyline did reflect on the storyline. They were depicting read through the B storyline as he keeps things close to the vest.

He doesn’t open up a lot. And earlier in the [00:43:00] episode trip and read, have an argument about Reid’s plan to link the phase cannons into the impulse engines. And trip’s response to that is you can’t be doing stuff like that without my okay. Cause I’m the engineer and Reid’s approach was he felt like he knew he could make it work and he was willing to do it without checking with anybody.

He was taking care of ticking, all those boxes completely by himself. So trip coming back and saying, okay, this is the moment where yes, we need to make this kind of bold. And it all makes sense in the moment, but also makes sense for Reed as a character. Yeah. And I, and I appreciated that the B storyline was depicting that in that way.

Yes. So they figure out how to do what reads suggested. It’s going to basically knock out. Parts of their own ship because it’s going to overpower [00:44:00] their systems. They fire the phasers and they’re able to knock out the alien vessels shields. I thought it was nice that they had it lined up with a quick torpedo volley at the end there too, just to give a little bit of an extra impact and the alien vessel then retreats and yeah.

In classic enterprise fashion, the moment the enemy disappears, everybody’s just like, Ooh, that’s good that that’s done. There’s no member. See them again. We’ll never see them again. There’s no sense of like, okay, are we still in danger of, we figured out where they went. Uh, there’s none of that. It’s just a very quick wrap up of like, and scene.

Which is then followed by what for me was yet another clumsy use of the bees storyline, where they finally Sato has figured out thanks to Dr. Flocks. Which was a scene I did enjoy, yes, the Dr. Fox stuff [00:45:00] flocked into the rescue. Again, I loved it. Once again, it comes to the rescue, which is a demonstrate why he wasn’t the one, given the task of figuring out what Reid’s favorite food was because flax effectively figures out in about 45 seconds that Reed takes a supplement in his diet that will allow him to process certain foods, including pioneer.

So he speculates that pineapple might be a food that Reed enjoys. So when they show up with a cake for his birthday at the end, and it has pineapple and reads response. My favorite. How did you know? And everybody’s just like wink, wink, wink, Kevin, a great time. Jumping halfway up in the air freeze frame.

Yes. Credit scrolling credits, jaunty music. For me. What stands out about this moment is Sato shows up with the cake [00:46:00] in a case and says, oh, captain, I’ve got those components you were looking for. And my response was, you’re doing this here. Yeah, it was my thought too, in the armory. What about the rest of the bridge crew?

What about the people who work with Reed has a relationship with Mayweather, right? Has a glancing relationship there, there was, they had no opportunity here for any kind of, oh, Vulcans don’t celebrate birthday parties. Do they, to Paul, they didn’t even include her. It was just. Read trip the captain and Sato, even what looked like it was going to be a huge cake, just the four of them.

So they’re going to show up at the bridge later with eating birthday cake. I don’t know why they didn’t just have the whole bridge crew walk in. They could have just had them all come in and we’d be going like what’s going on? I never opened it up and it’s a cake. It’s like, we’ve been so easy. And it’s like, where they running out of money?

Cause you have to pay actors sometimes by how much they say Ford to get the rest of the bridge [00:47:00] crew in. It was, it was really awkward. That part was. Yeah, it’s weird. It felt very strange. The cake seemed too big for just four people and it seemed like it would be very awkward for them to return later with the rest of the cake, to the people who weren’t there.

Oh, by the way, here’s what’s left of Reid’s cake Mayweather. Enjoy it. Yeah. Yeah. So it definitely did have at the end there a freeze frame, roll credits sort of, of feeling. As I mentioned before, this was written by a who had been a science advisor on star Trek shows prior to this, this was his first enterprise script that he wrote he had written for voyage or previously.

Um, one of the things that stood out for me in what worked was the attacking aliens. Are particularly effective. I think that it was, as you mentioned, it was nice to see them. I’m not the [00:48:00] humanoid. And what Andre said about these aliens was he thought that it was a risk to never explain the motivations they’d be attacking aliens, but that, that was also his favorite part of the story.

He said, I think our earliest encounters with alien life forms will leave us utterly bath. I do think that that is an interesting approach to take. Uh, these aliens particular are not depicted as looking at all their they’re bipedal. They have arms and legs, but their faces effectively look like they look a little bit like lobsters without shells and they are wearing they’re wearing suits.

