Enterprise Review: “Proving Ground”

Sorry this is so late gang…

Proving Ground

Cast & Crew

Director: David Livingston
Written By: Chris Black

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
Jeffrey Combs as Shran
Molly Brink as Talas
Randy Oglesby as Degra
Scott MacDonald as Xindi Reptilian
Tucker Smallwood as Xindi Humanoid
Rick Worthy as Xindi Sloth
Granville Van Dusen as Andorian General
Josh Drennen as Degra’s Assistant

Episode Information

Originally Aired: January 21, 2004
Season: Three
Episode: Thirteen
Production: 065

What Happened

Andorian Imperial Guard Commander Shran and his warship track Enterprise down in the Delphic Expanse to offer Captain Archer help as an ally, and together, the two former adversaries plan to steal a prototype of the Xindi’s planet-destroying superweapon. As a confrontation with the Xindi looms, Lt. Reed gets help fixing the NX-01’s damaged weapons systems from a striking Andorian female, Lt. Talas, a contentious officer with her own agenda.

Review

Back on track, finally! Bringing back Shran and company was an excellent move as they lend a little more meat to the scenes and dialogue. But have we wandered too far afield at this point to make a coherent story out of this arc? What’s worse, this may be all the Enterprise we get to see, ever. While some people embrace this idea, I’d prefer to see Star Trek go out on top, not crawling out through the dog door.

High Point

Andorian Mining Commission. You don’t have to go high-class to play spy games.

Low Point

Was anyone surprised by the double-cross?

The Scores

Originality: Not stunningly original, but it was interesting. 3 out of 6.

Effects: As usual, very good. 5 out of 6.

Story: Finally getting back to that all-important task at hand! 4 out of 6.

Acting: Jeffery Combs deserves his own Trek series. Can that be arranged? 5 out of 6.

Emotional Response: We weren’t really surprised at the double-cross, but the acting still makes it sting. 4 out of 6.

Production: I liked the Andorian ship. Clean, but cool. 5 out of 6

Overall: I’m just glad we’re back on track for the season. A decent episode with some good acting and plot development. Now just keep B&B away from the scripts for the rest of the season! 4 out of 6.

Total: 30 out of 42

Episode Media

From StarTrek.com

This Week on Enterprise (January 28, 2004)

Twilight (Originally Aired Nov. 5, 2003)

After Enterprise is assaulted by severe spatial distortions, Archer loses the ability to form new, long-term memories, causing him to wake up each morning unaware that any time has passed since the day he was afflicted. Despite the crew’s best efforts to keep him involved in decisions, it becomes clear over time that they can’t continue to function in this manner, leading T’Pol to become his caretaker and Trip to take command of the ship. Read the Original Review

Next Week on Enterprise (February 4, 2004)

Stratagem

Having located the prototype of the Xindi superweapon, Archer and the crew manage to capture the weapon’s creator, Degra, and launch into an elaborate scheme to dupe their prisoner into revealing the location of the final weapon under construction. With time running out before the Xindi discover Degra’s disappearance, the entire crew play key roles in the massive charade which combines Archer’s acting skills, Trip’s faux alien shuttlecraft, Hoshi’s decrypted data and Dr. Phlox’s memory tampering, in order to trick the Xindi scientist into believing he and Archer are now allies and on the run after escaping a Xindi-Insectoid prison.[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

9 replies on “Enterprise Review: “Proving Ground””

  1. Kaki says:

    Maybe I’ve just gotten used to…
    …the plot holes and whatnot, but I liked this episode.

    Or maybe it is the antennae. What sense(s) do the antennae do for them anyway?

    By the way, maybe we should plot the various writers and directors against scores for the episodes. Thus see which writers have made good trek more than once.

    • Jhon says:

      Re: Maybe I’ve just gotten used to…

      …the plot holes and whatnot, but I liked this episode.

      Or maybe it is the antennae. What sense(s) do the antennae do for them anyway?

      This is one possibility

      …by the dual antennae, which, in addition housing auditory receptors, feature a complex matrix of light-sensitve cones.

      At least so say some…

    • is says:

      Re: Maybe I’ve just gotten used to…

      …the plot holes and whatnot, but I liked this episode.

