Sunday, June 30, 2013


** (2 stars out of 5)
Wow! Is it August 2152 already? How time flies in the little season that couldn't.

Monomania infects the crew as they approach a black hole in a trinary system. Three stars... and I don't want to give that many to the story. It's the old sci-fi trope 'space madness' back again for (among other things) a repeat performance of Deep Space Nine's 'Dramatis Personae'.

Reed's gone full Arnold Rimmer, polishing his jackboots and painting the corridors military grey instead of ocean grey. Trip rebuilds the Captain's chair from the ground-up, dismissing dampener seatbelts in favour of making it one centimeter shorter. Archer tries to write a single page forward for a biography of his father without actually managing to tell us anything about his father. Phlox is stropping his knives to dissect Travis before Travis does anything to give us any insight into Travis. Hoshi's making soup!

For today, the only way out is through. For reasons I can't fathom, turning around and going back the way they came will take two days, but going in closer to the centre will get them out in 17 minutes. I'm not sure that's how globes work! Science!

"Singularity" gets two stars because I like these people, but it's all been done before. I don't know why you'd want to creep up next to a black hole anyway. Didn't you see Disney's The Black Hole on movie night? Space madness could be the least of your problems if you get sucked down to hell while you're arguing about cup holders.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Communicator

** (2 stars out of 5)
"The Communicator", you'll be astonished to discover, is an episode about a communicator!

Remember how, long ago in the future, Dr. McCoy accidentally left a communicator behind on a planet of highly imitative jerks dressed as Chicago Mobsters? Well, what if Lt. Reed did that exact thing on a planet covered in G.I. Joes? Well, this. This happens. You watch it. You yawn, then you move on. Or if you're a saner person than me, you just don't watch it twice.

Archer and Reed are caught and questioned and agonize over what to say. Will they be mistaken for almighty golden gods or simple slobs who misplaced their iPhone? Somehow, they decide that rather than risk telling the truth, they will let the nervous Allies believe they are evil Germans. Since there is no Prime Directive to lay down their lives for, and the arrival of aliens had a POSITIVE effect on humanity, one wonders WHY they'd choose this!? It seems the one course of action most likely to get them starring roles on Alien Autopsy.

 Although it never gets much more creative than the title, I have to give it props for not simply beaming the prisoners out of Colonel Grat's, uh... I mean Colonel Gosis' clutches. There's a whole subplot where Trip learns to use the stolen Suliban cloaking ship and accidentally turns his hand invisible. It's worth a chuckle and a fart.

For myself, I can't watch the scene where Archer and Reed are discovered to be the only ones on the planet who'd need an eyebrow plucking, not because the beating is too violent, but because the unmasking is just silly. Who looks at a stick-on forehead that comes off like an old band-aid and draws the conclusion "Surgically Altered"? WHAT surgery? If you knocked off someone's hat, would you assume you'd just beheaded them?

Friday, June 28, 2013

The Seventh

** (2 stars out of 5)
No, not the Seventh of Ninth,  "The Seventh"! That's what they called this season's seventh episode. And you thought they were out of ideas!

From the opening deadpan: "We've located Menos.", I'm wondering if they mean Manos, The Hands of Fate. And kind of wishing I'd tried to review every episode of Mystery Science Theatre 3000 instead of every episode of Star Trek, because even when MST3K is terrible, it's funny.

Thirty years ago, hundreds of surgically altered Vulcan spies hid within the corrupt society on planet Agaron to root out evil and avoid talking to their loved ones. Some of them liked living with the English and never came back to Amish country. Menos, for example, got a job smuggling the toxic components of transgenic weapons. Which are probably like metagenic weapons but less meta.

Menos claims total innocence, just minding his own beeswax hauling poisonous spent warp injector casings to feed his family, do-de-do!. T'Pol, logically, runs out to his ship and opens, handles, and licks all the rusty casings to prove he's lying.

It turns out TPol had the 'Fullara' ritual performed to repress her past as a government hit ma'am.

So THAT'S why T'Pol always looks like she's about to bite you or cry or both. She's a killer with traumatically induced amnesia! That old chestnut! "Science Officer" is just a cover like "dealer in spices" or "Sir Hilary Bray" or "Steven Harper". Thankfully, they didn't take T'Pol into their bosom and trust her word on everything science-y. Oh. Wait.

Thursday, June 27, 2013


** (2 stars out of 5)
How quickly brave new worlds get to be old hat. Old, OLD hat. It's all very well for cosmopolitan Picard to stroll up to yet another prosthetic forehead alien without batting an eye, but Archer? Last year, contacting new species was a once-in-a-lifetime treat, yet now they don't even bother asking the latest spoon-heads what they call themselves or where they come from! Just nod along when you see a new foreign guy, as long as they keep pumping your gas!

That's what the Klingons do. "I can get deuterium anywhere," the Klingon bully says, and he's right. Everybody wants this precious, precious slush from the poor, defenceless miners, eking out a living from moisture vaporators or whatever. In reality, deuterium is a common hydrogen isotope, but you'd be more likely to find it in a sea than in a desert. I really wish they'd stick with "dilithium" when they need a McGuffin that means 'rare and valuable'.

And speaking of borrowing, I like "Blazing Saddles" as much as the next guy, but the "building a new town next to the old town" gambit is a little dubious if you're not trying to make a comedy.

Worse by far is the "adorable" urchin Trip "befriends". I'd rather watch T'Pol running drill instruction, but not by much. Do a couple of Vulcan tactics and a handful of old Bajoran handguns seem like enough to defend these wimps against a boatload of Klingon warriors? Well, fine. But I'm pretty sure the moment Enterprise is over the warp horizon, the Romulan cavalry will ride up firing their muskets and shouting 'Fill 'Er Up!"

"Marauders" is a bottom-of-the-barrel western with the minor benefit of being filmed outside. But with all the muttering pioneers in tents, it might as well be a below-average episode of "Earth 2".

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A Night in Sickbay

**** (4 stars out of 5)
"Starfleet didn't send us out here to humiliate ourselves," grumbles Jon Archer, all evidence to the contrary as he and his comely crew slather each other with 'medicine' in their bathing suit areas. For more on this subject, see The Trek Nation.

