Enterprise Review: “North Star”

Saddle up and set your phasers on ‘giddy-up!’

North Star

Cast & Crew

Director: David Straiton
Written By: David A. Goodman

Starring
Scott Bakula as Captain
Jonathan Archer
Connor Trinneer as Chief
Engineer Charles "Trip" Tucker III
Jolene Blalock as Sub-commander
T’Pol
Dominic Keating as Lt.
Malcolm Reed
Anthony Montgomery
as Ensign Travis Mayweather
Linda Park as Ensign Hoshi
Sato
John Billingsley
as Dr. Phlox

Guest Cast
Glenn Morshower as Sheriff MacReady
James Parks as Deputy Bennings
Paul Rae as Bartender
Emily Bergl as Bethany
Steven Klein as Draysik
Gary Bristow as Stablehand
Mike Watson as Skagaran
Jeff Eith as Cowboy #1
Cliff McLaughlin as Cowboy #2
Tom Dupont as Cowboy #3
Dorenda Moore as MACO #1
Kevin Derr as MACO #2
Jon Baron as Skagaran Boy
Alexandria M. Salling as Skagaran Girl

Episode Information

Originally Aired: November 12, 2003
Season: Three
Episode: Nine
Production: 061

What Happened

After finding thousands of humans on a Delphic Expanse planet living in settlements seemingly straight out of the Old West, Archer gets embroiled in a dangerous cultural conflict once he discovers that the humans are systematically oppressing the alien race that originally brought them to this world. [Video Preview]

Review

And they said you couldn’t have a fantasy storyline without a holodeck (or Q or a transporter accident or …). We’re no strangers to this type of stuff in Star Trek, but Enterprise has managed to skip it. We can argue the merits of this both ways. Star Trek has done this well (Mirror Universe) and done it poorly (Dickson Hill)

Regardless, this was a moderately fun episode, but fails to maintain the pace of the overall story arc. Too many deviations and we’ll just lose interest altogether.

High Point

Wanted for Christmas: One MACO pulse rifle. I swear I’ll leave on stun. No, really!

Low Point

Was there a point to making Bethany 1/4 Skagarin?

The Scores

Originality: While there’s nothing new about the subject matter (the oppressed becoming the oppressor), it does make for decent fiction. 4 out of 6.

Effects: Not much here, but there doesn’t have to be, does there? 4 out of 6.

Story: A standard, but decent outing. 4 out of 6.

Acting: Pretty good, save for our resident bully, who has either watched too many westerns, or not enough. 4 out of 6.

Emotional Response: The twist about who used to be in charge didn’t exactly surprise anyone. 3 out of 6.

Production: Nice town. And I can actually say that with some degree of knowledge (I used to work in an old west theme park/movie studio) 5 out of 6

Overall: We’re supposed to be pressed for time and we’re losing momentum with this stuff. Stick with the plan guys! 3 out of 6.

Total: 27 out of 42

Episode Media

From StarTrek.com

Next Time on Enterprise (November 19, 2003)

Similitude

After an accident in Engineering leaves Trip mortally injured, Dr. Phlox attempts to save the chief engineer by creating a “mimetic simbiot” — a clone — of him to harvest neural tissue from it. In its very short lifespan, the simbiot grows rapidly from baby to adult, and surprises the crew with detailed memories of the real Trip’s life. Meanwhile, the accident has left Enterprise disabled and adrift inside a destructive space cloud, so the crew attempts to free the ship before they are stranded forever. [Video Preview]

Additional Notes and Comments

If you’re interested in what’s in TheAngryMob’s review queue, check out my What’s Coming page.

TheAngrymob

13 replies on “Enterprise Review: “North Star””

  1. gemseele says:

    ah well
    I’ve never been a fan of putting the wild-west theme or setting in a futurist sci-fi show. It’s a bit too absurd for my tastes. It’s a problem that I also had with Firefly though other aspects of the show made up for this. I’m biased though since with few exceptions I’ve never been a fan of wild-west shows to begin with. Same holds for future-medieval ones though those are rarer.

