Matt and Sean talk about being bad to do good. This is another episode of Star Trek Enterprise that gets back to basics with good action, good drama, and classic Trek ethical dilemma.
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We’re in season three, which means we’re also in 2004 because we take a. What was going on in the world at the time of the original broadcast? Who am I? I’m Sean Ferrell. I’m a writer. I write some sci-fi. I write some stuff for kids, and with me is my brother Matt. He’s the guru and inquisitor behind the YouTube channel, undecided with Matt Ferrell, which takes a look at emerging tech and it’s impact on our lives.
Matt, how you doing today? I’m doing pretty
Matt Ferrell: well and I’m talking to you live from the Bridge or the enterprise,
Sean Ferrell: so I’m happy. Yeah, happy to be here. Be the first to describe to anybody who’s checking out this as a podcast only instead of on YouTube where you would have the video feed. If you’re, if, Let me be your eyes.
Matt is a giant nerd. Yes,
Matt Ferrell: I got a green screen. I’m fine.
Sean Ferrell: I will admit to being jealous because all I have for my green screen is an image that looks like the back of a living room, . So Matt, from the bridge of the Enterprise and me from the bridge of the back of my living room. Let’s get into today’s discussion as usual.
Before we get into the chatter around the newest episode damage, we like to talk about some of the chatter from our previous episode. So Matt, what do you have from the discussions?
Matt Ferrell: There’s a few comments that come in kind of buckets here. The first one is for the episode, our episode 67, which was about hatchery, where the captain loses his mind a little bit and is, uh, obsessed with, uh, the little like ant people that he’s trying to raise.
AJ Chan wrote, It’s Cool that Andre, Andre Broman wrote this episode. He started as a scientific consultant for DS nine and Voyager, maybe t and g as well. So cool to see he became a writer. Mm-hmm. . I just wanna bring this up cuz we have talked about that before. I can’t remember which episode it was that you brought that up, that he was a scientific advisor and we talked about that.
I love that.
Sean Ferrell: Yeah. I love that. Yeah, he’s, he’s gone on, he’s involved in a bunch of different programs that he’s continued to be a very strong writer. and for a number of years, and he, I recently at your recommendation recently tried out the Orville for the first time. Oh yeah. What do you think he, he was involved in, that he’s been involved in, uh, he’s one of the science consultants and writers for that show, and he did a bunch of stuff for some of the star Trek movies.
So he’s been very involved in all of this for a long
Matt Ferrell: time now. Robo Trev also dropped a comment that had me laughing for quite a. Personally, I think Archer would have been better off reading what to expect when you’re infecting
Sean Ferrell: that’s. Slow clap. That’s . Yep. Wow. I can’t, I’m gonna, I’m gonna bask in the glow of that one for a while.
That’s pretty impressive. Thank you. Tr .
Matt Ferrell: Okay, so in the episode 66 for us, which was doctor’s orders, that’s where Flox is the only person aboard the ship. Everybody else, but sleep, vinyl solution. Sorry, I must have been much more gullible than you two I felt for this story, hook, line, and sinker. Back in 2004, Billingsley was brilliant.
Blalock was hilarious, and the directing successfully pulled off a haunted house vibe. Your rewrite ideas are interesting, but could have undermined the creepy Omega man theme. Mm-hmm. if all the casts kept showing up, helping or hindering Phlox. It would undermine the flocks all alone point. The episode is easily in my top 10 favorite episodes of Enterprise and I hardly noticed it was a bottle episode to save money, which is a small victory for the production team.
Death to clip shows.
Sean Ferrell: Cheers. Absolutely.
Matt Ferrell: I, I agree with that completely. I, I, I mean the, the whole I’m death Eclipse shows. This was a really well done bottle episode. Mm-hmm. , so I agree with ’em on there and good feedback on our rewrite being, maybe it would’ve gone a little off the rails , depending on how it would be executed.
And then Pale Ghost wrote on the same episode. That rewrite was a long walk but worth the destination. The premise of this episode reminded me of your desire to see the Ulence have some sort of temporal awareness, like guidance raise. It kind of fits here since he can travel through this type of space.
Unharmed, I’m surprised you guys went. The whole video without mentioning this episode was a repeat story that Voyager used with seven of. I completely forgot about that episode with seven nine. So did
Sean Ferrell: I And that’s the value, right, of the kind of rewatch that we’re doing is taking the shows out of temporal order and making ’em about contextual order of within the star Trek universe we’re, we do occasionally refer to, this is like an episode of Next Generat.
But I think what we’re trying to do is a little bit more of within the star Trek universe, what do characters know of how the universe works and how do they build forward in time within the Trek universe? So that reference to the Voyager episode is something we would’ve said if either of us had remembered that episode.
And I think that’s part of the value of this, is that this is a rewatch of a lot of this for both of us. So, Looking forward to getting to Voyager sometime in the year 2039
But before we get there, you’ll hear that that’s the read alert in the background. And of course we all know what that means. It’s time for Matt to read the Wikipedia description of this episode, Damage. And Matt, I will give you a fair warning. No, this is a good one. This is, this is a nice write up. Is that a sarcastic, This is a good one, Or is that a genuine, This is a good one.
I genuinely like this part of our program. Okay. , right.