Trained diplomat or not, Captain Archer has spent over 5 days apologizing to the Kreetassans for the months-old public eating incident in hopes of getting a plasma injector from them. Whereupon, beagle Porthos peed on on of their sacred trees and offended them again. But more importantly from the Captain's point of view, Porthos caught something deadly. In Kreetassa, trees bite YOU!

Phlox has an insane number of medical degrees and some frankly appalling grooming habits. I don't mean he's badly groomed, I mean I'll never be able to un-see the man brushing his tongue. And neither will you!

And Reed's not the only one with sex dreams about the Ice Queen T'Pol. The Captain's having them, too... and out come the butterfly nets. Possibly to take the Captain's mind off his dying dog, the doctor takes him on a bat-catching journey into madness.

"A Night in Sickbay" is not well regarded, but I love it so. Which is the same as saying I love Phlox The Polygamist with Nutritious Toenails and Archer who abandons all duty if his pet is ill. From my perspective, Archer's character is not diminished or undermined by this story. He loves his dog! What's so wrong with that? And he learns a lesson Canadians famously already know. In one of the deleted scenes, Trip gives his Captain the advice he got from his mother, and it's strange to me that this got cut, because it's one of the best lines in the series. "It's o.k. to apologize when you shouldn't have to... just as long as you don't mean it."
You can even wear pigtails and curtsy: as long as you don't mean it.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Dead Stop

*** (3 stars out of 5)
Did you want an episode where the Enterprise pulls into a gas station for a tune-up? Well, you're welcome. Also, uh... it's a haunted gas station! Trust your car to the service with the star-ghosts. We jump to the pump for you...r brain. Braaaaiiins!

Regulan blood worms aid in the healing of Reed's leg from last episode, but once inside a patient they can wander off. (Hopefully this does not require sifting stool that no man has sifted before.)

HAL, uh, The Computer in the station sounds a lot like B'Elanna Torres. If this were 200 years later I'd be looking around for a re-wired missile talking to itself. But instead, we learn where the A.I. from 'Think Tank' worked before he temped for Jason Alexander.

The SP (Suspiciously Perfect) Repair Station's got food replicators which humans sure don't. They'd better start Keeping Up With The Tarkaleans! (You thought I was going to say Cardassians, didn't you?) Plus, the gleaming mecha-oasis has Exocomps. (Dr. Exocomp, if you please, it didn't spend seven years in Robot Medical School to be called MR. Exocomp.)

What's a Captain to do when the full service payment costs them one buff, overly inquisitive black guy? (And you thought 120 cents a litre was steep!)

"Dead Stop" is not as bad as I thought. I groaned- "oh, not this one", but I liked the characters as always. It's spooky with a curious twist. Also, I liked the model of Nomad on Archer's desk. That was a cool element of continuity, something this season isn't exactly known for.

Monday, June 24, 2013


*** (3 stars out of 5)
What's more awkward than dinner with the boss? Breakfast!... followed by talking him through your job, with your lives on the line, while peeing your pants.

That was how Malcolm Reed experienced the Romulan first contact- cowering before their blood-green ships, clinging to the outside of the hull like bug, skewered through the leg by a malfunctioning invisible bomb.

In the words of the seagulls from Finding Nemo: "MINE! MINE! MINE! MINE!" It seems the Romulans already love hiding things: like a "Minefield" that blasts a big bite out of the Enterprise cookie. They love hiding their identities, too, enough that no human or human ally is destined to see one and live to tell about it until Captain Kirk in 'Balance of Terror' a century from now. They even hide their language: you'd think someone with as clever a tongue as Hoshi would notice the similarity to Vulcan if they hadn't made intentional alterations. (Like Romulans say 'soccer' instead of 'football' and 'Freedom Fritters' instead of 'Vulcan Fritters'.)

I was initially so excited to see a de-cloaking Romulan ship as a prelude to the inevitable interstellar war, that I didn't notice what some reviewers called the classic hurt/comfort fanfic. I hadn't realized... Reed's awkwardness might have been caused by strong romantic feelings for his captain! Here I was thinking the only stick Archer was shaking was that weird salt-and-pepper wand or whatever he always wiggles over his food!

But now I see! It's all space surfing and pee play for these stalwart men of the future! Romulans aren't the ONLY "passionate people"!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Carbon Creek

**** (4 stars out of 5)
T'Pol's second foremother (that's Vulcan for great-grandmother) was in on the previously unknown REAL first contact between humans and Vulcans in Carbon Creek, Pennsylvania. The year was 1957 and the local Star Nerds crashed for some reason while peering at Sputnik. T'Mir, Mestral, and Moe from the Three Stooges disguised themselves to hide among the primitives. They are forced to socialize or starve to death. A nerds worst dilemma! So, they all died.

No, not really. The castaways are stranded, on an island out at sea, with the Grandmother, the Skipper, too, the Professor... sorry, the theme is actually My Favourite Martian meets I Love Lucy.

The castaways steal local clothes, T'Pol's hot grandma stripping behind a sheet for modesty. Then they get logical jobs as pool hustlers, plumbers, and patent holders on the Vulcan invention Velcro. And strippers, no doubt.

While living with "fishsticks and the constant threat of nuclear annihilation", Mestral watches TV and goes on a date with a divorcee, T'Mir gives a plucky local boy a college education, and they all save some trapped miners before they have to eat Timothy.

Mestral remains behind where he presumably teams up with Forrest Gump, Flint Brack, and Lazarus Long to observe the progress of humanity and hopefully invest in information and entertainment technologies rather than the housing market.

"Carbon Creek" is cute and clever and charming. Archer and Trip are left wondering whether the science officer made it all up, but the audience is not. Mainly, I was left wondering how the Tellarites had interstellar ships in 1957. Hey, were humans the last ones on the block to figure that out?

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Shockwave, Part II

**** (4 stars out of 5)
My computer has gone on the fritz to the max, probably because of something that hyper-nerd Lt. Daniels screwed up in the 31st Century last season on Enterprise.

The downside of which is, you don't get a ratings-grabbing picture of Hoshi grabbing her bosom. (Which I had for archival purposes.) It's all very hilarious and arousing and must-see, of course, when the crew break free of Suliban lock-down and goes crawling about in conduits losing their clothes and such. As they are wont to do. Tee-hee!

Meanwhile, in the distant future, the one thing that came through a 900 year old apocalypse just fine was Paper DVDs. Uh, books.)

