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original airdate: 10-29-04

Since the season began, UPN has been hyping Brent Spiner’s appearance on Enterprise. He’s a Star Trek figure who needs little introduction.

He was Data.

That should pretty much cover it. However, Spiner has played numerous characters in the Star Trek universe. And for the most part, they’re all related to Data. He’s played Data’s “father” Dr. Noonien Soong; Data’s “brothers” both Lore and “B-4;” as well as an entire holographic wild west town – to name just a few.

So when Spiner was scheduled for a three episode “epic” on Enterprise it stands to reason that he would the great great great… grandfather of Data, Dr. Arik Soong.

But the intrigue doesn’t stop there. Remember that Enterprise is fighting for its prime time life. If adding a Data-Spiner character doesn’t attract viewers, then how about…

Orion Slave Girls
The Eugenics War

Yes, Enterprise is tapping into its roots and pumping out episodes that feel like the first two seasons. It’s a prequel universe. The very nature of this show is the back story for every other show. Spending a year with the Xindi mythos had its merits. But getting back to Star Trek will save this show.

There is a lot of story crammed into “Borderland," which is rather surprising. Typically the first episode of a three part story is boring build up (look at The Phantom Menace). But right from the start the stakes are high.

A handful of Augments held over from the Eugenics War commandeer a Klingon Bird of Prey. Captain Archer enlists the aid of evil genius Dr. Arik Soong to capture his former creations. What is it with the Soongs and their need to tamper with sentient life?

Evil genius aside, Soong works side by side with the Captain. He’s unscrupulous, but makes a really good team mate. It’s apparent the creators wish to impress people with Spiner’s acting ability. They should’ve just put a ticker at the bottom of the screen that read, “Remember how Spiner played the lovable Data and now he’s a mad scientist? Isn’t that great?”

What is great is how they play the relation ship between Soong and his “children.” Since he helped develop their genetic superiority, they view Soong as their father. And though they’re a family of KILLING MACHINES, they show more believable love for each other than any single episode of Full House.

Now the very nature of this episode raises some fantastic continuity questions. According to the original Star Trek, The Eugenics War was hot and heavy in 1996. Granted, we all know there wasn’t a Eugenics war, and Khan never ran part of the globe. But it is still a part of the Star Trek mythos. However, Voyager ran a two part episode taking place in modern 1996. Khan wasn’t there either.

So maybe the Eugenics War happens later – sometime in the 21st century. A thought quickly dismantled when Dr. Phlox refers to the Augments' genetic design as 20th century technology.

The only conclusion we can come to is the Eugenics War happened and Voyager did not.

OK, that’s enough timeline nitpicking. Let’s talk Orion Slave Girls. Enterprise excels at taking original Star Trek aliens and giving them a modern TV spin. The make-up techniques used today have a real tonal quality to them. It doesn’t look like water make-up powdered dry. It’s as if the actors have all been tattooed. But it’s doubtful that WWE’s Big Show was permanently painted to be on Enterprise. He has the honor of auctioning off T’Pol by wiggling her like a carnival doll. And he looks great doing it!

Now the blue skinned Andorians have been upgraded. The green skinned Orions have been upgraded. But then there is the question of the Klingons. In this era they look like those in the movies and all the spin-offs. But Kirk fought Klingons with simple brown grease paint. Will Enterprise explain the dramatic difference between the two Klingons from the same race?

With this skirmish shaping up to be the beginnings of the war with the Klingons, that answer may come in time. But first we have two more episodes with Data’s relative.

Stay Tuned For:

Spiner Trek

Kevin Miller

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