E N T E R P R I S E
SEASON ONE: EPISODES 1 TO 20
[SCROLL DOWN FOR SUBSEQUENT EPISODES]
EPISODE ONE: BROKEN BOW
AIR DATE: Wednesday, September 26th, 2001
If epics open In Medias Res, it would appear the latest series takes us back to when "boldly going" was more potential than act. Warp drive technology has just been invented, allowing the embryonic Star Fleet to go to Neptune and back in only a few minutes, an accomplishment the Vulcans would just as soon see stay potential. Humans 150 years from now have no idea what awaits in space (Didn't Q tell that to Picard?), and are far too emotionally volatile to ever learn, at least according to Sub Commander T'Pol, who nonetheless by the end of the two hour episode wants to stay on as science officer.
Hopefully, we are off to a good start. The decision to avoid a future setting, and return to where it all began makes sense. There is much Kirk to Picard to Sisko to Janeway to trace, and without the much maligned (and occasionally praised), Prime Directive, the writers should be able to explore whatever they wish.
And writing essentially is the key. After having taught a Star Trek course to high school juniors and seniors using this web site, I am convinced that the series' unprecedented success proved Roddenberry correct when he argued decades ago that science fiction and literacy are not mutually exclusive. During our classes, we discussed Plato, Aristotle, Shakespeare, Bacon, Newton, and themes ranging from biomedical ethics to man's spiritual evolution in a future when scientific progress may be a necessary , but not sufficient condition for a 24th century utopia:
Later, in WHO WATCHES THE WATCHERS, Counselor Troy cautions that the trouble with a God is trying to figure out what he (she?) wants, and Capt. Picard unequivocally mandates that he will not allow the Mintakans' potential for scientific progress to be nullified by a regression to religious factionalism. Interestingly in SACRED GROUND, Capt. Janeway (who accepts scientific training as her only absolute) acknowledges that science alone may not have saved her injured shipmate, and Capt. Sisko in WHAT YOU LEAVE BEHIND evolves to become a prophet in the wormhole (Celestial Temple), which presumably would not have occurred had he not come to see how the faith of Major Kira and her people sustained them during the occupation, a lesson he made sure Jake understood. After the horror of Tuesday September 11th, the task of the writers for ENTERPRISE will be to deconstruct the mythos that secular humanism per se will not be sufficient to save man from the terrible misuse of technology.
Kirk's adventures of the 1960's seem to posit that man could survive without God. We are told in THE APPLE and WHO MOURNS FOR ADONIS that we have outgrown the need for the Divine.
Later, in WHO WATCHES THE WATCHERS, Counselor Troy cautions that the trouble with a God is trying to figure out what he (she?) wants, and Capt. Picard unequivocally mandates that he will not allow the Mintakans' potential for scientific progress to be nullified by a regression to religious factionalism.
Interestingly in SACRED GROUND, Capt. Janeway (who accepts scientific training as her only absolute) acknowledges that science alone may not have saved her injured shipmate, and Capt. Sisko in WHAT YOU LEAVE BEHIND evolves to become a prophet in the wormhole (Celestial Temple), which presumably would not have occurred had he not come to see how the faith of Major Kira and her people sustained them during the occupation, a lesson he made sure Jake understood.
After the horror of Tuesday September 11th, the task of the writers for ENTERPRISE will be to deconstruct the mythos that secular humanism per se will not be sufficient to save man from the terrible misuse of technology.
EPISODE TWO: FIGHT OR FLIGHT
AIR DATE: Wednesday, October 3, 2001
Taking a "Q" from the past, space is quite dangerous, so at the very least a "code of conduct" (perhaps the forerunner of the 'Prime Directive'?) must guide exploration. Apparently Archer's "we are here to discover, learn and aid" conflicts with T'Pol's "Vulcan's would never have intervened." perspective: logic vs. emotion and compassion. Years later, if Spock notes that logic is the beginning of wisdom, then it will be interesting to see how Vulcan philosophy evolves.
This week's episode highlights Ensign Hoshi Sato. A brilliant linguist, her skills would obviously be needed during any 'first contact' mission, but in "Fight or Flight," she seems trepadacious about using her talents, even when absolutely necessary to save the ship from aliens bent on revenging the destruction of one of their own craft's crew, a loss for which the Enterprise, they think, may be responsible. Just in time, however, she establishes communication, convincing the aliens that another ship about to destroy the Enterprise is the real culprit.
Archer concludes that "They may have just made a new friend" and that Sato's courage made for a successful first contact. Reminiscent of DARMOK, the episode suggests that space exploration must be contingent on viable communication as a prelude to mutual understanding and trust. In DARMOK, the failure thus to understand the "root metaphors," the mythology of a culture in other words, courts disaster, a concept that should not be lost on those attempting to promote world peace in our "terrorist" plagued culture. Do we need to refine our first contact protocols?
