There can be but one king. One episode of sheer terrible to rule them all. An episode so bad, that I ocassionally refuse to accept that even happened, and one of the show's writers pretends it didn't happen.Enterprise
is about to make up for not being anywhere else in the list in a big way. I am of course referring to it's finale, These Are the Voyages.
This is awful. I mean, it’s just irredeemably shit. To put this in perspective, I find there to be 3 types of people when it come to Enterprise in general:
1. People who hate it.
2. People who hated it for 3 seasons, but thought Manny Coto rescued it in season 4.
3. People who liked for all 4 seasons.
Category 3 are usually eligible for home help. In any case, roughly 90% of each of these groups hated “These Are the Voyages”, and most of the remainder just strongly disliked it. Rick Berman described this as a “Valentine” to both the franchise and to the fans. Well, fuck me, I’m glad I was never Berman’s special other, because I’d describe this as a gypsy curse designed to finally finish off a wasting cancer patient.
It is really that bad. We start with a scene on the Enterprise
where Archer is fretting over a big speech, which is later revealed to be for a conference that leads to the founding of the Federation. Yes, because I really want to see this bag of shitwho only toned down his racism towards Vulcans two seasons ago deliver that.
All the senior officers are called to the bridge when Commander Riker is revealed to be present. He says “end programme,” and we find ourselves on a TNG-era Holodeck. Yes, they’ve set the Enterprise
series finale aboard the Enterprise D.
We’re treated to the following explanatory log entry:
"First officer's personal log, stardate 47457.1. With the unexpected arrival of Admiral Pressman, my old CO, I find myself in an awkward position. Counsellor Troi has suggested I might get a few insights by calling up an historic holoprogram."
Oh boy. The only way I can convey the sheer level of FAIL is to do this is by breaking that down bit by bit:"First officer's personal log”.
Jonathan Frakes, what are you doing? There is no way I believe that you’re 11 years younger, 3 stone lighter, and don’t have to dip your head in a bucket of Just for Men before shooting. Okay, everyone gets old, and I probably won’t age one bit as gracefully as you, but seriously, why did you agree to this? Didn’t you know it’d make you look old & sad?
Same applies to Marina Sirtis. They didn’t bother with the make-up, they just brushed her fringe down in front of her forehead to cover any worry lines. Again, she doesn’t look 100,000 years old or anything, but suspension of disbelief is stretched a bit.
On the topic of ageing, the Enterprise
bits are supposedly set 7 years after the previous episode, yet none of the cast look a day older. Except Hoshi has longer hair. I had longer hair when I was younger
."With the unexpected arrival of Admiral Pressman, my old CO, I find myself in an awkward position"
So, you’re busily playing with holodeck characters in the middle of the hugely important and stressful Pegasus
mission? Okay, I know he was in sickbay with an injury he picked up sword fighting with Worf in the original TNG episode, so he clearly was doing something other than sitting in a dark room biting his nails when off duty, but the amount of time he spends in here suggests a lot more dossing off than I think is wise or plausible."Counsellor Troi has suggested I might get a few insights by calling up an historic holoprogram"
So you go to your best friend, who is also the ship’s counsellor for advice and she tells you to go do the equivalent of opening up an interactive CD on something like the Gettysburg Address for inspiration? I know Riker says it’s classified in the following scene and he can’t discuss details, but as advice goes, this is shit with a capital “S”. If one of my friends did that I’d tell her to fuck off, and if my counsellor did, I’d punch her in the face 60 times and demand a refund.
We also have to believe that Riker would think it‘s actually a good idea to go play with a recreation of Enterprise‘s
last voyage, and isn’t smart or focused enough to make up his mind about what to do about his dark secret with Pressman himself.
D’you know, I think Troi might have been playing a huge joke on Riker here:
“Hey Beverly, I’ve got him to spend all his free time in that stupid programme about Jonathan Archer’s last mission!!!”
Finally, it’s Enterprise’s
season finale, and it’s going to be as much about Commander Riker as about Enterprise
? Yeah, that’s appropriate.
So, we’ll struggle on. Troi tells Riker to take on the part of the ships chef, because the crew all confided in him. Sorry, when did Enterprise’s
, UNNAMED, UNSEEN chef become Guinan? That’s just bad writing.
I do appreciate that this shit stain of a storyline is set 6 or 7 years after the previous episode, and Enterprise
could’ve gotten a new chef in that time, who is everyone’s best pal. But then they’re just saying “yeah, this new guy’s come in who’s important to this story, just accept it”, which is exactly as bad as saying this guy who’s mentioned but never seen is really important now, just accept it”
Well at least Riker has the figure to play a chef.
Okay no more comments about Frakes’ weight.
Anyhow, the basic plot of what happens on Enterprise’s
last mission is that Shran’s daughter has been kidnapped and he needs Archer’s help, which could potentially make him late for his speech. If it’s that fucking important that he be there, why is he off-planet to begin with? Why didn’t Starfleet ground him behind a desk for a few weeks beforehand?