Matt Ferrell: Okay. Here I go. Damage is the 71st episode of the television series, Star Trek Enterprise, the 19th episode of the third season. The story is a continuation from the previous episode, Azati. The television show is set in the 22nd century of the star Trek science fiction universe with Captain Archer of the NX oh one Enterprise.
Struggling to explore space and meet Aliens, . That is such a vague description of this episode.
Sean Ferrell: Okay. That is the entirety of it. Yeah. I really like the fact that the only part of this description that has any kind of plot element, mm-hmm. , is that it refers to the previous episode. Yep. Other than that, you got Captain Archer struggling to meet aliens.
Why am I so lonely? He says, . So this is season three swiping right. Ulence, Balkans, Klingons Ryan, Slave Girl. Season three, episode 19. This one was directed by James Conway, written by Phyllis Strong, and I’ve got a note about her involvement in this episode. This will be the last episode that Phyllis Strong writes for, Really star Trek.
Yes, she had contributed for scripts to Voyager, was executive story editor for Enterprise with the show’s inception until September, 2002 when she was promoted to co-producer. And she would leave the show at the conclusion of the third season. This was her 13th and last script for Enterprise. So she’s been a critical part of the show up to this point, but she would be departing at the end of the season, which at this point we’re already in episode 19 of this season, which means we have just a handful of episodes.
The original air date for this episode was April 21st, 2004, and guest appearances in this episode include Casey Bigs as the Urian captain Randy Oglesby as DRA Scott McDonald as Commander Doum Tucker Smallwood as the Xindi primate, Rick worthy Asar, and it took me looking up Rick worthy. After this episode and being like, I know that guy’s voice to suddenly realize, Oh my God, I know who Rick Worthy is.
He was a regular in the show of The Magicians, and I think he’s a terrific actor. I really like his performance and seeing him beneath all this makeup is another example of the kind of caliber of guest stars that they get and then they layer them under latex, so we don’t even know who they are. There was also the sphere building woman.
Joette DeCarlo, which is a very strange character name to give. Mm-hmm. . Ultimately it could have been the builders. It could, it could. They could have given any kind of name , but Sphere builder Woman just makes her sound like she’s playing with Legos in the other room. I don’t know. . So on this air date of April 21st, 2004, Matt, do you remember what you were dancing along?
Yeah, you do. Yeah. It was the song. Yeah. By Usher. Mm-hmm. featuring Little John a Ludacrous. Okay. Moving on to movies. Kill Bill. Volume two opened to 25 million. This of course, being the right on the heels of kill bill volume one. These were not legitimate sequels. This was effectively one gigantic story that was just cut in two.
Mm-hmm to make it easier on audiences, cuz otherwise it would’ve been a five hour set. And on television on April 21st, 2004, what was America watching? Well, once again, they weren’t really watching enterprise cutting to the chase. I loved this episode. I thought this episode was really strong. I was only one of 2.9 million people watching this episode.
This, this is the lowest rating. This is a very low number of viewers, and yeah. I’m not sure what else might have been happening, if there was something else that was going on in April 21st that would’ve drawn viewers away from the show in this way. But this is a, this is a fairly steep drop for a show that has been bouncing along at about 3.5 to 4 million viewers to go down.
Sub 3 million is a. Is a bad sign. Mm-hmm. , but people were watching on abc, my wife and kids, about 8 million viewers there, 60 minutes. Two on cbs. 8 million Phlox had that 70 show with almost 10 million an American Idol at 21 million. NBC was showing a repeat of the most outrageous moments. For those of you who might be listening now, who were born in the past couple of decades, we didn’t used to have.
What we had were compilation shows, like most outrageous Moments, which took videos and put them all together and put them on television with commercials and said, America, we bet you’ll watch this. And they were right. 10 million people watched it. Enterprise only had 2.9 million and Smallville had 4.4.
So Smallville also had a dip in its viewership based on what’s weird, the recent, the, the previous. What’s
Matt Ferrell: weird about that is the last episode ended with the enterprise getting pummeled to a level that was like cliff hanger of cliff hangers. I remember watching that and being like, Can’t wait for the next one.
Yeah. It’s like the fact that they went from just under four to that two point. Nine. It’s like, how did those 1 million people go? Yeah, I’m good.
Sean Ferrell: I think that I don’t need to see this. Part of it for me is, is this is of course, back in 2004, so we’re talking about 18 years ago. We, Yeah. Have a very different model of television right now where we have, you know, we’re, it’s being called the Golden Age of Television right now.
Prestige television being the model where you, you have 12. Episodes instead of 22 to 26. You release all episodes, potentially all at once. Or the new model that I’m seeing really take traction is you release three episodes all at once and then you make it weekly. Mm-hmm. , there is no such thing as a mid-season hiatus.
There’s no mm-hmm. holiday break. Break. You release your show at a time when it makes sense for you to release episodes over. Eight to 10 week period as a block, and then you expect reviewing and subscription model to bring your viewers back the dates if people are paying attention. This episode aired almost a full month after the previous episode.
Oh, right. Okay. There was a spring hiatus. I think that this is a demonstration that the model of television in 2004, which as I said, we’ve. Forward from there. A lot of television is now taking this different approach. I think what we’re seeing here in 2004 is the death of the previous model. At this point, DVRs were just beginning to take hold of how people viewed television, and there was a big push among networks of how do we basically avoid people DVRing, They didn’t want.