EPISODE THREE : STRANGE NEW WORLD
AIR DATE: Wednesday, October 10, 2001
"It was a dark and stormy night..." and all only appeared to be well. ST episodes such as FIRST CONTACT have dramatized the dangers of precipitous actions which jeopardize interspecies harmony. Roddenberry was undoubtedly pleased when Dr. King used the show as a mimetic model of how people on earth ought to get along. Harmony between races and cultures is still a goal humanity struggles to achieve, and ST asks that our first contacts proceed with benevolence and respect; thus we must believe that all Moslems are NOT terrorists.
STRANGE NEW WORLD features Trip, described by Rick Berman in the July 14th TV GUIDE interview as having a "...certain wit and charm that is disarming even to our Vulcan first officer, T'Pol." Well, perhaps but not this time. As toxins on a planet begin to mar sound judgment, Trip becomes more and more convinced that hostile aliens (which apparently are hallucinations) intend harm to the crew. As his paranoia grows, anger focuses on T'Pol whose Vulcan philosophy once again is the target of human hostility. Archer of course must rescue his crew and restore psychological equilibrium which he does.
The episodes thus far seem to pit Vulcan rationalism against human emotional urges to "boldly go..." where at least in this series no one has literally been. In Kirk's THE ENEMY WITHIN, McCoy and Spock suggest that the "two Kirks" must be integrated to command the ship. When the rational, logical Kirk becomes separated from what appears to be the bestial, irrational Kirk, the former loses the power of command, and it is observed that the latter properly disciplined is needed for the strength of command necessary to lead.
Perhaps that is the intention here. Clearly, T'Pol's Vulcan rationalism per se would indeed inhibit space exploration, but simultaneously, the human passion for exploration needs the guidance of the philosophical disciplines. Spock in one of his didactic moods once remarked that he found it quite unbelievable that humans ever survived the 21 st century. As this new series endeavors to explain how we did, perhaps the writers might recall that in the fourth book of GULLIVER' S TRAVELS, neither the Yahoos (brute human passion) nor the Houyhnhnms (cold rationality) apart have the moral ability to survive.
EPISODE FOUR: UNEXPECTED
AIR DATE: Wednesday, October 17th, 2001
If ENTERPRISE maintains the quality of writing sustained in this episode, then (as Capt. Kirk once remarked) "All will be well." Roddenberry in rethinking his premises for NEXT GENERATION argued that in casting races such as the Klingons and Romulians as the villains, episodes came perilously close to racism, something he abhorred. I did not fear racism at all in this series, but I was delighted to see emerging stereotypes dialectically tested.
1--T'Pol finds humanity praiseworthy in the rescue of the Xyrillians: (an emotional reaction?)
2--Trip finds himself very pregnant--the first male in human history to have that honor
3--Even the Klingons are persuaded not to annihilate whatever they see.
First contact is portrayed with empathetic humor. Trip's condition echoes what feminists have long argued: the male stereotype needs a critical eye, and what better way to do so than (albeit with a light tone) to have a man become pregnant, even pro tem. The Xyrillians, kind and compassionate, were willing to defer to Archer's request to keep a safe distance, and recommended whatever Trip needed to survive in their alien environment, even when he suspected the result. STAR TREK has of course long deconstructed the "alien as monster" mythos, and this episode proved no exception. The Xyrillains shared their technology which they used to cultivate refined aesthetic, romantic, and moral sensibilities.
Martha Nussbaum in CULTIVATING HUMANITY believes the narrative imagination essential for creating the empathy necessary to believe that the footprints others leave in the sand are not much different from our own. In this she echoes Shelley who posited that the sympathetic imagination gives the power to manage the technologies we have created to liberate us, but which ironically have done the opposite. May STAR TREK continue to actualize their visions.
EPISODE FIVE : TERRA NOVA
AIR DATE: Wednesday, October, 24 2001
We have noted of course that first contact procedures can be physically and ethically hazardous as TERRA NOVA, not without irony, dramatizes insofar as the colonists Archer and crew encounter were once fully humanoid. The issue is trust. Dr. Pholx's treatment of the Novan matriarch and her study of the Enterprise's photo database convinces her that her ancestry is human, and that the "poison rain" which ruined their habitat came from an asteroid; not a terran plot. She eventually demands that all Novan's accept Archer's evidence. In parallel, Archer demonstrates sincerity by saving an injured Novan, trapped in a cave-in. The episode also showcases Travis' imaginative sensitivity whose love of history is rewarded by his helping to shape it by solving the mystery of terra nova.
Philosophically, the episode may dramatize the genesis of the Prime Directive. Archer wishes passionately save the Novans from their own ignorance, even if they must be relocated to a healthy environment by force. T'Pol, however, rationally disputes whether the crew has the right to do so, even if it appears to be in their best interest. The Novans believe all humans speak shales (lies), and Archer equally believes humanity has no right to explore space if necessity (in Plato's words) cannot be subordinated to reasonable persuasion. We thus do not really know if the Novans follow Archer's advice, so is "reasonable acceptance" still within the domain of the culture?
