Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Enterprise, Season 1: Acquisition

Enterprise, Season 1
Airdate: March 27, 2002
18 of 97 produced
18 of 97 aired


The crew of the Enterprise finds themselves accosted by mysterious marauders, and only Trip, Archer and T'Pol are awake and able to stop them. 

A mangy, disheveled mutt, and Porthos.



Matthew: Let's tackle the elephant in the room for Trekkies first - the premise of this episode pretty obviously violates established continuity from TNG Season 1. Humans should not have seen Ferengi yet, plain and simple. And Trip, Archer and T'Pol don't just get a few glimpses, they have extended conversations with the Ferengi pirates, learn things about their culture.... yeah. It's bad. In the Blu-Ray special features, show runner Brannon Braga admits as much: "There's no excuse for the Ferengi, no excuse. That was an act of desperation. I hated it." So he knows the problem, at least. He doesn't think he was being clever or insightful or telling some great story that needed to be told. This episode was created as clumsy fan service, and that's basically it. BUT! I can't resist a Kurtzman Trek comparison here. The Ferengi as presented here are at least consistent with the Ferengi portrayed later in the franchise. They didn't turn the Ferengi into H.R. Giger monsters who rip their victim's esophagus out with their teeth (see: STD Klingons, SNW Gorn). I'm not saying it isn't lazy fan service. It is. But it's less careless and prurient than later fan service.

Kevin: Talk about a distinction without a difference. I get that they did not horrifyingly alter the Ferengi, but they did return them to a slightly sleazier version than the season one Ferengi. The TNG Ferengi were chauvinistic and greedy, but I'm hard pressed to recall them being literal slavers. And even my memory of TNG is a little rose-tinted, these are not the Ferengi of DS9, and that annoys me because those were the most interesting. I mean...T'Pol was literally (the literal, non-figurative literally) assaulted last week and we get guys groping her unconscious body. I agree they didn't turn them into xenomorphs, but what they did turn them back into is still annoying.

Matthew: The question then becomes, was the episode that we got out of the continuity violation worth it? The answer is.... nah.  I am trying to put on my "non-Trekkie" hat on and think about how someone might receive this. It's.... okay-ish? Scott Bakula does get a chance to be funny, we get a group of great guest actors, and there is some subterfuge and comedy. But all told it's not terribly funny comedy, not very engaging action, and not very clever deceit. We get a bog-standard "turn one bad guy against the others" strategem, Trip pretends to find "the vault," and T'Pol seduces a Ferengi into a neck pinch. All of these comedy beats have been done elsewhere in Trek, and to better effect in most places ("Menage A Troi" notwithstanding). 

Kevin: Yeah, my position on continuity violations is definitely that it's softened when the story in front of us is good. The infringement of "Amok Time" is in service of a story and character I enjoy watching, so I can live with it. Not so here. Even if these were different aliens, the story is just lazy, tepid tropes. Get the bad guys to mistrust each other and send the babe to pretend to be attracted them are the oldest tricks in the books. The closest I came to laughing was T'Pol teasing Archer about his comments. 


Matthew: Scott Bakula was pretty good. His improv skills may not be Kirk "Fizzbin" level, but he brought a nice energy to his hoodwinking of his captors. Connor Trinneer showed both excellent one-man acting skills, as well as the results of a thoroughly competent gym routine. Jolene Blalock's scene in which she withheld the keys from Archer was also funny.

Kevin: They were fine, and I think they really should have played better off such Trek luminaries, but that was the story's fault, not theirs. And agreed on the T'Pol comedy at the end. 

Matthew: We receive an all-star crew of "short character actors" in this episode. Clint Howard, Jeffrey Combs, Matt Malloy, and Ethan Phillips bring their respective Ferengi to life rather well. I would say Combs is the standout, since he plays the quasi-sympathetic Ferengi pirate. Ethan Phillips also plays against type with a rapacious, domineering Ferengi.

Kevin: I just couldn't connect. Part of it was being distracted by recognizing them and thinking of better characters they had played. Even season one Neelix was more engaging than his character here. I agree that Combs is the standout, but it's not the most scintillating competition.

Production Values

Matthew: This was a bottle show plus the Ferengi ship interior. I actually quite liked seeing the ship. Episodes like this (or, say "Starship Mine" or "The Mark of Gideon") really give the viewer the opportunity to situate themselves in a place, making the ship feel "real." The Ferengi interior and props all read as consistent, with the Ferengi control panel mirroring the spherical aesthetic of early TNG Ferengi, just slightly more primitive.

Kevin: I'll agree that they made pretty great use of all the hallways. I'm assuming they were reshoots and reconfigurations of a small set of hallways and that works. The third of the episode of Trip running around in his underwear was fun for me, for obvious reasons. That is some stretch material they found in the 22nd century.


Matthew: Obviously there is a continuity problem here. Setting that aside, the story is pretty paint-by-numbers, without any real feeling of stakes. But the acting and comedy beats were all fine enough. I don't like it to be sure, but I don't hate it. It's a relatively typical "bad episode." As such, I'm at a 2 on it.

Kevin: Even without the continuity problems, this episode was boring and predictable. There was just nothing in this episode leaven the dough. It was just ticking fan service boxes and it doesn't do a good job at that. I agree with the 2 for a total of 4, and the third 4 in a row. Get it together, Enterprise.


  1. Interesting that you found the guest crew so boring. I think my favourite part of this episode is watching the guest characters and actors go through the admittedly obvious little arcs. And while it would have been nice for T'Pol to punch that little creep (Krem, I think?) through a wall, it would have been out of character.

    (Come to think of it, I don't think we ever get a showcase on ENT that she is by far the strongest person on the crew, unless there's something we don't know about Denobulans.)

    Having Trip "Keep-yer-shirt-on" Tucker going about without a shirt on is also worth a few chuckles in my book.

    I get quite a few laughs from this episode, despite the problems. Not that I disagree with your rating, just that this is a four I'd rather watch than many a five or six.

    1. There is definitely a "watchability" factor here. I for one would take this over basically any episode of Kurtzman Trek.