So they’re obviously wearing Evo suits that that would. Keeping themselves in an atmosphere safely for themselves. So they’re, they’re arguably among the most alien of aliens that have been shown in, in the series. So I think going with the strangeness as a main through [00:49:00] line for this does work, um, a little bit clumsy at times, but.

Ultimately, I was okay with it. And for me, what didn’t work quite so well was the whole pineapple storyline. It just, I found myself, I found myself a little, a little at odds with that, but as we’ve talked, certain key moments of the B storyline do reflect on the storyline. It’s just, yeah, for me, it was a little bit of a, uh, oh, why are we, why are we sending a character on this kind of.

Chase while the ship is literally under attack and potentially to be destroyed. Yeah. What’s funny is you seem polar opposite where it’s like, you really like the aliens storyline, how they executed it, and you really didn’t like the pineapple storyline because of how they executed it. And I’m a little more in the middle, like not on both, but like I thought the alien storyline was a little clumsy because.

The three attacks. It [00:50:00] did. Didn’t make sense to me from a strategy standpoint and how much time they’ve let go between the attacks. Didn’t make sense to me from a strategy point of view. It’s like, why would you give your potential prey two and a half to three days to prep for your next attack? That made no sense.

It wasn’t the fact that they were kept each attack probed a little bit. Which I liked. It was more for me, it was more of the disconnect of like, why would you let so much time go between these it’s? Like, you wouldn’t be doing that. They would be learning what they needed to learn pretty quickly and be like, oh no, we can take these guys, but they let so much time go by.

They’ll let the enterprise built these cannons. Yeah. Right. So it’s like, to me, that part of the storyline was like super stupid and it was kind of like, oh, that’s Columbus. But overall I did like that storyline. And then for the pineapple one, I didn’t hate it just out of the gate. I really liked the character development it was doing.

It was just, again, clumsy the way it was executed. So I thought, yeah, it was two good ideas [00:51:00] that were executed. One at a kind of a B level. If I was going to grade it and the other one more at a C level, if I was going to create it, like neither of them were a, for me, it was, it was just. Yeah, I agree with that.

And I think that the B minus of the overall episode seems to be the grade that I would fall on as well. Yeah. So, man, I know this week you’ve got something you want to take a closer look at and you want to get into what that is. Yeah. The kind of deeper look I want to take us about the scallion storyline.

We were talking about how alien they made it, which is like, you never really talked to them. You. Even though where they come from, what their motivations are, why are they attacking us? We didn’t do anything to them like that. Everything about it is alien. Um, it made me think of a book that I thought books series.

I had written about bread, not written. It was, it was written the dark forest trilogy. Um, the first book is called the dark forest. It’s written by a Chinese author. Um, [00:52:00] Lou jigs sheen, I think is how you say his name. I can’t remember how I say it. Um, phenomenal book series. If you’re into hard, Saifai read this book series.

And part of the reason made me think of that is. There’s kind of like three theories that are kind of out there. The first one is Drake’s equation, which was came about in the, I think it was the early 1970s, um, actually sixties, uh, from Frank Drake where he kind of put this equation together of how much life might there be in the universe, like how common is this?

And it was not meant to actually calculate the actual number, but just to kind of get people’s heads wrapped around the idea. There’s other life out there and there’s a lot of it and that’s why we should create SETI. That’s why we should be trying to find it because it’s out there. But according to his equation, it’s like billions of life forms out there, which leads into the Fermi paradox, which was an Italian American physicist that came up with this paradox of like, if life [00:53:00] is that common.

Why are we not bumping into them? Because if it’s that common, everywhere, um, there were, there are billions of stars in the Milky way, similar to the sun with a high probability of some of these stars having Earth-like planets. And many of these stars would have growth of intelligent life like us, and they would have built interstellar travel at some point.

Basically go across all of the Milky way. Galaxy would take only a few million years if you have interstellar ships. So it’s like in considering the billions of years of history, that is just a drop in the bucket. So in theory, at least one species probably has traveled and mapped the entire galaxy. So we would have come across something at some point.

