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Fortunate Son

Review

Series : Enterprise Rating : 1
Disc No : 1.3 Episode : 10
First Aired : 21 Nov 2001 Stardate : Unknown
Director : LeVar Burton Year : 2151
Writers : James Duff Season : 1
Guest Cast :
Charles Lucia as Captain Keene
D. Elliot Woods as Nausicaan Prisoner
Daniel Asa Henson as Boy
Danny Goldring as Nausicaan Captain
Elyssa D. Vito as Girl
Kieran Mulroney as Shaw
Lawrence Monoson as Matthew Ryan
Vaughn Armstrong as Admiral Forrest
Moral :
Grudge : Bearing a grudge can lead you to act stupidly
YATI : Trip claims that a warp 3 engine would cut a five year trip for the warp 1.8 capable freighter down to six months. Warp 1.8 is 5.832 x c, warp 3 is 27 x c - 4.63 times faster. So the five year trip would only be cut down to thirteen months.

This is the third speed glitch Enterprise has managed in only ten episodes. I know they work to time and money constraints on this show, but would it really have been so terrible to have said "a year" instead of "six months"? Does nobody on this show have the ability to use a calculator?

Great Moment : We normally only do worst moments for episodes that get a zero rating. This wasn't quite that bad, but we felt that the scene in which the freighter escapes from Enterprise deserves special mention. Earth's finest, fastest and most powerful ship, defeated by a freighter? Why not fire grapnels at it? Why not use the plasma cannon instead of the much slower torpedoes? Why not just chase it after you collect Archer and co. from the container - Enterprise is over twenty times faster than the freighter, even if it took an hour to collect Archer they could then catch the freighter in under three minutes!
Body Count : The freighter captain is wounded, a Naussican is beaten up, but nobody is killed.
Factoid : Lawrence Monoson, who plays Ryan in this episode, also played Hovath in the DS9 episode "The Storyteller".

Plotline

Enterprise gets a call from Admiral Forrest, directing them to go and assist a freighter which has sent out a distress call. On arrival they find a typical freighter crew - Boomer families who are fiercely protective of their independence, despite the fact that newer and faster ships are beginning to make their whole way of life obsolete. Regular victims of Naussican pirates, the freighter's acting captain is determined to track their attackers down and deal out vengeance.

Analysis

There's some truly odd thinking going on by Archer in this episode. The Boomers are subjected to frequent attacks by these raiders, yet Archer seems genuinely shocked that they might want to fight back. He asks "What gives you the right to take prisoners?" as if it's totally beyond the pale. Well... doesn't the fact that they were shooting at the freighter give them the right to take prisoners? Later he is disquieted by the idea that the Boomers might track the Nausicaans back home and destroy a ship or two. "That doesn't sit right with me," he says. Really? Why not? It seems perfectly reasonable to me.

Archer is talking as if this is vigilante action on the Boomers part. But vigilantism is considered wrong because it shortcuts the justice system - we look down on those who take the law into their own hands because we have police and courts and jails to deal with criminals. Archer is condemning the Boomers, but what is their alternative? Starfleet doesn't send ships out to protect them, doesn't do anything to hunt down or stop the Nausicaans, apparently doesn't ask for help from the Vulcans in protecting them. Archer seems to think the Boomers are wrong to be making any fuss about what is being done to them.

Rather tellingly, towards the end of the episode Ryan asks "What about next time when another freighter gets jumped in the middle of nowhere, what then?" Archer simply ignores the question, because the implication of everything he's said so far is that the freighter crews are honestly expected to just sit there and die without making a fuss about it.

Contrast this episode with "Silent Enemy", when it is Archer who faced an enemy that was stronger and more powerful than his own ship. He couldn't wait to arm himself with the most powerful weapons he could and start shooting back. How would he have felt if the Vulcans had shown up and lectured him about not using violence?

This one is Enterprise's first attempt to give Mayweather some sort of role in the show, and it doesn't go well. It's interesting to look back at this from the perspective we get after Enterprise finished, knowing that Mayweather would become "Super extra", aka The Man With No Lines. Pretty much his only characteristic is that he's a former Boomer, and here they play on that by having him fill two basic roles; first, he argues the Boomer case with Archer. Second, he argues Archer's case to the Boomers. Neither one comes off well. His speaking up for the Boomers consists of a comment or two about how they like to solve their own problems, but he never makes any kind of coherent argument. There's a glaring disconnect between the situation and Archer's response, as I explain above, but Mayweather doesn't explore it in the slightest. And his speech to Ryan consists of "you might piss the Nausicaans off and they might attack my family." Um, they might do that anyway! They're ALREADY attacking Boomers, and the only answer anybody is offering them is that they should cower before the raiders in the hopes that they won't hurt them too badly!

Having thus "explored" Mayweather's Boomer past, they'd pretty much drop the character from here on out.


Copyright Graham Kennedy Page views : 14,272 Last updated : 16 Sep 2015