Enterprise Observer Effect
original airdate: 01-21-2005
of last week’s obvious plot, “Observer Effect”
deals out a tickling narrative that keeps the audience wondering,
“How DO the good guys win?” And really, when featuring
an ensemble cast that has to survive each week’s dangers,
this is the closest question of peril a team of writers can
stick in their audience’s minds.
often, the first thirty seconds of Enterprise can
be clipped off without losing much. But this week, if you
came in during the title sequence, you missed out. The camera
spins two or three times around Mayweather and Reed as they
sit in the mess hall playing chess. The dramatic lighting
and near haunting music score accentuate their strange dialogue.
By the end of the scene it’s apparent; something is
not right on Enterprise.
Two shapeless aliens have taken Mayweather
and Reed as hosts to watch the humans deal with a deadly
virus. The two aliens bounce all over the ship, using different
crew members as hosts, and then quickly erasing their memories.
The whole time the aliens debate the morality of watching
the crew die around them.
thus the question is posed, “Will the aliens cure
Enterprise of the virus or will they discover the lurking
While the question is being answered we
hear from some of the regular cast members who are traditionally
shut out. The aliens prefer Reed and Mayweather’s
bodies as hosts, so they get a good deal of screen time.
The first to be struck with the virus are Trip and Hoshi
so they’ve got a couple of scenes. With Dr. Phlox
working with T’Pol to find a cure and Archer trying
to coordinate their efforts, all the lead characters have
something to do! It’s a miracle!
Effect” affords a little more insight to Hoshi’s
character, which is a long time in coming. Hoshi’s
ability to “see the patterns of languages,”
without the aid of genetic enhancing, Borg technology or
alien brain tampering makes her the most brilliant human
on Star Trek since Wesley Crusher (who eventually
was able to stop time with his mind). And yet her unique
characteristics typically earn her nothing more then a few
lines per episode and maybe one story each season with her
as the helpless victim.
She exercises her understanding of the patterns
of language and breaks the security lock out on sickbay.
This girl is dangerous.
we hit what could be the ugliest technical mistake ever
on Enterprise. In television, a scene lasting 90
seconds may take half a day to film. First the stage is
set and then the actors, camera operators and sound technicians
rehearse the scene. Then they roll. And they may shoot the
same scene over a dozen times. Two or three times from one
angle, then two or three times from another, and so on.
As the alien inside Hoshi’s explains
their motives they cut back and forth from her to Archer.
One shot her hair is in her eyes and she’s looking
really sick. Then when they cut back to her the hair is
out of her face and she looks better. Then back again and
the hair is in her eyes and sick again. Then once more and
This is SHOCKING.
are so many people watching the continuity between shoots,
that for all of them to miss this incredible blooper makes
one wonder just how drastically the budget has been cut.
The make up artist missed it. The hair stylist missed it.
The camera operators missed it. The director missed it.
The assistant director missed it. The production assistant
missed it. The actor missed it. Heck, the craft service
dude even missed it. Probably the first person to notice
was the editor, when cutting together the two shots and
thought… “Why did they do this to me?”
rate, this scene will undoubtedly turn up in the Nitpicker’s
Guide to Star Trek: Enterprise.
people doing their job properly include the composer. The
sound score for ”Observer Effect” creates an
unsettling doomed mood. But a real artist knows when not
to play her music. Typically before a commercial break if
the captain’s learning that his crew is about to die
the music would swell and hold at a dramatic note till the
end of the act. Not this week. Instead, there is no music
and the audience’s attention is focused on the actor’s
reaction to the news.
Eventually the debate between the aliens
breaks and they resolve to cure Archer and his crew. And
everyone’s memory is modified to forget the events.
We’ve seen memories get erased making entire episodes
virtually pointless. If your character’s don’t
remember their adventures then why should we watch them?
But when we learn identity of the energy based aliens it
all seems to be OK.
the Organians, the famed race from Star Trek’s “Errand
of Mercy,” who dressed up as medieval peasants and
stood their ground against a Klingon attack. On Star Trek
the Organians seem removed from corporeal races much like
humans remove themselves from the busy lives of ants. “Observer
Effect,” reveals a new side to the Organians.
has been exploring its roots regularly this season. The
return to classic aliens and living in the prequel universe
is what Enterprise was originally billed to do.
As long as they don’t muck up the continuity (too
much) let the good times roll.
they shall into next week with the first of a three part
story staring Tellarites, Andorians and Romulans –