Daniels has Archer hunt down copper to build a time-phone and a still. So they can drunk-dial tortured T'Pol and have her get tortured Malcolm to trick about-to-be-tortured Silik into using some of the gadgets in Daniels' locker to beam Archer home. For some torture! Naw, I'm kidding. Just some regular face kicks in the face.

T'Pol publicly chides her own Ambassador Pointy with recent Vulcan governmental hypocrisy. Archer says something inspiring about getting knocked down and getting back up again, drinking a whisky drink, drinking a cider drink, and how ones' next door neighbour need not cry for me. I tuned him out to leer at Hoshi.

Yay! Lasers! Yay! Boobies! Boo! My busted computer.

"Shockwave, Part II" brings us such classic thoughts as "Time travel is... not fair." and "I don't wanna hear it. Just bring me a shirt." Words to live by as we enter Enterprise: Season 2.

Friday, June 21, 2013


**** (4 stars out of 5)
The Paraagans are a humanoid matriarchy, but males have made great progress toward equality lately. They've got a tv show called Mad Women dramatizing the old prejudices and can you believe how much everyone DRANK back then? None of this social progress helps any when Enterprise drops by and their atmosphere ignites. Except that everyone got cooked equally.

3600 colonists are killed in the "Shockwave". Everyone feels pretty horrible but nobody can figure out if it was their fault. I mean, they definitely didn't leave the oven on...

Enterprise's mission is about to be cancelled early and ignominiously. (Best get used to THAT!)

But wait, what's this? That dead guy Daniels is less dead than previously thought! And he gives Archer a Quantum Leap into his own body 10 months ago to prove that he's a time traveller. (Or that he's got holograms and/or hypnotic drugs, I suppose.)

Be that as it may, Archer returns with all the right test answers he needs to steal information proving the explosion was a Cabal frame-job. Screw those skeptical Vulcans who said we couldn't do it on our own! We... DIDN'T of course, but why let THEM know that? Why, if Daniels stays in contact, we'll never have to think for ourselves again! Dashing the illusion of free will for fun and profit! Whee!

Oh, wait. The Bad Guys Strike Back- Silik and his squaddies demand Archer. Archer bravely complies for the sake of his friends- and walks into the future instead. Distraught Daniels reveals there's been a bit of a boo-boo. Actually, it might be more than a boo-boo. It might be a debacle. O.K., I tell a lie. It's the biggest cock-up in the history of time travel and hyperbole! Taking the Captain forward destroyed all humanity somehow. Now the 31st Century is a huge pile of rubble with no working time machines. Or toilets. Or maybe everywhere is a toilet! But Archer has a plan, right? Step One: Activate an army of WALL-Es to start digging. Step Two: Learn to like Kissing Daniels.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Two Days and Two Nights

*** (3 stars out of 5)
We finally made to to the pleasure planet Risa, but for some reason, only half the crew gets to go down. (So to speak.) And only for two days and nights. Ummm... why? Why not the other half afterward? Can't take FOUR DAYS out of your busy schedule? Somewhere you need to be?

And the doctor's hibernating, so don't get the space herp while he's 80% in Slumberland.

In 2152, instead of bibles, hotels come with 'The Teachings of Surak' translated from the Vulcan by Spock's great-grandpa Skon. (Skon enjoyed a scone now and then.)

Trip apparently brought one Hawaiian shirt for the ride down, and one for the nightclub. (In the future, much as now, this doesn't impress the ladies.) Trip and Malcolm debate the relative merits of "casual encounters" with multiple eyes and indeterminate gonads.

Is Archer's meet-cute Keyla the ancestor of 2368's geneticist Hannah Bates, or the descendant of 1989's android designer Victoria Gray? Or both? Actually, she looks a lot like a Trill. And wasn't Jadzia's mother called Keyla? Well... unless Jadzia's mom was a Tandaran spy, I guess not. She's there to pump Archer... for information. (So to speak.)

Hoshi gets hit on by Ravis from GibberGabberJibberJabberGoobleDeGoop. Anyway, he speaks the "International Language" so Hoshi is the only one who actually gets laid in the end. Unless Porthos did? A gentledog never tells.

When I hear about the 300th wedding anniversary of a couple from Vega Reticuli, it makes me nearly infinitely grateful I'm not in the singles scene anymore. And not just because when the girls who are boys take your clothes off, they probably only want to sell them.

"Two Days and Two Nights" answers my first question in a deleted scene: Enterprise can only AFFORD accommodations for half the crew. They paid in dilithium, but that's still PAYING. So (back then at least) Risa's motto is "All That Is Ours Is Yours-- Cash or Credit?"

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Desert Crossing

*** (3 stars out of 5)
Archer helps bombastic Zobral of the Cygniai Expanse fix a flat and is soon invited back to his terrorist camp for a bowl of spiced dingus and a yerts-versus-skins game of beach lacrosse.

Zobral is in culture war with the Torothan Caste and he's heard rumours of the fair-minded human starship captain. A mighty warrior who freed the Suliban! A man of decency who'll fight for a noble cause! A man with a beagle and a baseball cap!

Rather than get embroiled or perhaps literally boiled in the conflict, Jon and Trip flee into the desert. Whereupon they start to boil. I mean, things start to get HOT! I mean, sweaty. No, sorry, they're probably still straight. I think.

The local government appears equally bored and enraged that aliens are getting chummy with their criminals, and so begin drafting petitions to change the legislation on the colour of the passports they may have neglected to issue. Also, they start lobbing bombs. What else are governments for?

Hoity (even slightly toity) T'Pol again name-drops the immediate burning need humans should have for some interference directives... without bothering to get out some parchment and a zero-gravity inkwell to start actually drafting the damn things.

"Desert Crossing" is elevated by the mere presence of the inked beard of the fearsome Curgan Clancy Brown. You may remember him from such cartoon voice acting work as virtually every American cartoon I've ever loved.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Fallen Hero

*** (3 stars out of 5)
We now return you to our spit-take already in progress. Archer and Tucker are taken aback at T'Pol's abrupt suggestion that they get laid immediately. To improve ship's efficiency, she's already arranged a little something-something.  You know, like Spock and Tuvok always used to do for THEIR Captains. (Well, in Fan Fic, anyway.) To that end she sets a course for Risa... planet of triple-cupped tri-kinis, double-pouched speedos, and next-day regret.

