The Enterprise Docks at
Episode Air Date 10/03/01

"Fight or Flight"

Well, it's started. With the pilot out of the way and the huge media hype powering down, it's time for Enterprise to prove itself as something worth watching.

Fight or Flight took a long look at the endless repercussions of interfering in space. In the suspenseful and terrific "A" story line the Enterprise encounters a vessel whose crew have become subjects to a bizarre harvesting.

Captain Archer, under the heavy advice of sub-commander T'Pol, leaves the aliens to rot, until over dinner, he realizes the moral thing to do and turns the ship around, ready to save the day. Meanwhile, the "B" story showcases communications officer Ensign Sato's fear of failing.

Building off the pilot we see how the characters are dealing with being the humans in deep space. This is so very important. Often times in (bad) television a character will go through one ordeal or another, and come out a totally new person, only to have their behavior reset by the start of next week's episode. So far, Enterprise promises to build each week, creating an overall character arc (and hopefully, a story arc as well).

Ensign Sato serves as a perfect example. Afraid of making a mistake, she continued to stumble her way through translating with the aliens, until the entire crew's life was in her hands (or mouth - or something). As of the second episode it is safe to classify her as the one who screams "like a 12 year old girl" whenever things get hairy. But as her arc strengthens look for her to become a hardened communications officer and star-veteran.

However, it's hard to remember what functions the other crewmembers are doing on the ship. On recent Trek spin-offs it's been really convenient, since half the cast were aliens. How the characters feel about each other is more obvious than whether they should be running the com or the armory. Enterprise makes it really difficult, since the southern hick boy is the passionate engineer and the amusing English fellow operates the weapons.

Enterprise has successfully (in the total of two episodes) drafted a galaxy of many worlds. We've already met three new alien races, each interesting. The mystery attackers in Fight or Flight are sure to return, thirsty to throw the Enterprise into their harvesting festivities. And that adds to the longevity of the show. Just as the characters will arc, so will the history of the aliens.

We didn't learn who the attackers where, or why they set up fluid pumps, just as last week we didn't learn who was controlling the Suliban from the distant future. All these questions will be answered with time (and if it's the season finale, then every ounce of praise should be stripped from the show).

While the ships and battle sequences where captivating, there were a few shots missing. When Archer and crew left for the alien vessel the first time, one moment they were on the Enterprise, then we saw a computer animated scene of (presumably) their shuttle docking on the outside of the alien's ship, and then they boarded. This was the first time we were to see a shuttle launch from the Enterprise; they could've taken a moment and animated the shuttle being released from its grappling arm, spinning toward the wrecked barge. This would have helped the flow of action between moments and cut down the confusion. And been cool.

With this week's episode filled with suspense and terror, next week we look forward to an episode filled with terror and suspense - totally different. We'll see after that if we should boldly venture into week four.

Kevin of Nine

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