Erin Watches: Enterprise season 3 April 15, 2017Posted by Erin Ptah in Erin Watches.
Tags: Star Trek: Enterprise, T'Pol
Still watching, still liveblogging.
As of this posting I’m a little way into s4, and it has some eps I’d recommend, but part of my prediction was right: you could reasonably skip this entire season, minus “Twilight.”
- …and s3 is off to a terrible start. Archer is torturing people for information (because that totally works). Phlox secretly gives one of his patients a placebo as part of a scheme to pressure him into accepting a different treatment (because it’s not like we’ve had multiple episodes focusing on his medical ethics or anything). That’s part of T’Pol and Trip being railroaded into a Vulcan Sexy Massage situation that they’re both palpably uncomfortable with (because that’s a great foundation for a believable romance, A+ job writers).
- OTP bright spot: s03e03 puts several crewmembers, including Archer, on the Planet of Temporary Vaguely-Neanderthal Mutation…and even with his conscious memory suppressed, he’s real attached to T’Pol. Shares his fruit with her and everything.
- s03e04, wasn’t I just talking about how I wouldn’t want the show’s first same-sex attraction to be from a terrible person? Although hey, T’Pol got sexually menaced by a woman for once. Diversity! (To make things really balanced, they should have some dude-on-dude evil sensual male stroking. I’m not holding my breath.)
- s03e06 is a must-watch if you like Hoshi — she gets to be the lead in Telepathic Beauty And The Beast In Space — but awfully plot-hole-y. And having seen the movie Arrival recently, I’m all wistful about the volume of Cool Alien Linguist Things that could have been explored through Hoshi if the writers had wanted to.
s03e08, “Twilight”, is far and away the high point of the season. It’s one of the high points of the entire show. Back in the day they polled fans to get the top 10 favorite episodes, and this came in at #1. I won’t be surprised if my verdict at the end of the rewatch is “pretend the show ended with the season 2 finale, but then mysteriously came back for this standalone special.”
It’s about T’Pol and Archer, about memories and weird things the brain does, and about time travel (or at least, timeline-altering). All my favorite things.
A wibbly space thing destroys Archer’s ability to form new long-term memories, meaning he wakes up every morning remembering nothing since the day of the injury. It’s like being stuck in his own personal time loop, while the rest of the world moves on. For a while T’Pol gets to be captain (so we see her in the Starfleet uniform!), then they retire to an alien planet together.
Every morning Archer wakes up in an unfamiliar place, and has to re-learn that there’s a multi-year gap in his memory and his Important Mission is long finished. The only reason it doesn’t leave him in a perpetual state of panic and suspicion is because he hears it from the one person he trusts completely. And T’Pol cares about him deeply enough that it’s worth walking away from Starfleet to be there for him.
(The Madoka Magica crossover basically writes itself. “Do you want to save him, T’Pol? You have the power! Just make a contract with me and become a magical girl!”)
Even future!Phlox is shipping it by the end, before they unmake this timeline. Which is a nice change from present!Phlox shipping both T’Pol/Trip and himself/sudden-abandonment-of-medical-ethics.
The only flaw in the whole story is that the black guy dies first. Was the actor filming something else that week? Even then, he could’ve shown up very briefly in the future, with some cool scars and maybe an eyepatch.
- Archer: “The guy from the future came to see me again, and said there’s a problem in the distant past, and we have to get there and fix it ASAP.”
T’Pol: “I don’t believe in time travel because it’s not logical, and this isn’t helping.”
- Last episode they gave us explicit T’Pol/Trip romantic content (she kissed a clone, it’s complicated), but those two still haven’t had any kind of joint mission where they work together and rely on each other. And now the writers are sending Archer and T’Pol on a secret solo mission in past!Detroit, complete with sexy trenchcoats. Don’t get me wrong, I love it, but since they obviously CAN write this kind of relationship-building, why not do it with the one pairing they’re actually trying to sell?
- Forgot to mention, s03e09 is an episode about Space Discrimination (there’s a human-passing character who’s one-quarter alien, fighting for social integration), in which all the actors are white. So the moral is that it’s important to embrace and work with all people regardless of their descent…unless you’re the Enterprise casting department.
- s03e16 is watchable. It’s another “most of the crew is incapacitated” episode, with only Phlox, T’Pol, and Porthos still running around. They end up having to run the warp engines all by themselves, while under wibbly-thing-of-the-week influence, which leads to charming scenes of two non-engineers frantically flipping through manuals and freaking out about which buttons they can push without destroying the ship.
- s03e18 sends Archer on a kamikaze solo mission to blow up the bad guys’ weapon. Like Luke Skywalker, but underwater. T’Pol cannot deal. She ditches the rest of the crew, hides in her quarters, and sheds a single tear, which is practically a total sobbing breakdown on the Vulcan emotional scale.
- Trip and T’Pol are actually having sex by this point in the storyline, and she expresses more feeling and care in this single scene than she has toward him in their entire arc. I don’t understand these writers and their choices.
- Points for Trip: he goes in and tries to comfort her. I think this is the first time we’ve seen him offer her any kind of emotional or moral support. (She’s sorta been there for him in terms of listening to his feelings about his dead sister, although it’s all offscreen, and again doesn’t hold a candle to the episode last season where Archer was dealing with a friend’s death.)
- But then Trip blows the whole thing by getting annoyed and making it all about him, and T’pol is all “Dismissed.” Which is basically Vulcan for punching you in the face.
I had completely forgotten that there’s an arc about T’Pol getting addicted to injectable unobtanium. (No, seriously.) It’s part of why she’s been…volatile…these past few episodes.
When she’s arguing with Archer and has an angry outburst, he stops the argument and says, carefully, “We’ve had a lot of disagreements, but you’ve never taken it out on my desk before.” Then gives her a moment to gather herself, she admits she’s having trouble, and he prompts her to meditate more.
When she’s arguing with Trip and has an angry outburst, his only reaction is to shout, “What the hell is wrong with you?”
Do I even need to comment.
- A bit ago we met a time-looped version of Enterprise, containing a bunch of mixed-species descendants of the original crew…and a much-older T’Pol. Who apparently “married” Trip and had a kid with him. Her original human colleagues are all dead, and she mostly stays isolated from their younger selves, but she does ask one of them to come to her quarters for a visit. Guess which one. Go on, guess.
- Last umptytum episodes of Enterprise are a blur of fighting various bad-guy schemes. I do like that the Even Bigger Big Bad has turned out to be a cabal of scaly extradimensional women, whose Scheming Chamber is portrayed as a big white blank space full of mist.
- The high point of the finale is that Shran the Andorian drops in to fight on our heroes’ side. “Tell Archer that now HE owes ME!” Other than that it’s mostly Shooty Spaceship Battles until the good guys win. Go us.