erinptah: (Default)
Where the towels are oh so fluffy ([personal profile] erinptah) wrote2017-04-19 09:01 pm

Erin Rewatches: Enterprise s4, plus wrap-up thoughts

Had very little to say about most of this season. But it did have four really good episodes, so there's that! And there's a full How Much Of The Show To Watch guide at the end of the post.

I might post a T'Pol Appreciation Watching Guide later. With screencaps.

***

  • Season 4 opens with "let's time-travel back to the '40s and fight alien Nazis," which I'm not surprised I completely forgot about. Although they did get Enterprise into a dogfight with WWII fighters over NYC. If you're gonna go there, you might as well go all-out, and on that, they delivered.

  • s04e04: add Orions to the list of Species That Have Sexually Menaced T'Pol.

  • So season 4 is mostly mini-arcs, 2-3 episodes each. They're hit-or-miss. The next one is "let's chase around a ship full of genetically-engineered angry twentysomethings for a while," which had a couple bright spots but mostly dragged. And the moral was an iffy "these people were bred to be horrible, so trying to give them a caring and loving environment is futile."


***

s04e07-9: because of shenanigans, T'Pol must journey into the dangerous Vulcan desert to search for her mom, who just went into hiding as a suspected terrorist.

Sounds like a journey fraught with physical and emotional dangers, right? And, hey, a couple episodes ago Trip declared he was in love with her. Of course the writers will take this opportunity to put him in a position to support her and develop their mutual trust and understanding and nope obviously I'm kidding she goes with Archer.

He has these adorable moments of trying to be a Strong Manly Man by downplaying his discomfort and offering her water, his sunglasses, etc. T'Pol has to keep saying "I'm a desert-native species, I can go three days between drinks and have an extra set of eyelids, what are you doing."

This arc, I'm liking. Lots of Vulcan history and political intrigue, an appearance by young renegade T'Pau (last/next seen officiating Spock's wedding), stories about T'Pol's childhood pet, and Archer inadvertently gets an ancient Vulcan philosopher mind-melded into his head.

UPDATE: T'POL JUST GOT HER SPACE AIDS HEALED BY THE POWER OF "TALENTED" CONSENSUAL SAME-SEX MIND-MELDING

And in general we're getting more focus on female characters' relationships with each other than we have in the entire rest of the series, and basically this is great and everyone should watch it.

***

  • s04e11 is a good episode. Felt like a throwback to s1/s2. Noncorporeal aliens hang around to observe the crew's reaction to a medical crisis, so we get a lot of creepy, well-acted scenes of our heroes interacting with them...via the monotone possessed bodies of their colleagues.

  • Enterprise s04e18-19 hangs out entirely in the evil mirrorverse. No goatees, unfortunately. Somehow they pick up a depopulated relative-future version of our Enterprise, which means the cast gets to run around a vintage TOS set in Kirk-type uniforms.

  • The best thing about it is the alternate opening. Instead of "Faith of the Heart" over a montage of the history of human exploration, it's an ominous theme over a montage of the history of war and conquest. Someone had fun with that.

  • Most of the plot is kinda dumb, but it ends with Hoshi executing a hostile takeover and becoming Empress of all humanity, which is hard to argue.


***

  • The penultimate pair of Enterprise episodes takes us back to Earth to face off against a faction of xenophobes causing political chaos. It's painfully topical.

  • Also, this is when Trip and T'Pol get a secret science baby. Trip is mistrustful enough to entertain the idea that maybe T'Pol got pregnant and hid it from him, although in fairness to him, that makes a lot more sense than the actual plot. It's a development that gets pushed on them by outside forces, and makes them both tense and uncomfortable and adds stress to all their interactions, which pretty much sums up their entire romance.

  • Season finale. Honestly, I really like the premise of an Enterprise mission as a holodeck flashback, with crewmembers from a chronologically-later series talking about how much they admire these larger-than-life figures whose adventures they studied in grade school. And maybe if more emphasis had been put on that aspect -- the long-term worldbuilding, its effects through the generations -- it even would've worked as a Last Episode.

  • Instead it split the emotional weight between an Enterprise story and a TNG story, in a way that sucked the energy out of both. I wish they'd done it midseason.


***

Final verdict: for best results, watch all of seasons 1 and 2; episodes 8 (Twilight) and 16 of season 3; episode 11 of season 4; and then episodes 7-9 (the trilogy where they go to Vulcan) of season 4.

They're a great pseudo-finale. The appearance of the younger version of a TOS character gives you that extra-strong continuity with later shows. The whole storyline sets up the transition for Vulcans as we know them in Enterprise to the Vulcans seen in TOS. Plus you get the double whammy of T'Pol being awesome AND T'Pau being awesome

Satisfying character development for our heroes -- I loved Trip being forced by circumstances into the role of a diplomat, and having grown as a person enough to pull it off. That felt like the natural story arc his character was supposed to have, making a brief appearance through the romantic arc they kept shoehorning him into. Archer resolves his lingering issues with Vulcans. T'Pol resolves HER lingering issues with Vulcans (and her mom in particular).

And it's all about teamwork and tolerance and friendship and harmony and how peace is something you don't get without hard work, but you come together with your companions and you put in the effort because it's worth it. This is Enterprise at its best.

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