Still, before we get TOO excited, here's a bland, well-trod story about Vulcan politics. V'Lar was ambassador to the Mazarites, and role model to T'Pol. T'Pol once asked V'Lar to autograph her still-unopened shrink-wrapped copy of Seven Logical Mating Positions To Be Used Once Each for the First 49 Years of Your Adult Life. (The title loses something in the translation.) But the starry-eyed, puffy-lipped young T'Pol was too terrified to approach when V'Lar offered her a hearty handshake. She offers them to everyone- Curzon Dax and Noonien Soong spring to mind for some reason.

Enterprise must escort the diplomat safely to the rendezvous with the Vulcan ship Sh'Raan. (That loveable Andorian commando is so rad even his enemies name ships after him!)

The nonsensical plan here enacted is that since V'Lar is key witness in a corruption scandal on Mazar, the "Fallen Hero" must come under a false cloud of suspicion herself, be spirited away by third party humans, and when the heat dies down, pop back up again at the trial... and still seem credible. Riiight.

Fortunately, this will probably work: if the hired goons sent to rub her out are any indication of Mazarite intellect. Firing blindly into Phlox's imaging chamber, waiting for the vital signs monitor to stop bleeping, then walking out without checking for a corpse seems like a shoddy work ethic. They probably attended the Rocksteady and Bebop School for Whackin' Dem Pesky Toitles.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Vox Sola

*** (3 stars out of 5)
Kreetassans take great offence if you eat in front of them, to the same level as if you took off your pants and did a little dance. Still, humans aren't the only perverts around here. Some Kreetassans I could name should clean their airlocks more often! A sneeze-covered raggedy kleenex crawls off their bowling pin and hides in the walls.

Mayweather knows the way to get Reed to watch 'Wages of Sin', a 1953 French movie: "No, you'll like it. Things blow up!"  (Just as I'll watch anything if you tell me it has a robot or a flying car.)

Film Buff crewman Michael Rostov has apparently never watched a horror movie, because he strolls right up to some goo dripping out of the ceiling and before you can say "Hentai Tentacle Monster" he and four others are having a little enforced mind-meld of their own. Trip, Archer, Kelly and Guy Fleegman (the unlucky security guard with no name) are strung up like sausages in a Room Wide Web and mentally linked.

Thanks to Jon Archer, the being we'll call Paste Pot Pete expands its knowledge of water polo ten thousand fold, but otherwise very little is learned by anyone. When to clench and when to relax, maybe?

Lieutenant Reed has been experimenting with Starfleet's attempts at EM barriers. He's got one that can absorb a phase pistol blast 6 out of 10 times. We like those odds if it keeps everyone else from getting slimed.

Travis' ability to feign sincerity, T'Pol's star-math, Phlox's wishy-thinking, and Hoshi's translator program team up to save the day. Gloop is put back where gloop belongs.

"Vox Sola" gets full marks for a fairly unique alien. We never find out how it got lost in the first place, or what it thinks of all this. It's a good bet it won't be putting on a uniform anytime soon, but we're coming out on top if we can keep it out of our pants.

Sunday, June 16, 2013


**** (4 stars out of 5)
Colonel Grat's people of Tandar Prime are at war with the Suliban Cabal, which means they detain anyone who looks like a cantaloupe and anyone who's standing in the cantaloupe aisle.

Captain Archer and Ensign Mayweather learn the hard way that the Tandarans feed their prisoners whatever gruel is left over from the Coridan prisoners.

Enterprise must use all T'Pol's charm, Trip's diplomacy, Phlox's cosmetic surgery, and thereby Reed's Suliban face and Malaysian know-how to spring their buddies and also a bunch of innocent aliens from the desert. Tucker would rather not have to explain punch lines like "electric chair" to a Vulcan.

The Cabal began their attacks 8 years ago. All Suliban in Tandaran territory were rounded up into internment camps for their own protection, you understand. The Suliban homeworld became uninhabitable 300 years ago. Thus most Suliban are dispirited nomads who don't spend any time whatsoever turning invisible and sliding under doors to blow things up.

Still, how could you know that for sure unless you put little girls in jail?

Colonel Grat is the hero of "Detained", or rather Dean Stockwell is, tapping away on a Ziggy Box and asking Sam Beck... uh, Archer about the future. It's not much of a leap to the terrified, racist time America has been having this last decade and for quite a lot of decades before that. Whether your parallel prisoners are Apache, Japanese-Americans, or anyone brown, the story is the same, and usually didn't end in daring and visually exciting break-outs with lasers. Not terribly subtle, but still a brave effort.

Saturday, June 15, 2013


** (2 stars out of 5)
When a trader tells them of a haunted derelict ship they might scrounge for parts, nobody expected Trip to fall in love with a G-g-g-GHOST!

What's the word for spoiling the big reveal 18 minutes into a 44 minute program? By now I know damn well what "Optronics" means. In this case, I didn't enjoy being clued in way ahead of the main characters. It left me a lot of time to wonder what Trip is actually DOING in the hologram generation room if he doesn't realize what he's fixing.

As with the Xyrillian technology, does it seem reasonable that a guy who's never conceived of such things would be very helpful repairing them? Would you invite a complete stranger to perform brain surgery on you by cryptically hinting that you have 'a plumbing problem', pointing at your skull and handing him a wrench?

Please enjoy this episode of Voyager, with a blonde pixie working in an airponics bay surrounded by holograms. Then again, it's kind of an old Star Trek stew: The Prospero's daughter bit previously borrowed by 'The Cage', Making Your own Holo-friends from 'Shadowplay' (even Odo and Dax are still present: it's Rene Auberjenois in Spots!)

Perhaps as an apology for the weak sauce story, Trip gives his easy come, easy go love interest a protein resequencer so she can have ice cream to remember him by. Ice cream is only around 10% protein. So what do you put INTO a protein resequencer anyway? Expired ham?

Midnight at the "Oasis". Send your camel to bed! Still, anything with Colonel West in it can't be that bad. "I don't want to leave. I am happy here." says our Prospero, and he might as well be expressing my devotion to THIS fantasy series. I loved watching it with my friends back in 2002- it was a very good time for me. It's always sad when things end: the deleted scenes tell me even T'Pol is afraid of going-away parties.

