Matt and Sean talk about what to expect when Archer is expecting.
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And we also talk about what the world was like at the time of the original broadcast. So we’re currently talking about season three of enterprise, so that means we’re currently back in 2004. I’m Sean Ferrell. I’m a writer. I write some sci-fi. I write some stuff for kids. And with me as always, is my brother Matt.
Matt is the guru and inquisitor behind the YouTube channel, undecided with Matt Ferrell which takes a look at emerging tech and its impact on our lives. So we have the storytelling on one side, we have the technology on the other side and in the middle we’ve got star Trek. How you doing?
You basically broke me with your Doctor Spock joke.
Hey, when you’re raising young ones like Archer does in this episode, you need some good guidance. Who’s better than than Spock? As usual, we like to start off with some comments from our previous episodes. So Matt, what do you have from our recent shows? From the episode
Harbinger, which was episode 65 for us, Pale Ghost 69 dropped an interesting comment where he said, If you wanna learn more about phasing, we, we were, first off, we were complaining about how can you be walking through walls but not falling through floors?
Well, here comes Pale Ghost 69 with his response. If you wanna learn more about phasing without falling, check out, I think it’s Murio. Mm-hmm. from my hero academia. As his superpower is all about phasing and learning how to control it. It doesn’t justify this example, but it just shows how difficult it is to walk through walls in that state.
Mm. Video title, but dialogue is in Japanese. Murio explained his quirk. Boku, no Hero, Academia. Mm. It’s a great show. Uh, even if you’re not really into anime, I’ve had a couple of people vehemently against anime, but they like superhero stuff and they always tell me they hate me for making them watch it because they become obsessed
Also, Dr. Stone is a good one for science nerds who like survival stuff. I thought I wanted to call that out cause it sounds like a good suggestion. I’m putting on that on my watch list. I wanna check that out. It sounds kind of fun. Yeah, I love a good
anime and yeah, it’s been a while since I watched, I watched anything new, so maybe I’ll check that out.
Thank you so much for that. As for today’s episode, the noise you hear in the background, well that’s our read alert, which means it’s time for Matt to tackle the Wikipedia synopsis. Matt, take it away. Okay.
This is a long one. Mm-hmm. Hatchery is the 17th episode of the third season of the American Science Fiction Television series, Star Trek Enterprise, the 69th overall.
It was written by Andrea B minus and Michael Sussman, and was directed by Michael Grossman, his first episode of Star Trek set in the 22nd century. The series follows the Adventures of the First Star Fleet, Starship Enterprise Registration, and XL one, season three of the enterprise. Features an ongoing story following an attack on Earth by previously unknown aliens called the Xindi.
In this episode, Captain Jonathan Archer, Scott Baula discovers an insectoid egg hatchery on a downed Xindi ship, and becomes obsessed with protecting the eggs in response to his increasingly erratic behavior. Commander Charles Trip Tucker the third Connor leads a mutiny to relieve Archer of his command.
Okay. Wow. There’s a lot to unpack
there. Yeah, there’s a lot. There’s a lot there. As Matt just pointed out, this is Michael Grossman’s first go at Star Trek. His directorial experience up to this point included Charmed Zoe 1 0 1. Angel, the Invisible man, Arlis Firefly, and he would go on to direct in shows such as Earth two.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Gilmore Girls dropped. Ed Diva Manhattan, One Tree Hill, Las Vegas. Dirty, Sexy Money, Nashville. Pretty Little, Little Liars. He’s also worked on films such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Hide And Go Shrek. So lots of experience in his. Filmography. As Matt also mentioned, this was written by Andrew Bermans and the guest appearances include once again Major Hayes played by Steven Culp.
Daniel Day. Kim is back as Corporal Chang and of course we all know that Daniel Daykin will go on in just a couple of years. To feature on Lost Sean McGowan plays Corporal Hawkins and Paul allukios is crewman number. And they joined our regular crew on this story about babies. The original air date of this was February 25th, 2004.
What was the competition like? Well, as usual, star Trek Enterprise was in dead last beating it were from abc, my wife and kids, and it’s all relative on 60 minutes two on cbs. They were talking with Christine Amor about gorillas who have never seen people. So that was late breaking news. Just in these gorillas, haven’t seen us
On Phlox, it was that 70 show in American Idol. They were pulling in approximately 12 and then 20 million each. NBC’s the Apprentice in repeats was continuing to do well with 8 million viewers and on UPN here with Star Trek Enterprise with 4 million, and on WB Smallville had a solid five. So, Smallville has now supplanted star Trek as the weakest show in the time slot.