We have this lovely scene where he discusses whether to help Shran with T’Pol. And by “discuss” I mean he asks her to rubber-stamp his decision and tells her she’s a silly Vulcan when she disagrees, and that she should see past her prejudice against Andorians the way he saw past his prejudice against Vulcans.
Great, so T’Pol just needs to treat Shran in a manner that suggests he broke into her house and shat in the middle of her living room for a couple of years and then suddenly decide she’s okay with him, like Archer did with her?
Archer rounds out the scene by being a bad pet-owner by promising Porthos 6 different types of cheese because the chef is cooking everyone their favourite thing because it‘s the last mission. Well, Jonathan, enjoy cleaning up the shit, because that dog’s going to go off like a muck-spreader. God, I fucking hate Archer.
We then have T’Pol confiding in Chef:
“Hello there, T’Pol!”
I’ll stop. Chef, of course, is played by Riker and T'Pol “confides” in him about helping Shran. She tells him that she’s learned from those silly humans that following orders isn’t the most important thing in the world, which Riker finds really
insightful and stops the programme, clearly resolved to do something.
When did Riker become so easily led? Anyway, he already knows that following orders isn‘t the be all and end all of being a Starfleet officer - When aboard the Hood
, he refused to allow Captain DeSoto to beam into a hostile situation, I’m sure DeSoto didn’t order him to do that, for some reason.
Also, Troi could’ve just said “Gee Will, maybe following orders isn’t the most important thing in the world…”. surely
her advice would carry at least as much weight as a holo-character of someone he’s never met
Onwards… Riker goes to the observation lounge to emo over the dead crew of the Pegasus
a bit. So much for that resolve we saw just a scene ago.
He’s caught by Troi who senses guilt. Riker, of course, dodges the conversation and gets her to come to the Enterprise
simulation with him. She’s initially reluctant because she has an appointment in an hour, but then she realises that she’s just going to send whoever it is to the holodeck anyway instead of helping them and goes with Riker.
While there, they see Tucker and, I swear I’m not making this up, Troi comments that he (Tucker) has no way of knowing that he won’t survive the mission.[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.] [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.] [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
Way to telegraph your planned heart-wrenching moment guys you stupid, shit-eating retards. Was the idea that we’d sit on the edge of our seats going “hmahmahmhmhmmhmhmhhmhm…. What’s going to happen to poor Trip… the suspense… I can’t watch.” or something?
Well, I suppose I really can’t watch, but it’s not because of suspense, because there isn’t any. I presume
the idea was to create some by having this big elephant in the room that OMG TRIP IS GOING TO DIE!!!!, but it just didn’t work for me. Maybe it’s because I don’t like Tucker. I don’t care
that he’s going to die.
Why don’t I like Tucker and care that he’s going to die?
Because he never shut up whinging
about something. For 2+ seasons, it was those nasty, green-blooded, evil Vulcans. Then his dead sister. Then the fact that T’Pol, a member of a species he knows don’t openly display their emotions, doesn’t openly return his affection. Plus his accent annoys me. No real, actual American I’ve met sounds like that. I really wish that when he was whinging and suffering from insomnia over his dead sister, Phlox had just given him a book of Sylvia Plath poetry and a bottle of Amien (and yes I stole that from Family Guy) instead of recommending the neuropre - and I don’t even want to type that word.
Anyway, they get to where Shran’s daughter is being held hostage by evil aliens who we haven‘t seen before or since, distract them for 1/100th
of a second with this fake jewel thingy, get Shran’s daughter, then have a fire-fight and escape. During the escape Tucker falls off a walkway - OMG HE’S GOING TO DIE!!!! - but no, he hangs on.
Phew, is your heart pounding? Because mine isn’t.
Incidentally, Shran and his kid call Archer “pink-skin” a lot. Because nick-naming people after their skin colour is harmless and funny.
We’re then treated to another scene of Riker/Troi blah blah blahing, where Riker tells Troi what’s really going on, with full details about Pressman breaking a treaty with the Romulans by seeking to develop cloaking technology. Troi simply says that she knows Riker will make the correct decision. I can’t quite make up my mind on her reaction, on one hand I can see what the idea is - make Riker do the right thing himself, it’ll no doubt look good on his personal development plan. On the other hand, he’s talking about Pressman ignoring the terms of a major interstellar treaty
with one of the largest powers in the region, couldn’t you at least steer him towards the right thing a bit more?
Of course, the whole idea of placing this inside an existing episode where Riker’s actions are presented in a perfectly reasonable and competently explained manner that doesn’t involve making him look a shit-eating moron who can’t make up his mind up without talking to some holodeck characters is a load of turd anyway, so maybe I’m overanalysing.
You may also notice I’m talking about Riker more than about Enterprise
. This is why Enterprise
fans hate this episode. Because, fundamentally, the plot line is about Riker, not Enterprise
or its crew. Oh, and if this really is supposed to be tearful goodbye from Berman to the whole franchise, where are The Original series, Deep Space Nine, & Voyager represented?
