Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Some thoughts on tonight's episode of Star Trek: Enterprise

On tonight's episode, Archer and T'Pol travel back in time to Detroit in 2004 to stop a Xindi plot to eradicate humanity with a bioweapon. I love time travel stories, but this one pushed the boundaries of what I'm willing to believe. (In case you couldn't tell, I'm going to go all geeky in this entry; if this bothers you, please come back another time). Obviously, if you haven't watched this week's episode yet, spoiler abound, so you should probably skip this entry, too.

First of all, the mysterious Daniels appears and tells Archer that he and T'Pol must go immediately back in time to stop the Xindi plot. When T'Pol is skeptical, Archer says that Daniels couldn't do it himself because it would take too much time to obtain permission for him to go. Isn't he from the future? Can't he tell what happened in 2004 and go back at any time of his choosing to find the Xindi?

Archer and T'Pol arrive in 2004 Detroit with the universe's most powerful, versatile PDA. It can detect car alarms, unlock cars, crack ATMs to retrieve cash, track humans and Xindi, and probably make coffee too. I'd have few problems here, either, if I had a magic PDA with all the answers.

Archer and T'Pol steal a truck and drive all over Detroit late at night. While I can accept that Archer is smart enough to figure out how to operate an automatic shift car, how does he know what stoplights and traffic signs mean? I suppose the magic PDA tells him.

The show ends with a phase pistol battle on the rooftops and streets of one of the industrial neighborhoods of Detroit. Yes, it takes place late at night, and in what looks like a deserted area, but wouldn't someone hear the noise and commotion? Don't any of the other factories have security guards who watch for strange occurrences late at night?

What really bothered me about this episode was that it ignored Star Trek's previously detailed extensive timeline, which states that Khan Noonien Singh leads his superhuman followers in the Eugenics Wars in the late 1990s. It didn't look like much had happened in Detroit. Maybe I missed a memo and the Star Trek framers have adjusted the "history of the future" to account for these changes. Or maybe civilization really had collapsed a few years earlier but no one in Detroit noticed.

Despite the plausibility factor, I did enjoy tonight's show. The writers have a lot of different story threads working at the moment, and they're keeping my interest. I hope they can sustain the show's fine form the rest of the season.

I had a sudden flashback to a late 1980s Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade where Scott Bakula, then the star of "Quantum Leap," sang on one of the parade floats. I hope he doesn't turn up in the parade tomorrow.

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