43: Judgment – Star Trek Enterprise Season 2, Episode 19

Matt and Sean talk about broken justice systems, refugees, and pulling Trek stories out of the days events. 

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Hey, everybody in this episode of trek in time we’re going to talk about being guilty of a crime simply because you’re on the other side of the argument. That’s right, we’re talking about enterprise episode 19 of season 2 judgment and this episode originally aired on April Ninth Two Thousand and three what we’re doing here on trek in time is we are taking a look at all of star trek. Let me say that word again. We’re taking a look at all of star trek in chronological order and we’re also taking a look at what the world was like when these episodes were originally broadcast. So we’re in early days still we’re still in enterprise which means we’re also in 2003 and who are we well I’m Sean Farrell I’m a writer I write some sci-fi and I write some stuff for kids and with me is my brother Matthew Matt is the guru and aquisitor behind the Youtube channel undecided with Matt Farrell which takes ah takes a look at emerging tech. And its impact on our lives Matt how are you doing today I’m doing pretty good before we get into the main discussion matt usually likes to share some comments in our previous episodes. So Matt do you want to hit the subscribers and commenters comments.
I’m doing Well how about yourself.
Sure sure we have some from the episode the crossing which was the episode that you and I are both kind of like meh on where the ah the wisps take over people’s bodies. Well we have 1 from giant hogweed lives.
Share them with us.
Can we have more awkward elevator scenes with Malcolm Reid please maybe to end the show someone recalls his interest in the number of anatomical differences to read confusing him I find februaryably funny. What are you talking about I remember doing this.
Yeah, yeah.
Awkward um, the second one was from palego 69 this one’s a little long I’m not gonna read the whole thing but he had some really great takes on this episode. This episode would have been better if the aliens that were trying to take over the enterprise were a rebel faction to the others like a cross between power play from the next generation where data Troy and O’brien get possessed and waking moments from voyager. Sleep aliens invasion. It would also make the whole incopoial thing make sense since the wisps would just be projections and still be linked to a physical body. Initially it could just be a sharing of experiences that gets taken advantage of my nefarious actors in the alien ship I thought that was great.
Um, yeah.
It’s like he had he went on and had some more suggestions but it’s like he had some a really interesting take on tying it in to other things. The show has already done that would be an interesting take on it but yet they didn’t do any of that That’s kind of.
Phoned it in I mean his his final take was I don’t know it just seems like a severe lack of effort on this one Lots of and then instead of if then or because I thought that was ah a pitch perfect explanation on it. Yep.
Um, yeah, yeah there there seems to be it feels a little bit like the episodes we’re talking about right now are giving us a lot of inadvertent Peaks behind the curtain in the form of.
Oh this 1 takes place completely within the confines of the ship using only existing sets and there’s not an extra guest star anywhere around this. So this is almost like a bottle episode. They’re saving money and then we get to an episode like today’s episode where we actually last week had ah, 1 of our commenters left a note about how this pairs up well with the with a kind of law and order theme and this episode we see a wide range of costumes, different sets.
Guest stars and different locations. So this was probably a more expensive episode to produce that unevenness is showing and that’s not helping with the overall structure and writing of some of the intermediary episodes like the 1
Crossing which looks weaker in Comparison. So you know getting into kind of big picture talk about this episode I like this episode but there were some things about it that some weaknesses in how does this impact the crew. As opposed to the culture that we’re looking at ah, but overall I felt like this episode almost as a standalone episode is a very strong episode.. What did you think about it.
I Don’t want to give anything away. But um I don’t have that opinion.
Um, okay so we’ll get into it. But first we need to figure out what it this episode is what is that oh my god what’s that noise oh wait a minute. It’s a red alert that can only mean 1 thing mad. It’s time for you to read the Wikipedia description.
Ah, you ready for this because I’m not judgment is the nineteenth episode of the second season of startrekenterprise the forty fifth episode overall it aired April Ninth Two Thousand and three on upn.
Captain Archer appears before a klingon tribunal charged with attacking a klingon spaceship and inciting a rebellion this episode guest stars j g herzler as a klingon lawyer back low pick to this episode as a favorite of his okay all right.
