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original airdate: 02-25-2005

Enterprise has been the first Star Trek spin off to officially not accept fan scripts. In the past they’ve bought episodes from every Tom, Dick and Mailman that sends in a production-worthy concept. But the thread which connects all the episodes of Enterprise to each other protects the creative staff from having to read the thousands of fan scripts.

Fortunately, the writers and producers of Enterprise really KNOW Star Trek. Each show is made from a small group of people connecting the dots between episodes. And they’re standing on a very large foundation of a solid understanding of Star Trek history. The two part story, “Affliction” and this week’s “Divergence” are perfect proof.

Granted, the decision to do a two part story explaining why the Klingons of Star Trek had smooth foreheads is possibly the worst choice in the history of the franchise. But we’ve discussed that in length all ready. The two part arc also explores the larval stage of Section 31. Although it wasn’t mentioned by name, it's clear from the tone of Reed’s operative to his costume that he works for the founding members of the secret dirty work doers of the Federation.

Deep Space Nine had sort of been the forgotten child of the Trek franchise family, but it now passes that title to Enterprise. And if it weren’t for the ridiculous nature of the plague threatening the Klingon’s this episode would have been totally solid… Oh, but there was that one thing…

OK, since when can two star ships traveling at warp 5 combine warp fields??? Theoretically it makes sense. But if you can’t fire a weapon at warp how can you connect grappling hooks? This was an imaginative sequence; sort of a Speed: In Space. But doesn't it seem strange that they could perform such a move in the 22nd century but not in the 23rd or the 24th?

Stranger than this is the unusual camera work. Last week, “Affliction” ran a sequence on Earth with Star Fleet security investigating Phlox’s kidnapping. The scene featured jump cuts that looked like they would be more at home on NYPD Blue. A different director this week took things to the next level and laced the entire episode with jump cuts and odd push ins (starting with a wide shot with lots of stuff on the screen then zooming into on character as she speaks). In “Affliction” it seemed relevant, since it was sort of a CSI: 22nd Century. But this week it felt more like Independent Film Showcase.

The camera work forced the viewers to be aware of the camera, a technique not normally used on Star Trek. Sure, it’s cool to do new things. But they have to work. This almost doesn’t work.

Also not interested in working on Enterprise, Trip continues to stay attached to the Columbia. He left his chief engineering station on Enterprise at the end of “Aenar” to get light years away from T’Pol. Now he’s working on fixing his old ship's warp engines. But he’s still a member of the Columbia. You have to applaud the producers for sticking to this story. They could have very easily done a single episode with him running away from T’Pol and then learning his lesson. He’ll learn the lesson, sure, but it’ll take more then 60 minutes.

We don’t have a new episode till the middle of April, so it might take him some time to return to the Enterprise. However, with the show’s end coming in May, and the protests outside of Paramount doing little to change its cancellation, perhaps Trip will move onto the Columbia permanently. It took the crew of The Next Generation 15 years to move on. The Enterprise family may break up by the end of spring.

We’re going where no spin-off has gone before. Sadly it’s with one of the most competent production crews a Trek has ever had at the helm. Perhaps that’s the problem. These guys are Trekkies. Real nerds, who can dream up smooth forehead Klingons, warp field convergence, remote controlled holographic Romulan ships and Andorians with prehensile antennas. All the stuff that makes Enterprise a unique Star Trek

Makes us wonder – was this really Star Trek?

Kevin Miller

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