ENTERPRISE 10/29/03: The Shipment

Did anyone else notice that the StarTrek.com synopsis, available before the show aired, just about gave away the entire episode?

Sheesh, give us a little to look for ourselves, tptb!

Nepenthes rajah eats rats.
Trekkies can’t be that much more difficult to digest than a rat or a lawyer.
You clowns watch your ass.


Well, Cervaise, are you happy now? Archer finally had to make a tough choice (Although there don’t appear to have been any consequences). It was still only an OK episode, though.

Hey, does anyone else think that Archer et al may not have thought this whole thing through? Let’s say they find the weapon. Let’s say they destroy it. So what?

Xindi Insect: Chitter, Chitter (translation: Curses! The humans have destroyed our weapon.)

Xindi Reptile: And despite the fact that there’s no one here but this lone ship, we must now surrender to them.

**Xindi Primate:**And why is that?

**Xindi Manatee:**Screech! Groan! (translation: Because we are not very smart, we give up easily, we have a poor grasp of tactics, and we don’t believe in backup plans)

Xindi Primate: Ah. Of course.

Found this one to be pretty decent. Pluses:
–the complex, house and ship on the planet; the scenery (though I’m pretty sure Mal used the same rock that Unga Bunga Archer did in “Extinction”)

–the gooey slugs

–the added backstory on the Xindi

–Archer’s realizing that the concept “the only good Xindi is a dead Xindi” isn’t so cool after all (I wonder where this will lead Trip?)

–the actor playing Graylik

–the seekers’ point of view

–the sloths reminded me of POTA. Even the houses look similar.

–the pacing, mostly. And the fades

–Trip actually says “Captain” instead of “Cap’n.” The system is breaking down! (neutral comment)

Slight negatives: the planets (moon and planet?) looked much too close together.

Archer said “try and” instead of “Try to.” Why can’t anyone get this right? (Because they never ask me to proofread!)

Virtually Silent Trav. Again.

Graylik mentions that the substance has countless applications/numerous uses at least three times. It wasn’t necessary to repeat it.

No, NCB, they don’t normally recap the previous ep. They just wanted to give a bit of continuity between this one and “Exile,” maybe more so because of the Xindi rerun last week.

Hey, “Twilight” looks kinda cool.

Hey, I liked the Sloth Xindi! Kind of remind me of wolfmen … hmmm, don’t know what that says about me, but I found Gralik strangely … intriguing. :wink: Although I did wonder why his feet weren’t hairy!

Nice pluses and negatives to the epi, Viva; can’t think of any others to add, at least not on the less than one cup of coffee I’ve had so far this morning. :smiley: And I agree, “Twilight” does look like it might be very interesting. Plus we get to see T’Pol’s hair styled differently. I’ve always wondered why Vulcans (and Romulans as well) all seem to wear their hair the exact same way!

Don’t forget that he takes pride in his work.

NCB, that is the most fun I’ve had in Java all year! Cool.


Viva! I’ve been telling you about Twilight for about a month now. Get with the reading with comprehension schedule, Professora Girl Dude. :wink:

Despite my fears I thought this episode wasn’t too bad. Although the continious drawing out of the Xindi weapon/ homeworld location by changing something in the last 3 minutes of each show is getting tedious. “Oh, and they went into an energy portal so we lost them.”


Looks like they break out Janeway’s magic reset button next week. Hopefully it is “Year in Hell” quality.

Good episode. It was a good arc episode that gave some backstory and made the arc richer. It seems it bit slow but that’s because we’ve been acclimated to action episodes. The important point is that Archer learns that maybe all Xindi are not in on exterminating Earth. That’s shock enough to get he out of vengeance mode and into military mode.
Oh, try watching with CC on. It’s really funny watching through Archer’s binoculars and seeing the Xindi conversation on CC. :smiley: No new info, but fun. Oh and after the credits it has an ad: “…Ford. If you haven’t looked at Ford lately, Look Again.” My first thought is Always “Ford Prefect? Why are they talking about him?”