    On the other hand, I’ll admit this was done a bit better than some other Trek wild-west episodes. And I agree, it’s a good thing they don’t have a holodeck invented yet.

  2. ccgman says:

    Special Effects

    I have to mention that I loved the image of Archer’s shoulder exploding when he was shot. Too often, especially in Star Trek, getting shot means a small hole and a blood stain. I’m glad to see they didn’t do that (although they did sorta minimize the effect of the wound during the obligitory fistfight that followed.)

    One other comment… The reviewer mentions the teacher being 1/4 Skagarian. I agree that this wasn’t needed and I think it was even detrimental to the character. I know they were going for an easy motivation (My grandma was a Skag!) but that makes the character less noble. There were plenty of people who fought the law to end slavery in the US on purely moral grounds. The idea that she was simply a human who saw a wrong and tried to right has a much more “Star Trek” feel to it. I would have rather seen that.

    • y42 says:

      Re: Special Effects

      The idea that she was simply a human who saw a wrong and tried to
      right has a much more “Star Trek” feel to it. I would have rather seen
      that.

      Not according to Rick Berman…what you want to see, see, is conflict,
      and boobs.

      • is says:

        Re: Special Effects

        The idea that she was simply a human who saw a wrong and tried to
        right has a much more “Star Trek” feel to it. I would have rather seen
        that.

        Not according to Rick Berman…what you want to see, see, is conflict,
        and boobs.

        Who doesn’t like conflict and T’its? heh… B&B suck.

  3. Daemonik says:

    The premise sucked
    I’ve never been a fan of the ‘aliens come to earth for slaves’ story device. I mean, if you can freely move from one planet to another why do you need slaves? Especially messy biological slaves that need lots of resources and tend to have disruptive uprisings. Robots are so much better. Unless you build Skynet, of course.

    So, as a gesture of kindness, let’s go with the involuntary abduction plot. Okay, so why did the Skagarians take horses too? Did they not have draft animals of their own? Was the planet they wanted to take the humans to somehow dangerous to mechanized transport? Just how friggin big was their ship that they had room for colonists, slaves and horses?

    Then we have to believe that over 200 years of settlment on this planet, with exposure to Skagarian high-tech devices, these people develop just enough industry to replicate the old west and then just stick there. M’kay. Or maybe the Skagarians, with their absolute disregard for the limits of mass and the volume of their ship, decided to cart up not only horses but pots, pans, lanterns, coffee pots, a few coffee fields, textile mill, etc. etc.

    Then they bring out the Human/Skagarian hybrid girl. By Thor’s hairy sack, the odds of two species that evolved on two different planets being able to breed successfully is astronomical and even if they could manage it the birth defects would be horrific without major genetic surgery. The whole concept is preposterous and I really wish writers would stop using it.

    In the end, it’s a damn shame that Archer didn’t kick the deputy into an intake manifold, at least then something would have been cool about this episode.

    • Icehouseman says:

      Re: The premise sucked

      I’ve never been a fan of the ‘aliens come to earth for slaves’ story device. I mean, if you can freely move from one planet to another why do you need slaves? Especially messy biological slaves that need lots of resources and tend to have disruptive uprisings. Robots are so much better. Unless you build Skynet, of course.

      Probably the unions on their planet hold back automation. They would let biological things from other planets to be slaves in order to maintain a workforce.

    • Cerberus7 says:

      Re: The premise sucked

      Then they bring out the Human/Skagarian hybrid girl. By Thor’s hairy sack, the odds of two species that evolved on two different planets being able to breed successfully is astronomical and even if they could manage it the birth defects would be horrific without major genetic surgery. The whole concept is preposterous and I really wish writers would stop using it.