I have a much better plot if you want to do that. Here we go: Spock, Picard, Kira & Tuvok band together, go back in time to “Broken Bow”
, massacre the entire Enterprise
crew and destroy the ship, because it and its mission is an embarrassment to human history, Starfleet history, Federation history, and Star Trek in general and NEVER SHOULD HAVE FUCKING HAPPENED.
See, it’d be fundamentally be about Enterprise,
with all the other Treks represented by their most awesome character. Well except DS9, but Dukat isn’t one of the good guys, so I don’t think he should be there, so Kira will do just fine.
Oh, but it only get’s better.
Riker again becomes the Chef and asks the crew about
Tucker because they really want us to feel the pain of his imminent death. No, not working. I still don’t give a fuck about the racist, crying, fucknut. He goes through this shite with Reed, Hoshi,
MayOH MY GOD HE ACTUALLY GOT A SPEAKING LINEweather & Phlox before we finally get to the epic death of Tucker.
Ready? Pull up a chair.
Tucker and Archer are drinking whiskey, because men can only bond whilst drinking whiskey, and talking about Archer’s upcoming speech, when T’Pol pages them from the bridge to tell them to stop lubing those vibrators up and get to their stations because the evil aliens who had Shran’s daughter have followed them and they’re under attack.
On the way to engineering, the bridge or wherever they’re going, Tucker and Archer are apprehended by two of the evil aliens who’ve boarded Enterprise.
They threaten to kill Archer if they’re not immediately led to Shran and his daughter. Archer refuses to help them, but Tucker agrees and has them knock Archer out, so no-one will stop his heroic self-sacrifice. He leads them to a communication panel, under the auspices of using it to summon Shran to them, but instead disconnects a plasma relay, opens up an access panel to another one and pauses (without being shot 17 times) to say:“You can all go straight to hell!!!!!!!!”
Epic line. He then connects the plasma relay he’s holding (doesn’t he need gloves or something for that?) to the open one causing a huge explosion that kills the aliens, and him. Although he survives long enough to be brought to sickbay and die there after Archer re-assures him everything will be okay despite the fact that he’s clearly fucked.
The whole scene is flat and unmoving.
As is the following scene where T’Pol is packing away Tucker’s things after he dies and Archer makes an attempt at making her feel better. Although we do get Archer finally
admitting that he was reckless fuckwit of a captain when Enterprise
was first launched in order
to make himself look great
to further human exploration. But of course, his fuckwittery is validated when T’Pol tells him that Tucker considered it all worthwhile, even though secretly she probably thinks he’s a cunt.
Is this mind-dump done now? Is it fuck. Riker again puts on his chef’s hat and goes back in the story to before Tucker died and talks to him. The conversation ends with Tucker asking chef whether he’s staying in Starfleet or opening his own restaurant, and then telling him that he has a decision to make. Riker, too, realises that he has a real life
decision to make.
But you knew this already, didn’t you Will? That’s why you’re playing with this inane programme, to decide what to do, isn‘t it? Why does Tucker telling you that have such a profound effect? Because you just saw a hologram of him dying? You’ve seen some of your own colleagues die, Tucker’s holo-death really shouldn’t be that earth shattering an event for you, especially when you knew it was going to happen.
In any case, Riker hangs on to the point where Archer has to make his speech, apparently, the most profound and famous piece of oratory in the history of the Federation, so much so that Troi says she memorised it in grade school.
Speaking of Troi, she comes in to see has Riker located his brain yet. He has, and he’s ready to talk to Picard about Pressman (he clearly mustn’t have got the chance though, since he doesn‘t tell Picard what‘s going on until after they find the Pegasus
in the original episode), and they shut down the programme before Archer starts his speech.
Now, some people got pissed off that this speech, or even part of it, wasn’t in the episode, and I can see why. It’s a cop out, they’ve been alluding to it for the whole episode and then they don’t show it. It’s like saying Jessica Biel and Kiera Knightly are going to wrestle naked in jelly for 87 minutes of an episode and then eventually only showing them walking up to the ring.
But, let’s be honest here, such a speech from Archer would amount to:
“This wouldn’t have happened without humans. Humans are great. All you Vulcans, Tellarites, Andorians etc. hated each other until we came along, acted like brain-damaged gibbons and made you like each other through pure chance. No more will those Vulcan bastards hold the humans back. I’m great and have a big penis. My father would be so proud of me.”
I’d rather not see that, thanks.
And I’d rather not see this episode again. It’s poorly written, the setting makes no sense, the characterisations are rubbish, and it’s topped off with a feeble attempt to elevate a dislikeable character to martyrdom. No one likes this episode, even Brannon Braga admits that “some of it” didn’t work.
Overall it’s an insult to Enterprise,
even it deserved better than this, and an insult to Star Trek