Friday, June 14, 2013


**** (4 stars out of 5)
It's about time Clint Howard was a Ferengi! Talk about Born to the Lobes! Not to mention the Grand Proxy... I mean, Neelix... I mean, Dr. Farek... hey, is that guy Krem supposed to be Brunt's ancestor or Shran's identical cousin?

The Greedy Ones slip the whole ship a mickey while Trip is taking a steam in decon.  Now only a Good Ole Boy in his skivvies can prevent the alien goobers from stripping the ship and selling the females. Or is that stripping the females and selling the ship?

(It's a haphazard looting when chairs have the same value as a sack of pies. I'd take the pies. Any day.)

Due to cowardice and continuity, the talking pumpkins never identify themselves when quizzing Archer on the location of his vault. After all: "A man is only worth the sum of his possessions". Exactly the kind of thinking that nearly ruined Earth! Not that we're still rubbing that in everyone's face. How many nuclear armageddons have YOU bounced back from?

Ulis and Muk have a falling out over who's the Boss and who's the Menk. "Everyone knows you'd steal the wax out of your own mother's ears!" Trip and Archer have a knock down fist fight over how much to sell "Mrs. Trip Sato" for. Finally, tonight T'Pol plays the role of Bilbo Baggins by causing a ruckus between three trolls. Although Bilbo never referred to himself as a Love Slave!

We've seen the last of the Ferengi. Check your wallets before you leave.

"Acquisition" has internet detractors fuming like pot-smoking Excalbians because it is A) taking a dump on continuity by meeting the Money Grubs two centuries early but not bothering to get their names and B) goofy. I am not among them. My take away is that the NX-01 crew are simply HORRIBLE record keepers! But, ask yourself: would YOU want posterity to know how four inept slobs without the brains the Preservers gave a mushroom nearly bested 80 of Earth's Best with the old "Does this artifact smell like chloroform to you?"

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Rogue Planet

*** (3 stars out of 5)

Archer and Reed were both Eagle Scouts, but Reed had more merit badges. He even had the badge for hunting eagles! (It was a badge made of eagles.)

There's a dark planet tooling around without a system (rather like the Changeling world). It's the happy hunting ground for the Eska, who call the place Dakala. It's got an amazing ecosystem- with lichen in the shape of leafy plants emitting oxygen despite the lack of sunlight, and flowers producing ambient theatre-grade moonlight as a byproduct of space magic.

Hunting went out of style on Earth before 2050. Why, I wonder? 2053's World War III seems to indicate we weren't that enlightened or compassionate. Did we just run out of animals? Especially eagles? (The Beta Romeo has a dashboard inlaid with the beaks of a thousand eagles! Also there are some eagles under the floorboards.)

The humans politely chum around with the drunken hunters, and agree to eat the results of this disgusting display of primitivism, but only disapprovingly! Be vewy, vewy qwiet, we're hunting drayjin. They're conveniently similar to CG Targs, only with fewer spikes. And there's Wraiths to hunt, too. Only much, much easier targets than Stargate Atlantis' Wraiths of the Pegasus Galaxy. This Wraith won't drink your life-force, instead it appears to the Captain as a lovely woman, calling him by name. Now that I think about it, maybe the changelings ARE here after all. Playing 'The Ghost and The Darkness' for some reason?

Lady Wraith claims to be telepathic, and that's probably true, considering how well she speaks to Archer. If it wasn't for that, and this being the wrong quadrant, I'd say this "Rogue Planet" is Odo's world. You wouldn't think there'd be that many sunless but magically liveable places where solids persecute the shifty. And can a giant slug really look back over its shoulder coquettishly?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


** (2 stars out of 5)
After all these years, is there anything that screams DEVIANT like a smiling Vulcan? Enterprise meets a space van loaded with elf hippies. These guys smirk, too. AND eat chicken. It probably tastes like chicken. But if it walks like a Romulan, and quacks like a Romulan...

"V'tosh ka'tur" means "Vulcans without logic". They didn't stop being smarty pants and stuffed shirts, they just like LIKING things. They don't consider themselves madmen or heretics like Sybok. No beardy weirdies. Well, no beardies.

Nearly a third of the Enterprise crew are womenfolk, which appeals to portly engineer Kov. He responds eagerly and loudly to Trip's Vulcan sex questions. True to form, the word S-E-X summons Malcolm out of nowhere to hear all about the Seven Year Itch. Somehow, impossibly, this gossip never becomes common knowledge to humans by Captain Kirk's time! You'd think if anyone would know a juicy Vulcan sex tidbit, it would be Jim Kirk.

T'Pol sees this experimentation as dangerous- still, she is drawn to these bad boys, with their arched eyebrows and their JAZZ music. Tolaris (rhymes with Solaris and he IS almost as dull as that Russian sci-fi classic) wants to show her a little something. It's an ancient technique abandoned by mainstream Vulcans centuries ago. T'Pol hasn't heard of it: a mind-meld. He only wants to fondle your brains- what could go wrong?

"Fusion" seems like a fusion of some other tales. "The Way To Eden" and "Violations", mainly. It was, coin a phrase, 'fascinating' to contemplate why Vulcan culture of this era is even more puritanical than any we've seen. The private but fairly normal mind-touching of the future is here practiced only by deeply closeted fringe elements. Worse yet, under the heading "MASSIVE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY FAIL" despite the assault on T'Pol, NOBODY punishes Tolaris or even WARNS the other hippies. Who are still travelling with him! I don't know about you, but I'd like to have some advance notice if I'm going to spend years in a tiny metal box with a date rapist.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Shuttlepod One

***** (5 stars out of 5)
Trip Tucker and Malcom Reed argue the relative merits of their cultures, North American versus European. As a Northernmost North American with European ancestry, I must weigh in- Superman comics are one billion times better than Ulysees. (No, I haven't read it.  I can feel it in my bones...)

Enterprise has picked up some boron Tesnians. Sorry, I mean they BREATHE boron. Also, they're very boring. But when they crashed their ship and took a chunk of Enterprise door with them, they gave Reed and Tucker the mistaken impression that NX-01 went down will all hands, when in fact they just stepped out of the system for a minute so they wouldn't have to talk to the Tesnians or see them on screen.