But there is zero evidence of that at all, which kind of makes points the finger at Drake’s equation going. There’s no way that’s true. And the farmer paradox of like, well, you can’t have it both ways, which leads to this Chinese authors book, the dark force theory, which is a very pessimistic, dark look at this.

[00:54:00] And the answer that he came up with is the way I’m going to read this direct quote from him. The universe is a dark forest. Every S every civilization is an armed hunter stalking through the trees like a ghost, gently pushing aside the branches that block the path and trying to tread, tread without a sound.

Every breathing is done with care. The hunter has to be careful because everywhere in the forest are stealthy hunters, just like him. If he finds another life, another hunter angel or demon, a delicate infant, two tottering, old man, a ferry or a demigod. There’s only one thing he can. Open fire and eliminate them because the fear is they will do that to you.

Right? So his whole theory is all the intelligent life that’s out. There tries to keep themselves as cloaked as possible because any other species that is as advanced as that or more advanced is going to, if they discover that you’re there is going to wipe you out because you’re going to be a potential threat.

Cause there’s only so much resources in the universe and we’re all competing with each other and like, [00:55:00] That it’s a very, it’s a such a torque pessimistic view on the world. It’s so anti star Trek, but this episode made me think of this because here’s this species that may have that view of we have to kill or be killed.

And you’re venturing into our neck of the woods. Oh, crap. Destroy their subspace beacons because they’re getting closer and there, we want to shut this down before it becomes a problem and that could be their motivation behind it. So it’s like, I thought this was kind of an interesting, kind of like deeper dive into like the psychology of that might be behind those aliens, that it might be a dark forest.

Yeah, I agree with that. And it’s, and it goes, we’re seeing that on display now as leading experts in, in space exploration in, and quantum thinking are making arguments like Stephen Hawking famously is like, we shouldn’t be looking for alien life. We shouldn’t be doing that. We shouldn’t be trying to draw attention to ourselves [00:56:00] because we could potentially.

Open up a door that we cannot close and similar arguments being made about AI research. And we do not want a thinking computer. We do not want to create a fully functioning, independent AI. They could effectively then turn around and say, I don’t need you. You’re a danger to me. And then things would spiral out of control from there.

That’s, it’s a, it sounds like an amazing set of books and definitely worth checking. So next time, we’re going to be checking out the episode, dear doctor, and other than having something to do with Dr. Flux, what do you think it might be about Matt? I think it’s gonna be about the doctor and writing letters.

Uh, so. As usual, I’d like to pose a closing question for the listeners. I’d like to pose two questions this time. The first is what food would you have preferred to read to? Like, I [00:57:00] don’t know the pineapple, I mean, come on. You’re going to spend all that time. And there was the, is anybody’s favorite food pineapple.

I mean, anybody.

For me, it would have been a Buffalo wings. If he had been like Buffalo wings, how did you know? I would have been like, bingo, bacon, bacon, another good one. What food would you have preferred? And my second question is when it comes to the dark forest model and questions around looking for the other hunter.

Where do you fall? Do you think of yourself as being the pessimist? Who says, yeah, we should be careful how we tried through that for us, because everybody else is hunting us as well. Or do you have more of the optimist in you that says, look, the point of going into the forest in the first place should be to see what’s there and try to connect with it in some way, [00:58:00] let us know what you think.

As a reminder, you can directly support the podcast. You can visit HTTP pod.fan/trek-in-time. And you can put some coins in the cookie jar there. We appreciate that even if you’re not able to support us directly like that. If it’s just by listening, by subscribing, by liking and sharing this with your friends, we greatly appreciate all of that as well.

Before we sign off Matt, is there anything you want to remind the listeners about? What do you have coming up on your, uh, um, I have a lot of interesting topics coming up on undecided around new solar panel technologies that are worth taking a look at. So keep an eye out for those. As for me, please check out my website.

That’s Sean farrel.com. You can find out more about my books, my writing, and of course you can look for my books, anywhere books. Big or small Amazon all the way [00:59:00] down to your local retailer or your public library. Thanks for checking them out. If you go looking, if anybody has any comments or corrections, please do reach out.

You can find the contact information in the podcast notes. And of course on YouTube, just scroll right down to the comment section directly below the video. And please do let us know what you think about this episode or articles. We greatly appreciate feedback for the points out things we may have missed.

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