To time shift to their viewing. I remember that around this time you started seeing shows starting at 9 0 5 and going to 9 35 instead of nine to nine 30 because they were intentionally trying to throw off people’s ability to record programming. Mm-hmm. . I can’t help but wonder if an audience that was beginning to shift away from, We will watch when you tell us to watch and shifting more toward a, I want to be able to control when I watch if this spring hiatus break effectively through the audience out the door, because it really does seem strange that there’d be this month long break.
They would’ve had repeats during the. Uh, the interceding weeks and then the audience just didn’t come back because, Well, why would they, they’ve, there’s a different model of maybe they didn’t realize it was the future. Yeah. Especially if you’re not in the habit of watching upn. Yeah. And let’s be honest.
Who was nobody was. And so if you’re not watching other UPN shows, this is part of the problem when your entire network is built around one program, if your program doesn’t have a new episode, your viewers don’t come in and see any advertising. Therefore, they might not, as Matt just said, they may not have known the shows back.
Really, really unfortunate for the program this week because this episode, as I said, I think this is one of the best episodes of the season and it’s one of my, Yeah, I think it’s, It does a lot of things that are very compelling and challenging for the characters and the viewer in line with those challenges.
In the news at this time, April 21st, 2004, we had breaking news coming out of Abu Grave Prison in Iraq, which revolved around the US military abuse of prisoners. The BBC was reporting that photographs showing Iraqi prisoners and the Abu grave prison outside Bagdad were being tortured, abused, and humiliated by US soldiers, and it was sparking outrage around the world.
Six soldiers faced court marshals and their commanding officer was. From the BBC report, CBS pictures showed prisoners standing on a box with wires attached to his genitals. The CBS footage showed graphic images of the abuse of Iraqi prisoners, images of US soldiers allegedly abusing Iraqi prisoners at a notorious jail near Baghdad have sparked shock at anger.
Politicians in the US Britain and the Middle East expressed disgust at the images broadcast on US television and called for those responsible to face justice. CBS News says it delayed the broadcast for two weeks after a request from the Pentagon. Due to the tensions in Iraq last month, the US Army suspended 17 soldiers over the alleged prisoner abuses Later.
After this report broke, President Bush would join those saying he was disgusted by the actions of of the military who took part in the abuse and there was no attempt from the White House to grant any kind of clemency to the individuals who were brought up on charges here. So the misuse of power, the any means necessary attitude and the the treatment of people who you were in a position to control abuse and misuse Strangely, this news story is something that would’ve been brewing for weeks and months, and the events that took place took place well before this April 21st broadcast.
But this episode seems to strike that dead center of that target of people willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done, even if it means crossing a line. Because we see in this story, Archer and the crew being willing to target completely innocent people in order to carry out their design of we have this mission in order to save.
We were talking about billions of lives versus a handful of aliens that we’ve just met. So very challenging episode. So as we mentioned before, this is picking up right on the heels of Azati Prime, the previous episode. The enterprise is damaged. It looks like it’s damaged beyond repair with loss of crew and a, a level of destruction on the.
Which included some tremendous special effects in the previous episode. The battle sequence is there included explosions in the sausage section where you actually see individuals flying out into space. And we see the aftermath here in the doctors, uh, Medical Bay, which is filled with people on the tables and there are bodies stacked on the floor.
and the surprising return of Captain Archer after we see the Xindi arguing amongst themselves. I felt like the beginning of this episode was not quite a yada, yada yada to get things forward. It was kind of a half, yada yada. It was halfway there. It was, it was a single yada .
Matt Ferrell: Um, it was a little convenient that they got him back on the ship the way they did.
Sean Ferrell: They probably should have made more of a
Matt Ferrell: a do about that. A to-do like, Whoa, wait, whoa, whoa, whoa. That I was not expecting to see that coming. And then it was kind of like, Yeah, they just sent it back. We’re not gonna go into that too much. It’s like they could have do, Explain that a little bit more later on when were seeing Bera and the others talking.
They could’ve talked more about why they did that, but they didn’t. So it was kinda like, for me that was a minor niggle. Cause I’m, I’m with you. This episode felt was, was. Um, and to just to build on that. Special effects on the pre top were amazing. They’re good in this one too. The enterprise flying around.
It’s like you can see inside the ship as all the holes. You can see all the girder and the structure. It looks like it’s a, a sad flying space frame more than the space ship. It’s just like so pummeled, uh, really well done. And at how they redressed the. It looked like, like the girders and all the stuff that was everywhere.
There was that moment where they’re out on the bridge and they’re talking about what they’re gonna do, and then you hear this kind of calm, come on saying that there’s a, uh, there’s a power surge on the, a power surge on deck a. And you hear, we boom and you see this sparks flight, everybody in the bridge ducks.
And it was just like, thanks for the warning. It was like the warning came in like a second before it happened. That aspect of how they built out everything from the physical sets to the computerized graphics on this episode was just as like immersive. That’d be the best way to describe it. It was so immersive on.
How they pulled everything off. It’s like you can see why they did some model episodes to save up that money to spend it on these two. Yeah. Yeah. It was
Sean Ferrell: really well done. I also, um, to go back to saying that this is Phil Strong’s last script for the show. I mean, it feels like she managed to jump a school bus through a flaming hoop on this.
