7/1/11

Star Trek: Asterisk "Sleeping Dogs"

Vital Information
Series: Enterprise
Episode: S01E14
Air Date: January 30, 2002
Written by: Fred Dekker
Directed by: Les Landau

Premise
Enterprise finds a disabled ship sinking into a huge gas giant planet, boards it to save the inhabitants and takes in a huge whiff of Klingon stank.

Review
I'll get this out of the way first thing: I unintentionally skipped over the episode "Dear Doctor." I will definitely have to revisit that next week because I <3 Phlox and I'm pretty much just assuming it's about him.

As for this episode, though, I was kind of hooked off the bat. I have a bit of a thing for space stories that imitate deep-sea stories. And one of the first things we hear in this episode is whale song. Well... something very similar to whale song.

Hoshi is practicing using a phase pistol with Reed, but is cut short when Enterprise drops out of warp to investigate a class-9 gas giant planet. Why? I don't know. Archer's just that kinda guy. I mean, he got excited about a big ball of snow and ice earlier. This gas giant, which seemingly has all the potential for excitement of Jupiter, catches Archer's eye. And it turns out, someone was lucky it did.

Dropping a probe into the outer layers of the planet, they pick up some strange noises. When Hoshi turns on the com, one suddenly gets nostalgic for The Journey Home.
There be whales here!
What they hear on the probe, Travis Mayweather describes as "siren sound," which is wind and gaseous radiation blowing past the probe, but it sounds just like whale song. Except for some reason it used to scare Mayweather when he was a kid. Aside from the sirens, the probe also picks up a ship with some weak bio-signs on it. Obviously, we must investigate.

And now it really turns into a undersea story. The ship is slowly sinking into the gravitational pull of the gas giant. In approximately one hour the ship will have fallen deep enough to be crushed by the pressure of the gasses and gravitational pull around it. The crew has to board the ship and save the hostile crew before it sinks to the bottom of the ocean planet.
Sean Connery considers putting ridges on his forehead
Here's the catch: the ship is a Klingon ship. Obviously hostile to the Enterprise ever since they disgraced one of their warriors by saving his life. After Sato, Reed and T'Pol discover this, one of the beautiful female Klingon warriors runs out of the galley and attacks them before taking their shuttlepod and escaping! Luckily, this particular warrior wasn't trained very well in the art of escape. Out of the entire spectrum of directions she could have gone, she decides to go straight past the Enterprise who has her grappling hooks at the ready.
Can we talk for a minute...
About these grappling hooks? I dunno. I just really like them. Sure, tractor beams are fun, but there's just something so awesome and visceral about seeing a couple of hooks on wire shoot out of the ship, grab onto something and potentially damage it while physically pulling back on it. I really have nothing more to say about it - I just think it's awesome.
YOINK!
When Archer gets the Klingon back onto the ship, they finally figure out what went on with the ship. Everyone got sick off of the ale that they plundered from a recent battle. Unfortunately, the battle damaged them just enough so that when they got stuck in the gravitational field of the gas giant, they couldn't get out. She's sick too, but Phlox deduced she hid somewhere cold which slowed down the effects of the disease. Unfortunately, she's the only one who can help them save the away team now. And Archer made the mistake of being kind to her. A Klingon laughs at kindness.

So, then Archer decides to do the diplomatic thing and learn a little more about the Klingons so that he can get what he wants out of them. He researches the Vulcan database, learns a few Klingon words, discovers their tendency to view everyone as a potential enemy, yadda yadda yadda... basically he learns everything that we, the viewer, already know: Klingons are technologically advanced savages.

When he learns all this, he goes back to the Klingon female armed with a better tactic. He pulls a Picard maneuver (not that one) and goes all diplomatic on her, using the threat of a dishonorable death as leverage. After that, the Klingon is willing to help. They both go in a modified shuttlepod back onto the Klingon vessel and she helps them pull the whole vessel out of the planet's pull. Phlox even gives them a cure to their disease.

The captain of the Klingon ship is so grateful for everything the Enterprise has done that as soon as he's up and feeling better, he hails the Starfleet vessel and demands they surrender their ship. Archer rolls his eyes basically flips them the bird by telling them they would never win a battle, so just stand down even though death in battle would be the ultimate honor.

And then the decon chamber. Aaaahhhh the decon chamber. Where half-naked crew members get all oiled up and release all of their inhibitions potential contaminants. T'Pol, Sato and Reed spend a while in there, admitting that it's pleasant and spa-like. How glorious.

I approve!
Overall Thoughts
I liked it! I liked it ever since the siren song and it didn't let me down. There was some real peril and we got to know people a little better, including the Klingons. I mean, any episode with a Klingon in it has got to be pretty good. And this was no exception.

It's beginning to look like there are some real bright spots to what has been called the worst series in Star Trek. Who knew?