Whatever that means. You'd probably have to
enjoy long days sitting in a tiny boat smelling like squid
bait in order to really appreciate the cliche, but it's graphic
enough to describe this week's episode of Enterprise.
"Stratagem" treated its audience just like fish,
luring them in ah ...hook, line and sinker.
the advertising for the episode didn't ruin the surprising
twist. In fact it helped lay the trap. Or rather, bait the
hook (careful now - don't mix those metaphors).
something like "The first shot has been fired
In the battle to save earth Plus a terrifying glimpse
of the future." Then it's a close up on a grey haired
Archer informing a Xindi "Your people destroyed my planet."
already been done! Since The Next GenerationStar
Trek spin offs have been accused of just rehashing Kirk
and Spock adventures. Which in many cases is true, no doubt.
But it's even worse for a series to rehash its own episodes
- FROM THE SAME SEASON!
November of 2003 the episode "Twilight" featured
the future of humanity. The Xindi had destroyed Earth and
all the remaining Terrans had settled on a remote planet,
hiding from their attackers. T'Pol took care of the aged Captain
Archer who was suffering from an extreme case of RAM depletion.
Some anomaly was stopping his short term memories from become
long term. So he'd wake up every day wondering why so much
time had passed.
top of this episode Archer is fine and it's the humanoid Xindi
leader Degra who has a memory problem. According to Archer
the Xindi destroyed Earth and then the Insectoid Xindi started
a galactic civil war, dominating all the Xindi factions. Degra
and Archer lived together in a prison cell for three years,
until they escaped.
remembers nothing because of a Truth Blood Worm, so Archer
has to convince him that time has passed and that they are
no longer great enemies but instead trusted friends.
between the two episodes are almost so aggravating you want
to change the channel!
thanks to the magic of editing, we go back in time three days,
to before the Enterprise was allegedly destroyed and mankind
was wiped out.
captured Degra and erased his short term memories in an attempt
to learn where they're building the Xindi weapon.
to get out of your seat and applaud the cleverness Enterprise
crew! (And their writers, sure.) This is an elaborate and
brilliant plan. In the 24th century Picard would have just
thrown the terrorist in the holo-deck. And we've seen that
plot enough times. But man kind doesn't have holo-decks yet,
so they're forced to build a ship inside their cargo bay.
Like some flight simulator program.
mankind should never develop the holo-deck. It must make us
lazy. No other Star Trek show has EVER used deception,
perception and trickery like Enterprise. Finally, a
crew that uses the element of the unknown. They surprise their
enemies rather then fight them. They act out roles instead
of fire phasers. And the best part of all: the audience is
not in on it. We're just as surprised.
bold story telling comes even more impressive, and different,
plot twists. Archer tries to manipulate Degra into giving
up the coordinates of the Xindi weapon. But something tips
him off, and he suspects a plot.
has to decide if the coordinates he gave were real or not.
So very Hamlet.
isn't enough time to fly to the coordinates, which orbit a
red giant star. And there isn't time to restart the whole
scenario. The only option - use the Xindi spatial tunnels
to get there.
doesn't work or so it seems! Once Degra thought he'd
seen behind the curtain, Archer and crew just lowered a second
veil. They rock the ship. Set things on fire. Make it look
like a bad warp trip, all to get Degra to blurt out that he
had indeed given the true coordinates.
deception is a little more transparent then the first, but
it still leads the audience through a narrative maze.
Degra and crew, memories erased, on their ship, and zoom away
to the red giant. And Archer admits the red star may be the
final leg in the journey to save Earth. About time. Every
week there is some additional hurdle to jump over. One more
thing till we can find the weapon and turn it off.
the Alpha Quadrant is this series going to be about next season?
Will there be ANOTHER year long adventure? Will they return
to exploring the final frontier? Will the Klingon war start?
Or will the Xindi continue to haunt mankind ?
before we reach the end of the Xindi hunt, there is another
hurdle to jump. And tensions will rise among the crew
Really, T'Pol bares her Vulcan breasts to Trip, then apologizes
to CBS while Trip still gets to go to the Grammys.
a dream sequence? A mind altering alien? A flash forward to
another alternate future where mankind is conquered? Because
there is no way T'Pol will actually GET NAKED as early as
we'll all watch, because naked T'Pol is the bait and they've
got us Hook, line and sinker.
meantime, this week's episode, on the Alien rating scale,
Stratagem is one of the smartest episodes of Enterprise, to
date. Worthy of the name Zakdorn, who are a race of aliens
known for their superior intelligence (and arrogance). Interestingly
enough, in the episode the TNG episode Peak Performance, Data
challenges Kolrami, a Zakdorn, to a game of Stratagem...