EPISODE SIX: THE ANDORIAN INCIDENT
AIR DATE: Wednesday, October 31, 2001
In THE STAR TREK CONCORDANCE, we learn that Andorians, "...though an admittedly violent race...are not wont to quarrel without reason (p.126), and viewers of JOURNEY TO BABEL might recall that the attack on Kirk by Thelev revealed the latter to be an Orion, not an Andorian.
This episode would appear once again to vindicate the Andorians but in a context I had hoped STAR TREK had outgrown. The show was disturbing for a series that otherwise dramatizes prejudice as morally depraved. The "admittedly violent race," we are told by peaceful Vulcan monks, periodically raid the sanctuary seeking covert espionage technology, which we are assured by the monks does not exist. After several scenes during which Capt. Archer is repeatedly beaten by the Andorians, we discover that the monastery in reality does contain the devices the Andorians fear. Archer, after violently subduing a monk who naturally wished the temple - listening post be kept a secret, notes it felt good to violate the sanctuary with force.
On the surface the episode seems to condemn prejudice--after all, the Andorians may be correct in feeling their security threatened, and should not perhaps be viewed as the brutal thugs they appear to be throughout most of the hour. Yet, why is the target religion? As in TNG's WHO WATCHES THE WATCHERS, religion emerges second best as Picard warns, as I noted in my review of the first ENTERPRISE EPISODE, not to "...allow the Mintakans' potential for scientific progress to be nullified by a regression to religious factionalism." Here the religious orthodoxy of Vulcan logic is a mask for a covert espionage.
What are we to conclude?
I would hope that what appeared in the first review would offer guidance...
After the horror of Tuesday September 11th, the task of the writers for ENTERPRISE will be to deconstruct the mythos that secular humanism per se will not be sufficient to save man from the terrible misuse of technology.
EPISODE SEVEN: BREAKING THE ICE
AIR DATE: Wednesday, NOVEMBER 7, 2001
Medieval and Renaissance cosmologists were fond of analogous arguments, so Shakespeare tells in Troilus and Cressida that the
Queen bee : worker bees :: a General : troops,
and although such reasoning may lack the empirical precision of science (as Data noted often), nonetheless the convention has for writers served many a didactic purpose as BREAKING THE ICE aptly illustrates. This is a fine episode, doing what STAR TREK does best: dramatizing consciousness in a morally constructive setting.
T'Pol's Vulcan heart melts a bit as does Archer's pride, and in the macrocosm, so does the comet. She gradually comes to understand that her obligation to her culture's integrity means little if she herself does not survive as an integrated person which means acknowledging she indeed has a subconscious that stores her repressed FEELINGS against marriage. Yet she does indeed have the right to be angered when here correspondence is read, but why was it encrypted? Trust? Correspondences exist. The melting of course threatens the shuttle's very survival, as T'Pol's "melting" threatens her logical philosophy.
Spock once remarked that logic is the beginning of wisdom, a lesson T'Pol too must learn. Although Vulcans would ostensibly love the Enlightenment, Alexander Pope arguably would caution that ..." passions are the elements of life." This too T'Pol must learn. Other parallels occur. Capt. Archer's answering 4th grade questions about life on a star ship provide an emotional context that makes technology and space exploration meaningful, as Picard once told Crusher. We even learn of how human waste is recycled!!!!
Captain Vanik, if an embodiment of Vulcan idealism, is what T'Pol must deconstruct which she symbolically does when eating (or about to eat) the pie. Certainly the Captain's "Humans have never had must interest for me" serves little to promote first contact or personal growth for that matter, and Archer certainly did try. Importantly, however, the episode is balanced--Archer needs Vanik to rescue his trapped crew when the ice melts so,
Vanik : Archer :: Reason : emotion : ice : sun
BREAKING THE ICE is humanism at its best, the positing that progress indeed will occur despite and maybe paradoxically because of humanities capacity to grow by progression toward ideals that ironically seem out of vision. Man certainly
...hangs between; in doubt to act, or rest;
In doubt to deem himself a god, or beast;
In doubt his mind or body to prefer;
Born but to die, and reas'ning but to err;
Alike in ignorance, his reason such,
Whether he thinks too little, or too much:
Chaos of thought and passion, all confus'd;
Still by himself abus'd, or disabus'd;
Created half to rise, and half to fall;
Great lord of all things, yet a prey to all;
Sole judge of truth, in endless error hurl'd:
The glory, jest, and riddle of the world.
EPISODE EIGHT: CIVILIZATION
AIR DATE: Wednesday, NOVEMBER 14, 2001
CIVILIZATION offers quite a synthesis (including an oblique allusion to "V"), the focal point of which is providing a moral context that perhaps will eventually mandate the prime directive. Ought the Federation "interfere" when evidence clearly suggests a civilization may otherwise suffer irreparable harm--medical, moral, social etc.? We know as early as PATTERNS OF FORCE that the consequences can generate more harm that what they were mean to correct ("The road to hell is paved with good intentions."), and of course CITY ON THE EDGE OF FOREVER dramatizes that one person's actions can change history. So the sometimes philosophical but always passionate James T. Kirk reminds us that we may have the knowledge to be God, but not the wisdom.