Um, that’s quite the synopsis when you get down to where it aired the date it aired and the fact that Scott Bail likes this episode.
Yes, it is.
So as we mentioned this is season 2 episode 19 and it was directed by James L Conway we’ve seen him direct in the series before all the way back in the pilot James Conway was the director for broken bow. The story is by Taylor Elmore who had just joined the writing team and David Goodman with the teleplay by David Goodman David Goodman was most recently the scriptwriter on the episode precious cargo which was one of those episodes that Matt and I both were like good. Ah but wait. But it didn’t.
This is.
And the original air date of this episode as I’ve mentioned is April Ninth Two Thousand and three but what does April Ninth Two Thousand and three have to do with the episode Matt I know that’s what you’re asking. Well it explains 1 thing while we were all going to the club. That’s right, ¢50 into club was the number 1 song and at the box office. Well the number one movie was phone booth which made $15000000 and people may remember that phone booth is the 2002 American Psychological thriller
This was I like what you did there.
It was made in 2002. It was released in festivals in 2002 but it didn’t hit the screens until early 2003 and why was that because it’s got Joel Schumacher as the. Director. It’s been produced by David Zucker it starred Colin Farrell Forrest Whitaker Katie Holmes Rodda Mitchell and Keiffer Sutherland and in the film a taught psychological thriller about a sniper taking a person hostage in a phone booth. What about this movie would keep it from actually hitting theaters when it was originally intended in fall of 2002? Well a little thing called the dc sniper attacks which were happening in October of 2002 kept this movie from its theatrical release in November of 2002 so Twentieth Century Fox sitting on a movie about a sniper which literally was going to be released a month after actual sniper attacks were taking place. That’s a little bit of a ripped from the headlines that kind of smacks you across the face and for anybody who wants to see this movie. It is actually still available on Hbo Max and in television on this day. April Ninth Two Thousand and three how did enterprise stack up against the competition as usual, we’re looking at enterprise at the bottom of the heap. It’s piled under shows like my wife and kids and George Lopez it’s underneath shows like Cbs’s star search which I continue to Marvel was actually a thing believe it or not I was alive in 2003 so I should remember this but no now I don’t.
Yeah, no, yeah, you’re blocking it out.
It was also behind shows like that 70 show and american idol and dateline and just barely ahead of Dawson’s creek but for the week the number 1 show second time in a row Csi with 26000000 viewers and then the headlines from the New York Times most of the headlines at this point are laser focused on the war that was going on in Iraq including headlines such as the Us tightens its grip taking Baghdad street by street but there is something about this. Days’s New York Times which caught my eye in the op-eds the letters to the editor. This 1 seemed particularly on point regarding the subject of this episode of enterprise to the editor as while morning dead. Many americans say level of casualties is acceptable. The news article from April Eighth makes clear the death toll in Iraq has not yet exceeded the unknown maximum that the public will tolerate no doubt the absence of a draft makes a great difference. Those who are unwilling to fight. May comment safely from the sidelines like spectators at a game many parents who protested the war in Vietnam are dismayed that their own children have enlisted in the military though they oppose the war in Iraq equally strongly they maintain a conflicted silence. Lest their protest be seen as disloyalty to their children. How strange to hear some say that the Vietnam deaths and that the deaths in Vietnam were in vain while in Iraq were doing something perhaps that means that government propaganda is more effective now or the the public. Is thinking less clearly the reason I say that that has a bearing on the episode that we’re about to talk about is that the episode we’re about to talk about is giving a voice to a character. We haven’t really seen in star trek before a klingon who is an advocate in a court. Who is bemoaning the shift of his people’s culture in a way that is disturbing to him arguing that the humans have so far only experienced back and forths with the warrior class but the other classes in the klingon culture. Are drifting into obscurity as the warrior class is taking over leaving the people who felt that the culture had a wider and more accepting way of operating is slowly withering and dying and I felt that that was an interesting thing to be.
