ENT S02E07 The Seventh (3.5 out of 5 stars). T’Pol is running a secret Vulcan mission and she’s taking Travis seeing as he hasn’t more than about six lines in the last four episodes (rather than say a trained security officer). Wisely, she adds Archer to the gang, freeing up Travis to do what he’s best equipped for – mutely following the other two around. Their pursuit of and verbal fencing with Bruce Davison’s Menos is exciting enough, and the backstory is intriguing – but back in orbit, the general lack of maturity and professionalism extends to acting-captain Trip abusing Archer’s privileges, while proving himself incapable of committing to even the most trivial of decisions. “How very Vulcan,” comments Archer when presented with T’Pol’s completely illogical orders based on irrelevant notions of honour, without which the plot doesn’t work.

ENT S02E08 The Communicator (3 out of 5 stars). Given that the mid-second season of a new show isn’t going to have five years of rich backstory to fall back on, and given that this show in particular is oriented mainly around fairly low-stakes adventure-of-the-week stuff, this is the kind of simple-seeming problem which should suit it perfectly, even if the plot is kicked off yet again by one of Starfleet’s finest being a total doofus. And it largely does work, as a straightforward get-captured-and-escape story. It’s just a shame that it’s a communicator that’s been left behind. Shouldn’t a communicator of all damn things be particularly easy to track down? It’s the thing they use to pinpoint people’s locations before beaming them up for pity’s sake. How can they possibly not be able to find it? Plus, they’ve used the transporter in less dire situations than this before, and this seems like it would have been a great time to give it another go. In fact, why not just beam the communicator back?

ENT S02E09 Singularity (2 out of 5 stars). After a run of very soggy teasers, this one opens with the crew unconscious except for T’Pol whose mission log is near-apocalyptic, fearing that neither crew nor ship will survive much longer. When we flash back, Archer’s fretting about his chair, Hoshi’s cooking up a storm, Travis has an ouchie. It’s all pretty trivial stuff. The gag is that these minor fixations gradually become full-blown obsessions. It’s a sitcom style plot, but the explanation is a giant space wibbly thing rather than the characters’ own natures. Or in other words, it’s The Naked Time again, only with poorer pacing. Are we supposed not to see the disaster coming? Even though this is a story being told in flashback…

ENT S02E10 Vanishing Point (1 out of 5 stars) This is another of those plugging-a-hole-in-Star-Trek’s-history stories, exploring how the transporter went from dangerous and experimental technology to routine part of Starfleet kit. But focusing on Hoshi means that we’re seeing the character we know is disappointingly unsuited to space exploration being unsettled by something we’ve already come to know as reliable (except when it isn’t). So, it sends her character into reverse, but we already know how the story ends. We’re also stuck with nobody-believes-the-person-to-whom-weird-things-are-happening, which TNG had ditched by Season 3, noting that it serves only to slow down the (achingly familiar) plot. And what’s the resolution? It was all a dream. Give me strength…

ENT S02E11 Precious Cargo (0.5 out of 5 stars). For some reason, something about the opening shots of Travis playing the harmonica as the ship glides through space puts me in mind of an advert, maybe for a credit card. Anyway, as usual, that’s all the drama you get in the teaser to hook you into the programme. Who could resist the lure? Speaking of which, the cargo which two bumpy-faced males are carrying turns out to be a smooth-skinned and very foxy chick in suspended animation. Shades of TNG’s The Perfect Mate (it’s the same species) and this is just as ick, if not more so. Just as dull as Vanishing Point, but that didn’t make me want to throw up in my own mouth, hence the score. I’m not alone. John Billingsley gives this episode the credit for turning off the faltering audience for good, which will end up sounding the death knell for this show and Star Trek on television for twelve years. Aliens on this show have baths, eat the same food as humans, and give their height and weight in SI units, but the universal translator gives up entirely when faced with the word “car”. Go figure.

Trekaday #112: Carbon Creek, Minefield, Dead Stop, A Night In Sickbay, Marauders
Trekaday #114: Star Trek Nemesis