Note: Ever since watching the exquisite "Twilight"[ENT3], I've almost been wanting to delete the blasting I give Enterprise (or now, Star Trek: Enterprise) below. But although the writer, Mike Sussman, did an extraordinary job, I'm going to leave this page as is, since Berman and Braga still suck.
Let's face it . . . Enterprise could often be better. The same could be said, though, for just about anything.
All the same, I recently started having my "faith" in Enterprise severely tested. I know what some of you are saying . . . "Now?!?! It's only being tested now?!?" . . . but don't make that leap just yet. Enterprise has, so far, occasionally delighted me . . . "Fight or Flight" and "Silent Enemy" gave us very believable prequel first-ship-into-deep-space stories, "Minefield" and "Dead Stop" gave us entertainment, continuity, and a convenient-if-believable reset button. Then there's the middle ground . . . the Temporal Cold War arc has potential, but seems like less of an arc and more of a meandering seat-of-the-pants headache, and a few other episodes were simply forgettable (I'd tell you more about them, but I've forgotten . . . one had hunters in it). And then, there's the stuff that simply pisses me off . . . and, as a Star Trek fan, that usually means someone pissed on the continuity again.
For example, where the hell are all these cloaking devices coming from? Everybody's got one . . . sure, the Suliban could have simply obtained theirs from the future, but the Xyrillians and Romulans? Even Romulan mines are cloaked . . . Enterprise hit one in "Minefield", and you've gotta know that's shown up in somebody's database. And yet, we're supposed to ignore that Spock nearly shat a brick when he Romulan ship cloaked in "Balance of Terror", and that was over a hundred years later. This would be like the Germans in the early 2040's launching an air attack against Britain and suddenly saying "What? They know we're coming? Aww, shit, radar? What the hell is that?" But, of course, we all know what radar is now.
Then there are the in-series foul-ups. In "Broken Bow", Enterprise obtains a Suliban cell ship, which is a vessel that has capabilities so far out of whack for the time period, it makes the Delta Flyer look like a Ford Model T. It is capable of keeping pace with Enterprise at warp (and the range to do so for awhile, evidently), a dozen or two have the firepower to pose a serious threat to the ship, it cloaks, it has a big front door and also a docking port, and it has a roomier interior than my old car. Oh, and did I mention that it's no larger than the non-warping, barely-armed, uncloakable, cramped shuttlepods of the Enterprise-D? So what did the crew of Enterprise do with this technological gift? They left it parked in the shuttlepod bay, sitting beside the comparatively useless shuttlepods, and didn't mention it again for a year. And, when Captain "I want to knock T'Pol on her ass for calling humans provincial" Archer managed to steal another one, and had in custody the man who had just engineered the deaths of over 3,000 innocent people, he let them both go.
But, I've been trying to give Berman and Braga the benefit of the doubt, even though Berman's been known to put a bandanna on the bust of Gene Roddenberry that he has in his office, so he "can't see" some of the crap Berman pulls . . . even though Berman and Braga made Voyager, which rather often sucked, compared to the Ira Behr-helmed DS9 which rather often did not even come close to sucking . . . and even though B&B's never-ending response to bad ratings is to inject more action and boobs into their shows. When that fails, they inject even more action and boobs, and a cycle of stupidity is formed . . . one wonders whether the next Star Trek series or movie is going to be "Captain Schwarzenegger Vs. The Fem-Bots", featuring the Fem-Bot super-secret weapon: Exploding Boobie Missiles. Hell, one of Braga's first episodes was "The Game"[TNG], featuring an orgasm-producing game that takes over your mind . . . and he's seldom been better since, though he's often been worse.
The following B&B-esque Ratings
is brought to you by:
But hey, Gene Roddenberry certainly wasn't above giving us some half-naked hotties in TOS, and we got a few interesting shots in TNG from time to time. (Of course, the hottest women were always the ones who, like Kamala in "The Perfect Mate", had an aura of sexuality, not just blatant displays of skin or spandex. Come to think of it, I don't think we ever even saw her legs.) And we've seen good Star Trek featuring wonderful action . . . Star Trek II and DS9's war arc (which B&B had little to do with) come to mind. The problem comes when you start imagining boobs and fire, not as the icing on the cake, but as the cake itself. If I wanted a weak plot with lots of fire and breasts, there are a zillion different shows I could watch. Hell, in this decadent era, almost every channel on television has bouncing breasts everywhere, and often more scantily clad than anything Star Trek would ever show, even in decontamination scenes. (
What made Star Trek worthwhile was the fact that it was an idea show . . . a 30-year collection of thought experiments, dramatized for television . . . and the fact that I just typed that in the past tense is part of the problem.
