Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Enterprise, Season 2: Future Tense

Enterprise, Season 2
"Future Tense"
Airdate: February 19, 2003
41 of 97 produced
41 of 97 aired


When the Enterprise comes across a ship from the future, it becomes the target of multiple factions in the Temporal Cold War who desire to repossess it.

 Pictured: Old-line Star Trek fans waiting for the thing they once loved to return to form.




Kevin: So there is a lot to recommend this episode. I think that unlike other episodes dealing with the Temporal Cold War, this episode kept a better focus. There was the mystery of the ship and the chase and that was it. I'll get my macro complaint out of the way up top. Beyond introducing the Tholians to Enterprise, this episode still doesn't give us much information about the actual stakes or scope of that conflict. And again, Tholian Web makes pretty clear that the Tholians are not known to Kirk's Enterprise, so another introduction that we'll forget is not my favorite thing in the world. That said, this was at least fun.

Matthew: Yeah, I will stipulate to being annoyed by the presence of the Tholians. While not as egregious as the Gorn in SNW, it's just yet another reminder of why prequels are dumb. Anyway, with respect to the rest o the episode, the non-chase aspects of it reminded me most of "Time Squared," which I liked better than you did, but which I always enjoy. So it's not a bad place to be for an episode, in my book (Title: Kurtzman Gargles Donkey Nuts: A Star Trek Story).

Kevin: I think the first half of the episode is extremely successful, almost surprisingly so. The mystery of the ship is fun and each answer leads to more questions, and the crew handled the reveals competently and in character. Everyone's "what the fuck?" face fell right into the center of being professional about being utterly confused. The reference to Zefram Cochrane was nicely handled, and the time skips really started to feel creepy, so well done all around.

Matthew: These were definitely the highlights for me. Do I wish more time would be given to how someone can perceive a repetition? Yup. But the repetitions themselves are fun, both with the ship and with the torpedo. One aspect I could have done without was the dialogue between Archer and T'Pol about interspecies mating - I think they were still trying to build the notion of an Archer/T'Pol thing, which they mercifully abandoned.

Kevin: Once we're up to the chase to and the fight at the Vulcan ship, I think the episode does lose a little steam. It's a chase, and a good one, but we've done Enterprise racing to a Vulcan ship for aid a few times now, and even if it's well done, it's not exactly scintillating. That said, the chase and fight are paced well. It's repetition, not execution, that is the issue here.

Matthew: The chase stuff was well integrated into the time stuff, so it wasn't so bad. But I agree the actiony pew-pew stuff detracted from what was really doing it for me, i.e. the time stuff.


Kevin: Like I said, I think the crew did a great job of feeling overwhelmed by the mystery in a way that felt enjoyable to watch and identify with. Each reveal was well handled, and the crew built the tension well. I particularly liked T'Pol's line reading that the Vulcans would be more likely to believe in time travel than in humans and Vulcans having a child together. It's classic bone dry Vulcan humor.

Matthew: I think the performances I enjoyed most were those of Dominic Keating and Connor Trinneer.  They bust each other's chops really well, but they also play off of each other really nicely and have great chemistry,

Production Values

Kevin: The effects work here were pretty good to great all around. The reveal of the 'bigger on the inside' ship was well done and the corpse hit the fairway on being upsetting without feeling gratuitously gross. The interior tunnel was clearly CGI'ed, but overall the effect work and the actors acted well in relation to that environment. The CGI also benefits the Tholian ships since the slightly too shiny design feels conscious and effective. I liked that the battle was also solidly staged and paced rapidly without mutating into Star Wars.

Matthew:  I think all of the physical props were really nice. The torpedoes, the information system, the ship and its interior, all of it worked well for the story and looked rich. I agree as well on the space shots - they didn't do a full on Tholian Web of course, but the ships all looked good. There were some creative angles on the Enterprise as well. The CG is improving overall, I think.


Kevin: So this episode certainly clear a bar of being entertaining in and for itself in a way that I have critiqued several episodes for not being. That is an unalloyed good. The mystery of not-trademark-infringing-we-promise TARDIS was nicely done and even if I don't think the later chase and battle do anything to revelatory, they were brisk and entertaining for themselves. But, the fact remains I think they wasted another opportunity to give some dimension to the Temporal Cold War. So that keeps this at a 3. It's an enthusiastic 3 from me, for what that's worth.

Matthew: Yeah, this was pretty much an action show buffered by some provocative but ultimately under-developed sci-fi.  As such, I don't think it can rise above a 3, for a total of 6. Some deeper insights into one or more characters, or more world building with respect to the Temporal Cold War, could have elevated this further.

1 comment:

  1. I think this is the only Temporal Cold War episode I never skip on rewatch. If you just remove the sense that it's supposed to be something more than a single episode of romp, the sour notes largely disappear.