Monday, December 26, 2022

Enterprise, Season 3: The Forgotten

Enterprise, Season 3
"The Forgotten"
Airdate: April 28, 2004
71 of 97 produced
71 of 97 aired


As the Enterprise crew tries to put the pieces of their ship back together, Archer tries to convince wavering Xindi Council members to act against the weapon launch, and Trip reaches an emotional breaking point.

 Chef put too many beans in the chili again.


Kevin: I think this is a good episode, but it would have been better served by being placed in a more tightly plotted season overall. After the action of the previous episodes, getting back to the talking and politicking, as well as taking stock of their losses, is a nice plateau before the final arc of episodes. The problem is this episode 20. We've been at this plot for a while, and not a lot actually changes. Degra agrees to take Archer's findings to the council and that's about it. The back and forth is nice with Archer and the mutual pragmatic caution is fun to watch, but we've tread this road before in a lot of ways. If the plot were reduced from maybe a whole season to a half season, this episode could have been more tightly focused on fractures in the Xinidi Council rather than just being another, if admittedly better, version of it.

Matthew: They should have just timed things out to get Archer to the Council and kicked off the remainder of the season plot.  There was certainly time to do so (many repair scenes ate run time). I liked the back and forth with Degra and the arboreal Xindi, and the stuff with Archer proving that there was interference from the Sphere Builders, but it seemed like it could have been tightened up a bit. The battle with the Reptilian ship was exciting, too, so I'm not mad about the episode or anything.

Kevin: The highlight of the episode is definitely Trip's struggle to write a letter to Crewman Taylor's parents. I know there would be no reason given she was a science officer, but I kind of wish they had decided to make it Crewman Cutler to give the character and actress a more proper goodbye, but that's a side point. Even given we've never met the character before, I believed Trip's sense of loss, struggle to say something meaningful, and the connection to how he has yet to process grief over his sister's death is handled well. All in all, it was a nice, honest exploration of a character who understandably feels pretty lost at the moment. The action on the ship's hull and his confronting of Degra felt like nice escalations around Trip coming to terms with what's happen rather than distractions. Honestly, as good as the Xindi scenes were, if the episode had been solely focused on Trip, I think it would have been an even better episode, since, if nothing else, we haven't really done a "Family" equivalent to follow up on the "Best of Both Worlds" action. 

Matthew: Yep, Trip's third of this story was the strongest. I absolutely agree that the casualty should have been someone we had been introduced to prior to this episode, but that's not a sin of this episode. The scenes work on a fundamental level, including Trip resisting orders to sleep, being angry at Degra, and breaking down emotionally over his long-postponed mourning for his sister. 

Kevin: The weakest part is certainly, again, the T'Pol drug abuse story. If nothing else, it's not really a story. Phlox has fixed the addiction, so that's nice. The only remnant is T'Pol having less control over her emotions, and this just feels like cheating on the part of the writers. They never really figured out how to build stories in keeping with her Vulcaness, so they just jettison that, and give themselves an out for whenever they want to make T'Pol act however they want. (See a bunch of gratuitous nudity, for example.)

Matthew: They almost go somewhere with this story thread by tying it to Trip's mourning, but they didn't quite make it with the dialogue between them. Would it have worked better if she had disclosed her challenge? I don't know, it might have pulled focus from Trip's journey. But I want there to be more connective threads between what she is going through, her feelings towards Trip, and whether they can have a functional romantic relationship.


Kevin: Trinneer is a good actor and he did great work here. Even in a dream sequence, which has really hamstrung other actors, he keeps the focus centered on his sorrow over his sister. His outbursts at Degra were well pitched to feel raw and honest rather than needlessly combative. The resolution of writing the letter was really affecting. Probably a series best for him.

Matthew: Yeah, Trip's breakdown and being comforted by T'Pol were really, really effective. Great work by both actors, and especially Trinneer. I didn't love his outbursts at Degra from a writing standpoint, but he sold them. What I liked as well was Bakula's restrained performance when it came to chastising Trip. Instead of going full Angry Dad on him, it was clear that Bakula knew his character should cut his friend some slack.

Production Values

Kevin: The plasma venting was a tad CGI-y, but I applaud the ambition of getting on the hull again, and in terms of pacing and staging, it worked really well. The short battle with the Reptilian ship was pretty good, and beyond that, this was a bottle episode, but a good one. Overall, another nice, solid entry from the design team. 

Matthew: The hull EVA CGI was kind of distracting, honestly, if only because they cut between the types of shots so rapidly. If they had done one establishing shot and then switched to live action, it would have been better in my opinion. Instead, it was like a "compare the pictures!" exercise, which pulled me out of things. But the green lighting was really visually interesting and they did a great job using it on the live actors.


Kevin: The fact that we have watched Degra wring his hands so often already and that this plot has been going on for so long blunt the edges of an otherwise really effective episode. I think they just need to go back and trim some fat from the season and make this episode 14 instead of 20, and it would really feel like the stage being set for a satisfying final showdown. The Trip story is almost enough to make it a 4 on its own, and if it were the only story, I would be seriously considering Enterprise's first 5. But as it stands, 40% of the episode of a solid, if slightly repetitive push on the Xindi story, 45% a genuinely moving story about grief, and 10% on the T'Pol as addict story, which I am comfortable at this point deeming a failure. The result of that mix is a high 3 for me. I was close to a 4, but I think the soft spot of the T'Pol arc, and the fact that "we will take these findings to a meeting that will happen in a different episode" isn't quite the dramatic ending the episode wants it to be, hold it back. Still, this is a good episode, and it's nice to see Enterprise rack up a few good episodes in a row without slipping on a banana peel. 

Matthew: Yeah, I don't see much reason this couldn't have ended with Archer making his case to the Xindi Council for 3 to 5 minutes. Connor Trinneer gave a 5 star performance, and much of the action here was pretty involving, but each thread got a bit less screen time than needed to really go deep. So I agree with the 3 for a total of 6. It's solid, pretty good even, just not cranking it out of the park the way TNG did for so long, and DS9/VOY did at their peaks.

1 comment:

  1. Your analysis is spot on.

    First time I saw this I really didn't care about Trip's angst any more. I was not able to appreciate the acting, and I didn't have the respect for the character that it deserves. I just wanted all this to be done already, so we could get to something else - anything else. I'll admit that is considerably my bad.

    I should also have been more appreciative of the us-and-them attitude being eroded (and it will indeed *spoiler alert* largely collapse). But as you point out, it's too late in the game. At the time I felt it was also too little.

    I still kinda do, but less so.