But, I digress a few thousand words . . . what finally made me question that benefit of the doubt once and for all? Simple . . . it was a double-whammy of "no-no-dammit" discontinuity.
1. "We are the . . . brr, it was cold in that ice."
First, I saw a preview for "Regeneration", which features unfrozen Borg from the 2063 events of First Contact. "Hmm, could be interesting, and with excellent continuity, if not screwed up," I thought. Oh, but no . . . the preview shows Borg walking the deck of Enterprise, assimilating Dr. Phlox, and so on . . . Borg who say "you will be assimilated" and "resistance is futile", but never bother to say "we are the Borg" like they always do.
(That was how everyone presumed Berman and Braga were going to handle continuity, and they were right. After all, they already gave us Ferengi who didn't bother to identify themselves, and like the Borg they board Enterprise and communicate with the crew. This, of course, despite the fact that first contact with the Ferengi doesn't occur for another 212 years. Oh, and did I mention that the Valakians from that deplorable episode "Dear Doctor" met the Ferengi, and got their names? How the hell can one seriously believe that it will take 212 years for the Federation to finally bump into these guys again, considering that they're in Earth's backyard so soon? Pitiful.
And I guess Starfleet will avoid the Valakians for the next 212 years . . . Archer and Phlox probably deleted all records of the place to hide the fact that they told billions of people to drop dead.)
Really, though, forgetting to ask someone their name is not continuity, especially when you consider that it took Hugh from "I, Borg" about six seconds to start "We are the Borg"-ing himself into laryngitis. And to assimilate Phlox is the equivalent of Berman and Braga whipping out their naughtybits and writing their names in the fresh, pure, new-fallen snow of continuity . . . not that it wouldn't be the first time.
Don't get me wrong . . . "Regeneration" had many good moments . . . it was almost fun enough to make one not consider all the urination upon continuity. Of course, that's the problem . . . it's not a "good story vs. continuity" thing, though B&B seem to think so. Some of the best Trek has been the most continuity-minded. Entire episodes of DS9 (good ones, too) were based on little throwaway lines from prior episodes. And, of course, let's not forget Star Trek II.
I miss Harve Bennett.
(Note: See also Sussman's response to some complaining about this episode from a TrekBBS poster. He had the right ideas.)
2. "Revenge of the Boobies!!"
Oh, but wait, there's more. Berman says that, in a startling new twist never before seen in Star Trek, some species we've never heard of is going to try to wipe out Earth, and this will have startling ramifications for the third season of Enterprise, including a new catsuit and hairdo for T'Pol.
I guess this is different because we usually already know at least a little something about the other guys who tried to wipe out Earth before, and we've never seen it result in a trip to the nearest Spandex 'N' Scissors 'R' Us.
So, instead of working with the pre-existing history of the Romulan War, fought with primitive ships and primitive nuclear weapons, we're going to see Enterprise going after Evil Bumpy-Forehead-Alien Species Number 1701 with photon torpedoes because they blew up Cuba. I guess the Romulan ships were just too invisible.
All that having been said, I think it must be true that Gene Roddenberry made a major mistake with Star Trek by picking Berman as his successor. I've generally gone pretty easy on Berman, to the point that I defended the guy quite a bit (at least until I heard about the red bandanna) but ugh . . . the guy hates music and thus keeps shoving Jerry Goldsmith down our throats. He outlaws anything but the most basic camera angles. The guy bent like a sapling and allowed "Dear Doctor" to get rewritten by the Paramount suits into a "yay, genocide" ending. The guy keeps Braga around, even though Braga's greatest achievement was writing a 30 second scene of Troi eating chocolate and keeping it interesting. You can see the germ of T'Pol and Seven in that . . . "y'know, a hot alien chick in an even tighter outfit eating a banana for an entire show would go through the roof! And forget Troi's elegant beauty, let's make it a Barbie doll! Now, we just have to make a console explode behind her and stay on fire the entire time!"