And what else was going on in the world at this time? Well, 2004 had just begun. And Matt, on February 25th, you were about to say goodbye to Outcast in the number one spot. That’s right. The way you move by Outcast was in its final week at number one and of the movies 51st date was still number one, earning another 20 million.
As we mentioned last week, Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore’s leads in this movie were considered. Worthy watching and in the news number of different stories that were brewing at this time. There was a fire at the Dwan Space Center in India, as reported by CNN protests of EMI’s attempt to stop the distribution of DJ Danger Mouses, the Gray album, which was a mashup of Jay-Z’s Black album and the Beatles White album.
Well, in an attempt to squash this, EMI was bringing a lawsuit against DJ Danger Mouse, and in response, Hundreds of websites released the album for free. Effectively making it a, a free album in perpetuity. It was known as Gray Tuesday when that happened, and the BBC reported that the Pentagon announced that the first charges were being filed against two of 600 detainees in the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay.
But human rights groups have had their request to observe the military true BRNs turn down. And the defendants were named, but the tribunals would never be broadcast and information about what went on and the tribunals would remain secret. So this episode, while all of that was brewing in the real world, this episode dives deep into questions about ethics, questions about empathy, and questions about basically toxins as well, like a number of different layers to this one.
And. I’m gonna give my big picture response to the episode, and Matt, I invite you to do the same. I really like this one, and I thought it was very star Trek, and it was also very good. Basic hard sci-fi. I really, it resonated with me. What did you think about this episode?
Oh, Sean, I’m so torn on this episode.
I, I remember watching it the first time and I remember the first time I ever saw this episode. I liked it. I thought it was pretty good. I thought it was very star Trek rewatching it. This time, I, I don’t know, it was hitting me in a different way, and at high level I’m very mediocre on it because it felt like, Oh, this is like the episode when, you know, I think it was Spock got burst in the face by that flower and.
Changed him. Mm-hmm. , because he was under the, you know, the toxins had changed who he was. So this is something that’s been done before. And the aspect of this time that I thought was the interesting through line that they were following, which was they don’t have procedures in place for this kind of thing.
And so the captain’s kind of running ’em up, but I don’t think they drove that home as strong as they could have. And because of that, I got kind of bored during the episode so we can talk in more details about why. But yeah, in short, I, I kind of like, eh, on a
rewatch. I thought it was interesting that this episode opens with what seems like the shortest teaser.
I can recall of any television show ever I blinked and was done. It goes through about two and a half, three minutes of previously on, and it shows you all these sequences and then it cuts to what’s going on now, and it’s literally somebody looks out the window and goes, Hey, look at that chip, and then cut to the opening theme song.
It’s the most abrupt. Entry into the story without anything really happening that, Yeah, I can recall. And as far as teaser go, it does a terrible job of teasing because Yep, unless you really care about watching this episode, the teaser opens up with, Hey, look at that wreckage. Like, Okay, thanks for pulling that out.
But as we get into the story, we find the crew goes down to the wreckage of a Xindi except Insectoid ship. They find it largely powered down except for one very tightly secured chamber. And they’re not sure what’s in this thing until they find that there are eggs. And the ship is clearly designed along the lines of this chamber.
The hatchery should be protected at all costs while observing this chamber. Archer gets sprayed in the face by an appendage that comes out of one of these bundles of, of eggs. And I disagree with you, Matt, around the idea of this being like the Spock episode, the Spock episode, I think right out the gate.
it’s, he gets sprayed and he gets changed, and we’re off and running. We know that it’s about a breakdown of SP control. The layers of his control. Yeah. And throwing into question, that episode in particular, throwing into question, is there another path for Spock where he doesn’t need that control? Is there a path here because of this thing that could bring him happiness in a way that that character seems to have shut himself off from?
But here I felt like they did a fairly good job. I watched this episode and did not remember it from the first time I ever watched it. And this watch through of Enterprise for me is the second watch through. I watched all these episodes when they originally broadcast back in 2004, but now I don’t remember many of these individual episodes.
I remember scenes and I remember specific character turns, but I don’t remember specific episodes like this one. So watching this, I found myself actually about halfway through before. Clicked into, Oh, he’s been imprinted. It took me that long to recognize that. And I’m wondering, did you have a different experience which maybe fed into the boredom of the episode?
No, that’s, that’s why I’m getting at, It’s like I did remember this episode and in re-watching it, I think that’s part why I was bored and I rewatching it. I was headed more of a critical eye because here’s, here’s. The little appendage that comes out and sprays into the face. Cool concept. The fact that it’s kind of reverse imprinting him to the children.
