The crew disguise themselves as aliens when they visit an
Captain Archer and the crew discover a fully inhabited, civilized
though less advanced Earth-like planet. Disguised to look like its
inhabitants, they pay the planet an exploratory visit where they
learn that a pernicious illness is afflicting the local population.
As Archer seeks to help them find the malady’s source, he finds
himself in a close encounter with a comely female alien.
C.A. Voigts' "A View From The
Shuttlecraft" Enterprise Episode
First, pardon the pun, but hats off for the welcome back to the aircraft carrier Enterprise. Nicely done!
Overall an even and enjoyable episode. All the cast gets to play a part in the plot and each part is important. Music is nice, overall cinematography good. Script writing good.
Enjoyable parts: The opening scene. I could be wrong but I do believe T’Pol was in on her first practical joke. The whole show was somewhat reminiscent of the original Trek. T’Pol, in certain scenes, reminded me very much of Mr. Spock. The camaraderie between Trip, Archer, and T’Pol is becoming more apparent. While T’Pol doesn’t exactly “joke with the boys”, she is getting in some great comments and wonderful deadpan humor. When done right, it's wonderful.
Other little things which made this episode enjoyable: the “mysterious mixture” made by Riann being tea. Archer pushing the wrong button. The crew members actually shutting off their communication devices!! Showing how the universal translator works and having it go off line for Archer. (Nice way to shut a girl up!!) Overall, there was a nice mixture of action, humor, and romance. The script stayed focus on the
story, yet the humor and the romance were worked in naturally - no wrong stuff here. Also, having Riann be more than a match for Archer was first rate. I would like to complement Diane DiLascio on her role. She did a great job over all. No overacting, great timing. Her character's sense of humor was wonderful and she portrayed it well. She also did a very smooth job of changing from English to the alien language.
New things - possible reference to replicators. Shields on the enemy ship. Force fields. Once more, a reference to “M” class planets and not visiting a planet until the planet has warp capabilities. The comments about cultural contamination - the prime directive is making its move again.
Note to the killer Bs: Let's get Jolene Blalock out of that skin tight suit - she's portraying a Vulcan, not a Deltan.
Good lines: "It's almost like traveling back in time (Bakula ought to know)." "This must be why aliens are always landing in corn fields." "If they want it so badly, perhaps we should give it to them." "You wouldn't happen to have anything that gets that hot? (and that is a loaded question!)"
What does this rating mean?
C. A. Voigts
Copyright 2001, C. A. Voigts. All rights reserved, but feel free to
ask... This article is explicitly prohibited from being used in any
off-net compilation without due attribution and *express written consent
of the author*.
Laurie's No-Nonsense Review
Well...it was better than last week. And there were some new
aliens. And they did go to a planet. And it was still kind of
They went to visit a planet that was supposed to be
pre-industrial, but had an antimatter reactor on it. Of course T'Pol
wanted everybody to stay on the ship and take scans, but they
disagreed with her (as usual) and beamed down to see what was going
on. That made sense, but answer me this: why was T'Pol the only one
who didn't wear an outfit with a hood? The away team all had little
ridges put on their foreheads by Dr. Phlox, and yet they decided
that T'Pol, the only one with pointed ears that wouldn't match the
people on the planet, was also the only one who should forego the
hood. It was very confusing. It turned out that some OTHER aliens
had already landed on the planet and were doing some kind of mining
with the antimatter reactor and the people on the planet were
getting sick from an "industrial lubricant" that had
leaked into their water supply. The only fun part of the whole thing
was when Archer was having a fight with one of the bad guys and he
peeled the skin on his face back, and he had all this scaly skin
underneath, it was cool.
There were a few good things in there, though. I liked the
scientist-chick who was on the planet and was really smart and
helped Archer save the day. And Archer had his first romance, which
I assume will be one of many. But why can't they come up with some
better stories? They had a few good ones at the beginning of the
season, hopefully they'll cough up a few more before it ends. And
just a little character development wouldn't be such bad idea
either. It's Ensign Mayweather's turn.
Land of Laurie
Timothy Lynch's Enterprise Episode Review
WARNING: Spoilers have gathered here for ENT's
In brief: Not entirely riveting, but pretty solid.
Enterprise Season 1, Episode 8
Written by Phyllis Strong & Mike Sussman
Directed by Mike Vejar
Brief summary: The Enterprise's investigation of a pre-industrial
society finds contamination from another culture.
Well, that's one Trek tradition firmly in place.
I don't mean the TOS-era tradition of the captain getting
woman after woman -- we may yet see that, but haven't done so
particularly strongly yet. No, I mean the modern Trek tradition of
truly *terrible* previews. Based on last week, I think almost anyone
would've guessed that Archer's romance with Riann was the main
point of the show, when in fact the preview pretty much covered the
entire screen time of said romance. Sheesh.