Gene needed to give the show to someone who understood it . . . someone with the imagination to make it work. Michael Piller . . . Ira Steven Behr . . . Ron Moore . . . Robert Hewitt Wolfe . . . anyone else but Berman. Berman is the man who didn't see the potential in the episode "Darmok"[TNG], for crying out loud. Now that those good influences are gone, Berman's getting to do what he always wanted with Trek . . . make it his way, without impediment. Well, his way sucks.
Take the bandanna off Roddenberry's head, Berman. Feel the piercing marble glare of the Roddenberry head bore into your soul. Then, either give up the franchise or start making intelligent science-fiction, or just intelligent stories period . . . it's the only way you'll sleep better at night.
The sad thing about Enterprise is that it's Star Trek . . . yes, it's canon. But if they don't start making it real Star Trek, watching the show to get tech notes from it is going to become as painful an experience as watching the Star Wars Christmas Special or (heaven forbid) Voyager.
|Brannon Braga is
an idiot. He can't comprehend the concept of continuity, and
thus proclaims that fan statements regarding the continuity violations
of Enterprise are the "dumbest".
For crying out loud, the man doesn't even know what to do with the Romulans! It takes a true hack writer not to see the story potential of an enemy the protagonists never see. I can come up with a half-dozen story ideas off the top of my head, and I'm not even a writer. Hell, even Enterprise has the unseen enemy thing going on in the third season, as the audience gets to see the Xindi council's machinations. And yet, Braga couldn't figure out what to do.
Without his old writing partner Ron Moore around to take his goofy ideas and remold them into something worthwhile, Braga's freaky I-can't-believe-it's-not-X-Files ideas don't get the realism injection they need. See, Ron Moore was a good writer. He could take the peculiar ideas of a hack and make them genuinely entertaining, and have them remain consistent with Trek.
Michael Piller was of the same stock as Moore, but even better. Without Piller in command of Braga to filter out his crap and make sure that the stories are about ideas and not Braga's "weird sci-fi and special effects" (along with his fetish for big boobs attached to emotionless women . . . perhaps related to some past relationship with a blow-up doll), Braga's ridiculousness has become the modus operandi for the new series.
"Wierd sci-fi and special effects"? I can just see him mumbling that in his standard "I haven't had my crack today" manner from some of the TNG DVD interviews (as opposed to his "I've had too much crack today" manner the other half of the time) while making little scary-fingers at the camera.
Argh! That crap isn't Star Trek. Yeah, sometimes, action is a major part of an episode . . . "Balance of Terror"[TOS] is a big ship-to-ship combat episode. "Arena"[TOS] is a big fight with a guy in a monster-suit. And yet, even in the midst of that, there are ideas . . . "Balance of Terror" gave us exquisite characterization and a wise perspective on war from both captains. "Arena" gave Kirk humility thanks to the Metrons, and due to the territorial accident that set off the whole thing.
What do we get from Enterprise? Most of the time, combat is simply there for the sake of combat. (Exceptions include the excellent "Silent Enemy" and "Cease Fire".) It's part of B&B's mindless adventure. Gene could get some great people under him sometimes . . . Gene Coon comes instantly to mind . . . but Berman can't do that. He lets all the good people get away from him, while keeping the retarded lapdog. And what do we get as a result? Crap Trek: The Next Humiliation.
What is Star Trek supposed to be? Here's a clue:
That is a man who understands Star Trek. He's gone now. We, the fans, miss him.
So, yeah, I've done my Enterprise rant. In doing so, I've boldly gone where others have gone before.
All the same, I hate seeing vacuous statements of loathing for any Trek, Enterprise included. Hence the rock and a hard place . . . I don't want to defend Berman, but I also hate to see something I (can potentially) enjoy given a bad rep unjustly. Hell, I get enough of that kind of Trek-bashing from the more rabid folks on the other side of the aisle.
