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On TV Today's Date:

original airdate: 04-30-03

Don't look now - here's a pretty good episode of Enterprise. It's not all that surprising. Things have really picked up for the prequel Trek in the past month.

But most of the episodes have had some weird structural flaw or continuity problem. This week had its fair share, but still ended up being a pretty good episode.

Or maybe the right word is different.

Usually on Enterprise we have a short teaser, the title credits, a commercial break, and then the first act where the whole episode is laid out. That's a normal story telling structure. However, this week we had a rather long teaser and an entire first act fly by. By the second commercial break the audience was still wondering, "What is this episode about?"

The previews made us believe it was another wacky sex story in space. The Enterprise discovers a race of people with three genders, and Tripp will somehow get caught in the middle - so to speak.

But instead, we don't see Tripp interacting with the hot trisexual E.T.s. Even better, there are a couple of curve balls the writers throw, almost teasing the audience.

Tripp needs an inoculation to visit the alien's ship. He asks the Doctor, "How long will the treatment last?"

There's a slight pause, baiting the audience to expect the usual answer. Something like, "Four hours," or "two days - unless you come in contact with some other material." Instead the doctor responds, "twelve years." Well, we can assume this episode isn't going to last twelve years, unless we've suddenly been watching Voyager.

"Do you like gladiator movies?"
And the Captain agrees to go on a two man mission with the alien's Captain. Deep into a hyper-star's wake they go. And at the first sign of trouble… nothing happens. At the second sign… nothing happens. The ship is fine, and the Captains get along GREAT!

So what the hell is this episode about?

The happiest nicest aliens in the galaxy meet the humans, and everything is just fine…

Until... (You knew there would be an until.)

Tripp's curiosity brings him to learn the third member of the alien's tri-gender species is neglected. They don't have names and can't read. They're swapped between couples like a sex appliance. Their only reason to live is to procreate.

According to Tripp, "that's not right." Or maybe he's wondering where he can sign up.

Now just last week we discussed how humans are thrusting their views onto neighboring species. And here we see Tripp teach an it-gender-thing to read and think for itself. He encourages it to defy its entire culture, because he thinks it's right.

Well, maybe Archer read last week's review, because when he comes back from his little two day with the alien captain, he's pissed. And in the most realistic scene Enterprise has had to date, Archer reprimands Tripp for making such a foolishly stupidly moronic dumb rash decision.

This is unlike anything I've seen on Trek. Archer's relationship with Tripp is really damaged. To make matters worse, the alien-it-sex-appliance-thing commits suicide. Now relations with the happiest nicest aliens in the galaxy are not so happy, and Tripp is solely responsible for messing things up. At any moment Archer could've said, "You're off my ship," and it would've been completely believable.

Actually, it's tough to imagine how things are supposed to be next week. Knowing this show's love for continuity, we can be sure we haven't seen the last of this.

Haven't seen the last of this? Those are famous last words. Something the Borg would say - oh and hey look at that, next week's episode of Enterprise will feature the Borg.

There are about a thousand things wrong with that, but instead of diving into that now, we'll bask in the success and originality of this week's episode.

Redundancy is Futile.

Kevin Miller

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