7/18/11

Star Trek: Asterisk "Detained"

Vital Information
Series: Enterprise
Episode: S01E21
Air Date: April 24, 2002
Written by: Mike Sussman & Phyllis Strong
Directed by: David Livingston

Premise
Al returns with Ziggy to give Sam some news he finds hard to swallow! Travis and Archer, having accidentally entered a militarized zone, find themselves imprisoned with several Suliban who eventually become friends.

Review
When Travis wakes up in a jail cell, he has no idea where he is or where he got there. Because, apparently, standard practice for the Tandarans when attacking a trespassing shuttlepod is to knock out the pilot and passengers before bringing them in for questioning. A quick search, however, leads him to discover that they are in the middle of some sort of colony of Suliban. They look around some more, but it doesn't take long to figure out that they're in a kind of prison. Eventually a guard finds them and instructs them to follow him. And then guess who they find...
"Sorry I was away so long, Sam; Ziggy just upgraded to Vista and all hell broke loose."
Incidentally, wouldn't it be hilarious if Sam, a completely different person from Archer, leaped into Travis' body right now? Oh, the confusion that would ensue. (If you're unfamiliar with Quantum Leap, I'm sorry, but you're probably not going to get the jokes in half of this review.)

Anyway, Al Colonel Grat explains the pickle they've found themselves in. This is where they find out they had inadvertently entered a militarized zone in which the Tandarans are at war with the Suliban. And so the Tandarans shot first and this is where they ask the questions. Grat says it's all been a precautionary mistake and they'll have Archer and Travis out of there as soon as the next transport arrives.

In the meantime, Archer and Travis have some getting-to-know-you time with their Suliban inmates. Apparently, and I know this is a shocker, but not all Suliban are Cabal members. A Suliban named Danik makes sure Archer is well aware of their plight in this detainment camp.

Can you see where this is going?
"Ziggy says you're supposed to join forces with Danik and  free the innocent Suliban captives"
Well, at one point Grat looks up some information on Captain Archer and his journeys. He learns that he saved a Klingon that the Suliban were after; that he probably has a lot of knowledge of the Temporal Cold War. He tries to force Archer to talk about it, but Archer doesn't respond too well to force. Especially after learning that innocent lives have been mistreated at the hands of Colonel Grat.

Well, then the Enterprise calls up Grat to see what's up with Archer and they pretty much get the run-around. They are disallowed from communicating with Archer for some reason so all they can do is sit there and wait...

We already know where this is going, so I won't bore you with the details. Basically, Archer and Grat fight more heavily, Archer and Danik grow closer and formulate a plan, and Travis disappears to go catch butterflies or something. Eventually, the Enterprise finds them, transports down a communicator and then becomes a part of the escape plan.

Really, the best part of this half of the episode is Reed in Suliban form...
I'm infiltratin' your camp, disguisin' as an enemy.
Reed actually volunteers to use the transporter on himself and successfully transports into the camp along with some weapons. So now the plan can get into full effect. Trip flies down in a shuttlepod, sets off some explosions and hyjinks ensue. Grat's not happy, Archer gets out, everyone is saved and then Archer has to bring the mood down by wondering if the freed Suliban will join the Cabal. Can't you just enjoy the moment, Archer?!

Overall Thoughts
This is easily the most predictable episode ever. It's a story we've seen over and over and over. It does, however, teach us something pretty valuable about the Suliban: they're not all bad guys. Star Trek used to be pretty bad with framing every Klingon or every Romulan as an enemy. I think this is the first time when the "bad guy" race has gotten some equal treatment. Anyway, as long as you're clear on that, you don't really need to watch this episode. Go watch "Cold Front" again instead.