Unlike the preview, then, the actual episode
that we're still in a pre-Prime Directive era, in a manner somewhat
different from what "Terra Nova" did earlier in the
earlier episode questioned (albeit briefly) whether Archer could
swoop in and play God with a newly developed society, even if that
society was once fully human. This is the first time Archer's had to
deal with a fully developed but previously unknown civilization, and
one unaware of space travel to boot. Thus, we get T'Pol pointing
rightly, that a trip to check out the planet could affect their
Archer's response is basically "we'll try to be careful, but
Now, that's extremely consistent with his character -- he holds
extremely pro-explorer, human-centric views and doesn't subscribe to
caution easily, so I've no problem on that score. On the other hand,
means that *yet again* we've seen Archer do something reckless and
not have it come back to bite him. In fact, this time he can argue
well that he's done a lot of good by checking the Akali out. If
moving towards a situation that Archer can't resolve (or at least
where someone points out how incredibly lucky he's been so far),
then I look forward to it -- but if this is going to be the status
much longer it's going to start wearing somewhat thin.
That said, "Civilization" is in some ways reminiscent
of TNG's 'Thine
Own Self," partially because of the Akali. In "Thine Own
Picard and company have to set things right after the environmental
catastrophe caused by Data's crash-landing while trying not to
influence a somewhat medieval culture too much. Ring any bells this
Fortunately, I quite liked "Thine Own Self," and liked
quite a bit as well. Perhaps first and foremost, that's because the
episode didn't condescend towards the Akali, as sometimes Trek has
been known to do. Archer treated Riann as an equal -- an equal he
had to keep certain information from, but an equal nonetheless.
Phlox even acknowledges that Riann is an extremely capable scientist
given the tools she has and the surroundings in which she lives. I
certainly wouldn't expect any regular or sympathetic character to be
callous as Garos, but sometimes Trek has fallen into the trap of
the civilization because we're the Good Guys, so we can show you
how to help your backward ways." (I always got a sense of that
TOS's "A Private Little War," for example; not having
show in a while, I'm not sure how justified it is, but it's there.)
It seems a little odd to appreciate a show for what it didn't do,
also appreciated the general lack of technobabble. The closest we
really got came when Phlox started analyzing the water sample T'Pol
collected from the apothecary -- but even then, it was very brief.
found out the name of the contaminant, what it's used for, and that
could very plausibly be the cause of the problem. That's enough to
move the show on, and move on it did. In other areas, we could have
had long digressions on the nature of Garos' energy barrier, but we
didn't. (Good thing, too, as there's no real reason these characters
should be able to *know* that.) "Enterprise" has generally
reasonably good at avoiding the Technobabble Virus, and I'm hoping
it keeps it up.
At its heart, "Civilization" is primarily a tale of Our
Heroes trying to
blend in with another culture in order to solve a problem. It's
worn ground, but in part that makes it slightly more appealing here:
given how many other approaches we've seen crews take, we can
judge a lot about this Enterprise crew by what and how it does.
In almost every way, I think the initial attempts to blend in
successful, both internally and in terms of the show. The only thing
which really made me wonder was bringing T'Pol along: assuming
that Phlox's cosmetic alterations don't involve trimming her ears
I'd think that T'Pol would refuse to go on the grounds that she'd be
most easily found out. Given her repeated concerns about cultural
contamination, it seems a bit short-sighted -- and it's not like she
collected any data that others couldn't have gotten. Archer and
subsequent breaking into Garos's shop seemed a little reckless, but
least sensibly done once you get past their initial decision.
Before long, though, things get complicated: Riann discovers them
and accuses them of complicity in causing the sickness affecting the
city, and we discover that Garos isn't one of the Akali either.
claim that he's an explorer is legitimate enough on the face of it,
not exactly a suspense-builder: given the character's general look
Wade Allen Williams' sinister delivery, did *anyone* expect he was
being remotely truthful? (Just once I'd like to have an episode
it turns out the apparent bad guy is completely right.) Archer and
T'Pol investigate further, getting information from Riann (both
directly and sneakily), and we soon discover that there's an
contaminant getting into the city's ground water.
If there's any strong objection to "Civilization," it's
that much of the
time things are a little too pat. Archer discovers Garos is an
check. We discover Garos is responsible for the illness; check.
Archer gets romantically interested in Riann; check. Archer and
Riann trace a delivery to an alien ship; check. Archer's cover is
blown; check. Archer and Riann manage to break in and find out all
about Garos' mining operation; check. Thanks primarily to some nice
acting from the three main people involved -- Scott Bakula, Diane
Delascio (Riann), and Wade Alan Williams (Garos) -- and some nice
directing from Mike Vejar, the scenes are individually engaging, but
there's nothing here that's jumping up and saying "I'm a great
It was nice, however, to see Enterprise clearly outgunned for a
When Garos' ship shows up to safeguard his operation, the only way
we win is by some creativity: Archer manages to get the dampening
field around Garos' shop down in the nick of time, and Trip manages
to beam the antimatter reactor (and environmental culprit) onto the
Enterprise, and then out into the path of the Malurian ship. Given
humans are the new kids out in space, they *should* be at a lower
level of technology compared to most of the groups they meet, and
that should be reflected in a lot of their battles. (Similarly, I
appreciated the fact that Trip couldn't beam the reactor into space
directly, but had to make it a two-part trip.)