Yeah. Because she’s able to do what very few writers could do with a 45 minute. Television script. We’ve talked on the show before about your A plot, your B plot, and we’re typically always saying like, how do these two plots relate to each other? We’re very critical when a show, when an episode appears to have a B plot that doesn’t reflect anything about the alo, and they just kind of like one of them will just peter out.
Mm mm-hmm. , if I’m counting correctly, this episode has no fewer than four plot. Yeah, it has a lot going on, so we have a lot to talk about if we’re gonna talk about them. And I’d and I would like to try and like consolidate our conversations around each one. Mm-hmm. , which in some ways is hard to do because not only does she have four plot lines, the four plot lines don’t feel like they’re disparate from each other.
They don’t feel like they’re going different direction. They’re very tightly. We have one plot line with the dissolution of the Xindi Alliance. The Xindi themselves are bickering about actions being taken, and we see the sphere builders really for the first time in direct conversation. We’ve seen a sphere builder that was in the test chamber.
That was basically the canary in the coal mine and the enterprise found them and thought that this was a prisoner at first. And then it’s revealed by the end of the episode that this is in fact a test case to see if space is being changed in the right ways for the builders. So we see the Xindi arguing with one of these builders, and we hear not a lot of detail around what arguments.
The builders have claimed about humanity other than trust us. They’re bad guys and the Xindi are fracturing. So we see the simian and we see the, the sloth like versions of the um, Xindi arguing with the builder and when the builder finally leaves, they all kind of look at each other and DRA is the one to say yes.
Did you buy that ? Yeah. DE’s the one to say like, I don’t believe what she’s saying, because she hasn’t done what the humans have done, which is Archer has given us proof. We’ll, remember that the. Proof came in the form of Archer providing a coin, which would be a, a family heirloom that we passed down. And he gave this coin, which is a coin from the future, from Dre’s family’s future to Dre to say like, Look, you can carbonate this.
You know that there are Z Xindi serving with the federation in the future. And so DRA is a key part of. Growing distrust while the reptilians have been outed as having done things, the insectoid are not in this episode, but you get the sense that everybody in the room is also like, you know, we can’t really trust the insectoid either.
Mm-hmm. and the aquatics are the ones who are actually given custody over Archer, and that is kind of the middle ground. They feel like they’re in the middle. Yeah. As a viewer, I left that scene where they discussed, Okay, what’s gonna happen with Archer? The Italians are like, We’re not done questioning him.
Everybody else in the room is like, You’re gonna beat him to death, and that doesn’t do us any good. You’ve gotta give him up and you can give ’em to the aquatics. This clearly seems like a middle ground. As a viewer, I was not expecting the aquatics were then gonna hand him over.
Matt Ferrell: Yes. That that was, They didn’t set it up well and they didn’t expend it later.
So when they did hand him over, it was like, Shake your head, What? What just happened? So that was, I think, a fault
Sean Ferrell: of some of the storytelling. It didn’t bother me the way I think it bothers you. I think that it was a little bit of the. The show providing a little bit of a surprise element because we see Archer being transported.
We see him questioning the aquatics, Where are you taking me? The aquatic, very lively, just hits a control panel, knocks him out and knocks him out. So it’s like they’re not even trying to talk to these people, but I like the fact that it does present the aqua. I would’ve liked a little bit more conversation on the enterprise about like, maybe we’ve swayed dra, maybe Dre’s our friend now.
There was touches of that, but I would’ve, I, I think there might have been room for a little bit more of that. But what I do think that this did was a nice job of saying, we’ve seen the reptilian say, Let me just keep beating the crap out. And we’ve seen everybody else in the room say like, You’ve gotta back off because we don’t know what is going on.
And we did not know where the aquatics landed in this. Mm-hmm. . I think that the way it was revealed was a nice, They are not quite as friendly as the simians, but they are also open to reason, but they’re also open to reason. They’re not with the reptilians either. So they’re willing to be the go between.
They’re like, Okay, we’ll return this guy like you’ve asked, but. We’re not gonna be overly friendly or caretaker. We’re not gonna treat his wounds, We’re not gonna do nice things. We’re not even gonna talk to him. So I thought that that was effective. So we have the, the, the storyline that revolves around their interactions with the powers behind them, the sphere builders, and the slow dissolution of the alliance that they’ve had going.
Yep. We also have the storyline around Archer and his wrestling with what he feels he has to. In the context of carrying out his mission, he gets back to enterprise and they find in the shuttle that he is transported back in what looked like just basic logs, like nothing important, and they keep pouring over this and it’s a nice sequence where Hoshi is having to teach herself aqua.
In order to interpret what is being said in these logs and discovers that the logs are just simple requests for permission to do something, but they recognize message. The coded message is the names of D children are referred to as commanders in this request. So they see through this, they keep pouring over the information and eventually TEAL’S able to figure out.
It is a timestamp and a location. They have to get to a certain spot in space by a certain time in order to make next steps with reaching out to Dere, here’s where they have a major issue. They don’t have the ability to fly that fast. The ship is basically, at one point, it’s even referred to as like, we don’t even have thrusters.
It’s just practically, Well, it’s practically not flyable.
Matt Ferrell: re Reed says at one point, I don’t even know what’s holding us together.
Sean Ferrell: Yeah, that was one of my favorite, That was one of my favorite moments is he says, I, I don’t even know what’s holding us together, but I hope it doesn’t give out. Yep. So now we’re wrestling with how do.