Part of a show airing in 2003 as the military was moving into Iraq and people were feeling something similar here that the military was being given a level of support and military operations being given a level of support and discretion that was completely dissimilar to what was experienced. During Vietnam so this episode includes guest stars all of whom are going to be playing klingons because this takes place entirely within a klingon court as mentioned before in the synopsis for some reason we don’t know why. But in the synopsis. It was pointed out that j g herzler was playing advocate Colos and people will remember that jgherzler played a klingon before yes. Mr. Herzler was martok on deep space nine great character.
Great character now.
Of my favorites from deeps space 9 I’m looking forward to in 10 years when we eventually get to deep space 9 talking about my appreciation. My appreciation of Mr. Herzlo’s work. Other actors include Granville Van Dusen who played the klingon magistrate John Vi who played prosecutor Orac. John Victoryy was also an actor who appeared on babylon five Daniel Riordin played Duros so we’re seeing Duros this is the first time we’re seeing auras in the in the star trek lore we.
So I have thoughts on this I have thoughts on this.
Have a couple of other klingons in the form of guards who don’t really do much other than simply guard things so that’s fine, but this episode based on my speculation around known dates the next episode will have a known date of January Twenty One 53 so this is ah basically a Christmas episode this is late December Twenty one 52 and the episode starts right? off the bat in a klingon court that big sigh you’re hearing is Matt responding to. Whether he knows it or not Matt and I are probably going to be talking about the exact same thing in this episode but from different sides of the fence. This episode is full of fan. Service.
Um, which it’s funny say because my first note as I took this episode was the du Ross family really fan service. Why is I wrote my notes I was like come on I forgot they did that.
It is.
Yeah I could tell by your side that you were thinking about the fan service. This episode is full of fan service it introduces Duros so we have the beginning of the Duros plot and if you watch this entire series the way we’re doing it in this podcast chronologically. You’ve never seen a bit of star tre before you’re going to hear the name duross again and again and again coming to its peak during deep space 9 all centered on wharf some of the other things in this episode I’m just going to throw these out there to get them out of the way the script.
A lot a lot.
Originally revealed that the location of this court was narendra 3 that was the site of Enterprise Sea’s demise in defending this klingon outpost. It was something that was in the script but it was not vocalized in the episode. So that’s another.
This is.
Bit of fan service. This is supposed to be the place where enterprise c will defend this klingon outpost from a Romulan attack which leads to a more peaceful relationship in the future as we know from the episode yesterday’s enterprise in star trek the next generation. The court was designed to resemble that from star trek 6 so this looks very much like the court where we see Mccoy and Kirk put on trial and in star trek six kirk and Mc Kirk and Mccoy are sentenced to ro repentte which is where archer is sentenced. It is the ice mining facility. So.
This This is my problem. This is my this is my problem.
We this is an episode to go into a note that I discovered in my research on this episode. The script was written by David Goodman based on idea from himself and the newcomer Taylor Elmore their goal was to write an episode that would. Try to bridge as much as possible. The connections between the klingons in the next generation and the original series they were trying to explain why klingons from the original series seemed different from the klingons in the next generation. Basically saying the next generation klingons have a more nuanced ah culture and the original series klingons were all just like warriors showing up just to fight the good fight to fight the good fight.
So something happens between those 2 What is it and they are basically making the argument that what we see in the next generation is a return to this culture that was in its was in its demise So the ebb and flow of the Klingon culture is what they were trying to examine. They did that by having to tie in as many references as they possibly could one of the interesting things about this episode was originally it was designed in the script. That the crew would rescue archer from a prison transport as opposed to going to roentte but Bran and Bragga liked the idea of quote archer on a prison transport which became the episode Kanemar. So This episode was written before. Pitched originally before Kanemar and then the sequence of episodes was read organized so you ended up with that element being thrown into its own episode earlier in the season.
