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On TV Today's Date:

The Catwalk
original airdate: 12-18-02

Everyone in space is a liar.

Last week Captain Archer and crew played host to two aliens who pretended to be cargo dealers, when in actuality they were kidnappers. This week the crew brings on board three aliens who pretend to be stellar cartographers. Guess what? They aren't!

This past weekend's release of Star Trek: Nemesis reminds us that all Star Trek can be anymore is old stories told in new ways. It's something we've grown to accept. But Enterprise doesn't have to run into deceptive alien species every other week.

Nevertheless, this week's liars warn the Enterprise crew about a mysterious storm that has enough power to supercharge the warp core, blow the ship up, AND give everyone radiation poisoning. All 83 crew members, Dr. Phlox's zoo, the three alien liars, and yes, Porthos the puppy, gather together in the "catwalk," the stretch of space in the warp nacelle. And not one of them struts and models the new fall collection while wearing a pouty face. Not even T'Pol.

By now you're wondering, "Space storm? Isn't 'space' pretty big? Can't they just go up, or down, or AWAY from the storm?" The answer is... LOOK! Shiny object!

And back to the plot. There, in the catwalk, they settle down for what looks like a very nice bonding experience, until the liars' military comes looking for the stellar cartographers - or should I say criminals? Those liars.

"Oh, please please please! This week let me be the deaf vicar and you be the blind nun..."
The local space militia attempts to commandeer the Enterprise, forcing the crew to come out of the nacelle and use deception to fight back. By letting the aliens think Archer is the only remaining human on the ship he deceives the militia into thinking he'd rather blow the ship up, then let them take it (Star Treks: Wrath of Khan, First Contact, and half a dozen other TV episodes).

To be fair, Archer and crew are rather adept at their own brand of deception. This week's fake-out just follows a long line of lies. Last week T'Pol pretended to be an executioner, earlier this season Trip pretended to be Archer, and in the first month of the show T'Pol was pretending to talk to aliens on an uninhabited planet. Look what this voyage is doing to the first Earth crew in deep space -- making us play pretend.

Wait. It's all pretend. Ooh. How post-modern.

Despite the repetitive theme, and the oddly convenient storm premise, this was still a good episode. There were fun details that will surely be woven into future installments of Enterprise. For example, the aliens didn't need to wear big bulky suits to protect themselves from the radiation. How odd.

With this being the last episode until the New Year, we Trekkers and Trekkies alike will boldly go where we have all gone before: Rerunland. What is this sun thing people keep talking about?

Set phasers to TIVO.

Kevin Miller

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