Star Trek 697: Hatchery

697. Hatchery

FORMULA: Dramatis Personae + Extinction + Parturition

WHY WE LIKE IT: The stuff about the Xindi insects (hatchery set, biology, their babies).

WHY WE DON'T: Crazy Mommy Archer.

REVIEW: A Xindi crash site provides more filler as Enterprise takes a multiple-day break to get an insectoid hatchery aboard up and running. While I do believe it's the "right thing to do", Archer's behavior is obviously influenced by an egg pod's spray. That's part and parcel of what's so frustrating about this episode. Archer's at once right and not right. Yes, it's a good idea to try to save the Xindi hatchlings as a gesture of peace and to be humane. When Trip wants to get all Ripley on the hatchery, Archer's point is on the nose about whether he would feel the same way about a primate nursery. But at the same time, he goes too far, giving up too much antimatter and locking up his senior officers at the first sign of dissension. Now imagine the episode without the extremism. Imagine if there was a mutiny and Archer HADN'T been compromised. Sadly, an alien influence sidesteps the entire moral argument, weakens Archer ethically (because he's NOT doing the right thing, only obeying an imposed will) and Phlox professionally (for not catching it).

It does give us a chance to learn more about the insectoid Xindi though, and what we discover is pretty neat. They're very short-lived, so place a premium on reproduction. Their egg sacks are a nice, gooey change from the usual pile up (in Alien or Devil in the Dark, for example). When they touch a control, the computer responds as a series of clicks. A capture shuttle has a nice look. And the babies are cute. I'm less enthusiastic about the cliché alveola on the walls or the aforementioned motherly love juice, but the rest is an interesting examination.

Tensions between Starfleet and the Maco are revived for this episode, but their fight isn't particularly memorable. Maybe Enterprise has done too many insurrection stories and has finally run dry of new ideas for staging them? In the end, everything is solved by a massive infodump and everything is forgiven. A disappointing and cheap result.

LESSON: Mother knows best.

REWATCHABILITY - Low Medium: The last of the filler episodes this season (I think and hope!), it offers some interesting background information, but is hardly essential.


mwb said...

Can I just applaud you getting this far in the series?

Well done.

You're long past the point I just stopped trying to watch.

Siskoid said...

It's about to get real good. