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Terra Nova

Review

Series : Enterprise Rating : 1
Disc No : 1.2 Episode : 6
First Aired : 24 Oct 2001 Stardate : Unknown
Director : LeVar Burton Year : 2151
Writers : Brannon Braga, Rick Berman Season : 1
Guest Cast :
Brian Jacobs as Athan
Erick Avari as Jamin
Greville Henwood as Akary
Mary Carver as Nadet
Moral :
Savagery : No matter how advances we get we are only a smal step away from savagery
YATI : When describing Terra Nova to Trip and T'Pol, he claims it was "nine years there, nine years back". But later, he claims that the ship was designed to be broken up to make the colony and it was purely a one way journey.

Also, Archer claims that Earth had already established the Utopia Planitia colony before establishing Terra Nova, more than 70 years before. Yet in Voyager's "The 37s", Harry Kim said that Mars was not colonised until 2103.

And a very minor one - watch the bicycle wheel that Reed spins very carefully. He spins it counter clockwise, we cut away and it is still spinning counter clockwise when we cut back to it, but then we cut away and back to it again and now it is spinning the other way!

In the 'not a nit, just an observation' category, those original Terra Nova colonists sure were a territorial bunch. According to Archer, the cause of the initial problems was that the Novans did not want "another two hundred people arriving". This indicates that the original colony was also two hundred strong. And yet these two hundred people, all living in a single settlement, objected to a follow on wave of another two hundred? Really? Put this in context; say Earth is a newly discovered uninhabited planet. You arrive and found what's essentially a small village, say in France. Just how upset could you really be to find that another two hundred people are going to settle in a village in China? Planets are BIG places, you could drop ten thousand such settlements randomly all over the map and never have any one of them within seventy miles of another one! It makes the colonists look rather selfish and arrogant to me.
Great Moment : Archer and T'Pol arguing about what to do with the colonists.
Body Count : None, though Reed was wounded and several Novans stunned.
Factoid : Terra Nova was Earth's first deep space colony, and was located nearly 20 light years from Earth.

This is the first episode to establish that Phlox's species are called the Denobulans.

Brannon Braga is on record as regarding this as his least favourite episode of Enterprise, describing it as "boring".


Plotline

The NX-01 arrives at Terra Nova, the first interstellar colony ever sent out by Earth. After communications with the colony became unfriendly, all contact with them was suddenly severed and they have never been heard from since. The fate of the colony has become a long standing mystery and now, some seventy years later, Enterprise is checking in to find out what happened.

They arrive to find a settlement on the surface, completely deserted. There is background radiation all around at levels which, whilst not immediately dangerous, would be fatal with long term exposure. As they explore Reed detects a humanoid and gives chase, but the creature vanishes into a cave. Archer and Reed head into the cave, leaving two crewmembers on guard at the entrance. After a brief fight in the caves Reed is captured, and Archer retreats.

T'Pol's scans show that the cave creatures are in fact Human - there are more than fifty people living in the caves, apparently the missing colonists. Archer and Phlox go to try and meet peacefully with the cave dwellers, and establish contact with two of them, Jamin and Nadet. They also meet with Reed, who is being treated fairly well. The colonists have virtually forgotten their past, remembering a distorted version of their history and even their language. Phlox scans the pair and finds that Nadet is suffering from cancer - an illness which he can treat quite easily on Enterprise. She agrees to go to the ship with them, whilst Reed remains below.

Nadet and T'Pol piece together a picture of what happened to the planet. When Earth wanted to send a second wave of colonists the original settlers resisted. Shortly afterwards an asteroid struck the planet, spreading radiation in what Nadet calls a "poison rain". The colonists interpreted this as an attack on them, assuming Earth had struck in retaliation for their attitude. They retreated to the caves to escape the radiation, and have remained ever since.

Archer tries to convince the colonists to evacuate the planet - long term they cannot survive the radiation. Under prompting Nadet begins to have vague memories from when she was a child, realising the truth of their situation and beginning to believe Archer.

Back on the surface Archer is able to win the trust of the colonists, and agrees to relocate them to a system of caves in the southern hemisphere of the planet. This hemisphere largely escaped the effects of the asteroid impact, and it is hopes that the colonists will be able to live here safely.

Analysis

Kind of a strange and silly premise, all in all. The episode acts like the Terra Nova colony is so distant that nobody could ever have followed up what happened there, but in truth this is pretty nonsensical. It only took the original ship nine years to get there after all, and that was seventy years ago. We know there are significant numbers of Human cargo ships buzzing around at low warp, so why not simply send a ship like that? It's just not plausible to have this big a mystery running for so long and nobody ever thought to follow it up until now.

With that ignored, the episode is just okay. I kind of like the colonists odd language; it's a nice balance between being different enough to reflect a divergent culture whilst being similar enough that you are never really struggling to understand what is being said. Beyond that... well the characters are okay, and the story is okay, and the acting is okay... and that's all. It's all just kind of underwhelming, really.


Copyright Graham Kennedy Page views : 12,926 Last updated : 16 Sep 2015