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Oct 01

Enterprise: Terra Nova (Ep 1.06)

It is a formidable task for the writers of Enterprise to come up with new material – much to tell has already been told in TNG’s 7 year run. The writers seem to be up to the challenge though, more or less. This week’s ep deals with trust and a little on the issue of relocation (think, Insurrection). The spin on this episode is that Archer is not dealing with aliens, but humans who think they are aliens. A plausible scenario is provided to set everything up (the “Terra Nova mystery”) and it’s an entertaining hour of events. Captain “Are we there yet?” Archer’s way of handling things is unique among the other Trek captains. He is most like Kirk, but a more refined version.

Speaking science, the presence of an earth-like planet 20 light years from earth is questionable (I think?). Moving away from nit-picking, it’s things like being able to treat lung cancer that are so realistically optimistic. When Phlox diagnoses Bernadette with lung cancer, my immediate reaction was, “oh that’s really bad” before Phlox goes on to explain that it’s curable. I mentally slapped my head and thought, “but of course, this is the future”. Again, though, this shows that Enterprise is effective in projecting the image that this is the not-as-distant future (but still not the “not-too-distant” future). The disease and the curing of it is something everyone can relate to today (cancer is very much a contemporary issue). It’s not some miracle medical wonder of the future where the doc cures someone of a virulent bio-metagenic polymorphic super-virus that recodes DNA… no, it’s familiar lung cancer… Enterprise seems to be remaining faithful to Gene Roddenberry’s original vision to inspire humanity based upon his semi-Utopian optimistic views of the future – perhaps more so than the other series. Why? Because the only effective way to inspire people today of the future, is to show people things they can relate to. It’s not the ultra-high tech things that are inspiring (like that stupid Voyager episode where they go to Warp 10), but things we can see an application for today.

Another point is, one thing I think we’re going to see developed in Enterprise in the long-term is the history of Human-Vulcan relations. We’ve gotten used to idea that Vulcans and Humans have always been best buddies in the interspecies melting pot of the galaxy, but now we’re back in the time when the humans are still relatively “primitive”. The exchanges between Redneck “History was never my strong point” Tripp and T’Pol flesh out the history bit by bit. It’s these details dropped in surrepticiously throughout this and previous episodes that are evidence of writers seeking to explain how Humans and Vulcans became buddies.