Good Points:[ul][li]“Previously on…” was good to catch people up.[/li][li]Gralik was played believably. He gave a backstory where we see the Xindi as hot-headed but not all bad. Just like POTA.[/li][li]I can believe Gralik siding with Archer because of the backstory. His grandfather saw how stupid wars destroyed a whole race and he doesn’t want it to happen again.[/li][li]Archer saying he’ll call at 0400 or in X hours so the ship doesn’t bleep him at an inopportune moment.[/li][li]Good using transporter to get the kemocite analyzed quickly.[/li][li]The planet shows an atmospheric shell.[/li][li]Blast suppressors are good. I’d like to know how they work.[/li][li]It is nice that Archer has to make a choice and doesn’t kill the factory and people. I simple choice and all sweet, but a choice.[/li][/ul]
Assumptions:[ul][li]Since the weapon will deploy in weeks, they need to get crackin’.[/li][li]Let’s say Gralik is used to multiple species speaking the same language so he doesn’t question why humans speak his language.[/li][li]Let’s assume Malcolm was being sarcastic when he said, “Hoshi’s telepathic friend.”[/li][li]Archer would turn off his comm unit when he was sneaking around so he wouldn’t be beeped.[/li][li]Sloths must need little lighting because Gralik comes home and doesn’t turn on much for lighting.[/li][li]Did you notice the Reptilian sounded a lot like Darth Vader?[/li][li]I assume they beam down the MACO explosives unless he carries mega-explosives on his back all the time.[/li][li]When Reed said that something was 400m away and approaching, and 5 (generous) seconds later said it was 350m I thought - Are we supposed to believe the Xindi move at 5m/sec? Then it turned out to be the Seekers and that’s ok.[/li][li]Why did they keep Gralik hidden in the woods? Archer seemed pretty trusting of Gralik at that point and wanted his help. Or was I jumping the gun-worm a bit?[/li][/ul]
Bad Points:[ul][li]“Previously on…” was a little long.[/li][li]Glad the Xindi measure in kilograms so we can all understand.[/li][li]Re:“weeks to deploy Xindi weapon”: Why is it the good guys and the bad guys always progress at the same rate and sync up just at the denouement?[/li][li]Archer calls T’Pol from outside the factory and says they maintain radio silence on the inside. Fat lota good That’ll do.[/li][li]Later T’Pol calls Archer to say a ship’s in orbit. Okay, that’s important, but it’s a good thing Archer wasn’t sneaking around at the time his comm beeped.[/li][li]Did they just “give it a shot” in transporting that kemocite and assume the transporter wouldn’t mess it up?[/li][li]The atmospheric shell seemed a little thick didn’t it?[/li][li]In orbiting a moon, I hate to see the ship up-and-down with respect to the camera. Shouldn’t the ship’s axis be normal to the moon’s radial line?[/li][li]MACO should not get so close when guarding Gralik and asking him to sit down.[/li][li]Phlox is an idiot! Picking up the Xindo-Gun-Worm? And sniffing it? It should have jumped up and bit his nose off! It’s only a flesh wound.[/li][li]Since when does Hoshi do radiolytic tracking? Just because the term has “radio” in it?[/li][li]Archer gets the sneak-into-the-ship-and-switch-the-canisters assignment. Yeah, let the head honcho get the dangerous missions.[/li][/ul]
Standard Bad Points:[ul][li]Universal Translator even makes the mouths move correctly.[/li][li]Nobody wears biosuits.[/li][li]Nobody can sit calmly in the command chair and give orders. Guess Trip didn’t fix that chair after all.[/li][/ul]
Next Episode: New hairstyles, Earth is destroyed, and Archer is topless for viva.

Yes. I actually liked this episode quite a bit.

Now, there wasn’t a lot of character stuff; this is almost entirely a plot episode, pushing the arc along. My complaints previously, for the most part, have been that (a) the character episodes don’t work (e.g. Mayweather visiting his family) because the narrative and dramatic emphasis is in the wrong place, and (b) the story episodes don’t work because they don’t contain enough new information to warrant spending a whole hour on it (e.g. zombie Vulcans). The eps where they try to do both (e.g. “Translating Beauty and the Crab-Leg-Head Beast”) really don’t work because they fall down on both levels.

This episode, though, isn’t really telling us anything new about the characters. It works because it assumes we already know who these people are, and it puts them in a difficult, tense situation. There is some character stuff, but it isn’t front and center. For example, we know Archer’s been getting a little vengeance happy, and we wouldn’t be especially surprised if he wanted to blow up the refinery anyway, just in case. That he chooses not to gives us a marker point for how far he’s descended. That said, the ep still makes the big mistake I keep complaining about, that the most important choice is made by a secondary character we probably won’t see again (i.e., Graylik deciding whether or not to betray his people), but because the episode is structured as a “mystery mission” with an external objective rather than a “moral lesson” with a no-good-alternative choice, it’s more or less forgiveable.

For comparison, look at the STNG episode The Next Phase, wherein Geordi and Ro turn into “ghosts” and wander the Enterprise trying to figure out how to get back to reality. It’s all plot; except for a brief bit where Ro thinks she’s actually a spirit and tries making peace with a couple of people, the biggest character-oriented stuff is in the B story, as the rest of the crew reacts to the apparent loss. Nobody’s ever going to put it on their top ten favorite episodes, but it’s a perfectly acceptable hour of Trek, because we know and like these characters and want to see them solve their problem.

Same thing here, with The Shipment. This is never going to be anybody’s favorite show; it’s here only to drive the overall plot, and hopefully entertain us in the process. The only downside is, there’s the risk that the characters have been so poorly handled up to this point that we won’t care about the crisis. I find it interesting that I was engaged in this story despite the previous problems, which tells me that I may be coming across as too negative in my evaluations of previous episodes. Just to be clear, it’s not that I hate the show; I wouldn’t be watching otherwise. Like I keep saying, it’s just that it’s a bit off and needs some fine-tuning. They’re really, really close to having a great show; most of the episodes would be good or excellent if five to ten percent of each one were refined or revised to some extent, to make sure the dramatic emphasis is put where it belongs. That The Shipment works as a story-centric episode suggests we may know the characters better than we think we do, or alternatively that we’re tired of episodes that fail to explore them successfully and we just want them to get down to business already.