Clearly Garos cares little for the adverse effects of his polluting technology--so what if a few aliens die as long as production quotas are maintained? Well Riann as scientist-victim cares, and so does Archer--about the rogue technology....and Riann (I guess that was inevitable), but the moral issues compel attention. In STAR TREK AND SACRED GROUND, the text I use for my ST course, Jennifer Porter quotes (pp. 269-270), a fan's analysis: "We may not agree with others, but we must give credence to [their beliefs]. Don't jump to conclusions because it just may be that, given the same circumstances, you may do something even more disagreeable than what you see as wrong in others." Historical examples abound and conflict: why did the Allies sign the Munich Pact with Hitler in 1938, when any rational explication of Mein Kampf could only conclude he intended genocide? Should we not have intervened later in the war when the holocaust was a confirmed horror: why did we not bomb the gas chambers of Auschwitz? Conversely, our intent to protect Viet Nam from Communism resulted in agent orange and conduct that echoed what we condemned at Nuremberg.
In JUSTICE, Picard warns that the concept must be an exercise in exceptions; universal absolutes apparently do not exist or at least cannot be unilaterally applied. This too "must give us pause." Without objective norms, ideas that exist a priori, we run the risk of a Hitler, but the moral "rub" is to know when and how to apply the absolute (theoretical wisdom), to the particular (practical wisdom).
So who says we don't need philosophy in technologically sophisticated society?
EPISODE NINE: FORTUNATE SON
AIR DATE: Wednesday, NOVEMBER 21, 2001
Having just seen a production of Hamlet, revenge looms large, and Claudius tells revenge should have no bounds. By Act V, he perhaps learns that it is a "dish rather served cold." Macbeth too warns that bloody instructions being taught, return to plague the inventor, and he too by the Fifth Act may appreciate the irony of his words. Does Ryan learn a similar lesson?
STAR TREK promises a utopia, and in such a vision, there probably would be no place for a crude emotion as revenge, even when the race is the same one that costs Captain Picard his heart, resulting later a few anxious moments with Q. Junior officers like Ryan must of course learn on the job as does Worf who constantly wants to attack anything that moves despite Picards admonitions and Siskos warning that being a Captain and having to dispense such advice to subordinates is not always easy.
Perhaps the lesson tonight is that even seemingly vile conduct does not deserve torture. If not, then how are we different from the mass murderers of history who sanctioned its use? In THE HIGH GROUND, Finn warns Crusher that despite the laudable accomplishments of the Federation, there exists a hint of moral complacency, the feeling possibly that ...all is right with the world" because of what the Federation says and does. Perhaps this episode is a prequal and a hint of what ought to be avoided in the future, even when pragmatism or especially when pragmatism demands the opposite.
EPISODE TEN: COLD FRONT
AIR DATE: Wednesday, NOVEMBER 28, 2001
STAR TREK'S love of time travel has resulted in some memorable episodes, more often than not dramatizing that a single human can change history. Art does after all mime life, and if Edith Keeler in CITY ON THE EDGE OF FOREVER died to save the world from Hitlerism, so Dr. King tragically gave his life so his children and ours could be judged "not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character." YESTERDAY'S ENTERPRISE and of course ALL GOOD THINGS blend time travel and philosophical reflection.
COLD FRONT is the first adventure in time travel for ENTERPRISE, so does the plot and theme measure up? During the Renaissance, Bacon, Galileo and others argued for secular humanism suggesting that the scientific method must modify if not outright replace Medieval logic and scholasticism. More precisely, though, Galileo reminded us that "The Bible teaches how to go to heaven; not how the heavens go," and with all the mimetic skill Shakespeare could muster, we find Horatio in HAMLET believing (as did Galileo) in both Medieval theocentricism and Renaissance homocentricism as he argues that he believes the ghost only because he sees it appear; the very language of Thomas after Jesus' resurrection. Hence a fusion.
COLD FRONT seems to do the same. Capt. Fraddocc, escorting a group of pilgrims (Medieval) to see the Plume of Agosoria, a sacred space important to their creation myth according to Prah Mantoos. Fraddocc as a skeptic doubts in much the same way as Star Fleet did in DS-9, when seeing the Prophets as sophisticated aliens--(only!). Conversely, Dr. Pholx courts true belief as he recounts, with an understated awe, the various religious moments he had experienced on earth; yet he is a scientist. T'Pol of course believes in little except the metaphysics of the rational. And Archer? Is Archer Horatio or Hamlet? Does he embrace both medievalism and renaissance humanism? He does tell us he prefers an open mind. What is he waiting for...?
In this episode, he finds what he does not expect: Silik and Daniels. Each demands fidelity to their belief that the other is malevolent; yet there appears to be evidence that Daniels saved the ship. Does Daniels really represent a sort of Temporal United Nations mandating that time travel be used for research and observation only? Or is Silik correct in warning that Daniels' technology may damn humanity--quite the issue in the 17th century and our own.
