Star Trek 670: Future Tense

670. Future Tense

FORMULA: One Small Step + Cause and Effect + The Tholian Web + Doctor Who

WHY WE LIKE IT: The Tholians! Yessssssssssss!

WHY WE DON'T: Wasting time on time loops.

REVIEW: Of any of Enterprise's four seasons, the second can most readily be accused of Same Old Trek syndrome. And in a way, those bog standard stories make the Temporal Cold War stuff seem less out of place. Good for those 2 or 3 episodes, I guess. In Future Tense, a ship from Daniels' time, the 31st century, is found, and Enterprise must contend with time-active factions who wish to retrieve it. Along the way, a couple of temporal anomalies hit the crew, though at least we're in a time before the word "chroniton" was coined.

The mystery surrounding the ship is handled well enough. It's bigger on the inside like a TARDIS (an admitted homage), and its pilot is the result of generations of interspecies dating. Though the latter sparks some conversations, the former is underutilized beyond its initial shock value. Since it is damaged, it leaks radiation that spins people near it into repeating time loops, nothing we haven't seen before (very close to Cause and Effect, in fact), and in one case, amounting to a lot of padding. Archer and Reed working on a warhead only to see their work reset creates tension, but when the warhead is deployed and immediately defused, we realize the scene was only wasting our time (repeatedly).

The Suliban were expected, especially with a TCW-type title like Future Tense, though they do show off a new and bigger ship. Still modular and vaguely crystalline, I don't think I like it better than the cell ships. Much more interesting (almost guaranteed to make you squee with glee, I'd say) is the first appearance of the Tholians since their very first in TOS. They don't quite have their web yet, but they do have some kind of energy dampening weapon. They're voices are like radio squelches. We're teased with finally seeing them in person, but that'll have to wait a bit longer. We're not ready yet. What do I think about adding them as players to the Temporal Cold War? Well, they already have ties to interdimensionality, having been known to send ships to the Negative Zone or whatever. It's too early to evaluate their role in all this.

Being caught between the Suliban and the Tholians generates some sweet outer space action. Plenty of tension to go around as Enterprise tries to reach Vulcan reinforcements only to find them dead in space (good moment). Yes, it ends in something of a deus ex machina, but one the characters have to work for. Trip's activation of the time beacon is as much part of the action as the rest.

LESSON: You can't keep a good alien down for more than 35 years, tops.

REWATCHABILITY - High Medium: The addition of the Tholians alone makes it worth seeing this side story of the Temporal Cold War.


De said...

Your thought about the Tholians being a factor in the TCW makes a lot of sense. It also explains how the Tholians' abilities were more advanced in the Mirror Universe.


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