There’s a big glaring problem with this episode, though, that I think is a warning they haven’t entirely figured out what’s wrong and moved to fix it. I’m referring to the character of the MACO sergeant dude who comes along on the mission. Could he be more colorless and generic? Who the hell is this guy? Do we know anything about him except that he’s supposed to be a badass of some variety? Basically he’s a redshirt, except (a) he isn’t going to die and (b) he gets an “and <actor> as <character>” shoutout in the credits. Frankly, I wouldn’t have known the difference if they’d sent some other MACO down to the surface, or a new actor we’ve never seen before. Clearly, the producers wanted to shake up the status quo, and threw a bunch of new faces into the stew, except so far they’ve amounted to exactly zero. Yeah, there was that fleeting moment where he questioned Archer’s decision, but it came and went like a walk-on cock in a gangbang video. This guy and his cohorts have made no impression, despite the opportunity for them to radically alter the character dynamic on the show, which indicates the writers still don’t quite understand what they’re doing.

In my opinion, if The Shipment is any sort of lesson, they need to leave the character stories alone and start moving toward kickass plot-centered material. Again for TNG comparison, look at a plot episode like Starship Mine or Peak Performance vs a character episode like The Offspring. The really good episodes manage to combine them, like in The Drumhead or Future Imperfect or The First Duty. Based on the evidence, I don’t think Enterprise is capable of doing those sorts of stories successfully yet. Cogenitor comes close, but is still flawed.

A good show. I’m apprehensive, though, about whether or not it indicates the producers and writers have finally shaken off the barnacles and figured out what they’re doing. Next week, Twilight, looks to me like a Reset Button episode. Lord, I hope I’m wrong.

The hell’s the matter with that?

It allows for static main characters since all the hard, possibly character changing, and thus dynamic, decisions are made by characters that we see for only an hour.

hey, Cervaise, you realize that you’ll have to write another equally long article for the other thread, right?

What’s needed is for the MACO to have a short scene in which the leader reminds the others that their secret mission is to make sure that the Xindi and their weapon are destroyed. As Archer and the crew become more let’s-knock-out-the-bad-but-leave-the-good then the MACO can get more belligerent. This leads to tensions as the crew takes sides and faces their characters.

Reed can pit his character against the military that he hates and come to terms with his family that has a military tradition. Trip can get all vengeance-for-my-sister and come to terms with whether he wants retribution or punishment or peace. Archer can similarly confront leaving Earth/mankind vulnerable to an enemy or destroying the Xindi - perhaps with their own weapon.

Meanwhile, Mayweather can sail some XindiAquan boats. Hoshi can learn all the complex Xindi dialects while floating in see-through clothing talking to XindiAquans. T’Pol can go insane being confronted with time-travel and can be accidentally left in a Trellium-D mental ward. Phlox can go to work on making worm-guns where the worms Choose to shoot since Denobulan ethics requires they consent.

I’m really afraid of Twilight being a Reset Episode too.

Since B&B like time-travel episodes:

Have the Temporal-Cold-War heat up because Daniels took Archer and T’Pol to Carpenter Street. In retaliation They cause a little incident and Daniels attempt to fix it causes Enterprise to travel back in time. Enterprise finds peaceful Xindi but don’t understand it, until they see their star scans are off. They help a Xindo home and find the Xindi homeworld again but this time it’s whole. The Xindi they help is Gralik’s grandfather.

The Xindi war is nearing completion and the Enterprise is suddenly thrust into it. They have to decide to fight with this faction or that or just high-tail-it outta there.

Daniels arrives. Archer points out that this must be where the Xindi get the idea that the humans destroyed their planet. By that was supposed to be in 400 years. Daniels tries to tell them they have to … and disappears. Is the time-line messed up now or restored? Is Archer supposed to see to it that the time-line is maintained and the Xindi homeworld destroyed, or is that the abnormal state and he’s supposed to help stop the war and the genocide? But then if the war is stopped now, will something happen in 400 years and destroy it?

Stay tuned - same Bat-Time, same Bat-Channel.


I’ll get right on that. Maybe just to be confusing, it’ll be about how much I didn’t like the episode. Then I’ll let the two opinions fight it out.

Wings don’t fail me now!

(thanks for the reminder in the last thread about Batty batty batty, whoever you was…)
Ya know, a MACO-centric episode might work.

this was the BEST episode ever! there was entirely too LITTLE dolphin, and WAY enough sloth! And IT WAS ALL about Hoshi**!**

(ps…i forgot to set the vcr so i missed it)

Yes, he is! Get him!