We do not know. Daniels is "removed" by Silik who floats away to his ship, and Archer orders Daniels' room sealed for fear of what else might be in there.
What do we conclude? Is Archer's decision reflective of those medievalists who, fearful of science's power to displace theology, sanctioned Galileo? It's not that simple. We remember that Galileo was a staunch Catholic, and initially, his real persecutors were university professors whose geocentric astronomy he displaced. Archer says he has an open mind. "To open the mind OR not to open the mind: That is the question!" Hamlet knew it; does Archer? Will he ever open the door to Daniel's quarters? What will he find, and how will what he fines reconstruct or reflect his values?
AFTER A BRIEF HIATUS, ENTERPRISE CONTINUES WITH NEW EPISODES...
EPISODE ELEVEN: SILENT ENEMY
AIR DATE: Wednesday, JANUARY 16, 2002
Exploring space of course poses both macrocosmic and microcosmic challenges, and in SILENT ENEMY plot and subplot blend to achieve an impressive result. Microcosmically, Archer's desire to discover Malcolm's favorite food for his surprise birthday party drives the crew crazy, but pleases the austere armory officer as the episode concludes. No one seems to know him very well, and in space that invites risk. Microcosmically, however, the scenario has more serious consequences. An enemy starship with aliens somewhat reminiscent of Roswell (although taller), attack the Enterprise for no apparent reason. The question dramatized is fitness for exploration. When Archer suggests they return to earth for a technological / weapons upgrade, the crew protests and manages to retrofit the ship in space, thereby neutralizing the alien threat.
Captain Kirk once remarked that had the Mercury and Gemini astronauts not taken the awesome risks inherent in space exploration, the Enterprise would not be exploring anything. After the Challenger disaster, we are aware that growth almost of necessity mandates risk. We as a nation did not shut down after September 11, but found the moral courage to continue. Star Trek has always been mimetic of that courage, and is thus well worth the viewing.
EPISODE TWELVE: DEAR DOCTOR
AIR DATE: Wednesday, JANUARY 23, 2002
This sensitively written dramatization of the genesis of the prime directive develops with a philosophical and moral intensity that earns STAR TREK the reputation it enjoys. From BREAD AND CIRCUSES (Kirk) through WHO WATCHES THE WATCHERS (Picard) to DEAR DOCTOR, the prime directive has never been an easy subject. Perhaps due to the Viet Nam war, the moral issue of whether to provide a culture with technology it cannot manage, even if the benefits are substantial remains controversial.
In DEAR DOCTOR the point of view is classic TREK. The series has always used aliens (SPOCK) to comment on the human condition. As Hamlet notes, art "holds a mirror up to nature" so that we may better see ourselves. As Dr. Phlox struggles with no little admiration to understand his human crew, he in turn explores mating rituals thinking Ms. Cutler may be attracted to him, and reflects on Archer's love for his dog, and the crew's fascination for Gary Cooper movies. The issue turns "deadly," however when a culture desperately needs medical technology the Federation can provide to combat a disease that has killed millions. Nuances quickly emerge. The more advanced Valakians have been decimated most severely, while the seemingly primitive and docile Menks seem less threatened. Moral questions emerge when Cutler believes the Menks have been culturally repressed by the Valakians, and the doctor's research suggests the more intelligent Menks may one day evolve beyond their taskmasters. Should the evolutionary process be altered by medicine? If untreated, the Valakians might die out, allowing the Menks to thrive, but what if Federation technology alters nature? To worsen matters, the Valakians want warp drive capabilitiy to search the stars for a possible cure, when Archer knows they lack the skill to even build the engine.
Point of view is important. Archer notes that he now can understand more than before why the Vulcans were guarded about sharing their technology with humanity. Is it therefore now ethical for humanity to change evolution? As a scientist the doctor believes nature should take its course, even when a cure is discovered, while Archer passionately demands compassion. Clearly both are uncomfortable with the dilemma, while recognizing the merit of the other's case.
The denouement offers a resolution pro tem, but only so. Phlox prevails in that the full cure is not provided, while Archer's compassion is satisfied in that medication delaying the diseases' progress is offered, thereby allowing time for the Valakians to perhaps find their own cure. Archer adds that until Federation can make policy regarding such matters, Captains will have to do their best in establishing it themselves.
In CULTIVATING HUMANITY, Martha Nussbaum (p. 208) debates the merits of "cultural relativism" and "ethnocentrism," noting that "The committed relativist makes claims to universality for his moral position saying that all cultures should be evaluated only on their own terms, and no culture should interfere with the values and practices of another. An ethnocentrist simply speaks from within a single culture, claiming that his or her culture is founded on the principles and practices that are appropriate for all." Which perspective should prevail? There an easy answer of course. Moral dilemmas are seldom resolved to everyone's immediate satisfaction as readers of Plato's dialogues know.