Get there. So here comes another plot element, which is the introduction of another species, and this is one of the elements of the episode that I did take issue with. They introduced the URS and Casey Biggs, who plays the Allian captain. Is better known as being the character DeMar from Deep Space Nine.
He was a Kardashian commander. Yeah. Who served under Duat. He was in many episodes and was responsible if people remember the Deep Space nine storyline. There’s the whole dominion war, the mining of the wormhole. DeMar is the one who comes up with the technique of dismantling the mine. The producers brought him in, telling him we’re coming up with a new species.
He was interested in the part and developing it further. Spoiler, we do not see the allures again. Nope. That is so unfortunate for a number of reasons as we will get into this episode deeper, it is really, really, really, For, for this
Matt Ferrell: plot line. I think you’re gonna be a little more negative on it than I I am.
I love this
Sean Ferrell: plot line. I’m, because it’s so, let me clarify. I’m not negative on the plot line aspect of it. Just that aspect. I wish that there had been a slight tweak. Not even necessarily in this episode. Like if you’re gonna go with the alls Oh no. Fine. Bring them back. Have there be consequences to this action is what I would would’ve hoped.
Yes. Yes. And if it’s not thes, I thought, Okay, why? In this case we have, you and I have complained about too much fan service of pulling in other races that we’re very familiar with in a way that feels like, Oh, they’re just doing this because of fan service. This like, they brought in the frankie simply because people would wanna see the Frankie.
This would’ve been a place. What if they’d brought in a species that we are aware of from the future, Maybe not a main species, but some species that the federation doesn’t have a good footing with. What if this was an opportunity to plant the seeds of like, yes, this was the reason why, like Archer, this really crappy thing.
So yeah. I’ll let you, There’s there was a There. I’ll let you, I’ll let you, No, I was say that what you’re, No, there.
Matt Ferrell: That is one of my complaints is that they never came back to this. There’s never any consequences. There’s, It would so easy later to say at some point episode in the future of, we sent, we sent a spaceship out to where we believed from to try to tell them, Yeah, where we’re, sorry, we wanna help you find a ship and get them a warp Coil, , something.
They could have done something so easily, but they never did it at all. Yeah. Which has always bothered me, but, This storyline was my favorite part of this show because it’s so star Trek because it’s, it’s grappling to me, Star Trek is the best when it’s grappling with ethical dilemmas and here, so they’ve set, they’ve set up in the storyline so well that the captain is in a no win scenario.
Yeah. This is like the Khi Maru. It’s like he has to go. Every fiber of his being for basically robbing these people, potentially killing some of them to get a war coil so that he can save the earth. Yeah. And it’s like if he doesn’t do this, he’s damning his planet and if he does do this, he’s damning his, his morals.
And it was like it really wonderful ebb and flow over the storyline, especially when he’s talking to, to. And this is where those two storylines inter intersect. I won’t go too in, but, but DePaul’s having these emotional reactions and she loses her her shit. Yeah. And smashes the data pad and is saying, You can’t do this.
Um, when the captain tells Reid to get ready for a boarding party, we’re gonna go in there and we’re gonna get this thing and reads reactions like, Wait, wait, what? Yeah. It’s like he’s got a reaction of You’ve got a kidding Trip. Does the same thing. But that’s this wonderful exchange between, he
Sean Ferrell: talks to all the major officers and all of them are looking at other, they’re all looking at each other and giving the same look of just like, Yes, are we really gonna be doing this?
This is terrible what we’re doing. My favorites, people
Matt Ferrell: favorite conversation was between the captain and Phlox and that dimly lit captain’s room. And the captain just says to him, Have you ever done anything? Have you ever done anything that you thought was unethical and fox’s. Twice. Yeah. And it’s like, what were those two things, dude?
You gotta tell me. Yeah. But it’s like, here’s this guy that we’ve drawn to love and he is an he is. I look at him as character as he’s super ethical. He does what he thinks is right. The fact he’s done something twice. Yeah. That he himself says is wrong,
Sean Ferrell: it’s played up, and that he’s almost like the captain’s conscience.
He’s the Jim Cricket of the show. So good. And he’s standing there so good. And he’s whistling and he’s the, the, you know, if you just believe hard enough, you can do anything. And for him in that room, and the fact that, as you pointed out, it’s dimly lit, it is like we don’t get to see anybody’s face, really.
And it is like, yeah, I’ve done it twice. It’s dark, it’s a dark moment. But
Matt Ferrell: the fact that he doesn’t, it’s like one of those things where like a good friend just listens to you. Says, I hear you, but doesn’t say there’s no judgment, there’s no, like if I were in your position, I would do Xon Z. Yeah. It’s literally like, I’m just, I’m listening to you and I hear you, and I know there’s no one situation.
That’s what Phlox does. And it was like the perfect scene for the two characters. Yeah. Um, and then the conversation that he has with Trip after they do all the ripping off and everything like that, where it’s. Says you did the right thing. And the captain is basically saying, I’m still not sure about that.
Yeah. It’s a, it’s the way that they positioned this, it never feels clear that they did the right thing Yeah. Ever in the entire episode. Yeah. Um, which I liked. It leaves it unanswered. Yeah. By end,
Sean Ferrell: Which I appreciated. Yeah. I have two, I have two responses to all of that. One is you mentioned Kochi Maru. I was thinking the same thing and I was in my fan fiction.
