Star Trek: Enterprise
“Fight or Flight”
Originally Broadcast October 3rd, 2001
Reviewed by T’Bonz
The second episode of Enterprise tells the story of the crew’s first adventure after they are formally introduced to their mission. A very good, sharp episode that has me impressed.
Before I jump into the plot, I want to hit on a couple of things. First of all, I just wanted to re-iterate what my fellow reviewer hit last week. Enterprise has me impressed much more than I would’ve thought. Kudos goes to Braga and Berman for starting off the show extremely well. Second, I want to comment on the opening. True, this is not the typical Trek opening, but if you look closely, this is not the typical Trek series (look at the name, for instance. Missing something?) So, I am very impressed with the opening and even the theme that wasn’t taken very well is growing on me. In fact, I can’t keep it out of my head at the moment.
Enough of that. Let’s look at the plot. We are introduced to a very bored and disappointed Enterprise crew. They have been out for two weeks, and they have found nothing but an alien slug named “Sluggo”. Besides that, the crew is readily preparing for their first first contact, with experiments with an exceptionally inaccurate weapons system.
The plot starts officially when the crew comes across an alien ship. When Archer and Company board the ship, they come across fifteen dead crewmembers. They have been experimented by someone, and this sends Sato into extreme worry. The plot heats up when another ship approaches demanding answers.
When the other ship arrives, Sato is forced to learn to communicate with the aliens before Enterprise is destroyed. Fortunately for the crew, she is able to do so, and the crew makes their first “friends” on their long mission.
Let’s start with the good points, because there are quite a few of them. Let’s start with Hoshi. She is, by far, my favorite character to this point. She seems to be the most real character we’ve seen in a long, long time. It almost seems like she is Ensign Kim, but she has been done the right way. I was impressed with her in “Broken Bow”, and I was even more impressed here. Excellent work.
Secondly, Dr. Phlox. Now, the comparisons to Neelix are obvious. He has a very similar disposition, and he has a similar laugh but I have a feeling that he will not be as cheery as he has been these first couple episodes. When that happens, it should be a great moment. But in this episode, the scene that made the character was the one in the mess hall. It was wonderfully acted by Billingsley, and the line about watching the two crewman “mating” was very funny.
Thirdly, the imperfect weapons system. Its nice to see that they’re having trouble, and it will be interesting to see how well it works throughout the series. I hope that this will be a constant work in progress that never really works out.
While we’re on that subject, I have to talk about the graphics. Now, after watching last year, I’d usually be lying if I said I was truly impressed with the graphics because I’ve seen such great work. But “Fight or Flight” had a couple exceptionally well done shots in it. So, if you’re not in for the plot, the images on screen are simply breathtaking.
Another thing I enjoyed here and in “Broken Bow” were the monologue scenes with Archer and his dog. I find the idea that a dog is on board to be intriguing, and both scenes we’ve seen like this have been excellent. I definitely prefer this to the standard “Captain’s log”. The fact that they use “normal” dates is also very good, in my opinion.
Finally, I really liked the way that the ship approached boarding the ship. In fact, that whole sequence from the time they find the ship to the time they board was excellent. Especially, Tucker and his excitement. Behind Sato and Archer, I definitely feel this guy will be one of the best characters on the show. But there were several small things that made these scenes great. Archer’s original message to the ship, when he forgets to say he’s from Earth, the scene with Archer and Tucker, and the whole boarding scene were done very well.
But the thing that made me think was T’Pol’s reaction to the whole situation. I loved everything she did and said in that scene. I liked seeing that she considered scans an invasion of privacy. I also liked how she was willing to turn away when they received no response. Both of these things are going to be interesting things to watch as the series progresses. I expect to see several clashes between T’Pol’s respect for privacy and Archer’s sense of exploration, and I’m excited about each one we’ll see.
Now to the bad….
While I really like Sato right now, I hope that her character expands over the course of the show. If this happens, then she might easily be the star of this show. If she doesn’t, she will quickly slip into mediocrity, and I really don’t want that for her. There is a lot of great characterization that could and should be tapped out of her.
The same thing with Phlox. He’s definitely more intriguing than Neelix was, but since they are obviously going to be compared a lot, he had better experience changes as well. Remember that Neelix was also rather intriguing at first.
Finally, I hope that we don’t experience the “alien of the week” phenomenon every week. Now, there are episodes (like this one) where it can work, and I don’t expect Enterprise to be arc-filled like Deep Space Nine. To succeed, Enterprise is going to have a mix of both.
Other than that, there is not much to complain about. The first couple episodes have me excited, and I’m looking forward to more of the same.