Star Trek: Enterprise – 1×05 – “Terra Nova”

Star Trek: Enterprise
“Terra Nova”
Originally Broadcast October 24th, 2001
Reviewed by T’Bonz

The Story

Terra Nova begins rather lightly with what appears to be a common occurrence: a meeting between Captain Archer, T’Pol, and Commander Tucker. Of course, this is going to be the Kirk/Spock/McCoy trio all over again(down to the accents), but I hope they start to let some of that cool down as the series progresses. We get it now, so let’s feature some other characters. In fact, I didn’t think I’d be saying this back in the second week, but what about Hoshi?

Well, the meeting is about the arrival of Enterprise at Terra Nova, the first human colony established outside the Solar System. Unfortunately, the colonists stopped responding to Earth’s transmissions about seventy years earlier, and this prompts the crew to “solve the mystery.” The crew goes down to investigate and finds the colony abandoned. Archer and Reed find an underground cavern after the latter character saw a creature on the surface. Needless to say, they find the creatures underground and Reed is taken prisoner. The “surprise line” was that the “aliens” were, in fact, human.

So, Archer investigates the situation with help from the crew. He and Phlox go down to the colony and they end up bringing back two “Novans” to try and convince them of their human heritage, who not only hate humans, but have forgotten that they are humans. Archer uses archived photographs from the colony to prove that the Novans are actually human.

After this, the crew goes down to try and relocate the Novans to the other side of the planet, but they get sidetracked by a wounded Novan. Archer and Jamin (the “lead” Novan) work together to save him, and the crew goes on their merry way, having solved the Terra Nova mystery.

Review

Well, I hate to say it, but here’s our first “ho-hum” episode. After starting out rather well, this episode just didn’t do a whole lot for me. It all seems like we’ve been here before, and I don’t think that is what this show wants to do.

Let’s talk about the good, and then we’ll talk bad.

First of all, Captain Archer. He’s developing into a good character, and I’m starting to believe that Bakula might actually be perfect for the role. The hesitation in the first briefing room scene after Reed is taken showed Archer’s inability to deal with hostages, let alone death. I have a feeling that the episode with the first death will be good. That episode might even indicate the potential of the series.

Phlox. If I recall correctly, this is the first mention we have had of his species’ name. Very good. And I officially say that this guy is no Neelix. He’s a very well-rounded character with excellent acting by Billingsley. The scene in the caves was exceptionally well done.

Another great facet of this episode was the guest stars. The main two guest stars (Erick Avari and Mary Carver) were very well done and very well portrayed. They might have made this episode exclusively because we didn’t see a whole lot of development out of the regulars.

Then there’s Mayweather. I think he has a whole lot of potential to be a good character, but he hasn’t been seen a whole lot. He and Tucker bring an excitement that is paramount in this new series. If they can pull off the contrast between those two and Hoshi, then we’re going to have a Hell of a series on our hands.

But like I said, this was an average episode, and that means that there were definitely negative aspects.

Starting off, where are the other characters? We see a little bit of Reed this week, but we haven’t seen nearly enough of him yet. Now, I haven’t read any spoilers this year, so I don’t know how much he’ll get later on. But he has to get development soon, or his character’s in a lot of trouble.

The same goes for Hoshi. She had an incredible start, but now she’s just a member of the background. She had better not be over her fear of alien cultures and space travel, or “Fight or Flight” can just as well be forgotten. Then, there’s Mayweather. Like I said, he has potential, but he needs some time in the spotlight, or his character’s also in trouble.

Basically, we need to move away from Phlox, Tucker, Archer, and T’Pol for an episode. Leave them on the ship if you have to, but give the other characters some time to shine. The others have had their time.

Once again, like I said, we’ve seen this all before. Mainly from Voyager episodes, where we have parts from “The 37’s”, “Friendship One”, and even a glimpse of early Seven of Nine-like characterization. Its far too early in the series for them to be taking ideas from previous series.

I also really didn’t like the last part of the episode. Jamin and Archer seem to go back and forth with the trust issue. Jamin obviously trusted Archer enough to not take him into custody as soon as he was armed, but she is hesitant to trust him just a few minutes later. And the whole thing was very cliché. How come they had to have a “you saved our friend, so you have to be telling the truth” ending? It was pretty lazy writing in my opinion.

So, Enterprise might have gotten away with one here, because of good performances from the guest stars and Bakula. But hopefully this will not happen a lot. Also, we’re going to need a Hoshi, Mayweather, or Reed episode very quickly. Hopefully, that will come soon. But as for this episode….

Grade: 7.5/10

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