Enterprise Review: “Harbinger”

The Wonder Twins of Bad Writing are at it again!

Harbinger

Cast & Crew

Director: David Livingston
Teleplay By: Manny Coto
Story By: Rick Berman & Brannon Braga

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
Noa Tishby as Amanda Cole
Thomas Kopache as The Alien
Steven Culp as Major Hayes

Episode Information

Originally Aired: February 11, 2004
Season: Three
Episode: Fifteen
Production: 067

What Happened

Enterprise encounters an abnormally large spatial distortion and rescues an alien from a craft trapped inside. While Archer and Dr. Phlox try to solve the mystery behind the rapidly deteriorating alien, tensions between Lt. Reed and MACO leader Major Hayes escalate into a full-blown brawl. Meanwhile, Trip’s flirtation with a female MACO forces a surprisingly jealous T’Pol to confront her attraction to her fellow senior officer.

Review

Let’s see: Subplots bigger than the main plot. No progress on the storyline. Gratuitous fist fights and sex. Did I really need to read the credits to figure out who’s behind the writing. Who let these guys into the writer’s lounge. We were doing so well!

High Point

Tucker and T’Pol’s “morning after” talk. I could see Blalock barely able to contain herself (hence the coffee mug cover). It was just too cute not to laugh.

Low Point

The whole alien plot line. It made no sense, seemed tacked on and generally got us no where.

The Scores

Originality: There wasn’t much to be original about. 2 out of 6.

Effects: Oozy space orbs. Yum! 5 out of 6.

Story: Was there a story? 2 out of 6.

Acting: The cast does manage to get into this one (maybe they’ve realized their asses are on the line). 5 out of 6.

Emotional Response: Dull, save for a few moments humor. 3 out of 6.

Production: Nothing new to see here. Move along. 4 out of 6

Overall: Proving once again that Star Trek is in the hands of complete boobs (and I’m not talking Blalock’s). 2 out of 6.

Total: 23 out of 42

Episode Media

From StarTrek.com

This Week on Enterprise (February 18, 2004)

Doctor’s Orders

While Enterprise travels through a section of the Expanse lethal to human neurology, Dr. Phlox must put the entire crew to sleep and handle all aspects of a working starship, but even with T’Pol’s help, the doctor’s skills might not be enough to keep the crew safe when complications arise. With the ship not moving out of the area fast enough, Dr. Phlox must figure out how to start the warp engines without blowing up the ship, while realizing he may not be entirely immune to the region’s radiation himself. [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: “Harbinger””

  1. OrangeCarrot says:

    A Little Credit — Dumb Luck
    I gotta say, I enjoyed watching an episode that focused so much on character interaction. I’ve been waiting for Malcolm and the new task force chief to come to blows, I wish there were a little more buildup in previous episodes though. That story line could have been stretched out. The Trip and T’pol encounter, on the other hand, was perfectly timed. I know a lot of people that complain about the lack of character driven stories in science fiction, this was a very refreshing episode for those people.

    I agree, however, that the main plot, if you can call it that, in this story was weak and boring. Perhaps it should be demoted to subplot and the Trip/T’Pol story can be the main plot. If that’s the case then we can just complain about the weak subplot of the alien in the space-goo.

    So, in my book the wonder-twins get a little credit for stumbling blindly into a suprisingly deep episode.

    • TwistyHat says:

      Re: A Little Credit — Dumb Luck
      This was a character driven story? You gotta be kidding? This was crap for the teenagers: Fighting, Sex and no IQ. Oh well, not long until cancelation.

  2. bombadil says:

    Gulp… I liked it…
    I am embarrased to admit… I really liked this episode. The interaction between Trip and T’Pol, Malcolm and Mr. Maco, Malcolm and Trip, and Trip and Miss Maco was very good. I loved Malcolm’s smarmy comments to Tripp, especially ‘if it’s so non-sexual, how about giving me a session?’ HAHAHAHA. I also enjoyed T’Pol turning Tripp’s words back against him about jealousy. Very nice.

    Oh, was there an alien in this episode too?

  3. Kaki says:

    Question…
    … what exactly did the alien dude say there at the end? My phone rang and I only heard enough to know it was something about after Earth was destroyed.

    Also, next week’s plot is a straight ripoff of a Voyager episode. That is super lame and moderately insulting.

    As for the subplots, ummm, Archer should have gotten more time to be more pissed at Reed and Hayes. But a few concrete punishments, mentioning an unhappy entry in their records, and telling them they now live in sickbay together until they are healed would have been nice. As it was, we only really saw them get the Archer stern-talking-to. This episode could have set us up to see them doing extra shifts of grunt level maintinace together over the next couple of episodes, to teach them to work together and all that. Then we could watch them develop from forced proximity to finish-each-other’s-sentences friendship. Instead I wonder if they will just be great chums instantly.

    The morning after chat felt all wrong. Are we to believe that they wouldn’t talk about whatever happened like, you know, when it was happening, or right after it happened. Instead they wait to discuss it in public? I don’t buy it, it was totally the wrong setting and the whole thing felt all wrong because of it.

    • theangrymob says:

      Say What?

      … what exactly did the alien dude say there at the end? My phone rang and I only heard enough to know it was something about after Earth was destroyed.

      Anyone? I, too, missed it (crying baby).

      • PianoComp81 says:

        Re: Say What?

