Overall Ep :
First Aired :
15 Apr 2005
27 Dec 2154
Season Ep :
Why are Archer's quarters on E deck? I would think he should be stationed as close as possible to the bridge so he could get there fast in an emergency. Even if we assume that the design of the ship makes it absolutely positively impossible to have quarters on B deck, surely he could be on D since most crew quarters are there?
Archer refers to Hoshi as his "protocol officer". Since when? She's always been described as his communications officer. I suspect he invented a new job and gave it to her so he could give her this task...
Phlox claims that the Orion women are having an effect on the females aboard Enterprise, causing headaches and listlessness. He claims this might be the pheromones acting as a defence mechanism against competition. But if this is a natural property of the Orion women, wouldn't the whole point of it be to eliminate competition for males from other Orion women? Which means that the Orion women should be affecting one another far more than they do any of the Human women, surely?
Great Moment :
As if to belie all my comments about the sexuality of the ep, I'm going with the Orion women's dance near the start. Effective and alien-looking, almost snakelike in the movements, it was definite fun to watch. And I gather from the production report that the ladies worked very hard on it, so kudos to them.
Also, I have to mention the Phlox/T'Pol/Archer/Reed scene at the end. Nice and lighthearted, joking from T'Pol, a bit of gentle ribbing from Archer, it's a fun scene that's highly reminiscent of TOS.
Body Count :
A few punches thrown. I bet Harrad-Sar got a hell of a telling off during that long trip home. Otherwise, none.
Magnesite is mentioned in TNG "Firstborn"; the possibly related Trimagnesite is mentioned in TOS "Operation : Annhilate" as one of the substances which can produce extremely bright light when mixed with other substances.
Humans have already met the Deltans at this point in history.
Some reference to the Gorn, who have had contact with the Orions.
This episode confirms that dilithium is used to regulate the matter/antimatter reaction, something often mentioned in official sources but which has never made it to the screen before.
Trip has returned to the NX-01 for good.
Starfleet is preparing to build the first set of Starbases, with the first located in the Berengaria system.
Berengaria VII is reputed to have 200+ metre long flying reptiles that breathe fire. Despite the T'pol's reservations, in TOS "This Side of Paradise" Spock says he saw dragons on Berengaria VII, so they are indeed there! Two hundred metres long... now that would be a hell of a thing to see...
Contrary to long-held appearances, it is the Orion women who are in fact the rulers of their society and the men who are the slaves. The whole idea of selling women into slavery is apparently a gigantic ruse designed to let the women infiltrate other ships and societies and take them over.
Most of Enterprise's crew quarters are on D deck; Archers are on E deck. Enterprise has seven decks in all. This actually confirms the production drawings and CGI model of the ship, with the proviso that Reed was including only the decks in the saucer section and not the four decks in the nacelles.
This episode is set just two days after Christmas day, 2154. As before when this happened, there's no mention of any kind of festivities on board Enterprise.
It's long been unclear what relationship there is between the Orion government and the Orion Syndicate - DS9 referred to the Syndicate as a criminal organisation, and none of the members we saw were Orions. This episode confirms that the Orion Syndicate is effectively the Orion Government, at least at this period in history.
Whilst in deep space, Enterprise is approached by an Orion ship Captained by the trader Harrad-Sar. After a brief but tense standoff, a wary Archer accepts an invitation to go aboard the Orion ship for some business talks. Harrad-Sar offers Archer the location of a planet with large Magnesite deposits in exchange for 10% of anything Starfleet gets out of mining operations there. Archer accepts, but is then forced to accept a gift to seal the bargain - three Orion slave women.
The presence of the extremely beautiful and extremely scantily dressed women causes considerable disruption to Enterprise's normal routine, with the men lusting over them and the women largely irritated at the effect on their shipmates. Tensions begin to come to a head as fighting breaks out amongst the crew, and Phlox realises that the Orions are emitting pheromones which are affecting the judgement of men and women alike. Only T'Pol and Trip seem unaffected, a result of the bond they share after mating.
As the crew battle the increasingly severe effects of the Orions Kelby incapacitates the ship. Harrad-Sar returns to attack Enterprise - the whole situation was a trap intended to capture Archer in revenge for his busting his crew out of Orion captivity in Borderland. Enterprise is quickly disabled and taken in tow, with Harrad-Sar confessing the amazing truth - in fact it is the Orion males who are the slaves, and the whole plan was concocted by the three Orion women.