Mm-hmm. , cool concept, love all of that. But the problem I had was there’s a room of people that watch Archer get sprayed in the face. And it takes them literally like three quarters of the episode to realize, hey, maybe it’s cuz he got sprayed in the face and it was like, Come on, you’re all the top tier scientists and engineers, and you watched him get sprayed in the face by an alien thing and you’re like, Ah, he’s fine.
And then nothing ever gets done about it until three cars the way through. That’s for me on the rewatch. What I realized was actually to me, more of a shortcoming than it actually was because the first time I watched it, because, Come on. It’s like, it, it, they stretched out too long because he starts becoming pretty erratic pretty quickly.
And the fact that nobody was saying, Hey, you remember when he got sprayed in the face? Like nobody even brought it up until like three cars in the episode. So that’s, that’s what was driving me nuts. And I got kind of bored of like, Ugh, we, I know where this is going. This is like, Yes, he’s under. Why is nobody questioning this?
Why is nobody questioning? This is why I kept thinking. , Well, I was getting bored and frustrated. It’s like a horror movie where somebody’s going into the basement and it’s like nobody in the right mind would go in the basement. Right now you’re only going down there because it moves the plot forward and it puts you in danger.
The better horror movies, the ones where the character is like puzzling out, Like, I, I can’t go down there. I’m gonna try outsmart, whatever’s happening now, and I’m gonna go outside the house and do something over here. So it’s interesting when the characters feel smarter than you are as a view. And that’s, to me where it gets really interesting.
And this felt like you all are dumb as a post because we all watched him get sprayed in the face and nobody is questioning that at all. Mm-hmm. , that’s, that’s what was getting to me as I was rewatching it Again, the first time I didn’t have that feeling. I felt more like what you were describing the first time I watched it.
Mm-hmm. . So I think that might be where my
head was at. I’m I speaking as part of the post audience where I wasn’t picking up on that detail. I think one of the things that made. , it’s they rely on a scene where Phlox has examined him and is helping him recover from what looks like simply a defense mechanism along the lines of repelling or killing.
A potential threat. So Archer has burns on his face and he’s given a painkiller and he’s given cream to be able to help clear this thing up. And he’s been examined. And I think that, I think for me that was enough to say, Oh, well he’s been examined, he’s been checked out. And that’s the end of that defense.
And so, because he gets,
but he gets so erratic, he gets so erratic, so quickly, he’s doing things as, they’re making so many people on the ship go. Wait, what’s going on here? This doesn’t seem like a regular Archer. It’s like everybody is questioning his moves very quickly into the episode. Right. And, but that’s for me, where it was kind of like, Come on, the fact that you guys can’t piece this together quicker is what’s I, I found not believable on my rewatch.
Again, I, I don’t, I don’t agree. I think that there was a moment of everybody in isolation is seeing things, and it takes a while for the episode to bring those people. For them to start seeing the patterns. So it’s one individual saying like, Oh, the captain’s been down there for a full day, as opposed to being on the ship.
Another person is hearing orders given about relocation of resources to provide more protection for the hatchery. Like all of these things are individually happening and it, I think it takes a while for that to build up where people are checking in with each other and saying, Wait a minute. Are you seeing what I’m seeing?
So I didn’t mind that. And I also think that all of that is its service to what is ultimately for me, the real source of the story. The real point of the story, which is questions of allegiance to a command because it’s been given versus questioning command when it seems unreasonable or unethical. Yes, and that’s the, that’s the heart of the story here.
So it becomes a little bit more like the episode from Next Generation, I think it’s called Drum Head. The episode where there is a judge is brought on board and she begins to try and suss out whether there’s a conspiracy in Star Fleet because of a particular. Ensign on the enterprise who has lied about having Romulan heritage, and it turns into a crucible like storyline where everybody is now in suspicion because of coincidence or taking a jaundice view of previous actions.
This episode, I thought, took that model. And turned it on its head really beautifully and turned it into like there actually is a conspiracy happening. It’s not a conspiracy that’s directed by nefarious actions on anybody’s part, but Archer is not himself. And because he is slowly losing his grip, But is still reasonable enough to give orders.
It’s a question of who on this ship will follow those orders and who won’t? And I really, really liked that aspect of this, that ultimately the sci-fi aspect of this egg causing him to have problems, the crew not picking up on it. Ultimately, that didn’t bother me because I saw this as the heart of the story.
between, Oh it is. It is Seeing Read and Hayes going off against each other with questions of when do you follow an order? Will you follow an order every time it’s given versus no, it has to measure, it has to stand up against something larger and this storyline really did. I thought a really good job with that aspect.