      True enough, but Trek has established, through at least one episode that I can remember, that humanoid life in our galaxy is a result of a “seeding” by an ancient race. They sent their genetic blueprint out to new planets where life was just getting started in the hope that their material would be incorporated into the new planet’s blossoming of life. Thus, humans with bumpy heads.

      Now we can talk about what’s wrong with that scenario. :)

  4. rickyjames says:

    How The Ep Shoulda Ended
    …is by Archer taking the deputies onward with Enterprise and leaving the MACOs. Those guys did better with black powder six-shooters than our guys did with 22nd century pulse rifles and supposed shock-troop military training. WTF? Haven’t these guys heard of the concept of “cover” or “protect the captain”? It would be better to have NO shock troops on E than these jokes.

    And don’t even get me started on the Firefly vs. E angle / comparisons. The only thing keeping me from making such scathing comments that even B&B would give up on the series is the realization that a certain DVD is coming out on Dec 9 and it has 3 eps on it I haven’t seen yet.

  5. Icehouseman says:

    My thoughts on this one.
    I thought it was the worst of the season. The western in space isn’t my idea of good Sci-Fi. It reminded me of the episode where Kirk and the boys showed up on a planet run by the mob. Take something from our own history and put on a different planet, then have our crew show up and “deal with it”. But next week’s episode sounds interesting.

    • vanyel says:

      Re: My thoughts on this one.

      I thought it was the worst of the season. The western in space isn’t my idea of good Sci-Fi. It reminded me of the episode where Kirk and the boys showed up on a planet run by the mob. It is amusing that you mention this episode though, because during the “shootout”, my first thought was “where’s the blockwide stun when you need it?”

      Blasphemy! That’s one of my favorite Old Series episodes! Sure, it was a little far fetched, but I don’t think it was *that* unbelievable and it was a fun episode.

      One of the things I liked about this one was that at least they had a believable excuse for it being an Old West town, unlike all the others. Yes, they had an example of “modern technology”, but in their revolt, they destroyed it, and with only 6000 people, you don’t have enough to sustain R&D. I don’t think it would be possible to advance significantly: the first skagorans certainly weren’t going to help, and by keeping them ignorant, it wouldn’t take long for what knowledge they may have had to die out.

      True, the MACO’s are pretty piss-poor shots, but then so were the cowboys, in true western fashion (though even that is believable once the fire-fight gets going, but the first shots should have had people down). And yeah, going interstellar to get slaves is probably not economic, and now that you mention it, it *would* have been better for the teacher to be pure human, but even so, I thought it was a decent episode. The problem is it could have been much better if they hadn’t blown things like these.

  6. Kaki says:

    You missed the real high point…
    … which was Reed’s “whatever” look after he stunned T’pol.

    I totally agree that the teacher should have been full human.

    As for robots vs biological slaves. You have to develop, build, and repair robots. Slaves are already right there, so no expensive research, development, and manufacture. They come equipped to make more of themselves, take care of their own injuries, and solve novel problems. They don’t work for as long without downtime and don’t have as much potential for strength, but the startup costs are much lower.

    Oh and as an aside, Archer seems to have been through the transporter more than anyone. They should have him forced into retirement someday because of transporter psychosis.

    • theangrymob says:

      Re: You missed the real high point…

      … which was Reed’s “whatever” look after he stunned T’pol.

      My bad. That was funny!

  7. yodapez18 says:

    why the low point
    I think they snuck that “Bethany is 1/4 skagaran” comment in as a comment on modern racism, just about everyone who’s family has been in the U.S for more then three generations is related to a black person because of “Passing” where a black person who is close enough to pass as white, will leave their family completely, and assume a new identity in order to avoid discrimination, im a sociology major and i remember reading somewhere taht 1 in six Americans living in cities have african American ancestry, on the other hand id bet half the people in the city are distant relatives period, but anyway, maybe the writers started a thread but forgot to finish it.

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