A prime example is the patron-saint of all Trek-haters, Richard Whettestone. Warsies love Whettestone as much as they loathe David Brin. To Whettestone's credit, he's a talented individual with a pipe dream of making a sci-fi show that might have potential, if it were made. But, he's just some pushy guy, and it isn't getting made.
In order to popularize his plight, he's expending all of his effort to attack Enterprise, the sixth-rated sci-fi show on television. I guess he's aiming for that coveted #6 spot.
Now, as I indicate above, there's plenty to criticize when it comes to Enterprise. Alas, Whettestone takes it too far. Oh, sure, he usually picks up on the continuity errors, and it's delightful to see his merciless pummelling of Berman and Braga. But, in his quest to demonstrate how much better than Berman and Braga he is, he goes overboard. (That's why certain people adore him.)
For the best example of this, I picked what I remembered to be the most forgettable and useless episode of Enterprise I could think of (and that I had a copy of), "Terra Nova". In the episode, we learn that humans, having already built colonies on the moon, Mars, and the asteroid belt, discovered 70 years ago that the closest habitable world in another system is 20 light-years away. This, despite the "Zephram Cochrane of Alpha Centauri" line in TOS.
So, after a nine year trip, the planet is colonized by 200 people who disassemble their ship (the Conestoga) and make a home on this new world. Relations with Earth become strained, to the point that when a large meteor hits nearby and produces technobabble radioactive fallout, the colonists think Earth attacked. The dying adults of the colony and their unaffected children seek shelter underground, and as the parents die off we find ourselves with Star Trek: Lord of the Flies. The kids go tribal, start believing themselves to be Novans (with humans in mind as the enemy who caused the "poison" (i.e. radioactive) rain), and forget the finer points of English.
Conceptually, it wasn't that bad . . . pieces of Lord of the Flies with a sci-fi twist. But, the episode was boring when I first watched it, and I wasn't paying close enough attention to catch the brief throwaway reference to the fact that it was only the four-year olds who survived, hence the goofy lingo.
But, I recently watched it again, and ended up catching Whettestone's review just a few hours later. Annoying as Enterprise can occasionally be, that guy's review annoyed me more. His text is in green.
The links: FirstTVDrama Enterprise reviews index, "Terra Nova" review
THE PREMISE: The Enterprise crew suddenly remember out of the blue the legendary and mysterious Terra Nova colony thought lost decades ago, who they never thought of going to see before until the first season was 25% over. [...]
If you've been building for several years a starship to break Warp Four, wouldn't you have come up with a prioritized list of places you want that Starship to go? Wouldn't the first place you would want it to go would be all the colonies?
Er, why? The idea is to boldly go where no man has gone before . . . not to boldly go to where people are established.
And within that list wouldn't you have wanted it to go to the one colony that not only hasn't been heard from in nearly a hundred years, but has such a great legendary mystery surrounding it?
The colony's lack of communication with Earth was hardly a mystery. They wanted to be left alone . . . the leader of the opposition to the second wave, a guy named Logan, threatened to fire on any Earth ship which landed. When they stopped responding to Earth communication attempts, it was assumed that they simply didn't want to talk. The romance of wondering what had ever happened to the colony was the "mystery".
After they delivered the Klingon in "Broken Bow", the mysterious and legendary Terra Nova colony would be the first place you would go.
Why? If a son moves off to the other side of the continent and says he'll shoot you on sight (right before he stops answering your phone calls), and you end up getting a new car that can make the trip, is setting off to pay him a visit going to be the first thing on your mind?
No, of course not. But even if it is something you're planning on (albeit not looking forward to), you'd be likely to stop and sight-see on the way.
Instead the Enterprise has been randomly cruising through space, with the investigation of Terra Nova an afterthought.
Uh-huh. The ship's mission began with a previously-unplanned stroll to the Klingon homeworld, after which they travelled (toward where, hmm?) without finding intelligent life for awhile. Then they happened upon the "Fight or Flight" badguys, engaged in first contact with the Axanar (with a trip to their homeworld), and in the next episode bumped into what appeared to be a perfectly good habitable world within range of Earth (and incidentally, if Terra Nova at 20 light-years out was the first they'd found back in the day, then finding new ones sounds like a Very Good Thing). The next episode revolves around the Xyrillian tag-along ship.
