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Star Trek: Enterprise – Observer Effect (Review)

This May, we’re taking a look at the fourth (and final) season of Star Trek: Enterprise. Check back daily for the latest review.

Much as with Daedalus, there is a weirdly mournful tone to Observer Effect.

The basic plot of the episode follows two Organian characters hopping from body to body while watching Archer and his crew confront a deadly virus that infected Trip and Hoshi during a routine planetary investigation. The closing line of the teaser even features organian!Reed promising “somebody always dies.” Sure enough, that turns out to be true. Both Trip and Hoshi “die” over the course of the episode, while Archer himself is sentenced to certain death. These deaths are ultimately reversed, but they set a tone for the episode.

Trip gets it in the neck.

Trip gets it in the neck.

Observer Effect seems to be a tacit acknowledgement that Star Trek: Enterprise is effectively dead in the water, that the show is now limping towards the end of the fourth season where it might be retired permanently. Two weeks after Observer Effect aired, UPN would announce that Enterprise was cancelled. There would be no last-minute reprieve for the show. Although Observer Effect had been written months before the decision was made, the production team knew that the writing was on the wall.

However, what is most interesting about Observer Effect is not so much the fascination with the inevitable death of Enterprise, but the episode’s fascination with those watching (and commentating upon) the spectacle from the sidelines.

They like to watch.

They like to watch.

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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – If Wishes Were Horses… (Review)

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is twenty years old this year. To celebrate, I’m taking a look at the first season. Check back daily for the latest review or retrospective.

And after Progress gives us the most Deep-Space-Nine-y” episode yet, If Wishes Were Horses… offers the most generic Star Trek episode this side of The Passenger. The plot here should be very familiar. Like in Imaginary Friend or Shore Leave, the characters find their imaginations seem to be bringing things to life. Of course, it turns out to be an advanced alien intelligence that really just wants to study our crew, like in The Observer Effect or Scientific Method or even Schism. What I’m getting at here is that there’s really very little in this premise which hasn’t been done before or since on Star Trek, and nothing which wouldn’t feel more at home on Star Trek: The Next Generation or Star Trek: Voyager.

While it’s not as bad as The Passenger or Move Along Home, it is terribly generic and it feels like a waste of an episode in an already truncated season.

If wishes were emus...

If wishes were emus…

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