        … what exactly did the alien dude say there at the end? My phone rang and I only heard enough to know it was something about after Earth was destroyed.

        Anyone? I, too, missed it (crying baby).

        It was something about how that once the Xindi wiped out Earth, the creators of the bubble (and therefore the spheres) would be free to finish their “paradise”. At least it was similar to that. Maybe they’re actually tying it into the rest of the story (temporal war, why the Xindi were told we would destroy them, etc.).

  4. is says:

    Not too bad
    Sure, the main story didn’t go far, but for a B&B episode it was more enjoyable than usual.

    Part of my reaction is based on the fact that I expected an episode based soley on sex. Since it wasn’t, I was pleasantly suprised.
    I thought Malcoms side was good. In fact it was the best part. The jealousy subplot was second, and the alien last….

    I’m wondering if they’ll introduce a subplot story arc with the alien thing or maybe a secondary story arc… Or if they’ll just act as if it never happened. With a brain or two they could do some neat stuff with that alien and really carry the “makers” secondary story arc quite a ways.

  5. babasyzygy says:

    Not what I expected
    (By the way, the name is “harbinger,” as in “One that indicates or foreshadows
    what is to come; a forerunner.”)

    From the trailer, I expected something much more like “The Naked Time” and
    “The Naked Now.” I expected that the alien would be somehow removing all
    reserve and bringing controlled and supressed emotions to the surface. I
    expected it to be tedious.

    I was wrong. I wish I has been right, this was even worse. This was so bad
    that it could have been an Andromeda episode.

    The Malcolm/
    MACO conflict was tedious, and completely unbelievable – are we supposed
    to believe that neither of these officers have any command training or any
    military discipline? These two are the most disciplined members of
    the human crew! I would expect this from people with their first management
    or command assignments, not from members of the Earth’s premier crew. I
    would also expect survival of the Earth to be foremost in the
    security commanders’ mind. “No thanks, we don’t need more training, we’d
    rather obsess on the fact that we’re not fighting the enemy right now?” Puh-
    lease. I don’t care how insulting it was to Malcolm, I just can’t believe that he
    would oppose additional training.

    T’Pol was either giving in to her own sexual desires – which might
    work if
    built up properly (it wasn’t), ignoring the vulcan biophysiology we
    know
    – or, as she claimed, dabbling in sex for her own
    curiosity. Now, she’s seen enough to know that sex is a sure way to make
    humans insane! This is not something to idly play with – she (and all Vulcans
    we’ve seen) avoid making humans emotional without damned good cause and
    sex is the one surefire way to do this.

    I did like the way that Trip continues to be the Alien Sex Magnet,
    though.

    The only interesting part was that the aliens who built the expanse seem to
    be the ones using the Xindi as catspaws. They are very powerful and the
    Earth has their attention.

    That makes me very nervous – TV science fiction does not handle an
    overwhelming threat to the protagonists very well. Even Babylon 5 had an
    ultimately unrewarding resolution when the Shadows were directly
    confronted, and Star Trek has never come close to doing as well. I fear that
    we’re going to have a very unfulfilling resolution to the whole Xindi/Expanse
    story, and I fear the resolution will happen in a single scene.

  6. jbrecken says:

    Alien
    The alien looked a lot like a Suliban (remember those guys, the ones Future Man talks to?) to me, but no one on the show commented on it. Is it just that there’s only so many different kinds of alien they can make, or does anyone else think there’s a connection?

  7. vanyel says:

    Yes and No
    For me, the high point was Archer chewing out Malcolm and Haynes: I think that’s the best job Bakula’s done yet, and I loved the way they were left hanging when he left.

    But while the conflict was entertaining, I didn’t believe Malcolm would be that childish and that put me off.

    I also don’t believe that Tripp and T’pol would have the morning after conversation in public. “Let’s not say anything” after basically telling the entire crew. Right. Or for that matter, neither would T’pol have jumped on Tripp the way she did, or else the supposed millenia of Vulcan control did most of it’s advancement in the time between T’pol and Spock.

    I do think that the alien’s final line was a crucial one that will coming back to haunt us in the future, and the Tripp/T’pol story was actually mostly well done, so I give it a higher rating than angrymob though…

    • Kaki says:

      Re: Yes and No

      I do think that the alien’s final line was a crucial one that will coming back to haunt us in the future, and the Tripp/T’pol story was actually mostly well done, so I give it a higher rating than angrymob though…

      Could you tell those of us who missed those important 3 seconds exactly what the line was?

      • Dr|ft says:

        Re: Yes and No

        Could you tell those of us who missed those important 3 seconds exactly what the line was?

        Here you go:

        Archer: You weren’t sent here against your will. You knew exactly what your mission was. What were your people trying to do? You tried to destroy my ship! Why!? Answer me!

        Alien: When the Xindi destroy Earth, my people will prevail.

        Alien goes poof. The End.

        • Kaki says:

          Re: Yes and No

          Archer: You weren’t sent here against your will. You knew exactly what your mission was. What were your people trying to do? You tried to destroy my ship! Why!? Answer me!

          Alien: When the Xindi destroy Earth, my people will prevail.

          Alien goes poof. The End.

          Thank you. See I only half heard it and thought maybe he said stuff in past tense. Like, “When the Xindi destroyed Earth, my people prevailed.” That would have implied that the dude was from an unhappy future.

          But with him speaking in the present tense, it seems more likely that he is from somewhere like fluidic space.

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