Uh, brain, my fan fiction can. In my head, I see an older Archer back at earth working with star lead and arguing with admirals who’ve never been as far in space as he has to say. We need to prepare future captain. For no end situations, we need to develop mm-hmm. psychological testing to see how people respond when they have two choices and one will kill six people, and another choice will kill a different six people.
And they have to make that choice. I the, the whole Kobe Mar Mira. Kochi, Kohi, Maru, Sorry, I’m tired. Uh, scenario here is very beautifully rendered and it’s also rendered in the DePaul plot line, which mm-hmm. does come out of nowhere. It is subtly introduced in the previous episode, but we have not seen her do any of what she claims she’s been doing for most of the time that they’ve been in this part of space.
They introduce the idea that Vulcans have a effectively an allergic reaction to the one material that would protect the ship from. The anomalies in space. In fact, when they meet the alls, the captains first go at getting a warp core. A warp coil is to say, I’ve got all this stuff that will protect your ship and you can have it all.
I don’t want any of it. You can have it all if I can just have a warp coil. So he tries to buy it off of them. Effectively. Turns out that to Paul, since they discovered that this material can’t be used without it being toxic to. Has been ingesting small amounts of it in an attempt to build a resistance to it.
Matt Ferrell: That’s not, she does it. That’s not what he says. She says she’s doing it because it gives her emotions. That’s, that was the part that drug nuts. She, she says in the episode, In this episode, she says, when she was impacted by the, when they were on the be ship and she got impacted by some of the, the trillion E and how they all went, just like completely overly emotional.
Zombies. She had that experience of feeling those emotions and she was basically like a drug. She was hooked and she was doing this not to build up her tolerance. She was doing it to basically play with those emotions and to kind of, it was that emotional high that she was going after, which to me was like, okay, I kind of get it, but why the hell didn’t you set this up like 10 episodes?
That was my problem. Shows. Yeah, it was whatever rationale, whether it was building a tolerance, whether it was this just, I just wanna get high. Yeah, it. It doesn’t matter. The fact that I misremembered,
Sean Ferrell: kinda like, Yeah. I, I misremembered, I, I do recall what you’re saying about her explanation of why she was doing it and it being the emotional thing.
I remember the initial premise being she was curious about being able to withstand. Stuff, but I may have manufactured that in my head. Yeah. But
Matt Ferrell: the other side of it I thought was interesting. Even though they, I think they botched the execution of that, they clearly were trying to set something up because she slept with Trip.
And in this episode they set, basically set it up as that’s why she slept with Trip. She was doing this stuff and she was probably feeling attracted, sexually attracted to him. Right. And acted on it in a way that she normally not, would’ve not done it. Right. All those koy little looks she was giving. Yeah.
Like her bursts of anger that she was having in
Sean Ferrell: more resent the jealous, jealous, the jealousy she had. Right. But it’s, it’s one of those things where they never hinted at this. Yeah. They never hinted at it. And it was a kind of withholding That’s unfair to the audience. Yep. Um, it would’ve been, it makes me wonder if
Matt Ferrell: it was delivered or not.
Like were, they were just doing that because they were playing with their character and then later in the creation of these two episodes, they’re like, You know what? We can make that mean this. Yeah. It’s like, it feels like wasn’t a cohesive idea. Yeah. And that they were kind of reconning what they had done before, which felt really kinda like out of sorts.
So this episode of the storyline of all the story lines to me was the weakest
Sean Ferrell: starting point, But I like where they went with it. Yeah. That’s the thing is ultimately I would have been along with what they. Going for. Yeah. But like you, I wish that they had done a better job of, of weaving this in when they make the claim that Yeah.
I remember way back at the beginning of the season, that’s when I started doing this. The very first time that we see her do anything with injecting herself with this, with this compound is in this episode and that that just doesn’t fit. And I’m not suggesting that we needed to see her ingesting it in any way, shape, or.
But if in 10 episodes earlier she had gone to the captain and said, I would like permission to go into the trove of that material we have, cuz I would like to try and conduct some preliminary research to see about making it work for us. Right. If we knew that she was going in and doing that. And then you have the sequences where she’s acting a little weird in certain episodes and we’ve mentioned, Oh, this is a little out of character for her.
Especially the, like the coy episode where she’s looking over her mug at the at flox with this look. That’s just like, who me? And all of those little things. If we had seen something earlier in the season that was, I’m going to work with this. We still may have been scratching our heads, but then in this episode, they would’ve earned her.
Oh, I’ve been effectively smoking this stuff. Like, yep. She practically, I mean, as she was doing all the stuff to it, I thought, is she putting that in a crack pipe? What is that? What is happening here? Is she about to like, literally like, Is this cocaine? And then it’s, it’s effectively, she is using it kind of like cocaine.
She’s exploring her feelings, she’s doing stuff with it. That’s definitely drug abuse. But for this storyline, I’m, I’m with you in that. I like ultimately where they get, and I love the final scene with her talking to flocks. Where absolutely appropriate that she’s talking to the doctor, the ship doctor about Yep.
Absolutely. Finally appropriate that she is breaking out of that barrier of I need to go through stuff alone because nobody else here is a Vulcan. She is talking to somebody. She has grown to trust the doctor. So not only is it the doctor, it’s a friend. So she has, there’s like two check marks for me of like, Yes, this is the, the emotion.
