Star Trek 673: Judgment

673. Judgment

FORMULA: The Undiscovered Country + Tribunal + A Matter of Perspective

WHY WE LIKE IT: Nostalgia for ST VI.

WHY WE DON'T: The escape.

REVIEW: Archer's being put on trial by the Klingons, and it's like a flashback(forward) to Star Trek VI. As much as I like that film and think it's cool to see the courtroom again, Judgment borrows perhaps a bit too much from it. It's not just the set, there's the whole idea of a kangaroo court and the commuted death sentence sending a Starfleet captain to Rura Penthe. Been there, done that, enjoyed it so don't mind visiting again, but it's never like it was the first time, was it?

We find out in flashbacks just what happened to get Archer there. Basically, while he was taking on refugees, he had to defend them from a Klingon attack (by Duras Son of Toral, how cute) and in so doing, defied the claim the Empire had on the refugees' colony. The way Duras tells it, they were dangerous rebels and Archer was an arrogant warmonger. Of course, putting a Duras in the role telegraphs the fact he's lying. That family will have a long history of deceit. Archer's own recollection sets things right, but doesn't give us much new information. I mean, we could tell where Duras was distorting the truth in the first place, and we simply get to see the action from the Enterprise's bridge instead of a third person POV. It's redundant, and also has some clumsy editing as we come back from commercial directly into the flashback.

The more interesting bits have to do with Archer's advocate, Kolos, played by J.G. Hertzler of Martok fame. Bit hard not to see Martok's ancestor there. I find such casting a bit distracting, personally. But he's as good as ever. Archer reminds him of his duty, appeals to his adversarial Klingon side, and allows him to regain his honor in a system that has become corrupt. Kolos has an interesting arc and his final solution, to call Archer a meddler by showing how he actually helped the Empire in the past, is a good one. How to save both Archer's life and the Empire's honor. But their relationship is also a way to contrast human and Klingon cultures. How can the latter ever respect the former if compassion is not valued in its society?

Of course, Archer is still sent to Rura Penthe, as is Kolos for contempt of court. The prison isn't as expansive as in ST VI, but the frozen caves look right (surely they haven't been dug out as much), and the matte shot is very cool. Unfortunately, escape from "the aliens' graveyard" is rather easy and unglamorous. Bribing a minor official? Sure, why not. Still, Archer and Reed just walk out as the guards take no notice.

LESSON: Every first contact with the Klingons is a bad first contact.

REWATCHABILITY - Medium: It looks good, and Hertzler certainly brings something to Kolos, but it borrows way too much from The Undiscovered Country to feel in any way fresh.

4 comments:

snell said...

I think the episode puts way too much pressure on the prequel conceit.

We suspend our disbelief readily enough for almost anything else Enterprise wants to show us--sure, the Fernegi never actually said they were Ferengi, that's good enough for me!

But surely this HAD to be an interstellar incident of the highest order! The captain of Earth's first starship is captured and condemned to a Klingon prison colony...that's like Christopher Columbus getting life in Guantanamo, and yet we've never heard a glimmer of it??

Plus, where's the follow up? The Klingon never notice prominent, politically sensitive prisoners are missing?!? They didn't notice when Earth government stopped haranguing for their release? Future Earth/Klingon relations aren't tainted by "where the hell is Archer?" arguments???

There are times when Enterprise wasn't any better than Voyager at actually following up on their ideas, on having any real kind of continuity. This episode was one of them.

Jayunderscorezero said...

I may have mentioned this before, but this episode is featured right alongside fellow ST:VI-influenced episode "Flashback" in a certain ST DVD collection, which really emphasises even further how much of a lift from ST:VI this is. And yes, that "escape" is the most amazing last-second cop-out.

Siskoid said...

While I agree with you about the lack of galactic consequences, Snell, the escape did have a follow-up. In fact, the two last episodes of the season have the Klingons running after Archer.

De said...

I had hoped that Reed might have beamed down to get a lock on Archer and the two of them beam out of there. It would explain the anti-transporter shield nearly 150 years later.

 

Blog Archive

Category

5 Things to Like Activities Advice Alien Nation Aliens Say the Darndest Things Alpha Flight Amalgam Ambush Bug Animal Man anime Aquaman Archetypes Archie Heroes Arrowed Asterix Atom Avengers Awards Babylon 5 Batman Battle Shovel Battlestar Galactica Black Canary BnB 2-in1 Books Booster Gold Buffy Canada Captain America Captain Marvel Cat CCGs Charlton Circles of Hell Class Comics Comics Code Approved Conan Contest Cooking Crisis Daredevil Dating Kara Zor-El Dating Lois Lane Dating Lucy Lane Dating Princess Diana DCAU Deadman Dial H Dice Dinosaur Island Dinosaurs Director Profiles Doctor Who Doom Patrol Down the Rabbit Hole Dr. Strange Encyclopedia Fantastic Four Fashion Nightmares Fiasco Films Within Films Flash Flushpoint Foldees French Friday Night Fights Fun with Covers FW Team-Up Galleries Game design Gaming Geekly roundup Geeks Anonymous Geekwear Gimme That Star Trek Godzilla Golden Age Grant Morrison Great Match-Ups of Science Fiction Green Arrow Green Lantern Hawkman Hero Points Podcast Holidays House of Mystery Hulk Human Target Improv Inspiration Intersect Invasion Invasion Podcast Iron Man Jack Kirby Jimmy Olsen JLA JSA Judge Dredd K9 the Series Kirby Motivationals Krypto Kung Fu Learning to Fly Legion Letters pages Liveblog Lonely Hearts Podcast Lord of the Rings Machine Man Motivationals Man-Thing Marquee Masters of the Universe Memes Memorable Moments Metal Men Metamorpho Micronauts Millennium Mini-Comics Monday Morning Macking Movies Mr. Terrific Music Nelvana of the Northern Lights Nightmare Fuel Number Ones Obituaries oHOTmu OR NOT? Old52 One Panel Outsiders Panels from Sheena Paper Dolls Play Podcast Polls Questionable Fridays Radio Rants Reaganocomics Recollected Red Bee Red Tornado Reign Retro-Comics Reviews Rom RPGs Sandman Sapphire & Steel Sarah Jane Adventures Saturday Morning Cartoons SBG for Girls Seasons of DWAITAS Secret Origins Podcast Secret Wars SF Shut Up Star Boy Silver Age Siskoid as Editor Siskoid's Mailbox Space 1999 Spectre Spider-Man Spring Cleaning ST non-fiction ST novels: DS9 ST novels: S.C.E. ST novels: The Shat ST novels: TNG ST novels: TOS Star Trek Streaky Suicide Squad Supergirl Superman Supershill Swamp Thing Tales from Earth-Prime Team Horrible Teen Titans That Franchise I Never Talk About The Prisoner The Thing Then and Now Theory Thor Thursdays of Two Worlds Time Capsule Timeslip Tintin Torchwood Tourist Traps of the Forgotten Realms Toys Turnarounds TV V Waking Life Warehouse 13 Websites What If? Who's This? Whoniverse-B Wikileaked Wonder Woman X-Files X-Men Zine