Okay. Okay, so this is. This is this is making so much I didn’t know all that and this is making so much more sense to me because you said it in the beginning that you you basically kind of like this episode you found enjoyment in it for me I’m the exact opposite I did not like this episode I vehemently hated it. It could be in my mindset when I watched it. Um because. I just had a ah doctor’s procedure thing and maybe I wasn’t thinking clearly Sean knows something I’m talking about and so maybe it was the worst time to have watched that episode at the end of it I was just like I hated this episode and it was because it did too much fan. Service. It was tying into too much stuff. It was trying to bite off more than it could chew. And it would have been better if they had just focused on 1 damn thing and just like nailed it because the throughline of the the story is the prosecutor and the law and order aspect of the show this legal system that is designed to screw people over It’s basically just a facade of a court. And so it’s like if they leaned into that it would have been far more interesting but they here come the durosses and well here’s ro pente and it’s like wait. This is just ah, this I felt like I was rewatching star trek undiscovered country. It’s like this. We’ve already seen this in star trek six what is new here. There’s nothing new. We’ve seen all this before.
And they’re just treading the same ground and it made me think of pri my favorite episode of all time from next generation which is the measure of a man which is when data is put on trial for is he a sentient lifeform does he have his own rights or does he is he owned by starfleet. What I love about that episode is they spend time with the prosecutor and the scientists that are trying to claim him as ownering him and they spend a lot of time with Picard who’s on the defense trying to defend him you get to know the underlying motivations of both sides you get to understand the the ebb and flow you get this really kind of. Fascinating argument for and against data and so it kind of makes you ah, not sympathize. But you understand why the scientist that’s trying to claim data why he’s doing it and so you understand his motivations you understand where everything’s coming from this episode is so lopsided 1 side. You know Jack Hall about the prosecutor you know Jack all about the Klingon courts. It’s all about the defense attorney and and rehashing a he said she said version of events which as a viewer we all know the klingons are lying and just framing this badly before we even get to. Ah. Baalla’s portrayal of what happened we all know what it’s going to be because these are the heroes of the show. You actually don’t need to show us because we all know that this stuff is going to. You know they’re being who they are and they’re doing the right thing and all that kind of stuff. So. They focused too much time and effort on the stuff that we inherently just know to be true and the stuff that would have been novel and new and interesting. They just never even touched so at the end of the episode I was just kind of like I’ve said this a lot recently like cannema it’s like there was just like a man. Like at the end of the episode. It was kind of like I was just like what did I watch my notes on this episode Sean are I wrote 2 notes usually I have a thing that is just little bit notes I wrote 2 notes and one was while the fan service and the other one was why did they focus purely on this 1 ne-sided aspect which is basically star trek undiscovered country I was actually angry by the end of the episode of this is a thread that we’re seeing in a lot of episodes when it’s uneven for me, there’s an interesting idea there. There’s a seed of a really cool idea and the execution of it was just are you kidding me. Did they do a second draft in this script. Did did they actually like is this the best way we could do this script because it does not feel like it to me.
Yeah I agree with everything you’ve said I think there is definitely a better version of this episode available I think the way it works for me as a standalone thing is to say like oh you want to watch the sci-fi version of to kill a mockingbird. It is entirely about.
A less interesting version of that. Yeah.
It is a less interesting version but it is entirely the downtrodden lawyer who is looking around and saying when did the legal system stop being about Justice and the entire episode is focused on colos.
I have problems with the fact that there’s no growth in any way shape or form amongst anybody on the enterprise including archer it would have been like if I was here we go very quickly into the rewriter cap archer should have been unwilling to work. With Kolo as opposed to it being collo showing up and saying like don’t bother talking to me because there’s nothing going on in this court other than you being guilty which is how it’s framed. It should have been. Kolo showing up and saying like talk to me about what happened and archer being the one defensively saying like well you’ve already decided I’m guilty. So why would I bother talking to you. It should have about it about archer’s growth into accepting some klingons are good and it should have been colos going in and making these arguments. And I agree with you if it had been like the measure of a man where you had some discussion behind the scenes with the prosecutor. It would have been fascinating to see a prosecutor saying look you and I both know this guy didn’t do anything but you also hear how the crowd is chanting and the moment that we close the doors on this tribunal.
Um, exactly yes.
We’re going to have a riot out front. We can’t have that riot so we need to keep these doors open. We need to let the public know we’re attacking the enemies of the empire you and I both know that this guy isn’t going to amount to a hill of beans as far as Klingon is concerned So let’s just get this over with the prosecutor should have been given an opportunity to have a point and even.
