8/14/11

Star Trek: Asterisk "Marauders"

Vital Information
Series: Enterprise
Episode: S02E06
Air Date: October 30, 2002
Written by: David Wilcox
Directed by: Mike Vejar

Premise
The Enterprise comes upon a mining town that's controlled by Klingon marauders and promptly ignores all the Prime Directive lessons they learned in season one.

Review
We've seen it a  million times before. There's a mining/farming colony producing impressive amounts of whatever they're producing and a hostile force is muscling in on their operation and forcing them to hand it over or else suffer the loss of lives. The heroes come along and teach the colony how to fight and the marauders leave. Sorry if I spoiled it for you, but if you weren't spoiled by the very premise, you haven't seen enough TV yet.

Deuterium is the main element used in the matter-antimatter reaction that powers a starship's warp core. Basically, it's fuel. And it's what the colonists on this desert planet are mining. So, the Enterprise is making a gas stop. They offer to make a trade, but the leader of the colony is hesitant. It's clear from the beginning that there's something going on. Which means it's clear from the beginning that the Enterprise will have to end up having to save them from marauders. After Trip agrees to fix some of their pumps and stuff, they agree to a small amount of deuterium. And then, in the middle of completing the deal and trying to deduce the reason for the colonists's paranoia, the episode's saving grace arrives.
Creepy Uncle Korok
This doesn't appear to be the first and it most definitely will not be the last time that a group of Klingons have forced themselves onto a colony of innocent gatherers. It is, however, the first time that Archer has had anything to do about it. And what does he do? Orders the Enterprise to hide from the Klingon ship and takes himself and his own away team to hide behind some mining equipment.

While Creepy Uncle Korok talks to the colony leader, Archer and Trip try to listen in, but Trip says he can't make out a word. Fortunately, T'Pol, who has standard Vulcan hearing abilities, is able to tell Archer that Korok intends to take all the deuterium he wants without paying. When the leader explains that they need more time, Korok gets violent and demands that he gets his deuterium by the time he returns in four days. Then he and his crew use the most unfair advantage the Klingons have over Starfleet in this age.
Transporters
Well, Archer has discovered that Klingons are threatening this colony, so what does he do about it? Packs up and leaves.

And then feels bad about it. There is a bit of discussion about Prime Directive concerns, but T'Pol says while it would be acceptable to help in this case, it would only make matters worse when the Klingons return after the Enterprise has left. So Archer comes up with a brilliant plan. He breaks out the ancient human quote: "Give a man a fish and he eats for a day; teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime." When Archer returns to the colony, he and the rest of the crew teach them how to defend themselves. Hoshi and Reed teach them how to fire phasers, and T'Pol teaches them some Vulcan ninja moves to help them avoid bladed weapons. After that, Reed, Trip and Archer make a genius plan to lure the Klingons into a trap.
Let's get down to business!
Well, needless to say, the Klingons return and the plan works. It all ends up with the Klingons being surrounded by a blazing ring of deuterium-fueled fire. Now, let's go over what actually happened... the plan was to move the entire camp over just a few meters so that everything looks the same, but exposes some planted pipes. The Klingons, suspecting nothing to be amiss, stand over the pipes not expecting them to be there, and the pipes are then set on fire. Let me just blow a tiny little hole in that plan. Transporters use global coordinates when they set things down on a planet surface which don't change no mater where you set a particular camp. When the Klingons used the same coordinates as they had before and found that they were several meters off, a smart Klingon would have thought something was amiss right away. Let us not, however, accuse Creepy Uncle Korok of being particularly smart.

The Klingons are scared off never to return, and in return for their help, the colonists give Enterprise a whole lot of extra deuterium. And they all lived happily ever after and learned a valuable lesson about fishing.

Overall Thoughts
As I said, this is the kind of episode we've seen millions of times before. There's nothing that's really new here, except maybe a bit of an insight into Vulcan martial arts and an actually pretty brilliant (if not slightly flawed) bit of strategic planning. The only real reason to watch this episode is because Klingons are awesome.