In short, it is only Whettestone's presumption that they'd been moseying about the cosmos aimlessly. Yes, T'Pol hadn't heard of the colony, but that conversation occurred after they were a mere three hours away from the planet. Mayweather had been reviewing the logs while on his duty shift. In short, it's evident that T'Pol was hardly being kept apprised of things.
They sent a probe to confirm that the planet was able to support life to colonize, but they weren't able to send a probe at any time within the last 70 years to even take a look at what happened to the lost colony? What, the technology we used on Mars today gets lost sometime in the next hundred years?
It took nine years to get there at the time. Since then, all Earth knew was that the colonists didn't seem to want to talk. Even when they made faster probes, it hardly would've been a priority. They didn't want help, and they didn't want company. Why would Earth have wasted the resources?
These colonists wouldn't have traveled blindly for 9 years to a planet unless they knew they could have landed on it and lived. Which means they knew other continents were also there. Yet they complained about the idea of a second wave of colonists. What, a planet with multiple continents too big for 400 people? They couldn't have set up base on one of the other continents?
Obviously, the idea behind the second wave was that it was supposed to join the first. While it might've been possible for the Earth of circa 2076 to have sufficient resources to make a complete second colony on the planet, it strikes me as far more desireable to simply add more people to the same place, instead of having to send another totally deconstructible ship, with another subspace comm system, another reactor, and so on and so forth.
So, these people were mentally and emotionally stable to make a 9 year journey to colonize a new planet, but suddenly cracked and thought that not only humans were attacking the planet (why attack a planet you want to colonize?) but also thought they might be in league with the Vulcans to destroy the colony (if the Vulcans were involved, you wouldn't have a 9 year journey, plus you would have access to other worlds)?
Whettestone performs a psych profile of the colonists based on the last message of Captain Mitchell . . . a message that never made it to Earth. Here's the message from the episode:
"No matter how angry Logan's threats may have seemed, there had to have been a way of dealing with this other than attacking us! Nearly half the adults are dead, including Dr. Tracey, and everyone else is getting sick except for the younger children. If they have any chance of surviving, the least you could do is have the Vulcans send a ship for them. But for all I know they were the ones you talked into attacking us. You wanted Terra Nova enough to do this? Well, it's yours now . . . but I doubt you'll be very pleased with what you find when you get here."
Whettestone fails to acknowledge the context of the message. We don't know what the colonists knew about what had happened . . . they probably knew that something big had blown up some distance (about 500 kilometers) away. They might've thought, at first, that it was probably an asteroid. But they obviously didn't know that it had struck an area composed primarily of "beresium ore". They couldn't have known that the radiation was an unfortunate natural event . . . highly radioactive meteors are hardly normal. All they would know is that there had been an explosion featuring massive radioactive fallout of the type that the colonists, some of whom had to have been survivors of the nuclear exchanges of WW3, would've associated with weapons. And at the time of the message, nearly half of the colonists were already dead. It is not a totally irrational leap for them to have presumed, due to the hostile relations with Earth, that the Space Agency had decided to pull a Noah's Flood and start over . . . especially when, from their perspective, Earth stopped responding to messages.
Of course, they'd only been there for a little over five years at this point, meaning the Space Agency couldn't have gotten another ship there so quickly. Hence the Vulcan idea. If the colonists had cracked and gone nuts as Whettestone feels to be the case, then we'd hardly expect to see the brief thought Mitchell expressed that someone else might've done the attacking.
Ignoring the idea that the original colonists were obviously mentally unbalanced and believed they were under attack by humans, and also ignoring that there was plenty of room for many more colonists, weren't they smart enough to realize that it was a meteor that hit them?
How would they do this? Meteors with such heavy radioactive properties (which they would've likely presumed, as opposed to the meteor kicking up large amounts of a highly radioactive ore) are generally the stuff of science fiction. And when half your colony is dead or dying, mounting a 500 kilometer expedition toward the location where it all started hardly seems like a good idea.
Their communications still worked (just couldn't transmit outside the contaminated atmosphere).
Who were they supposed to communicate with?
What happened to the rest of the ship?