As they arrive on the bridge to take control, Trip uses a phase pistol to incapacitate his fellow crewmembers and retake the ship. Harrad-Sar's vessel is quickly incapacitated and the women returned before Enterprise warps away.
I'm in two minds about this one. On the bonus side - it's an enjoyable enough adventure story. It has a few amusing moments with the men falling over themselves and the women looking on indignantly. The acting is generally very good - the women especially vamp it up to spectacular effect, and the men do a pretty good job in their reactions to them. Mayweather even got some lines! There's a big surprise ending with the revelation about the women being the ones in charge, which you don't really see coming. And we get Trip back, and some nice Trip/T'Pol stuff for the relationshippers out there.
The surprise twist is the one that had me thinking the most. My first reaction is that this is the kind of trampling over canon that B&B used to do, but when I thought about it for a while that's not actually true. (Keep faith in the Coto. The Coto is good, the Coto is wise...) Yes we have always seen Orion women treated as slaves, but that's exactly what they would do, whether it was real or a put on. The only real problem is that Starfleet now know of this, and are sure to spread the word around. How do the Orions keep running the same scam for the next hundred years at least, if people know about it?
I get emails at least a couple of times a week telling me that I'm such a trustworthy fellow that I have been chosen to move funds out of Iraq/Sudan/Indonesia/The People's Republic of Whereinthehell, and that I will make a lot of money out of this, blah blah blah. Can there be one single person in the world who doesn't know about this scam by now? Well, yes, because the scammers wouldn't keep doing it if they didn't get fish to bite.
The Trek galaxy is a big place. Even in the apparently small section of the Alpha/Beta Quadrant that most of Trek takes place in, there are a whole lot of species out there. Not all of them know about one another, not all of them talk to one another, not all of them are friendly with one another. It's doubtful that Starfleet could
tell everybody out there, or that the warnings would be universally believed if they could. It's perfectly possible that by TOS the older, wiser heads give an amused smile and click delete when they get emails (of the FUTURE!) advertising Orion slave women. The Orions simply focus their efforts on those too stupid or ignorant to know or care about the warnings.
The potential fly in that ointment is Pike, who would likely know about Orion women as a Starfleet captain and yet seemed pretty tempted by Vina in "The Cage". But then, Vina wasn't real and Pike knew that. And in any case, Pike did
turn her down. He just struggled with doing so, which is explained by the pheromone effect messing with his head. More seriously, toward the beginning of that episode Pike contemplates working for the Orions, dealing in slave women - how can he want to do this if he knows it would mean becoming one of their slaves? Then again, would they really enslave somebody who could be a valuable resource if he was willing to work alongside them freely? It's a debatable point, but not a show-killing issue in my mind.
So, I don't have an issue with the Orion women. Really, my biggest complaint about this ep was that it was, when you get down to it, pretty shallow stuff. I hate it when you can watch an episode and envision in your head almost the exact things that must have been said in the production meeting that planned it out.
"Hey, let's do 'Mudd's Women', nobody's really re-made that one yet."
"Oh come on, can we really sell women being so beautiful that guys will do anything for them because they show some skin? These people are meant to be professionals - Pamela Anderson may be the sexiest woman alive, but there's no way she could walk into a missile silo, wave her cleavage around and get them to turn the keys!"
"Hmm, you're right. You could get away with that stuff back in the sixties, but these days... well, let's invent some chemical thingie the women give off that affects the men then. Super-pheromones or something..."
That's the weakness of the episode; they took an unrealistic situation, and tried to make us swallow it with technobabble (chemobabble?) - which is not good writing. And once you don't swallow the babble, the whole premise starts looking silly. I'd rather have seen some commentary on slavery - just how far does accepting the customs of other species go, when they are practicing things that your society finds utterly repellent? What would Archer have done if freeing his slaves had been construed by them
as the worst of all possible insults - "you mean I'm not worth owning!?" How do you give freedom to people who don't want it? And can you in all conscience just free a person who has been a slave all her life, and likely has absolutely no skills whatsoever besides those required to keep her owner happy? So many issues they could have explored instead of going down the route they did. Just contrast this episode with TNG "The Perfect Mate", which shared a similar premise but gave it very much more depth and emotional resonance.
So a reasonable episode, but with flaws that make it hard to swallow.