Monday, November 7, 2022

Enterprise, Season 3: Rajiin

 Enterprise, Season 3
Airdate: October 1, 2003
55 of 97 produced
55 of 97 aired


Archer liberates a sexual slave from a trading outpost who turns out to be more than she initially seemed.

"Here I go again, on my own... going down the only road I've ever known!"


Kevin: This story had some potential but I think it falls short. This is a straight forward honey pot situation, and the first problem is that it's painful to watch the crew not even consider how convenient it is that this very attractive woman conveniently hitched a ride after they loudly walked around asking about the Xindi. Once on the ship, she gets right down to business and my main objection here is how quickly it gets to a 10. She doesn't even really try a soft touch, and just goes right in for whatever that magic trick was. The problem from a narrative standpoint is that it robs it of tension. If they had built on little stuff like the surprisingly charming scene with an enchanted Hoshi where everyone could have a noticeable, but still believable crush on this charming woman, it could leave it a question a little longer if she actually has an ulterior motive. Like if she was just going to shove her hand in their spines, why even bother using the honeypot element? Literally anyone can shove a hand in your spine. From an HR standpoint, HOLY SHIT WE GET ANOTHER SCENE OF T'POL BEING SEXUALLY ASSAULTED. Jolene Blalock does a pretty good job of nailing the 'no' in that scene, as she has before, and I am tired of hearing it. And this is the fourth episode in a row involving some kind of running firefight, and it's starting to get boring.

Matthew: Yeah, the idea of a super sexy alien being that the crew can't resist is a well-worn trope, and when done well it can work. But they skipped the foreplay here.The story would have been stronger if there had been a greater mystery as to her malign intent. I kind of wish we had just gotten the story about sexual slavery and human trafficking that was implied by the setup. Who the hell is this sleazy alien that sells women? Where does he kidnap them? Does every culture in this region just blithely accept this? Was he in on the spy hooker plot, or was it an incredible coincidence that they just happened to cross her path?

Kevin: While I will agree that it can still pan out to something interesting, I think the Xindi plot is starting to fray. I appreciate the dissension in the council creates some texture, but they all have to talk about everything so obliquely that it is starting to get repetitive. Also, the plot is getting too complicated by half. Humans seems much like most of the other species the Xindi have met. How bespoke does this 'bioweapon' really need to be? Just scatter a bunch of polonium or something in the atmosphere. Even the first plot is probably a little overwrought when you think about it. They can already appear in orbit undetected. Why not just do that with a ton of conventional weapons? I'm being pickier here than I have been in the past on this because it's all we've gotten for four episodes, so the seams are starting to show, and it's all there is to show. I'm gonna need some insight into their motivations and reasons beyond oblique mutual threats pretty soon.

Matthew: To be fair, spreading polonium would only render the planet uninhabitable for 200 days or so (it has a half life of 138 days) and the effects would not reach any humans who were shielded by earth, water, or even particularly strong walls. So I can see the interest in having a dispute over which kind of attack would be more effective - one based on physical destruction or one based on a pathogen. At the end of the day, their motivation and methodology are pretty threadbare. I think the overall plot would have benefited from giving us a more in depth explanation of the Xindi's thinking and motives. I realize this would spill the beans on Future Guy or whatever, but as it stands they just seem like they're overreacting to something in a very inefficient way - especially by telegraphing their intent to destroy the Earth by destroying a small patch of it.

Kevin: One thing I did like was the haggling with the chemist. There was something charming in watching him geek out over what to him are exotic spices. It was a cute scene. 

Matthew: Yeah, frankly I think that could have been an entire act, like they couldn't find something to barter with, and then maybe he noticed an odor on someone's breath. Then they could try to solve the mystery of what Trip ate that day. Speaking of subplots, I like the Trellium-D subplot. It has a defined problem and a solution that requires our crew to be clever. Also it looked like they were cooking meth.


Kevin: Whatever my problems with the writing, I have to say that Nikita Ager was pretty good. There was enough going on behind the eyes that made the performance better than the script. I think it in a perverse way, it underscores my problems with the story rather than ameliorates them. She had chemistry with just about everyone, and pitching the maneuvering a little more gently in the writing could have been a really well executed story. The rest of the cast was good. They all did their jobs well, but again, in service of a subpar story, so it's hard to find much to write about.

Matthew: I was pleased by the better modulation of Angry Archer into Righteous Archer. It reminded me of the idealism of the prior two seasons, and I like that. I think idealistic people entering this realm is more interesting than angry people entering it. Anyway, yes, Ager was good. I was expecting her to be just a boob job and a perm, but she had inner life.

Production Values

Kevin: This is a tiny thing, but in the constellation of my other problems in the episode, it just piles on. Where did she get three changes of outfits from? She literally ran away with the clothes on her back, and we have like three or four shimmery cut-out looks. And why was her jumpsuit in the Xindi council scene spangled? Any one of the outfits looked fine, but still...why? The overhead shot of the floating city was nice, but the interiors were bog standard 'alien bazaar.' 

Matthew: I think she nicked them from T'Pol's closet. I noticed the Aquatic Xindi this episode, and in a good way. I thought they were pretty good CGI creatures, as were the insectoids this time around.


Kevin: So, the acting, particularly from our guest star, was good. It's just a lazy predictable story that manages to sexually assault T'Pol again. I know Star Trek has done the beautiful woman who's really a spy thing before, but other outings were pitched better. This felt like the Cliff's Notes version of it, and they managed to sexually assault T'Pol again while they were at it. Even if this fired on all cylinders, the cookie cutter plot would hold this to a 3. The specific execution of this one pulls it down to a 2 for me.

Matthew: I think this is a cookie cutter plot that is executed at 3 level, for a total of 5. It was kind of a grab bag of ideas, but I was reasonably entertained while it was on screen. Maybe I'm just being charitable because the impending rise of American fascism on Tuesday has me down.


  1. Firefly did this trope far better a year before Rajiin aired. (I looked it up, I wondered which came first.) I don't think I would've made the connection, except you mentioned the spice thing: In Firefly, her name was Saffron. And she was such a useful character, she came back for a second episode, and Firefly didn't get a lot of episodes.

    Anyway, more agreement from me. This is moving too fast for the crew to get to react much, and I recall no interesting wrestling over any of the issues this could have brought up. There was a bit of 'we can't help everyone', IIRC, but that was just accepted as fact and everyone moved on. Which is interesting, because in Star Trek, you usually help out, and then later find out how useful that turned out to be, like Fantome from The Void. Either that, or helping turns problematic, and we get a plot out of it, at least.

    1. On the up side, reminding me of Saffron did remind me of my deep, abiding adoration of Christina Hendricks. She's a gem.