      Or maybe it is the antennae. What sense(s) do the antennae do for them anyway?

      By the way, maybe we should plot the various writers and directors against scores for the episodes. Thus see which writers have made good trek more than once.

      It was pretty good… I just wish Enterprise could have more good ones and less bad ones… the ratio so far is about 3 bad to 1 good… which is pretty lousy.

    • vanyel says:

      Re: Maybe I’ve just gotten used to…

      Or maybe it is the antennae. What sense(s) do the antennae do for them anyway?

      I loved the way the antennae were used in this episode, from the very beginning with that great shot of the back of Archer’s head with the antennae on the view screen coming out of his head, to the subtle ways they changed in reaction to things. Details like that are what make a good show great…

      It would be too expensive and painful for the actors to do, but an Andorian Star Trek would be interesting… they’ve really set it up with Shran clearly at odds with his superiors…

  2. jbrecken says:

    This is what we want to see
    This kind of episode is what we were hoping Enterprise would be all about – showing how the four founding races came together to form the federation of planets, with the different species playing off each other’s strengths and weaknesses.

    You could almost see the groundwork being laid in this one.

    It would be a shame if the show gets cancelled before anyone says the word “federation.”

    • GrimSean says:

      Re: This is what we want to see

      This kind of episode is what we were hoping Enterprise would be all about – showing how the four founding races came together to form the federation of planets, with the different species playing off each other’s strengths and weaknesses.

      You could almost see the groundwork being laid in this one.

      It would be a shame if the show gets cancelled before anyone says the word “federation.”

      That was pretty much what I was saying to myself the entire time that I was watching this. It boggles my mind that B&B can’t seem to understand that this is the direction that the show needs to go – not off into a previously unheard of area of space to fight unknown aliens, or time travel. Enterprise would be a much better show if they stopped focusing on the science fiction aspects of the Star Trek Universe and more on the actual interactions between the different societies that the fans know will be part of the founding of the Federation. I think it would have been more appealing to non-fans too – imagine telling someone “It’s a drama set in the Star Trek universe” versus “It’s a prequel to the original Star Trek” – people would be far more likely to watch the former rather than the later (of course, it probably doesn’t help when most of the buzz around the show focuses on how the fans don’t even like it)

      • joe__gee says:

        For that matter, setting a Trek show in the universe …

        That was pretty much what I was saying to myself the entire time that I was watching this. It boggles my mind that B&B can’t seem to understand that this is the direction that the show needs to go – not off into a previously unheard of area of space to fight unknown aliens, or time travel. Enterprise would be a much better show if they stopped focusing on the science fiction aspects of the Star Trek Universe and more on the actual interactions between the different societies that the fans know will be part of the founding of the Federation. I think it would have been more appealing to non-fans too – imagine telling someone “It’s a drama set in the Star Trek universe” versus “It’s a prequel to the original Star Trek” – people would be far more likely to watch the former rather than the later (of course, it probably doesn’t help when most of the buzz around the show focuses on how the fans don’t even like it)

        You could go back to the Next Gen time frame and have a show based in the Klingon Empire, with humans thrown in to add a reference point. We know at least one Klingon in Star Fleet. How about a human or two in service on one of the Empire’s ships?

        -Joe

    • joe__gee says:

      Re: This is what we want to see

      This kind of episode is what we were hoping Enterprise would be all about – showing how the four founding races came together to form the federation of planets, with the different species playing off each other’s strengths and weaknesses.

      Don’t forget the Tellarites! Somewhere they have to come into the picture. In the history I used to have (TOS starfleet manual?), the Tellarites entered Earth’s solar system and declared its annexation. Once humans challenged them they declared a misunderstanding and announced that they had meant to propose an alliance. :)

      -Joe

      P.S. And yes, I agree with you, it was really great to see the Andorians, humans, and token Vulcan working together. Let’s *see* how the Federation came to be.

  3. Trekkie says:

    Decent
    This was a pretty good episode and was what I thought a prequel would be like.

    But the weeks before episode (i’d just watched it prior on TiVo) had me so ticked off I was only ‘eh’ the first time I watched it.

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