As the Marshall plan rebuilt Europe after World War II, and currently aid to Afganistan is debated after September 11, we find that man will undoubtly carry these issues into space, and the merit of STAR TREK is that the writer's imagination allows us to glimpse that future now in the hopes of teaching and entertaining. Is is no accident then that the best DEEP SPACE NINE episode was FAR BEYOND THE STARS.
EPISODE THIRTEEN: SLEEPING DOGS
AIR DATE: Wednesday, JANUARY 30, 2002
SLEEPING DOGS dramatizes the previous episode from a "how will we ever establish a rapport with the Klingons" perspective. Perspectives on the Klingons have been mixed: "Alien trash of the galaxy"--or "honorable" race? The genesis of the Klingon-Federation mythos appears in ERRAND OF MERCY where, despite the vehement denials of Kirk and Kor, the Organian prophecy of an eventual alliance actualizes. At best, the alliance is fragile, more often honored in the breach than the observance as viewers of DEEP SPACE NINE know. However, Michael Dorn's portrayal of Worf in more than one series did much to make Klingon Culture substantative, and Klingons became less than "alien trash," an absolutely necessary condition for the "utopian future" Roddenberry proposed.
Since Picard warned that improper first conduct procedures led to generations of human-Klingon conflict, SLEEPING DOGS becomes an ironic title: they will not and cannot "lie." Thus, how to understand them, or any culture becomes an imperative. The landing party of T'Pol, Hoshi and Reed, discover through Archer's interrogation of Bu'Kah that Klingons respect three norms:
1--the mentality of the warrior
3--death before dishonor
Klingons in many respects embrace a code not unlike the comitatus of Anglo-Saxon times or the Greek-Trojan ethics of THE ILIAD. The Sarpedon-Glaukos exchange in Book XII...
have we twain the chiefest honour,--seats of honour, and messes, and
full cups in Lykia, and all men look on us as gods? And wherefore hold
we a great demesne by the banks of Xanthos, a fair demesne of orchard-land,
and wheat-bearing tilth? Therefore now it behoveth us to take our
stand in the first rank of the Lykians, and encounter fiery battle,
that certain of the well-corsleted Lykians may say, 'Verily our kings
that rule Lykia be no inglorious men, they that eat fat sheep, and drink
the choice wine honey-sweet: nay, but they are also of excellent might,
for they war in the foremost ranks of the Lykians.' Ah, friend, if once
escaped from this battle we were for ever to be ageless and immortal,
neither would I fight myself in the foremost ranks, nor wouid I send
thee into the war that giveth men renown, but now--for assuredly ten
thousand fates of death do every way beset us, and these no mortal may
escape nor avoid--now let us go forward, whether we shall give glory to
other men, or others to us."
reads like a Klingon's warrior code: duty and honor mean much, and it is to Worf's credit that he challenges the corrupt Gowron as Achilles' does to Agamemnon, thereby restoring honor to the Empire.
When the Klingons perceive their values are respected, they release their hostages, and save their honor. STAR TREK as these pages observe is about that sort of behavior. To respect a culture with which we may disagree, however, is not to sanction moral evils: all Moslems are not terrorists, and all Klingons are not brutal murderers. How much of this is moral idealism and how much realpolitic depends on how one views what happens during the "trek" from Captain Archer's Enterprise to how Captain Sisko proposed that the Romulians be brought into the war against the Dominion.
EPISODE FOURTEEN: SHADOWS OF P'JEM
AIR DATE: Wednesday, FEBRUARY 6, 2002
Since the days of Captain Picard, ST has linked episodes and series. Spock tried to unite the Romulans and Vulcans, Q appeared at will, and Kirks adventures in MIRROR, MIRROR evolved into a recurring sub-plot in DS-9. We must wonder then if the Andorian presence will also be a motif. Fortunately, Jeffrey Combs (Weyoun) has now become an Andorian, and his polished delivery and understated intensity suggests a hidden agenda that future episodes may well exploit as happened in the Dominian war on DS-9. Lets hope so. In SHADOWS OF PJEM, however, Shran seems on the side of the angels, while the Vulcans, at least some of them, still smarting from Archers exposing their listening post at the monastery, revile the Andorians as ruthless aggressors.
The plot is a bit more complicated. In retalilation for the exposure, Vulcan orders the recall of TPol who seems characteristically as unemotional as Archer is passionate about her staying. On Coridan, however, matters become intense. Archer and TPol are captured by rebels, Malcolm and the landing party are seized by the Andorians who in reality save their prisoners from execution. Apparently the Vulcans are exploiting the rebel-Coridan civil war, and the Andorians wish to repay one good turn with another, and thus save the crew.
All of this may have meaning if we recall Aristotles idea that the soul of tragedy is plot, that is the imitation of universals (forms). In this case the universal may be justice and loyalty dramatized through the maxim that things are not what they seem. Thus the Andorians are not ruthless conquerors per se, Vulcans perhaps need humanizing, and space exploration would not have occurred on earth without Vulcan logic. In microcosm this happens in so far as TPol risks her life to save Sopek who in turn promises to stay the Vulcan Councils mandate to reassign her. TPol of course really does want to say on the Enterprise: her seemingly ultra-logical decision to obey Dr. Phloxs advice to the letter betrays an emotional attachment to ship and crew.