Did that side of it work better for you?
Well, to be, to be clear, I. Think this is a bad episode. Yeah. Like I said, my reaction is more of a, ah, cuz there was that, the pill I’m having trouble swallowing was the fact that nobody picked up on what was actually happening sooner. But the part of the episode I really did like was the drum head aspect of it that you’re talking about the, as soon as the makos are basically deputized and basically become, we’re running things.
Yeah. Is when I think if the show gets really interesting because it’s, it’s that dichotomy between you’ve got. These strict, I follow every order you give it, give me no matter what versus the read mentality, which is, I follow your orders, but I’m gonna use my own mind to decide whether this stuff feels right, right, or not.
So it’s like I, I thought it was a very interesting dichotomy between the two, and that was my favorite part of this episode, especially at the end, to fast forward when they. Hayes down. Mm-hmm. . And there’s this conversation between Reed and Hayes at the end where Hay says, You could have come to me. Yeah.
And Reed said, We couldn’t take that chance because you pro, you couldn’t take the chance that you would not side with us. And then Hayes going, I probably wouldn’t have. Yeah. And then his offhanded comment, I love this bit, which was, they never trained us for this at West Point. Yeah. And then Reid just kind of smiling and going, Yeah.
Kind of like this. I know. Yeah. Like this is why Reid is kind of like saying, basically saying to. This is why I’m in charge right. Of security because I have field experience that you don’t have. Yeah. So I thought that was a very interesting kind of conversation between the two of them that really kind of hits clearly what the episode was trying to get to.
Yeah, and I think they did a good job with that at the end. But for me it was that first kind of like act part of the first half of act two that just kind of felt like it was dragging too long. That’s why I was getting bored. It was. Get to the meet of what you’re trying to talk about. Yeah. And it was like, then they finally got to the beat of what they were talking about in the second half, and I was like, I just kind of wish they had pulled that in sooner and spent more time exploring it.
Yeah. It’s kind of like the way I felt about it.
There’s a couple of character beats in here that I think are really worth pointing out, which are, there’s the, the mutiny that takes place as a result of Archer, like you mentioned, Archer, fully Deputizes, the Makos puts them in charge. Locks down his entire bridge crew in either performing their duties like you have Hoshi at her station and Travis at his station.
But read trip T’Pol. They’ve all been removed from from their positions and effectively have to conspire with how to get a hold of weapons and then take over the bridge the moment that they enter the bridge. I think it’s fantastic the way they enter the bridge and there’s not the jumping in and phasing everybody.
They are trying to peacefully as peacefully as possible, get the macOS to step down and things are sitting with a standoff where everybody’s got their weapons drawn. Orders are still in being given. Hoshi and Travis basically move back from their stations and passively join. Mutt. I think it’s, it’s very indicative of the kinds of trust that the characters have in one another at this point, where they don’t need to be directly involved in the discussions around what’s going to happen the moment they see what is happening.
They know where their allegiance lie. They, mm-hmm. don’t have to have that experience of having seen the captain’s orders looking strange to them. Everybody else who’s a part of the Mutiny has been down to the hatchery. They’ve seen. The other ship, they, they’ve seen how many resources are being directed to fixing this thing and Hoshi and Travis haven’t had that experience, but they’re willing to trust their colleagues in that moment and just back away.
And Hoshi gives the very nice, I’m sorry, major when the major tries to give an order and she just simply won’t follow it. I also thought, like you mentioned, This is a storyline that I really like the writing for Reed in that they didn’t bother with a pulling out a reminder of, don’t forget what Reed was like a couple of seasons ago.
They didn’t bother with that kind of push. But if you’re a longtime viewer of the show, you recall Reed was the one seasons earlier saying, We don’t have enough military protocol. We don’t. Efficiently enough in that regard. And Archer kept pushing back and saying, We’re not a military vessel. That’s not what we are.
So Archer was willing to pull in some of the tightening of the ship that Reid was looking for, creation of the red alert. Procedures put in place for like, how do you, how should the crew understand to respond given certain circumstances? We need to be prepared. Now you have the makos coming in and I love the fact that in this episode in particular and the previous one where you saw Reed and the major really go like literally fist fight in the hallways.
These episodes are where Reed is saying like, I used to be like, Without saying, I used to be like you. He’s simply just a more seasoned officer at this point saying, You don’t, You don’t see all the nuance that we see. You don’t see the unexpected. And so when we see our captain change in personality like this, we assume something is wrong.