Network of the show is really, really strong at this point, and I absolutely love his response, which is, you’ve done something to yourself. You may not find it undoable, and you are going to be in some strange territory for a while. And yep, you know, I’m here for you. But good luck. Like this is, this is gonna be strange.
So setting up the whole thing. She’s gone after trip. She tried to pass it off as, Oh yes, I was just experimenting. That was no big deal. Clearly something is going on. Like they’ve now opened a pathway for themselves with this character, with trip in, in ways that I remember when I first watched this epi, these episodes, and this storyline in particular went to Paul’s evolution.
I really enjoyed this part of, of her character. Yes, it was a very strong journey for her. Before we
Matt Ferrell: go off her storyline, there was aspect of the film. With her. I thought it was really good filmmaking. So complimented the special effects. I wanna compliment the filmmaking because like the, where she’s in the beginnings episode, desperate to get to Cargo Bay two.
Yeah. I don’t know why. And she’s in command. So she’s making is car choices? Yes. She’s like, Is Cari two? Okay. They’re like, Uh, why would we care? I don’t know. And then she’s like, I gotta get to the Cargo bay too. And she gets in a space suit and she’s going. The filmmaking of her getting there was so well done to create sense of mania and claustrophobia.
Yeah. And just like with going, there was like a lot of first person filmmaking where you were inside the helmet looking out and just this manic kinda like looking around like where is it? Where is it? Where is it? It was really well done to kind of amp it up. Yeah. To really make it clear there is something not right with this woman
Yeah. Is out of her mind. Can I
Sean Ferrell: compliment the, uh, the filmmaking? I was reminded by the extreme devotion to curiosity and logic in Star Trek, the motion picture when Spock on his own, don’s a space suit and goes out to confront vj. And it’s that entire drive of like, I’m doing this thing regardless of what anybody else thinks about it.
And. You’re absolutely spot on in that hers does look like the mania driven by an addiction where, Yep. She does not come across as doing any of this for any logical reason. It’s obvious from her acting and from the way it’s filmed, they have the sequence where she’s walking through the ship and everything is distorted and everything is slowed down, and it’s a.
Technique. Mm-hmm. , and you know, something that’s used a thousand times and a thousand different shows and a thousand different movies. But it worked here because it was, First of all, they didn’t overdo it. It wasn’t like every time she’s talking to anybody, like she’s not talking to Archer, and he’s like, I’m going to jack this ship.
He’s like, Like you see her walking down a hall, but she’s not even talking to anybody. And you just hear everything is wrong and you see everything is wrong. And she’s clearly. The, the monkey on her back is outta control. Yep. So by the time you see her getting into the cargo bay, she even potentially has a death scene when she falls and the oxygen from her tank is disconnected.
She has to scramble to get it back into place. And there’s a moment where like, Imagine the rest of the crew and they’re like, We just found Taul dead in Cargo Bay two in two suit, What the heck is going on? Like, imagine trying to explain that to Captain Archer when he gets back. But it was,
Matt Ferrell: yeah, it was good filmmaking.
Cuz as a viewer, it’s, they’re trying to basically communicate to us without telling us why. Yeah. Something is seriously wrong with her. Yeah. Cause like you’re watching like the whole hosing and you’re like, what is possibly worth what you’re doing now to call ? She doesn’t even call
Sean Ferrell: for help. What is going on?
It’s like she’s, Yeah. She’s desperate to get to that, uh, cargo container full of rocks and. and then literally, you know, turns it into a fine mist that she then injects into herself. And it is clearly all intended to be, she’s, she’s suffering through an addiction. She doesn’t know what else to do for herself.
I like the end of that storyline, like you said, I did not appreciate like, okay, this is, this feels like you said. Are they rec counting a bunch of stuff? Did they have some scenes? Did they cut out other episodes? Did they have a larger plan here? And then they rushed it. Like was this a moment of like, Oh, what if we explain away all of her emotional turbulence with this thing?
Because up to this point, any emotional turbulence in the series for her for in this particular season, I was willing to say like, Well, it’s the proximity to just that material in space. They’re in this weird era area of space, and she is having psychological issues like all the Vulcans did, even though they haven’t been using that material.
Mm-hmm. , like I was willing, part of me was willing to say like, Okay, she’s going through stuff because of all that. For them to introduce this in the way they did felt a little bit like, Oh, that’s convenient, but I’m also really happy. How that storyline resolves itself in this particular Yep. Particular one.
So ultimately to Paul and Archer have a great scene where she freaks out at him. Um, she makes the point that the, we’ve talked about already, Archer being in a no win situation and she’s clearly sees a line that she doesn’t wanna cross. She freaks out and. Smashes a data pad and then follows up with, I didn’t mean what I said, but she did like everything she said.
Mm-hmm. Was like spot on. And Archer knows it, and he makes a impossible choice. We see the attack on the Urian ship. We know that this means that it’s going to be, I think the Urian captain says it’ll take us three years if we’re going back without a. Engine. Yep. So a three year journey ahead of, ahead of those guys.
At the end of this, when the enterprise successfully steals the warp coil, in order to do so to Paul has to go one step beyond what she wanted to do, and she effectively cripples the ship as well with an attack to. Destroy its, uh, ability to shield its engine. And so they get back with all the parts they need.