Ten days worth of air in the pod, and their communicators are broken. Robert Heinlein would be sorely disappointed in them: neither has a sextant or slide rule handy. Still, their meals are ready in about six seconds. I'm not saying I want to trade places with them (about to be outlived by a Fox TV series), but that's one fine dinner-doodad!

"White noise- the sound of the galaxy laughin' at us." Not just laughing- firing tiny black holes at them. Hull punctured, I'm not so sure about the 'fingers in the dyke' routine when it comes to total vacuum.

In case I set you up for disappointment by saying "dyke", the episode assures us Trip and Reed are straight- and kind of pigs. The 602 Club in Mill Valley was frequented by Starfleet cadets like Trip and Reed- as was the waitress. Coincidentally, 602 is the same number of heartfelt maudlin letters Malcolm dictates to his many paramours. And when drunk he praises their "deceased" science officer. "You ever noticed her bum? She's got an awfully nice bum!"

In Reed's subconscious (likely the only place outside of the Mirror Universe where T'Pol would have him) Mol-kom is the Vulcan word for Serenity. He's somehow presaging one hell of a shiny series! If only they had some brown coats, it's getting cold and the air is growing stale. We might need big damn heroes.

(Speaking of Vulcans with respectable posteriors, didn't Mr. Spock pull a rabbit a lot like this out of his hat once? Oh, my bad: "Galileo Seven" isn't for 116 years!)

"Shuttlepod One" has a deleted scene where Trip regales Malcolm with a tale of how he went scuba diving with Archer and tried to scare him with a moray eel named Waldo. In a titanic struggle, Archer subdued Waldo with a neck pinch. I don't know what this has to do with anything, but if they hadn't immediately changed the subject to T'Pol's behind I might have speculated that Tucker's eel needed a little subduing, too.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Shadows of P'Jem

**** (4 stars out of 5)

The Andorians, generous blue folks that they are, gave advance notice before blasting the P'Jem monastery to atoms. The monks and the spies all got out in time, on parachutes, no doubt. But the Vulcans are pissed.  Diplomatic ties with Earth are strained, and T'Pol is recalled for her part in The Andorian Incident. (Sharing a blanket with a human! The very idea.) Seriously... what did T'Pol do other than being there? Anyway, thanks to logic, she's in deep doo-doo and will be forced to go home and get married or something.

Meanwhile, on the planet Coridan- storm's a brewin'. The Coridan people use dicobalt explosives and ditanium shacks. Presumably their kids ride dicycles and they measure pregnancy in dimesters. Fortunately, they have lots of dilithium and unfortunately almost no monolithium. No mood stabilizers here!

The Vulcans are propping up the corrupt Coridan government, and the Andorians are supporting the crazy Coridan rebels. Shran feels indebted to Archer for uncovering the Peepers of P'Jem, so he aids Trip and Malcolm in rescuing their Captain. Rescuing him from being tied to T'Pol front-to-front in a grown-up hug, but still. For more on their "suffering", please see The Cynic's Corner.

Shran, at least, seems to live by the code of 'One good turn deserves another'. Perhaps Vulcans do too. When T'Pol takes a rebel's plasma bullet for Vulcan High Command sector chief Sopek, he talks his superiors into giving her a second chance on Enterprise. Nasal Numbing on full blast!

"Shadows of P'Jem" is a reminder that if you put Jeffrey Combs in it, I'll like it. It doesn't need to be great drama or laudable storytelling. In the midst of a conflict where nobody seems to be the good guy, I have to admire the strength of Shran's convictions. He might be a trigger-happy nut, but he's a trigger happy nut with a moral code, which seems to be more than the entire Vulcan government can manage.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Sleeping Dogs

*** (3 stars out of 5)
What's that, La'siH? Ti'meH's Bird of Prey is trapped down the gravity well?

We'd better pull on our skimpy long johns and go rescue them! Klingons are always demonstrably giddy to be rescued, never take offence, and often buy us muffin baskets for our trouble!

Another botched attempt to help Klingons adds another brick to the wall of resentment. Humans might need to add to the expression "Let sleeping dogs lie" with a further admonition to "Let dying Klingons die." Three times now they've looked weak around you- and they just end up wanting to kill you more!

"Let me help" may be better than "I love you", but a Klingon like officer Bu'kaH doesn't want to hear either. She and her crew have just defeated some Xarantine in combat but succumbed to their victim's poisoned wine.

Klingons of this era don't use escape pods. They've got a lot of something called "photon torpedoes" though. Reed wants to get him some of those to add to his torpedo collection!

Good news! You've saved a Klingon captain whose bloodline includes the guy who nearly blew up the Enterprise-D in 'Heart of Glory' and the guy who shot at Admiral Janeway in 'Endgame'. (Some of Admiral Forrest's many identical cousins of many races.)

"Sleeping Dogs" is brought to you by Fred Dekker, writer of the radical eighties horror movie Night of the Creeps. A story notable in my mind for showing us T'Pol warming up to people, Hoshi getting braver, and that a targ of this era looks less like a pig in a wig and more (as my wife put it) like the horrible beak of a horrible goose.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Dear Doctor

**** (4 stars out of 5)
Today's story invites us to say hello to the Denobulans... and good-bye to the Valakians.

Denobula Triaxa sounds like a hell of a place, and not necessarily in a good way. Dr. Jeremy Lucas is the first human in the Interspecies Medical Exchange to go there- he's Dr. Phlox's pen pal. Mating Season is complicated and dangerous. 'Threesome? Piffle. We Denoulans have a six-way that will burn your eyes out of your skull. Quite literally! We have to stick to written smut because our porn melts the minute we film it.'

Denobulans had something like movies a few hundred years ago, but gave them up in favour of taking a greater interest in real life. (That and sex, I imagine.) Phlox doesn't like to be touched but he eats off of other people's plates. Also, Phlox claims to be surprised by human compassion for pets and fictional characters, but he's pretty fond of his bat... and not just for the healing properties of its poopies.

Phlox is teaching Hoshi to speak Denobulan, and in those terms exobiologist Liz Cutler is hoping to ja'oogah with the man. He may not like to be touched, but kissing is another matter entirely!

T'Pol believes that humans lack the emotional maturity for interspecies mating, but what does that cold blowfish know, anyway?

"I have three current wives, and they each have two husbands..." Phlox explains. His polyamory is quite typical. He also sleeps less than a human (lucky), except six days of hibernation each winter. Even rabbits must rest sometimes!