Roddenberry after ST was worried that some races (notably the Klingons and Romulans) were portrayed as intrinsically villainous. Such of course would be racism and insofar as the episodes since then seek to find good in all, the appearance indeed is not the reality as humans, Vulcans, and Andorians learn.
EPISODE FIFTEEN: SHUTTLE POD ONE
AIR DATE: Wednesday, FEBRUARY 13, 2002
In his Critical Prefaces, Henry James noted that characters are interesting only insofar as they are placed in situations that swell the volume of their consciousness. Such occurs with Trip and Malcolm in SHUTTLE POD ONE. Convinced that the Enterprise has been destroyed and flying a damaged shuttle with little oxygen left, Malcolm's inherent pessimism dominates. Lamenting his lack of popularity, writing letters to former girl friends based more on speculation than fact, and wanting desperately to be with those in the crew who gave his life meaning, especially T'Pol, his speculation that death awaits rapidly becomes conviction. What emerges is the portrait of lonely and introverted man who, much like Spock, wants to belong but does not know how. Poignantly, his angst is dramatized when in a dream, he is on Enterprise with an affectionate T'Pol ministering to his emotional needs. Trip, conversely, demands optimism believing that however bleak the chances for rescue, such will occur. Naturally the two clash. Unexpectedly though, Trip tries to take his life to give Malcolm more oxygen, while the pessimist refused to allow it.
Of course the two are rescued. Enterprise is not destroyed and all appears well, but how will their characters develop? Spock tells us that only on Omicron Ceti III was he truly happy, because for once his emotions were engaged. Much later, perhaps with that experience still in his mind, he notes that "Logic is the beginning of wisdom." Will Malcolm have such an experience?
ST of course affords those who populate its universe the chance to grow by making viable choices. Human and alien races alike have profited and suffered according, and Henry James believes we must do both if we are to actualize our potential to, in Roddenberry's words, "...boldly go."
EPISODE SIXTEEN: FUSION
AIR DATE: Wednesday, FEBRUARY 27, 2002
When ST excels, the results are awesome fulfilling the mandate that art should both teach and delight. Tonight's episode dramatized both. Fans watch and watch obviously for the entertainment value, but anyone wishing to understand neoclassical enlightenment philosophy would do well viewing FUSION. The crew of the Vulcan ship Vahklas are no ordinary Vulcans. Arguing that centuries of Vulcan devotion to logic at the expense of emotional development is at best misguided, they suggest that a viable psyche can only develop when all elements (of the soul) are balanced. Such was the classical ideal so esteemed in theory during the Eighteenth Century. Plato reasoned thus:
...and so do the Vulcans. Reason / logic not tempered by passions / appetites render growth incomplete as Swift well knew when he wrote GULLIVER'S TRAVELS. Of course T'Pol sees emotions as quite dangerous, but her dream - fantasy after a mind-meld with Tolaris suggests she is both right and wrong, and the 'rub'--keeping the balance. Archer quite rightly maintains that 'primitive' emotions unleashed and not controlled (Yahoos) are dangerous--T'Pol comes close to being violated. Likewise, Tolaris argues properly that a life without passion (Houyhnhnm) does not mean "perfection of nature."
Apparently the Vulcan sacred text originally spoke of integrating emotions, not purging them. Such is the vital function of the middle element of the soul. It must integrate passion and reason, not suppress either one at the expense of the other. T'Pol's feeling "invigorated" after her dream sequence suggests rightly that emotion indeed must have a role, but not to the degree that threatens her existence.
Pedagogically, Pope's ESSAY ON MAN (Epistle II: "Know then thyself...") could be explicated after viewing FUSION.
EPISODE SEVENTEEN: ROGUE PLANET
AIR DATE: Wednesday, MARCH 20, 2002
THE SONG OF WANDERING AENGUS
BY WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS
I went out to the hazel wood.
Because a fire was in my head.
And cut and peeled a hazel wand.
And hooked a berry to a thread.
And when white moths were on the wing,
And moth-like stars were flickering out,
I dropped the berry in the stream
And caught a little silver trout.
When I had laid it on the floor
I went to blow the fire a-flame,
But something rustled on the floor,
And someone called me by my name:
It had become a glimmering girl
With apple blossoms in her hair
Who called me by my name and ran
And faded through the brightened air.
Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done,
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.
ROGUE PLANET at first seemed a non-de script revision of DS-9S CAPTIVE PURSUIT (the hunt for TOSK), but its mimetic explication of Yeats Song was an enriching enhancement. If Aristotles belief that the soul of tragedy is plot, i.e. the embodiment of universals, then Yeats enigmatic poem suggests the romantic vision of love embodied in? behind? through? a particular sense experience. Wordsworth too argues that by participating in this vision, we see into the life of thingsin this case the quest for the permanent in the ever-changing plentitude of nature.
