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On TV Today's Date:

original airdate: 10-01-03

The start of the third season of Enterprise was marked by three very noticeable changes. First being the name. Re-adopting its patronym, Enterprise is now known as Star Trek: Enterprise (and that's why your TIVO isn't recording "Enterprise".)

Second is the sudden change in the direction of the show. When pitching Star Trek premises, the creators defended the prequel approach because it allowed for more dramatic discoveries. They wanted to return to the days when space was unknown. And by the third season they're already throwing the baby out with the bathwater - or the adventure out of the space lock… or something.

The third, and probably most important change, is the obvious submission to the fact that Star Trek is CAMPY.

"It's just a TV show," famous last words, I know. But I'm not the one saying it. Enterprise - sorry - Star Trek: Enterprise, has become increasingly more campy. This isn't a bad thing. And really, it makes the show more fun. Even Deep Space Nine, the most heavy handed of all the Treks, recognized that a campy approach to the Star Trek mythos is the only way to go. Voyager tried to ignore the fact that they were campy, ending up repeatedly guilty of acting cooler that it actually was.

Enterprise gets it. And this week proves it. The entire episode pays homage to the original Star Trek. The musical score is laced with horns reminiscent of Kirk and Spock. And most notable is the string of slutty green-skinned girls that make it with the Captain.

In need of the rare element "Trillium-D" Captain Archer and crew fly down to a water world (without Kevin Costner) looking for a chemist. After the alien chemist tells them it takes four bowls of Duraniumarium to equal one bowl of Trillium they find themselves in an alien red light district.

Archer has obviously never picked up a hooker before, because he instantly falls for the ole, "My-prositute-has-fallen-in-love-with-you-and-you-have-to-buy-her-from-me," trick. In a very characteristic act of chivalry, Archer beats up the alien pimp and rescues the sex slave, Rajiin.

She's a rare, special girl. She has the ability to seduce anyone. Place people under hypnosis. And of course, scan their bodies with her hands, revealing their muscle tissue like a broken x-ray machine. You know, the girl next door.

The plot doesn't move much more than that. The girl scans their bodies and after attacking T'Pol (in a scene so erotic that you're to be pitied if you watched it with your parents) she attempts to escape the Enterprise. She's stopped and thrown into the brig, the second person to sit in its metal frame this season. And once again Archer threatens murder in his interrogation process.

Rajiin, in an act of overwhelming compassion, tells Archer she was sent to retrieve information about the humans' physiology. The Xindi have been working on a bio-weapon to wipe out all of humanity, and are missing some very key ingredients.

The Xindi are possibly the campiest element of the new approach to Enterprise. Their five extremely distinct species can't possibly be taken seriously. Human. Reptile. Hairy. Bug. And Mermen (yes, nothing more dangerous than a Merman -- just ask Aquaman).

And what's even more interesting is the cutting back and forth between Enterprise and the Xindi council. The Enterprise writers must know there were only about six of us who really watched Deep Space Nine, because this whole subplot with the bad dudes scheming at their headquarters was a constant thread in the last seasons of DS9.

But if borrowing a familiar storyline helps boost continuity then I'm all for it. Unlike ANY Star Trek before, previous episodes actually have impact. Last week Archer was transformed into an alien species and back again. This week Phlox continues to treat his quick metamorphosis. The scene has nothing to do with the episode, but rather with the series as a whole. On any other Trek series characters would have some crazy life altering adventure, and then show up the next week as if it'd never happened. (Yes, Picard was emotionally scarred by his role as Locutus of Borg, and immediately visited France to talk it over with his family - but that episode didn't air until well into the season, because it wasn't action packed).

Enough nerding. The Xindi risk exposing themselves to Enterprise by storming the ship and stealing Rajiin. Loaded with info on human physiology, they now have what they need to finish the bio weapon. Things don't look good for the humans.

And next week they'll watch T'Pol go crazy. Sure, the previews have her thrashing about acting like she'll kill - but we can be sure there will be one scandalous scene. It may not include bi-sexual aliens… but you never know.

On the alien species rating scale this week scores a…

Green Skinned Girl. She may have had more lines, and a better part in the story. But we know why she was really there…

Kevin Miller

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