On a lighter note, sickly souls from pre-warp planet Valakis are seeking a cure in the stars- and they didn't find it with the M'klexa or the Ferengi. Valakians and their second-class citizens the Menk share a world uneasily. But maybe not for much longer: the Valakians have an ancient and severe genetic disorder that Phlox believes will lead to their extinction before they'd ever meet the Ferengi named Nog.

"Dear Doctor" asks Archer and Phlox to make a kind of long-view cultural triage: how much do you really want to give of yourself to a billion dying beggars? Nature seems dead set on ending the Valakians. Short of handing out warp drives and gene-gineering on silver platters (which could easily be a horrible mistake) the offer of palliatives and a hearty "Good Luck!" is today's compromise between compassion and pragmatism. No easy answers! How do you like them apples? Me, I like them fine... but then I'm only dying of the same thing you are- Life. Also, I saw a Denobulan masturbating out of the corner of my eye once and the nausea hasn't subsided yet.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Silent Enemy

 *** (3 stars out of 5)

Thanks to a couple of subspace relays, Enterprise can have real-time chats with Earth from 100 light years away. But the longest long distance call ever made only proves that Malcolm Reed's family know nothing about him. Including whether he likes food! I guess their upper lips are too stiff.

In five months, our heroes never installed their mighty phase cannons. Now, with incomprehensible Weirdies running out of the dark and shouting 'Ack! Ack!' Archer orders Tucker to tuck tail and run home.

That's a little tough to swallow for some reviewers. 'They had a gun in a crate for half a year and never UNPACKED it? '

The Sneaky Stealth Sneaks with their cauliflower heads tiptoe in, do some brain scans, and maybe some anal probes for luck. Properly motivated, the engineers deliver three mountain-leveling cannons in three days. We never see the Eye-Stalk Stalkers again. Except in Mars Attacks.

So, my take-away from this is not "Why would anyone be stupid enough to launch without guns?" but rather that if the universe had allowed it, Archer would never have used any. I like that about him.

More importantly, it turns out Reed loves pineapple but it doesn't love him.

I assume the "Silent Enemy" of the title is not the pineapple. Sadly, the A story's moral is aliens are unfathomable horrors so you better waive the waiting period and git yer gun! I must admit I was more in love with the B story where Hoshi hunts down a birthday cake. Tales that go together like chalk and cheese. Do not eat chalk. Or, if you're a dog, cheese.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Cold Front

**** (4 stars out of 5)
Suliban Cabal leader Silik has failed the Board of Shadowy Figures trying to ruin the Klingon Empire. They take away his multi-tool laser eyes to ensure his loyalty while messing with Enterprise. Confusingly, he PREVENTS the ship from exploding. Check your scorecard, but I'm still pretty sure he's the bad guy, and a good one, too. Not only is he portrayed by the inestimable John Fleck, he can skydive even if there isn't any sky outside!

Movie night on Enterprise was Night of the Killer Androids- one of 50,000 movies in the database which Travis and Malcolm figure wasn't worth downloading. Watch for a review on Mike's Best Blog Ever sometime this century- as soon as someone makes the doggone thing.

For whatever it's worth, the Catholics, Hindus, and Buddhists are still at it in 2151. So are space religions like the worshippers of the Great Plume of Agasoria. Surly lizard Captain Fraddock was paid to drive their tour bus. Instead of gold, frankincense and myrrh, they bring gifts of clocks, alcohol and Silik in drag.

Taking a moment out from serving Captain Archer's mac and cheese, Lt. Daniels admits he's not in Starfleet at all, but a time-travelling agent trying to undo the damage done by Silik's benefactor. Breaking the Temporal Accords, we're told. Daniels is full of evasions, but his hand-held walk-through-walls device didn't come from the local Walk Through Wal-Mart.

Silik is quick to call Daniels a liar (in the same way Scrubs fans will call him a Tool, a Tool, a Tool Tool Tool). Contrariwise, Daniels has had over 4 months to not poison Archer's food, while Silik does all the shooting. Silik even disintegrates Daniels. Yeah... my money's still on 'Bad Guy'.

I love "Cold Front". It's weird and exciting, and deserved the chance to play out... someday. It's Daniel's unnamed room-mate I'd like to hear from! "So... Daniels was from 900 years in the future, huh? I guess that's why he left a pile of unopened pay stubs, always asked if we had any "replicated panda burgers" and never got any of my jokes."

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Fortunate Son

*** (3 stars out of 5)
Travis Mayweather saves the day when the Earth Cargo Ship Fortunate is boarded by Nausicaan pirates. Cops, commerce, and crooks? It's hardly Star Trek at all, at least in the evolved unselfish humanity department. You'd think they still used money and everything!

Like Horizon (where Travis grew up), ECS freighters are unguarded and virtually unarmed. In fact, in another hundred years, they'll be unmanned, too. Freeing all these people to enrich themselves and the rest of humanity with art. Maybe some acting lessons. Oh, I kid!

Something stinks like a Tenebian skunk, and it's the local Abu Ghraib. Fortunate's First Officer and 'Last American Virgin' Matthew Ryan is torturing a Nausicaan. When Archer threatens to stop repairs if the alien isn't released, Ryan shoots at Archer, too. Equal opportunity madman!

Hard to believe, but the Nausicaans have been bullying humanity longer than Klingons, yet never tangling with Johnny Starfleet until today. Also, these are the chattiest, most articulate Nausicaans I've ever seen. (Maybe the ones taunting Picard in monosyllables were dope fiends?)

Revenge is a motive that 'doesn't sit right' with Archer. "Just because someone isn't born on Earth doesn't make him any less human." Good words, Jon. Try to remember that sentiment in two years.

"Fortunate Son" abandons this series' attempted verisimilitude with language barriers. English must be the language of interstellar commerce! That or Hoshi has got the Universal Translator working so beautifully that it reaches thousands of kilometers away to another ship... before Enterprise ever gets there.

A good show for Travis, but he seems a little TOO eager to ride a transporter. 'Ooo! I wanna feel what it's like to be in two places at once! And be riddled with dirt and leaves like that Ethan guy! Rad!'

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


*** (3 stars out of 5)
Not to harp on about this, but remember how those experienced Vulcans never contact worlds without warp drive? Humans, though? NO RULES YET! Caution Schmaution! Cultural contamination and unwed pregnancies for everyone!