The magistrate could have been involved in that discussion. The magistrate could have been like look. We’re on thin ice here like we’re barely holding on as a entity within our own empire. It could have been the lawyers and the judge all basically saying the warrior class doesn’t think they need us anymore.
Hundred percent yes
They’re willing to start just taking people and slitting throats and and cutting their heads off when they when they think they’re guilty. They’re on the verge of doing that we need to continue to demonstrate that we have a role here that would have been fascinating. Yeah.
Um, that’s yes, that’s that’s what I’m talking about. It’s like that would been far more interesting than what they did. It’s because they basically it’s this whole the whole Braga like every time braggga comes up in the conversation of oh he was behind the story or he shaped this I always sigh. It’s like oh. Here’s a guy who basically was burned out. He was burned out. He did great stuff in star trek but he was burned out and it shows every time he has his fingers deep into an episode and this felt like that to me it felt you’re leaning onto fan service which only carries you so far. And they could have done something truly unique and interesting if they’d done what you described I wanted to see more of that side of the conversation of the klingons arguing amongst themselves not just this one sided. Oh. It’s this defense attorney and you know captain archer back and forth. It was like the acting was great.
Throughout. Yeah.
Um, yeah.
I Love fed actor I Love him to death. But it’s just this was not a well-written episode my in my mind.
Yeah, the overall impression of the episode though the production values on this one I think were very impressive. The construction of the courtroom. There’s a lot of extras dressed in Clingon outfits.
Very good.
Um, it’s impressive. It’s impressive.
There’s a lot of people. It’s a it’s It’s a lot of people standing in those stands and full Klingon garb chanting in Klingon One of the things that stood out to me as yeah and at this point now it feels like we’re we’re at the point in the episode where we’re just pointing out little amusing things little gaffes in different ways. But. Um, boy talk about Selective Universal translator archer is standing there and they are all conversing very eloquently in a common tongue. It’s you know the impression to be like oh there’s a universal translator at work. That’s how archer is able to communicate so seamlessly.
With all these people who would clearly be speaking Klingon but for some reason what is not translated is all the chanting from the peanut gallery in the background where as they are chanting things archer is like what are they saying and it has to be translated for him I’m like how are you able to turn to your Klingon lawyer and say can you tell me what those.
Which makes no sense.
Clingons are saying in the back of the room and have the klingon lawyer who does not speak the tarran tongue be able to say oh yeah, they’re they’re saying they want to kill you so little things like that like that wasn’t thought out completely. Um, also the depiction as Matt says. Of the courtroom. It is so entirely like star trek six as to be distracting at moments even to the point where the judge’s gavel which is a metal orb striking with sparks. It’s it at moments does look like are we just watching the Tv.
Movie version of Undiscovered Country. It does get to be a little repetitive in that way and it’s in those places where I felt like okay you could have had some courtroom scenes and and shown a couple of the times of the magistrate banging his ball against his his desk. But then you could have. Also incorporated some of the more behind the scenes stuff that we would have appreciated more I don’t think we needed anything aboard the Enterprise I think that we did see the one scene where tapa is saying like the captain has made it Clear. We’re supposed to Leave. Um. That was fine I’m not looking for anything else. Aboard the Enterprise I don’t think we need anything else with the crew I will say that one of my favorite scenes is flocks showing up having lied his way into the cell by saying my captain has a disease and then having the very surreptitious conversation.
Yes, yes.
Which ends with him recommending I know you don’t necessarily want to eat that meat but you should probably eat the protein. It would be good for you and the the joke. Once again being cling on food is not palatable to humans.
It was it just me or was the shape and appearance of that thing on his plate ah reminiscent of something that phallic.
I’ll leave that to the listeners listeners. Yeah yeah, listeners jump into the comments. You can find the contact information in the podcast description or on Youtube you can just scroll below the video.
Ah, ah it was like it was like what is on that plate they surfing. Um, oh dear.
And you can let us know with Hashtag I don’t even want to put a hashtag around that one but seriously it was I it doesn’t surprise me that you and I were basically of the same mind while having.
Right? different reaction.
