6/12/11

Star Trek: Asterisk "Terra Nova"

Vital Information
Series: Enterprise
Episode: S01E06
Air Date: October 24, 2001
Written by: Antoinette Stella
Directed by: LeVar Burton (Geordi!? :D)

Premise
The Enterprise investigates what was apparently one of the greatest exploratory mysteries of their time, on par with Amelia Earhart; the lost colony of Terra Nova, the first extra-solar human colony.

Review
Travis Mayweather, the token black guy, is no stranger to space. We've learned in past episodes that he lived on a cargo ship with his father for years prior to his service in Starfleet. As the officer who is most familiar with and excited about the story of the Terra Nova colony, and as the one who had solidified himself as the ghost story teller in "Strange New World," how much more perfect a central character can you get for this episode? So, in proper Star Trek: Enterprise form, as soon as he finishes telling the crew what he knows about Terra Nova, he fades into the background. I'm not saying it has anything to do with race, but, I mean, c'mon... this episode was directed by LeVar Burton! Help a brotha' out, Geordi!

So the colonists had basically just disappeared decades ago and no one knew why. Enterprise's mission: find out why. At least Archer lets Mayweather join the away team. That was rather sporting of him. When they get down to the abandoned colony, they take a look around, do a little investigating and find... nothing helpful. Apparently, these guys make terrible detectives. No worries, though; soon what they're looking for finds them.

Seriously, guys, what is it? Do you love my accent?
The people who are made out to be natives of the planet are clearly human descendants, but they don't know it. They capture the "humans." For... whatever reason... that's not very clear. Maybe they just like the look of Reed? Whatever it is, Reed seems to be badly injured. Maybe a bit of torture is in order? No? They're just keeping one of their mortal enemies, a human, around for the fun of it, then?

I guess I should explain that they think "humans" are their enemies. Clearly they are human, but they don't think they are. They think they're Novans and Humans are the enemy. The Enterprise crew finds out later that an asteroid fell from the sky and irradiated everything on the planet surface, driving the Novans into caves. Everyone who was an adult died off, but the children were able to handle it. Yes, they were able to stave off radiation poisoning because they weren't fully developed yet. And then they were able to survive without their parents. And without their advanced technology. And without knowing which food in the caves were edible. And while making colored mud on your face high fashion?
Dan-iel! Have you seen Sha're!?
So anyway, one thing leads to another and they meet Kasuf Chandra Suresh Jamin who seems to be the voice of reason in the tribe.
Can we talk for a minute...
About that one guy in the tribe who has a violent distrust for the heroes of the story? You know the one. He loudly protests every reasonable course of action that is ever suggested just because "they're outsiders!" "we don't know them!" "they could probably harm us with their phase pistols!" "their ancestors wanted to kill of our ancestors, probably!" This one guy seems to be in every tribe, in every community, in every sci-fi series ever made, and he annoys the crap out of me every time. I wouldn't mind if the crew just offed him immediately.
Well, Jamin exchanges words with That Guy and makes himself off to be the reasonable one. Until they have to take his mother up to the Enterprise to cure her lung cancer. Then he was all mistrusting and everything. Because the people who can cure cancer are also the ones who are trying to kill everyone on the planet.

Long story short, they learn what happened to the colony on Terra Nova, they moved the Novans to a part of the planet that wasn't irradiated, Mayweather had to stay back on the ship because he was too interested, and everyone learned a valuable lesson about trust.

Mayweather spoke up at the end, though, during dinner where he expressed how excited he was to be a part of the crew that solved the mystery of Terra Nova. Too bad he didn't get to do much, though. Maybe next time, young pilot.

Overall Thoughts
This episode just wasn't very good. I mean, there were parts where I was entertained, there was a mystery to solve, and that kind of carried me through the episode, but it just wasn't that interesting, the themes were tired and not a lot of it made sense. This episode you should watch only if you have to.