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The Aenar
original airdate: 02-11-2005

For a three part story that was undoubtedly the final straw that cancelled Enterprise, “The Aenar” finishes strong and proud. But this isn’t the first time a three part story has had weak links. Since this, its fourth and final season began, we’ve seen trilogy after trilogy. And there hasn’t been an even paced one yet. Why should the Telarite/Andorian/Vulcan/Human vs. Romulan story be any different?

But is there really any point anymore at trying to figure out a formula that will work for Enterprise? Only if by some miracle the giant march outside of Paramount’s office on February 25th can actually be giant and not just a pathetic trek fest, do we stand a chance. But even if they build a working model of the NX-01, there is a better chance that all of the protesters' social calendars will be filled before a fifth season would be sold to ANY network.

How about we enjoy these last few episodes together? And not go out crying as if there weren’t OTHER things on TV or in our lives…

Perhaps we should be more like the Aenar, a removed and passive sect of the Andorian race. They’ve lived in the nether regions of Andoria and were only discovered fifty years before Commander Shran and Captain Archer went searching out their hidden city under the ice crust.

Their tiny population and pacifist nature excuses why we’ve never seen them in any other Trek. But it doesn’t explain why they were able to build an entire metropolis. The Aenar must use some alternative source of power OR the Andorians have really bad eyesight if for centuries they missed the multilayered ice version of an Ewok village.

Nevertheless, it’s interesting to meet another subculture of a key Star Trek species. For example, since the original Trek Romulans have been pestering the Federation. They’ve conquered their own section of the galaxy… and yet we never see anything other than Romulans operating Romulan ships.

So the Romulans are racists. Then Nemesis came along and introduced their subspecies: the Remans. The cave-dwelling miners made a brief appearance on last week’s “United.” But if Federation’s space has nearly countless worlds loaded with diverse cultures and species – then what is going on in Klingon, Romulan and Cardassian space? At least the Klingons have different foreheads, but those mark houses, almost like a last name. Typically only if an alien race has human-like-skin do they come in different shades. It’s refreshing to see there are shades of blue on Andorian.

The Aenar, while blind, are telepathic, a trait they do not share with their blue skinned brothers. After two weeks of confusion, it’s revealed that the Romulans have kidnapped an Aenar and forced him to operate their amazing remote controlled holographic ship. It’s been terrorizing the sector for weeks now. But it’s now apparent the Romulans must abandon the holographic ship, because its power signature never matches the ship it’s projecting.

Wait a second here. If the Andorians realized they had access to a telepathic subculture whom were capable of controlling remote controlled ships from afar then why didn’t they harness this potential? The holographic option could be abandoned (or perfected), but the idea of sending ships into space to fight and explore without risking life seems like an avenue worth exploring. Vulcans are capable of telepathy, as are the Betazoids. There are a whole crop of aliens who can use their minds. Why did this technology get abandoned?

If we keep pulling on this thread the entire show falls apart. The producers forced us Trekkies to buy off on a prequel adventure, whining that the Next Generation had become too easy. Self guided torpedoes, subspace telaporter riffles and holographic doctors. They wanted to take us back to the days when space technology was in its infancy. Then why are there holographic remote controlled self-repairing ships?

The answer is – there shouldn’t be. Or the larger answer – we shouldn’t have been here in the first place. Yes, it’s been an amusing ride, exploring the days before the Federation, meeting aliens we haven’t seen in TV’s spot light in 40 years. But in the end – this show was a mistake. As a wise editor once said when discussing episode one of another mighty science fiction franchise, “Eighty percent of your story should be back story. And we don’t need to see the back story.”

Disconnecting “The Aenar” from the rest of Trek lore, it’s a really decent episode. The imaginative underground ice world is a great example of digital production. And the relationship between Shran and Archer is so thick you could cut it with a steak knife. T’Pol and Trip’s relationship also takes an odd turn, when Trip tells Archer, under no pretense, that he’s in love with the Vulcan science officer and wants to run away to the Columbia. If it wasn’t for the show’s current path we could clearly mark this as a ruse. But, maybe now the writers will twist the ending of the show to have Trip play Romeo on the Columbia and T’Pol stay a Capulet on Vulcan. Or maybe they’ll both die at the end of the same dagger…

Only eight more episodes remain. And next week Enterprise will explore the mystery of the ill continuity of the Klingon foreheads… Does anyone else think it should never be aired…?

See you outside Paramount on February 25th.

Kevin Miller

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