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Fight or Flight

Review

Series : Enterprise Rating : 2
Disc No : 1.1 Episode : 3
First Aired : 3 Oct 2001 Stardate : 6-May-51
Director : Allan Kroeker Year : 2151
Writers : Brannon Braga, Rick Berman Season : 1
Guest Cast :
Efrain Figueroa as Translator Voice Jeff Rickets as Alien Captain
Moral :
Scary : It's a scary universe out there but with a little determination you can win through in the end
YATI : The aliens modus operandi seems a little strange in this episode. If they wanted to collect triglobulin from the bodies, why leave them behind on the ship at all? Surely it would make more sense to take them with you, precisely to avoid having somebody stumble across them and interfere, as Archer does in this episode. Also, when Archer asks Hoshi if she transmitted his message on a rotated frequency, she says she will "try it again". But she only waits a grand total of four seconds before reporting no response. Archer's message was much longer than that, so Hoshi apparently gave up after the first couple of sentances.
Great Moment : Enterprise hitting it's first target.
Body Count : Fifteen on the Axanar ship, plus an unknown number on the "space vampire" ship.
Factoid : The Axanar species seen here have been mentioned before - in TOS, Captain Garth won a great victory at Axanar.
Quote : "Crewmen Bennett and Hayden over there, do you see them? If I'm not mistaken, they are preparing to mate. Do you think they might let me watch?" - Phlox to Tucker.

"Come on, Travis. We've gotta find Mr. Reed something to blow up." - Archer to Mayweather.

"I'm a translator. I didn't come out here to see corpses hanging on hooks!" - Hoshi to Phlox.


Plotline

After their adventure with the Klingons, Enterprise is settled in on their intended mission - exploration. Unfortunately, so far they have not discovered a great deal of interest - their biggest find is a large slug which Hoshi has dubbed "Sluggo". Archer is frustrated that it is taking so long to find an M Class planet, though T'Pol points out that only one in every 43,000 worlds is of such a class.

Reed, meanwhile, is struggling to get the ship's spatial torpedo systems fully functional. Archer agrees to drop out of warp for a little target practice, but it does not go well - the torpedo bounces off the asteroid they are aiming at and careens back towards Enterprise, causing more frustration. Indeed the only person who seems to be having a good time in Phlox, who is fascinated by the behaviour of the crew.

Eventually, they chance upon an alien spacecraft sitting in space. There are biosigns aboard, but attempts to contact the ship fail. T'Pol suggests ignoring it, reasoning that the aliens must not want contact, but Archer insists on stopping to investigate. He leads a boarding party to the ship, including Hoshi even though she complains that the environmental suits make her feel claustrophobic. Once aboard, they make a horrific discovery - the crew are all dead, hung up on hooks and connected to some sort of device that seems to be draining fluid from them. T'Pol suggests abandoning the ship, reasoning that the crew are beyond any help. Archer reluctantly agrees and continues on course.

Hoshi feels guilty about her performance on the ship, pointing out to Phlox that she "screamed like a twelve-year-old" on seeing the alien bodies, something nobody else did. Phlox wonders if perhaps she would be better off going back to Earth, though Hoshi is reluctant to do something so drastic.

Archer is also having second thoughts, wondering if leaving the alien bodies in the ship was the right thing to do. He feels like they turned tail and ran when the right thing to do was stay and get involved. Although T'Pol argues that doing so would be against the code of behaviour the Vulcans have, Archer points out that Humans also have a code of behaviour - one he broke. He orders Enterprise back to the alien ship.

They return tot he alien ship and check it over more carefully. Hoshi is able to work out a way to send a distress call in the alien language whilst Phlox investigates what is being done to the alien bodies. He finds that whoever conducted the massacre was apparently trying to collect a substance called triglobulin from them.

As they investigate, a powerful alien vessel arrives and attacks. It disables the Enterprise's engines, brushing aside their attempts to stop it. T'Pol scans it and finds that the power signature matches the devices draining the bodies on the ship they have been investigating. It seems the perpetrators of the massacre have returned. As the ship approaches, another vessel drops out of warp - this one matching the technology of the first ship they encountered. The newcomer communicates with Enterprise but seems to be angry - Hoshi thinks that the Captain is blaming them for the attack on his comrades, rather than the real culprit. Hoshi tries to talk to him but her translation program won't work, and the attempt only leads to more anger and confusion. Her confidence is shaken but Archer insists that she disregard the computer translations and try to talk directly to the alien Captain. She does, overcoming her doubt and convincing him to scan the alien ship and compare the power signature of the alien equipment to the attacking vessel - proof that it rather than Enterprise is the aggressor.

Both the alien ship and Enterprise attack the "Space Vampire" ship, and their combined attack destroys it. The ship remains in the area for while, making a friendly First Contact with the aliens - a species called the Axanar. Afterwards they continue on course, making a small detour to find a suitable planet to drop Sluggo off in a new home.

Analysis

Well it's not terrible, but it is kinda silly. For one, the whole "Hoshi is scared of everything" plot really is a bit weird. I get that they wanted to show these people growing into their roles and all - since nobody has done stuff like this before, they wanted to show that they started out lacking confidence, unsure of what to do or how best to do it. Fair enough. But it really doesn't endear the characters to the audience when you make them this collection of wusses and crybabies!

These are meant to be the brave and bold pioneer days of Humanity. Surely it would have been better to depict them as being overly brash and confident, as being the kind of people who go out determined to kick over all the anthills and stick their noses in where they shouldn't - only to learn over time that a bit of discretion now and again is the way to go.

The Space Vampires are also kind of silly. Their MO is absurd - they disable a ship and attack it, fair enough. They kill the crew, fair enough. But why leave them aboard their own ship and just go away? The Vampire ship is pretty big, surely it has more than enough space to hang the bodies up somwhere and do your thing to them. Then you can just continue on your way to look for your next victims, no need to tie yourself down to coming back to the scene of the crime, so to speak. It's a stupid way to do things, and it's only like that so that they can spin out the story they want with Enterprise being blamed in a showdown finale.


Copyright Graham Kennedy Page views : 4,090 Last updated : 12 Apr 2013