With some surgical forehead wrinkles and a so-so universal translator, the crew investigates the pre-industrial world of Akaali which already has its full share of meddling alien douche-bags.

Garos the Malurian is pulling a "Lizards-In-Human-Suits" from V, but he's not here for your guinea pigs. No, he's dumping industrial waste cheaply and buying up antiques. Like a loveable individual lizard-man sized Haliburton!

Will the threat of Vulcan intervention keep them in line? "Just you wait until the Vulcans get home, young lizard-man! THEN we'll see how much fun ruining the environment was!"

Archer smooches the Akaali Apothecary Riann until solutions involving running and shooting present themselves. It's like a little slice of the original series all over again! And speaking of the original series, it's perhaps ironic to note that if these are the same Malurians metioned in 'The Changeling' then they only have about 100 years until they are wiped out by a little industrial accident called Nomad. Karma!

"Civilization" continues a trend of solid, entertaining but not outstanding stories. I enjoy the illusion of freshness, though! We're seeing the FIRST humans to look down at a new world and say- "I got a great big gun here. You want to give me your continent for some beads?" I kid, of course. OUR guys only interfere to restore the locals to freedom and self-determination. And also kissing. What a difference a few centuries makes. Yes, it's a fantasy, but it's a GOOD fantasy.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Breaking the Ice

*** (3 stars out of 5)

Snow Day! There's a big comet and apparently it's made of aptly named Ice-illium. Go figure. Might as well be a Snoopy Snow Cone for all it matters, but it gets Reed and Mayweather outside.

Apart from those guys literally playing icebreaker, there's Archer trying to chip away at crusty old cranky pants Vulcan Captain Vanik . Plus Trip embarrassing himself with T'Pol when he discovers she's trapped in one of those standard Vulcan arranged betrothals we've never seen work out well for anyone.

Ordered to watch humans building snowmen, naming them Beowulf, and blowing them up, Vanik the Vulcan would rather be watching anything else. Vulcan Matlock, for example. Archer and Shran understood each other better! Granted they were beating the living crap out of each other, but they were more comfortable with it.

Young Starfleet is also more comfortable with the tractor than the tractor beam- their equivalent is a great big magnet on a string. The Claw chooses who will go and who will stay!

There's a great sequence when the crew answers questions from grade school kids back home.
It seems poop goes into the bio-matter re-sequencer to be broken down into component molecules and recycled into cargo containers or boots. NO WONDER T'Pol thinks these people stink! Poop boots indeed.

"Breaking the Ice" reminds us that our humans are a REALLY likeable bunch, and also that taciturn, cryptic Vulcans, while hard to like and harder to relate to, are good to have around when you're in a jam. And speaking of tasty treats, T'Pol discovers that Trip's pecan pie might just fill the cracks in her heart.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Andorian Incident

**** (4 stars out of 5)
Some of the fun is leeched out of exploring if Those Darn Vulcans did all the star charting ages ago, but then again, Vulcan maps don't mention everything. There's a lot of strip club locations to fill in, for example. However, all the sepulchres and monasteries are clearly marked...

The one at P'Jem, for example, is a popular destination spot. Enterprise pulls up to the lovely computer-generated hacienda to order some quiet contemplation with a side of emotional purging from the monk's drive-in window.  They were beaten there by a quartet of bullies from that delightful Blue Man Group- the Andorians. Their First Contact with the "Pink Skins" goes poorly: as I said, they were beaten there.

The Andorians are convinced the holy Vulcans are spying on them. Of course, they must do their fair share of peeping, too, since they know a staggering amount about Vulcan sex, and it's a safe bet they didn't hear about it from the Vulcans. Creepy Tholos wants to put his knowledge into practice with his overnight hostage T'Pol . Fortunately, the only alien she's forced to endure is Archer. And that a mere cuddling up to her Captain for warmth, despite his stinky, stinky man stink.

Commander Shran uses the full tactical might of the Imperial Guard to punch Archer's face a lot and shatter communicators with rocks. Jeffrey Combs in yet another weird (and radical) make-up is always welcome, and Shran quickly becomes one of my favourite characters. Yes, he's got anger management issues, but let's call it righteous indignation and see how easily he becomes the hero of this tale. The punchy, punchy hero.

And, of course, behind the dusty old mummies, under the stairs, behind an unlocked door that says "Beware of the Sehlat", is the spy station. The Vulcans from U.N.C.L.E., looking sheepish. Shran is vindicated and departs with a twitch of his antennae and a "Nyah, nyah, told you so".

"The Andorian Incident" asks us to accept that Vulcans were not always paragons of virtue and honesty. I'm okay with that. Earthlings aren't all cut from the same cloth, so why should all Vulcans be saints? Dr. Phlox seems more in tune with the diversity tolerance that Mr. Spock embraced in the 2260's than the Vulcan characters, but it seems the Vulcans in this past age are frightened shut-ins with lots of telescopes and rifles pointed at the neighbours.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Terra Nova

** (2 stars out of 5)
Out of contact for 70 years, the human colony on Terra Nova went full "Miri" with a touch of "Friendship One" when a radioactive meteor tricked them into thinking they had been attacked by Earth, killed all the adults, and forced the children to live like moles, digging in holes. Granted, that's a lot to put on a meteor, but they should be grateful it didn't just wipe them all out like meteors are probably more likely to do.

When the rescue investigation begins in the nick of time, seven decades later, Enterprise's crew are taken for hostiles and attacked.

"Your words are shale!" snarls Erick Avari, calling the outsiders slippery fibbers in the kooky local patter. Where's that universal translator, Hoshi? So confusing!

Phlox can cure lung cancer but not contaminated water, so the Earthers must talk the Earth-encrusted into moving into some better caves on a more upscale continent. Or even get them to go outside sometimes. But that might be pushing it.

Speaking of pushing it, the writers pushed my buttons when they made Terra Nova Earth's first extra-solar colony. Since the original series told us Zefram Cochrane was from Alpha Centauri, it makes a LOT more sense that humans would have settled THERE first, right? (It's closer.)

"Terra Nova" does feature stuff from Terra, but is it all that Nova? Prequels have the chance to steal back the sense of wonder by giving us people doing things for the first time. Of course, they also have the chance to do exactly what has already been done before.