It was designed to be disassembled. Archer found bulkheads and pointed them out to T'Pol. Perhaps they really did disassemble their ship? Nah, surely not.
Weren't they ever planning to visit the other continents?
Why carry a boat or aircraft? They were land-locked, and flying an aircraft (which presumably would've been VTOL unless they were supposed to construct a runway) would've been a huge investment of resources for 200 people.
They have the building blocks for a ship big enough to carry 200 people for a 9 year journey, but they didn't have enough to construct a few token transports that could have taken them from one location to the next on the planet itself to take them away from the danger area? Not even a boat? Even Gilligan had a boat. It had a hole in it but that's not the point.
I don't think the inches-deep babbling brook we saw near the colony would've provided much of an escape route, hole or no hole.
Even Neil Armstrong took a Luner Rover with him to the moon. It's still sitting there.
Lunar rovers don't do so well over the open sea. If he's suggesting that they should've packed a good truck in the Conestoga, one must wonder if they'd been able to do so . . . not to mention what it would've mattered. They landed circa 2076 . . . this means they departed circa 2067 (which implies, incidentally, that either the Conestoga was much slower than the probes, or else the Vulcans tipped us off to the planet, or else we learned of it by remote sensing . . . Cochrane's flight was April, 2063). That would've been one of the first warp vessels built by mankind . . . it was carrying 200 people to the stars. I don't imagine they'd have had room to pack a couple of Hummers, or the fuel supply for them.
But these guys? No scanners?
What would their scanners have told them? That there'd been an explosion and that they were all dying of radiation? That hardly would've told them what they didn't already know. Besides, that was the 2070's . . . I hardly imagine that they would've had the suite of instruments necessary to allow them to determine what had happened.
We don't actually know that, incidentally . . . not that a vehicle would've done them any good, assuming it survived whatever EMP might've occurred.
No protective suits?
Why carry 200 protective suits to a world that presented no radiation hazard that could've been predicted?
As Archer points out, the colonists used the ship's bulkhead itself to construct their houses. But all I saw was a few little rickety old shacks. This ship was big enough to carry not only 200 colonists and food for a 9 year trip, but a bicycle as well. You think there would be more of it.
Above, we see the colonists breaking ground on the town hall. I count at least three large structures behind them. Below, we see two views of the colony as it appeared in 2151:
It's hard to tell precisely where the shuttle is landing in the lower picture (note the blue glow of her engines just to the right of center), but it appears to be a fork in the road. The orbital view would suggest that it's the fork in the road at the center of the upper picture. That's a large number of structures, many of which are fairly large. Looks to me like more than enough material for a vessel which, by the standards of the day, would've been monstrously huge.
Remember, these are the guys who just four years earlier managed to build and fly a three-man warp craft. If we take that to be our Kitty Hawk analog, Whettestone is suggesting that they should promptly have moved up to DC-3's.
A 9 year journey and 200 people to feed, they MUST have brought animals with them. Yet there wasn't one mention of them.
Animals were a possibility, but not a necessity. We were never told of the colonist's culinary habits, or what they knew of the planet's animal life before they launched. Were they planning to live off the land, or use special techniques like hydroponics to grow their own food, or were they going to become simple farmers . . . or some combination of these? We're never told either way.
Now, get this one:
Archer asked why there wasn't any bodies of the colonists. Wouldn't it have heightened the mystery if they found the bodies of 70 year-old dead cows? Was the colonists always planning to eat the rodents in the caves?
Gee, I wonder why they "wasn't" there. One wonders if it had something to do with something else Whettestone points out:
If the Novans can't live on the surface for another decade because of the lethal radiation, what Foundation Imaging idiot put the birds flying over the Terra Nova colony?
Probably the same idiot who noted that there was abundant plant life there, that the little "diggers" were rooting about everywhere, and so on. Just because humans couldn't tolerate the radiation doesn't mean the local critters couldn't . . . they might've found dead humans (and any animals they brought along) a tasty treat.
And if there wasn't any bodies of the colonists, then that means the dead colonists were buried. Why didn't Archer find the graves?
