Warp Factor Trek

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In this review by Matt and Elaine Sweatman, Elaine’s comments will be in italics.

The first “regular” episode of Enterprise gives us an opportunity to settle in and get familiar with our crew in an adventure that is more in the vein of Star Trek from the Rick Berman era. The X-Files was successful with the formula of peppering in episodes that advance the overall story arc amongst more stand-alone episodes which can be enjoyed by more casual fans, and it feels like Enterprise may be following the same format. After the series premiere “Broken Bow” set up an ongoing mystery with the Temporal Cold War, the show’s second episode, “Fight or Flight”, does nothing to further along that plot element. We’re perfectly okay with this. With twenty-six episodes per season, there is little reason to serialize every episode of the program.

“Did I miss something? Where did we pick up the slug?”

Phlox and Hoshi looking at “Sluggo” (Paramount)

We open in sickbay, with Hoshi nursing a slug they had picked up sometime during the two weeks they’ve been exploring. This allows us to see Hoshi and Doctor Phlox interact, which they do at several points throughout the episode, providing us with some very enjoyable moments. They adroitly use “Sluggo” to mirror Hoshi’s difficulties in adapting to life on Enterprise, and Phlox offers advice and counseling to Hoshi, which has always been one of the primary roles of the Chief Medical Officer in any Trek series.

“What’s Hoshi’s problem? She took a job in Starfleet, right? I don’t blame her for screaming, though. I’d scream too if I came across that!” 

Hoshi was underused somewhat in the pilot but is the clear focus here. She seems ill-suited for space travel and is clearly uncomfortable on the ship. Hoshi wants to change cabins so the stars will move in the direction that makes her feel comfortable. She gets claustrophobic in an environmental suit and shows little enthusiasm about being chosen for the away mission (which makes Trip extremely jealous). She also obsesses over her understandable reaction to seeing dead bodies hanging from the ceiling of a derelict ship they happen upon.

Hoshi reacts in shock and horror (Paramount)

I don’t think he’s creepy. He’d be creepy if we thought he had ill intentions, which he clearly doesn’t. I’d call him more odd or offbeat. He’s saying out loud the things that others are thinking but don’t say.”

Harking back to Phlox’s CG smile in the pilot, they’ve tried to balance the eerie with the comical, and we think they’ve succeeded. They must be careful not to venture too far on the eerie and make him creepy. We love the scene in the mess hall which shows off the humorous side of his character. We both think it’s interesting that he says Denobulans don’t talk while eating, considering that he certainly shows no discomfort doing so. In fact, he seems to take much glee in commenting on everything, from the textures of the food to gossiping about the other crewmembers. Phlox may not be typical amongst his species.

“Is that iced tea they’re drinking? That doesn’t seem very outer-spacey!”

T’Pol, Archer, and Trip dining (Paramount)

Other characters continue to show the traits they originated in the pilot. Archer has dinner in his quarters with T’Pol and Commander Tucker. They discuss the decision to leave the derelict ship to avoid a potential conflict with the aliens that murdered the ship’s crew. T’Pol advises against returning, Trip doesn’t seem too invested but supports T’Pol’s reasoning, and Archer has his Captain Kirk inspirational moment in deciding to return and investigate despite the risks. This continues to mirror the Kirk, Spock, McCoy relationship that was mentioned in Matt’s review of the pilot.

“You think they’d have all their weapons ready to go before heading off to space!”

Mayweather and Reed are still lacking compelling moments. Mayweather gives us another tale of his adventures on a civilian freighter, and Reed continues to test weapons. In fact, this brings up something that bugs Matt in this episode. The targeting of the photon torpedoes is off, so Reed is tasked with realigning the scanners. He’s ordered to take the scanners offline for a short period. Knowing they are likely to encounter the race that killed the derelict’s crew, Archer proceeds without waiting for Reed to complete the alignment, which puts them at a tactical disadvantage.

“Did we even learn the attacker’s name?”

The mysterious, hostile alien ship (Paramount)

The episode’s final act is where we start to see some flaws to the episode. Hoshi does have moments to shine, beginning with when they return to the derelict as she starts to decipher the language of the victims. From there, the landing party successfully enables a distress call using what she learns, but quickly must return to Enterprise as the expected visit from the hostile aliens occurs.

Reed hasn’t completed realigning the scanners and states that this affects the targeting of the torpedoes. But from what we see, accuracy seems to have little to do with their ineffectiveness against the alien arrival.

More of the aliens who were victimized respond to the distress call, giving Hoshi more opportunities to use her translation skills. It’s nice seeing her suck up her insecurities and eventually succeed in getting them to assist in defeating the hostiles.

In his native language, one of the victimized alien Axanar talks with Hoshi and Archer (Paramount)

We would have liked to have learned more about the attackers. We could have discovered why they were harvesting the fluids from our new friends, the Axanar.

Rating: 4/5

Our enjoyment of the character moments in this episode overshadows our criticisms. We hope Hoshi has figured out that she wants to be on Enterprise and that they downplay any discomfort of being a space traveler from this point forward. The plot is effective, if somewhat unoriginal. Star Trek usually does a better job of trying to get us to understand our foes, but little effort is made here in that regard. Matt doesn’t think the technology was portrayed consistently here and hopefully this will improve in later episodes. Matt, at least, enjoyed Hoshi’s (and Sluggo’s) journey, and we both are becoming quite fond of Phlox.

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