They put these things into place and it sets up in this network of storylines. They’ve all come together in this way. The Z Xindi collapse is tied into the release of Archer, is tied into the Meet us in three days at this location is tied into. Archer being in a dilemma is tied into Paul arguing with him vehemently and all because she is suffering from this addiction that she has been, uh, feeding.
Like every scene in this episode does what I think you and I have been hoping could happen more and more often, which is people are given opportunities. Hoshi and Travis have a great scene. Where Travis is basically saying, Well, when we get back to Earth, and he’s got this optimistic, like, someday, you know, we’ll do all these things and you can do all the things that you dreamed about doing, like learning how to play piano.
And she’s like, You think we’re getting home? Like, Yeah, and it’s this beautiful, like this is spot on for their characters. He has this eternal optimist of like, if I just keep working hard enough, we can make it through. And she’s got this negative Nancy of like, We’re probably gonna die out here. I don’t know what you think is going on.
Mm-hmm. flocks, revealing like all of those dark things in his past without going into detail already. Such a three dimensional character. Having that moment with him is, is so good to Paul’s struggles, which is really the only place at this point for a Vulcan character on a show to go. In 2004, they had, we had already seen so many Vulcans, the most recent one being two V on Voyager, which would’ve been the show that just preceded enterprise like.
We’re very familiar with Vulcans, so a Vulcan who is breaking down their emotional barriers intentionally using a drug is really kind of like the newest way to do all this, while also giving us a Vulcan who’s opening up doors emotionally to bonding with the human crew. It’s really terrific for the, for the series and for this character in particular.
And then the whole captain’s dilemma, like it’s just pulled out of like the heart of, of Trek that entire, you know, everything that you want, your, your characters to deal with, the kind of more dilemmas you wanna see them wrestling with. This episode has all of that, and it does it very, very well. I was just top to bottom, found myself about two thirds of the way through the show, feeling legitimately.
Legitimately like, Oh, I was tense. Most of it. Like, Oh my God, what are they gonna do? And thinking like there’s no way they can steal that work coil. As a viewer, I was fully in a, in the vein of like, they’ve gotta find a different way cuz they cannot do this to these people. And I just love the whole setup.
Matt Ferrell: how they created the ticking clock that’s in the background to make the, to ratchet the tension. Yeah. Of just like they have, they have to be at this location in three days. and this is gonna be the make it or break of saving the planet. Yeah. . So it’s like that ticking clock is amazing cause it ratcheted attention from like, oh, it’s a seven outta 10 to 11 outta 10.
Yeah. It was just like, uh, everything that was
Sean Ferrell: out. Yeah. And it would’ve been, it would’ve been weaker if it had been, Oh, we need to get a warp coil cuz we need to chase the weapon. Or we need a warp coil cuz there’s a ship that we, we we’re about to lose from our sensors and we need to keep up with them.
The fact that it’s literally like, I’ll make a date with you. Be here at a certain time. Like the simplicity of that. The simplicity of like, Oh, this is, this is your one shot. We will not get this moment back. Yeah. Perfect, perfect way to, to handle that. So for me, this is an a plus episode. This is really.
Like this is peak, not only enterprise but peak star Trek.
Matt Ferrell: This, this ties back to like when you and I were just ragging on episode after episode in season two. Even in season one, it’s pretty boing middle. And we kept saying, Yeah, wait till season three. Wait till season three. This is why we were saying that for me, season three is where the show is genuinely good.
Yeah. Um, they finally are delivering on a lot of promise and it’s episodes like the previous one and this one, the two parter specifically that are just make me. The characters and this entire series, I forgive two students of a rocky start because of what we get here at
Sean Ferrell: season. Right. It’s also evident that it, it was almost like a soft reboot because they’ve taken them into the section of space where they meet the mysterious builders who are doing all the same things, the Suliban.
It is just like, it’s back to, they’re not calling it the temporal Cold War, but it’s this, Oh, they’re doing stuff because they’re trying to assure something in the future and they’re monkeying around with the timeline and they shouldn’t be doing that. So like literally lifting from themselves two years later, just redoing that same sequence tells you, they were very clearly like, Oh, we have to kind of like rethink.
What we’re doing and why. Yep. Because having people temporal, cold war and then running into ings is not going to do it. So they took them into a place where it was like, okay, this is just weird space. They are in a clockwork mechanism and they don’t know what it is. What are these spheres? What is happening to space?
Who is doing all of this? That’s the newness, the weirdness that the show needed, and they’re at this point doing it really, really. Yep. So to the listeners or here on YouTube, the viewers, do you agree? Was this one, one that really knocked it outta the park for you? Because Matt and I, we try to keep our episode discussions, you know, like a, a concise length.
We’ve, we’ve over the past couple of, what is it now? A little more than a year of these episodes. Yeah, our first episodes went on for quite a while. We whittled that down so that we can get a concise 30, 35 minutes. We’ve been talking now for almost an hour about this episode, and I think it’s because this episode deserved an hour.
Yep. Do you agree with us? Is this one that for you, like ticked all the boxes or do you disagree? Do you not like the direction the show is going at this point? Let us know in the comments on YouTube. You can go directly below the video, leave a comment there, or you can find the contact information in the podcast description if you are listening to us through a place like Spotify, Google.
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