But not but barely like barely a different reaction I left this episode and I do wonder how much of this was simply because you did have a medical procedure that left you in a mood that maybe you were like I’m not in the mood for this Ah I left the episode feeling like. They really I mean my notes are lots of fan service. It is so much fan service trying to say like hey do you like star trek I got some star trek. Do you like kling notes I got some klingons and there’s a point where it’s just like okay I get it and I ended the episode feeling like I wish that colos. Was a character that more had happened for and depicting more of a world in which Colos made sense because when I read that this episode had an intention behind it of building a bridge between why do we see Klingons in 1 way in generation and one way in the original series. This episode sticks out like a sore thumb as looking like it’s trying to build a bridge and there are other episodes of other series that we will get to that do something similar. It is never good when.
This is.
It is never good when the producers and writers of a star trek episode are trying to explain why production of star trek looks the way it does. There’s 1 particular episode of the next generation.
Yes, yes yep.
That I am really not looking forward to getting to because I hate the episode So badly which which is the writers attempt to explain hey how come all these aliens all look so human and it is so completely unnecessary.
Me either. It’s abysmal.
Um, look the same. Yeah painful.
And this one felt like it was. It was not nearly to the degree of that episode but it’s in this. It comes from the same place hey we need to explain to the audience. Why these warriors in the original series eventually become the far more nuanced klingons of the next generation a request nobody made. Nobody was saying I’m having a little bit of trouble here with these clans and their inconsistencies nobody was saying that. So.
The the other thing is for a penal colony ru repentte which is supposed to be this notorious horrible place that you go and you die after 6 years I six months to a year um how come the federation has been able to have a basically a prison heist I mean a prison break twice now for listening. Like it’s like ah something does match here here here come the humans breaking out of this prison twice.
I Actually don’t have as much of a problem with that because I think Rorapentte is more in the form of a gulag than it is in actual prison I think it’s probably remote. It’s in Klingon Territory and I get the sense that it’s one of those places where from the Klingon on the street.
Ah, involved in taking prisoners ferrying supplies working as a prison guard none of them give enough of a crap I get that I get the sense that it really is like when you’re on Ropente You don’t have a means of getting yourself off the planet. But if you figure out some way to get off the planet. Nobody’s really caring. It’s it feels very much like a gulag to me in that way of it’s more like just a remote isolation as opposed to a prison.
And they’re fine with you dying. They’re fine with you not dying and if you’re going to give them some money. They’re fine with you leaving So I had less of a problem with that. But again that would be a more interesting episode an examination of what.
Yes, and what we got.
Is this prison environment like would be more interesting. A sort of great escape storyline as opposed to to kill a mockingbird so listeners. What did you think? do you agree that this was ho. Hum do you agree with me that it was ho hum but in isolation. Not so bad or do you agree with Matt that ho hum and why are you wasting my time let us know in the comments you can go to the contact information in the podcast description or you can scroll down on Youtube to the comments section and leave a comment there and next time we’re going to be talking about. The episode Horizon Matt any predictions. What is horizon going to be about.
Um, it’s going to be something over the Horizon rainbows rainbows. It’s about rainbows Star Trek rainbows.
Mm somebody just looking longingly yes, rainbows. It’s going to be about star trek rainbows. As a reminder if you want to check out any of my books you can go to http://seanferrell.com you can find information there. You can also go to Amazon Barnes and noble or your local bookstore. You can find my books there and Matt what do you have coming up on your channel.
Well at the time that this airs I should have an episode on undecided about microwind turbines on your home and if that’s a good option or not versus getting solar.
Will you also be examining whether in a high wind your home will take off.
Um, no, but I should have done that. Yes.
Um, allah dorothy don’t forget if you’d like to support the show. Please consider reviewing us on Apple Google Spotify Podcast Place Podcast E Podcast you know where you found this podcast. Just go back there and rate us we appreciate it. And if you’d like to more directly support us. You can go to trek in time show and click the come a supporter button which allows you to throw some klingons at our heads. We appreciate every klingon that strikes us leaves ridges on our foreheads all of that really does help support the show. Thank you so much for listening and watching. And we’ll see you next time.
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