In the previous episode, there was a nice moment in the fist fight. Reed takes the major down with a move and the major’s response is, What was that like? They’re both bleeding. They’re both in the middle of a fight. Yeah. The ma, the major’s response is, What was that? And he’s like, It’s a little thing I learned from a Klingon.
So it’s these nice sort of moments are just kind of, the writing is laying out that these people are experienced in ways in, and the writing is very subtle in that regard. And I really, really like that.
Yeah, to take it back to the, the captain’s descent to madness, his heart of darkness journey that he goes through.
One of the things I liked and didn’t like, at the same time, I liked the design and the art direction of. How he was not showering or bathing and he was basically walking around the ship with clothes that looked like they probably reeked . Like he probably stank. Yeah. Kind of gives him a look of like what is going on here?
Yeah. And he makes the comment to the captain of like, I think you might need to get some rest and maybe
Which I thought was a funny thing that like all the other characters that are like part of Star Fleet. Part of the federation or starly are not willing to say something because it’s the captain and it’s like there’s a, it’s like a protocol.
You don’t criticize how the captain looks or smells . They also have that.
He was walking around the sh Yeah. They also have that nice moment where flock goes with trip to the hanger. Yeah. And it’s surreptitiously scanning him and the entire Yep. Point of that discussion is the one element that they have in.
Hip pocket is as medical officer, he does have the ability to remove the captain from command. But here, here’s my problem with that. Here’s, and here’s, and I had a problem with that moment as well. You go ahead and start with your take on the
fact that they attempted and the captain was like, No. They could have very easily turned around and gone to Hayes and say, I have scans, there are concerns, there are medical issues.
I have the authority to do this, and the captain’s refusing to follow those orders. Hayes, being a military guy that knows command and follows structure, he would’ve said, Okay, yeah, he would’ve backed them up because that’s what protocols are. And the fact that they only did it once and then we’re like, I don’t know what to do now.
Yeah. It’s like, Come on, come on. Yeah. It’s like that was for me, one of those points where it was they’re making stupid decisions to keep the plot moving the way it’s moving. Versus Let’s be smart about this. And there were just aspects of that that rubbed me the wrong. And, and on the top of which my wife was in and outta the room as I was watching this episode, and she , she was laughing hysterically at different aspects cuz she’s coming in and she walks in and looks at him and goes, What is up with his uniform?
He’s disgusting and was just laughing. And then later there’s a scene where he’s. He’s in hatchery and he finds, um, a couple of them hatched prematurely. Mm-hmm. , he pulls out his communicator and goes Medical emergency. Yeah. To call for these little dying little babies. Mm-hmm. and my wife just started laughing, like full belly laugh.
Thought it was the funniest thing she’d ever seen i’s Yeah, he’s disgusting, he’s coded and he’s medical emergency and everybody’s behind him. Just kind of like I. . Really? Yeah. And that’s to me why it was kind of like, it was stretching, believability at that point. It’s like he is clearly out of his freaking mind.
And the fact that Phlox and the rest of the crew were not saying to Hayes. We have authority to take him out of command because he is medically unfit right now. We have to examine him. For me, it was just like the huge plot hole you could drive a bus through, which is part of why my reaction was this. Uh, yeah, boring for the first half.
I do agree that’s a
plot hole. But then if you had them. Respond differently. We wouldn’t have had two nice moments. First Phlox holding what looks like a Indian Insectoid action figure, , and second, the strange CGI of Archer having little babies crawling all over his body. That was cool. Which was, And it, yeah.
I couldn’t help but think like when they do stuff like that, I wish they did more. Stuff like that. Like the kind of creepy aspects were were really well done in this one. Yeah. So having creepy little babies creeping all over you. I was. I’m down for that. So listeners, do you agree that this was a episode that had some interesting challenges for the crew and told an interesting story?
Or like Matt, do you think, well, your setup to get there was a little too weak and it made for a mediocre episode. Let us know in the comments. Before we sign off, Matt, is there anything you would like to remind our listeners about, about what you have coming up on your main.
By the time this episode’s out, I think I should have an episode about Clean Supersonic flight on my main channel.
It’s kind of trying to make a comeback and it should be interesting to see if
it can be pulled off or not. Very interesting. I’m very interested to find out if that is just high speed falling. But as for me, you can check out my website. You can go to sean Ferrell dot com, look for my books, or you can look for my books at any bookstore or library new that includes Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or even your local bookstore.
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