The Cynics Corner

Enterprise

"The Andorian Incident"

by David E. Sluss

4 November 2001

 
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THE BOTTOM LINE: This probably should have been the breakout episode for Enterprise, but while there is some entertainment value, this is a painfully predictable tale with some lapses of common sense.

CYNICS CORNER RATING: 7.0 (C-)

TELEGRAPH OF THE WEEK: Did anybody not figure out really early on that the monastery was indeed a cover for a Vulcan spy station? Given this series apparent mission to deconstruct the Vulcans, it was the - ahem - logical assumption to make as soon as the Andorians made the accusation. There's no question that the "Vulcans never lie" credo is nothing but a myth, belied any number of times by Spock in the original series, but does anything we've ever seen suggest that they could be this duplicitous? That they would abrogate a treaty, and then use Kolinahr seekers as a cover (and as humanoid shields)? I will grant that it's an interesting take on the Vulcans, but I think it's going a little too far. While the presence of the spy facility was expected, Archer's actions weren't. Whether you agree with it or not, the fact that he gave detailed information about it to the Andorians is something that should have significant consequences. This may be the first big test of Enterprise's continuity; there really ought to be some follow-up to this, such as Admiral Forrest's Vulcan advisors insisting that the Enterprise be recalled or that Archer be removed from command, and if we don't see it... well, I'll bitch...

ILLOGIC OF THE WEEK: The Vulcans go to all the trouble of building and hiding a mammoth underground spy station, and then cover the door with a sheet? And allow the door to be opened by anyone who can push a button? Even after the monastery had already been searched by the Andorians a couple of times before?

VICIOUS CYCLE OF THE WEEK: The Script Generator got caught in a hiccup, I guess. Otherwise, why would we need multiple scenes of Archer mouthing off to the Andorians, getting beat up, going back to the hostage's room, bleeding, moaning, mouthing off to the Andorians, getting beat up... The last instance was particularly questionable, as Archer deliberately gets himself beat up so that he can toss a figurine into the mouth of the sculpture, in order to determine if it really does lead to the catacombs. There are just a couple of problems. First, did Archer have any reason to believe he would even survive another visit to the Andorians? Second, wouldn't it have been easier, and a lot less painful, to simply have Tucker walk up to the back of sculpture from within the catacombs, peek out, and see if it in fact leads to the atrium?

NEW LINGUISTICS OF THE WEEK: I suppose I'll just have to quit harping about this, now that Enterprise has apparently abandoned any attempt to portray communicating with aliens as being a challenge. What we see in this episode leaves two possibilities: that the Vulcan monks and the Andorians (who have never even seen a human being) were speaking English the whole time, or that the Enterprise crew is now in possession of Psychic Universal Translator technology, one which can instantly translate the Andorian language and which "knows" not to translate the monk's "blessing to travelers" into English automatically. I know it's a storytelling pain in the ass to have to deal with alien languages, but it's a shame that communication has gotten so easy so soon in this series. They might as well have left Hoshi on Sluggo World too.

NEW TECHNOLOGY OF THE WEEK: Similarly, the transporter seems to have gotten a lot more reliable all of a sudden. In "Strange New World," the device was unable to distinguish human particles from plant matter. Now it's able to beam three people at once without scrambling their particles? If anything, it should be harder for the transporter to distinguish between the particles of different human beings than between a human and a leaf. Again, it would seem that the Enterprise staff is finding it difficult to live within the technological limitations they set for themselves in "Broken Bow," and I'm sorry to say I'm not surprised. Well, no, I'm not sorry to say it...

CONTRIVED TECHNOLOGY OF THE WEEK: The plot-convenient properties of the Andorians' scanning equipment were pretty obvious. They can detect what weaponry a vessel in orbit has, but can't pin down the location of new biosigns mere meters away. Or, for that matter, a gigantic underground Vulcan facility...

NO TECHNOLOGY OF THE WEEK: Reed, resident paranoid and weapons fetishist, correctly observes that Enterprise should have scanned the area of the monastery for other vessels before sending the shuttle. But how could even the most passive of scans, such as what would be needed to determine where to land, miss an alien vessel parked less than a kilometer away?

NEW GEOGRAPHY OF THE WEEK: Early on, Archer notes that the Vulcan outpost is "a few light years away." Of course, a "few light years" should take several days or possibly weeks at Enterprise's stated top speed, but I never got the impression it took anywhere near that long. Space may be big, but it's getting smaller all the time in Enterprise-land.

TEMPORAL ANOMALY OF THE WEEK: T'Pol says that she's been assigned to the Enterprise for nine weeks. Even without counting "Broken Bow," during which she wasn't an official crew member, I'm not sure that takes into account all of the Adventure we've seen to date, particularly "Unexpected," which seemed to have taken place over several weeks. I guess there's a good reason we're not getting dated Star Logs anymore.

WELFARE RECIPIENT OF THE WEEK: I keep meaning to close down this Weekly, but I can't help it. And, no, I'm not giving it to Jeffrey Combs, who was appropriate for his role, but to Bruce French, a Star Trek Repeat Offender whose Vulcan Act was almost painful to watch, to the point where I half-expected his character to turn out not to be Vulcan.

LAUGH LINE OF THE WEEK: Tucker, apparently dead serious, opines that "You'd think they could find what they're looking for with those antennas of theirs." Zoiks! Like, why would you think that, Shaggy?

RECYCLING OF THE WEEK: They're sure getting their money's worth out of that Cave set...

MYSTERY OF THE WEEK: One of the Andorian thugs claims that T'Pol smells different - less dusty - than other Vulcans. Just a come-on, or another clue that T'Pol may not be what she seems, like a temporal cold warrior from the less-dusty future?
  

Previous: "Terra Nova"
Next: "Breaking the Ice"
NEXT WEEK: A very late cash-in on Armageddon, and that's just the B-story.

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This review is copyright 2001 David E. Sluss
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