Star Trek 666: The Catwalk

666. The Catwalk

FORMULA: Fair Haven + Apollo 13 + Starship Mine

WHY WE LIKE IT: A new and unusual part of the ship.

WHY WE DON'T: A bit too compartmentalized.

REVIEW: The kind of story that was inspired by looking through one of those technical manual, it features the inside of a warp nacelle for the first time since Eye of the Beholder, and to good effect. When a deadly [technobabble] storm front approaches, Enterprise can't outrun it at its low speed (epic fail moment), so the crew takes refuge inside a nacelle where they can best weather the radioactive barrage.

The "catwalk" becomes a kind of shanty town for the week, where we see the crew roughing it, getting on each others' nerves, and sharing the kinds of moments you only do on long road trips or camping excursions (talking through all hours of the night, for example). Enterprise features some of its best ideas when the dangers of space travel are the focus, and the switch to a cramped section reminds me of Apollo 13's famous move to the lander. It would have been nice to see the nacelle as one long tube crammed with people, but compartments was no doubt more realistic and cost effective. At least we get to see Chef (sort of) for the first (and technically last) time.

Though tensions get naturally high, an outside danger rears its head when Engineering comes online all by its lonesome. Turns out some refugees Enterprise took on are fugitives from a piratical military force who's trying to confiscate Enterprise. They don't know the crew's in a nacelle and are about to fry them alive by turning on the engines. At this point, the episode turns into Die Hard, with lots of action, bravado and clever tricks to get the aliens off the ship. Fun stuff.

LESSON: Save the animals, but screw the hydroponics.

REWATCHABILITY - Medium-High: A clever use of the ship's entire space with plenty of character moments, but also a satisfying action-filled finale.



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