On these conclusions derives the episode. The title is aptromantics, and Archer is one, are roguesdaring to be different by challenging the status quo, in this case the beliefs of the Eska. Whatever appears in the form of creature-beautiful women is not a wraith in the conventional sense unless one believes that the imagination is a threat. She embodies Archers vision of perfection: Never stop seeking that which is unattainable, she advises, and such wisdom has been responsible for mans greatest achievements from the Declaration of the Rights of Man (a wraith to tyranny) to Dr. Kings I have a Dream (a wraith to racism) to the ideals that make Star Trek a success.
EPISODE EIGHTEEN: ACQUISITION
AIR DATE: Wednesday, MARCH 27, 2002
I wondered how ACQUISITION would work: if the setting is pre-Kirk, and the Ferengi were not then known, then how do we account for their presence now? That was settled at the end of the episode when both the Vulcans and Federation banned them from their explored territory What is more important, however, is their treatment.. Roddenburry acknowledged when reworking his premise for TNG that to create a race-Klingons, Romulians, Ferengi etc. as villains only bordered on racism. Interestingly in DS-9's THE JEM'HADAR, Quark tellingly reminds Sisko that when compared to humanity's history of violence and death camps, we come off the worse, which according to him, is why humans really dislike Ferengi.
Representing the darker side of capitalism, we hate them because they remind us too much of ourselves. Homeless people sleep in the winter outside luxury hotels, so how bad are the Ferengi? The Ferengi are simply not nice--to themselves or those they exploit. We learn of the Rules of Acquisition: "A man is only worth the sum of his possessions." They come to the Enterprise simply to loot it which they do until Trip and T'Pol prevail. Ironically, Krem's brutal treatment by Ulis and the others breeds the discontent he unleashes when in control at the end of the episode.
A society founded on some ST alien's sociology would not last: Klingon's advance to the captaincy by assassinating their predecessors, but there is Worf, and the Ferengi have Quark and Nog. Perhaps we should observe that these fully developed portraits refute racism--all Ferengi are not exploiters, and that to condemn them for the conduct of some is wrong: after all President Bush prayed at a Mosque after September 11th, and the Dominion would have won the war were it not for Quark.
Does ACQUISITION remind us that a premature evaluation of any culture inevitably results in misreads?
(Postscript: Fans of DS-9 and VOYAGER should note Jeffrey Combs as Krem, and Ethan Phillips as Ulis.)
EPISODE NINETEEN: OASIS
AIR DATE: Wednesday, APRIL 3, 2002
ST has always dramatized technology management - obviously the prime directive derives from the danger of introducing too much sophistication too soon as in WHO WATCHES THE WATCHERS. From a more benign microcosmic perspective, Reginald Barclay used the holodeck to avoid unpleasant realities, as Seven did when struggling to become human. OASIS does the same, introducing the pre-Kirk audience to a holodeck like technology.
Motivated by guilt and a desire to provide a normal life for his daughter Liana, Ezral (Rene Auberjonois), creates holodeck images of the crew he feels responsible for stranding. Archer and Trip, I suppose representing 'what is and what must be', finally persuade him that a return to reality (what La Forge and Troi do for Barclay) is in everyone's best interest.
One could recall the debate in Erasmus regarding the viability of allusion vs. reality or the romantic angst of Keats who struggled in EVE OF ST. AGNES to imagine whether the 'painful change' of Madeline from her reverie to reality should be pursued. We do not know--Keats' poem ends in darkness, and the galaxy even in Janeway's time is mostly unexplored.
In ALL GOOD THINGS, Q admonishes Picard that the greatest adventure is in the mind, and how technology from phaser to warp drive to holodeck, augments or retards that adventure is the stuff out of which STAR TREK is made.
EPISODE TWENTY: DETAINED
AIR DATE: Wednesday, APRIL 24, 2002
How heightened should security be after September 11th? The question is not new; after World War II, sci-fi movies such as Invasion of the Body Snatchers mimed the publics reaction to the RED SCARE. When is your mother, father, wife or brother not?...when seed pods grow perfect duplicates, or your significant other is a clandestine communist? What should we do to protect ourselves? THEY are everywhere!!!
Detained nullifies the prime directives philosophy in the name of redressing discrimination. As Captain Archer states, we detained Japanese Americans after Pearl Harbor, the moral implications of which were stunningly outlined in Bad Day at Black Rock. Here the Tandarans under one Colonel Grat intern the Suliban because they look different and may (via allusions to previous episodes) pose a threat in that according to rumor they can alter their appearance at will. The reality, however, seems to be frightened families in a detention center awaiting the end of a war.
Archer nullifies the philosophy that evolves to the prime directive and helps the Suliban escape. Should he? Grat warns that the war will be prolonged, and even the Captain cannot respond absolutely about what the Suliban will do or where they will go. At a time when anti-terrorist actions mandate detaining suspicious persons who in turn respond with racial profiling, ST once again probes a socio-moral construct that awaits resolution.