Why would he? Half the colonists died, apparently almost immediately, with the other half being sick. Assuming anyone felt like digging graves at all, there's no way to know where they would've been placed. We only get to see a very small portion of the area around the colony.
It's unclear how long there were surviving adults, but obviously it was long enough for them to get the children to the caves and teach them that they were Novans.
And if all the adults are killed and all you have left are the young kids, how are they smart enough to understand that something invisible (radiation) that they can't see is outside and will kill you over a long time?
Maybe because their parents had said so? Nah.
They all carry machine guns, but never ran out of bullets after 70 years?
What were the guns used for, hmm? We didn't see them being used for hunting diggers . . . the shells we saw didn't have bullet-holes, either. Reed and Archer found no spent casings lying around. There's no reason to assume that they'd have fired thousands of rounds over the years.
If you're getting shot at, and your Lieutenant was just shot down, are you going to turn your head and start off without him? Because that's exactly what Archer did, providing Reed with just enough time to get caught.
Chased by gun-toting freaks, lost in dark caves, and having to crawl through a man-size hole in the wall . . . hardly the situation Whettestone makes it out to be. I guess Archer was supposed to sit there and block the hole?
Malcolm, being all of three feet from the hole in the wall that Archer had crawled through and saying "I'm alright, sir", would have been expected to take all of a couple of seconds to emerge. Now, with two men lost in the caves and now with one injured, it might've made sense to figure out where to go after you both got through the hole. With them being chased by gun-toting freaks on unfamiliar ground and therefore in a bit of a desperate hurry, this wasn't the worst idea in the world.
Reed makes to start moving at 10:54 in the episode, right after he says he's alright. Archer backs out of the hole at 10:55. The problem was, Reed didn't actually start moving even by that point . . . he'd only leaned forward like he was going to try to go somewhere, and he promptly didn't. That's why he was in the same place three seconds after Archer got out of the way, when he got nabbed.
Archer could've crawled back through the hole and provided cover for Reed, and then perhaps backed himself through the hole while trying not to get shot. Had he known Reed would be long, he may very well have done so.
In any case, the situation was hardly perfect, and neither Reed nor Archer were perfect in their handling of it . . . nor could they have been.
And if you do really believe people from Earth attacked your planet, do you refer to your own kind as "humans"? The kids grew up thinking the evil "humans" were other people because their parents kept talking about how evil the "humans" were for attacking Terra Nova. Don't they have a more specific name, like... Starfleet... Government... NASA... Politicians... San Fransisco?
When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor or we bombed Hiroshima, did either side refer to the other as "those humans"? It was a clever gimmick to create a story, but it doesn't hold up in the real world.
"Earther" or some similar term would've been superior . . . but, then, these were the same children who forgot the term "parent", among other things. The Novans considered themselves Novan . . . to them, human equalled Earth, and Earth equalled enemy.
Gee, it was really lucky that Archer happened to find Terra Nova when he did, because Phlox said a few more years and they all would have died.
And it's also really lucky that they found the one person who was among the original colonists.
And it's really, really lucky that this same person just happened to have lung cancer so they could take her back to Enterprise to make the connection.
Funny . . . Whettestone's series is supposed to feature a single cast. I suppose they'll never ever have the good fortune of being in the right place at the right time to be able to solve the problem of the episode, since Whettestone thinks that's such a horrible thing. Perhaps that's how he intends to separate his show from Star Trek (and most other dramatic television).
Here's a short list of episodes that suffer from the same Whettestonian no-no: http://www.st-v-sw.net/STSWeplist.html
It's a good thing Archer was able to download those pictures of the colonists to get the aliens to question why "humans" were living in their houses before the attack. Because if he didn't do that, then the aliens might have learned this on their own when they found family pictures and photo albums of these evil "humans" lying around their colony.
Whettestone doesn't bother to notice that the colony had no power anymore. That would make it rather difficult to recharge the little display screens for the pictures, now wouldn't it?
And even though Enterprise could scan the caves, they couldn't detect the one Mayweather lands the ShuttlePod on.