I was somewhat less pleased by the firefight that erupts in the
square between Garos (with aides) and Archer. On a goofy technical
level, I seem to recall that Archer's phase pistol only has two
with "flash-fry and boil this liquid" not one of them. On
more important level, however, the battle felt very contrived. Garos
has a ship, and has gotten Archer and Riann out of the shop's
basement where his mining operation is concealed. What is to be
gained by publicly blowing his cover by using advanced weaponry to
kill Riann, one of the city's better-known citizens? Killing them in
basement where they can simply "disappear" makes sense;
after them rather than working to re-establish the dampening field
safeguard his property makes an awful lot less sense. I know, I know
-- we want some danger involving the captain. Does it have to be so
(And yes, it's possible that Garos simply got annoyed and
but that's so against the cautious and calculating nature we saw
throughout the show that I'm not willing to assume it without some
In the end, then, everything's pretty much wrapped up. The
are gone, Archer's getting the Vulcans to look in on the planet on
occasion and make sure no one else unscrupulous shows up, the
populace is healed, and Archer bids a lingering farewell to Riann
before moving on. All very tidy -- a little too much so for my
(And on a scientific point, simply curing the people doesn't get rid
the toxin in the water -- I would hope they did that when they
removed the mining equipment, but a quick line from Archer to that
effect would have been nice. It wouldn't have needed more than half
sentence while he's telling Riann how to medicate her people.)
Some shorter thoughts:
-- With a title like "Civilization," it's a pity that
the episode didn't give
us a better look at one. All we really know about the Akali is that
look mostly human, have apothecaries and have enough collectors to
make antique shops reasonable. Some more exploration of their
culture might have been nice.
-- Jay Chattaway did an exceptional job with the music this week,
thought. At least twice during the show, I really sat up and took
notice of the music (in a positive way), and that hasn't been the
for a while. (The two times, for the record, were during the initial
exploration of the city, and during Archer's battle in the forest.)
-- Wade Alan Williams, for the record, was recently seen on
towards the end of last season; the voice is unmistakable.
-- I appreciated Archer mistaking Riann's brewing of tea for a
complicated experiment. Among other amusements, it called to mind
a Bond/Q scene in "Never Say Never Again" -- if you've
seen the film
you'll probably remember the scene I'm talking about.
-- So, is "sorry, my universal translator broke" the
equivalent to "oh, look, we ran out of gas?" [And isn't
about getting pregnant? :-) ]
-- I also very much appreciated the little set-to between Trip
when she orders they prepare to leave orbit. Trip jumps to a
conclusion that's wrong, but very understandable given past history
and his own opinion of Vulcans, and T'Pol sets him straight. Short-
lived conflict, perhaps, but good nonetheless.
-- The romance between Archer and Riann felt a tiny bit forced,
that may have just been a reaction to how strongly it was played up
the preview. The two actors seemed to have pretty good chemistry, so
the warmth certainly felt very genuine to me.
As I said before, then, there's nothing about
particularly screams "great story!" to me -- but it's a
reasonably well told. I'm hoping for better, but this isn't bad.
So, wrapping up:
Writing: Generally good on characterization; a bit too pat on the
Directing: Some nice use of light and shadow here (particularly in
the first trip into Garos' shop), and generally the sort of solid
work I expect from Vejar.
Acting: Generally quite strong, both from regulars and guest cast.
OVERALL: Let's call it a 7. Not fantastic, but good.
Mayweather's crisis of conscience?
Tim Lynch (Castilleja School, Science Department)
"Seventy-eight light-years to get here, and our first act is
"Maybe you don't have to mention this part in your log?"
-- Archer and Trip
Copyright 2001, Timothy W. Lynch. All rights reserved, but feel free
This article is explicitly prohibited from being used in any off-net
compilation without due attribution and *express written consent of
author*. Walnut Creek and other CD-ROM distributors, take note.
Where to Watch - Local channels and
VHS, Laserdisc and DVD availability.
Scott Bakula as Captain Jonathan Archer
Connor Trinneer as Chief Engineer Charles Tucker III
Jolene Blalock as Sub-commander T'Pol
Dominic Keating as Lt. Malcolm Reed
Anthony Montgomery as Ensign Travis Mayweather
Linda Park as Ensign Hoshi Sato
John Billingsley as Dr. Phlox
Diane DiLascio as Riann
Wade Andrew Williams as Garos
Charlie Brewer as the Alien
Director: Mike Vejar
Teleplay: Phyllis Strong & Michael Sussman