They'd detected it just fine . . . Trip said it looked like a couple of the abandoned tunnels had given way. He couldn't have known that if they hadn't detected them (along with the other 12.6 kilometers worth of tunnels). The collapse of that one was what wasn't predicted . . . but, then, they did land in the exact same spot they'd landed on before, without incident. If you have to walk somewhere and you discover that you just walked over an icy lake, when you have to go that way again aren't you going to want to retrace your footsteps instead of testing new patches of ice?
So, the alien asks for Archer's Phase Pistol to burn out a tunnel off screen. Then Archer asks for the Phase Pistol back to burn the tree in an attempt to build a trust. Beside the fact that he took the Phase Pistol for no reason (Archer could have done the digging), I think the fact that Archer let the alien have his Phase Pistol alone is trust enough.
Whettestone didn't really bother to listen to the episode. Archer wasn't trying to build a trust. He'd already given the Novan his phase pistol and climbed down the well to help save the Novan with the broken leg. When he asked for the weapon back and the Novan briefly scoffed, he said "It's your turn to trust me."
To Whettestone, that means that he was trying to build an unnecessary trust. I suppose in his series, there will be no trust.
So, the guy was drowning in the rising water with a dead tree pinning him down. And besides the fact that Archer didn't think to vaporize the rising water to buy them time, he manages to phaser a dead tree in half without catching it on fire.
Besides the fact that we haven't seen phase pistols demonstrate vaporization ability yet, one wonders whether it's a good idea to try to vaporize something surrounding a guy. Spock, in "The Omega Glory"[TOS3], was severely injured when Captain Tracey vaporized a gadget right beside him.
Of course, the fact that Whettestone expected fire means that he expected Trek beam weapons to behave in a logical manner. He obviously hasn't watched a lot of Star Trek.
Do we even want to ask how a dead tree so heavy they couldn't move it got underground in a side cavern?
Perhaps it had something to do with the giant hole in the ceiling. That may have been related to the sunlight bearing down on them.
Hmm . . . a hole to the surface being related to a big piece of dead tree? Nah.
All throughout the episode they kept saying the colony was lost 70 years earlier. As we know from "Star Trek: The Next Generation", a generation in the Star Trek universe is 78 years.
That's the worst inference ever. "Generation" is hardly a mathematically precise term, but Whettestone is arguing that the title of the second Trek series is proof that, not only in the 24th Century but also in the 22nd, people don't have children until they're in their late 70s.
Then Archer turns around and says the colonists have been living in the caves for two generations.
Then T'Pol says they have been living on this planet for three generations.
Did anybody actually read this script twice?
Whettestone obviously didn't watch the episode twice. Archer said they'd been hearing that humans were the enemy for "more than two generations" . . . that process would've begun after the asteroid hit, some 70 years prior. One would commonly assume that a generation would be 20-25 years or so (though, in theory, one could push that up to 40). Phlox said that their immunity to the radiation had been protecting them for "two or three generations". And as Whettestone says, T'Pol said they'd been on the planet for three generations. Gee, am I the only one who doesn't see a problem with that?
No, Enterprise isn't perfect. Neither was the Original Series . . . if you've ever experimented by watching TOS with the same attitude as used to watch a Voyager episode, you've noticed that. But, that doesn't mean TOS was awful . . . and the same is true of Enterprise.
Enterprise could indeed be better . . . I salute Whettestone for occasionally happening on ways in which that could be so, and for correctly identifying Berman and Braga as the primary sources of most modern-day Trek crappiness. Of course, given that Whettestone thinks that Enterprise should have been given a detachable explodable saucer with a Transformers-style drive section (hello, where's the reactor? . . . in the saucer), he has his own brand of crappiness that he'd add to the mix if he were in charge.
Berman and Braga ran out of steam a long time ago, and are stifling the franchise. The trick for Trek would be to find someone who can give it a new freshness, pick good people to have under him or her, and not make it suck. It might involve trying to grab some of the grand old ones like Behr.
Whatever happens, I hope it happens soon. We're coming up on the third season of a series which, if all goes according to the norm, will last only four beyond that. So far, it's not that impressive. Sure, there have been some good episodes . . . and incidentally, they've usually been the ones that B&B weren't anywhere close to. I like the series more than Voyager, but that's not saying much. Right now, it's like watching Star Wars Episode I on repeat.
Surely Star Trek can do better than that.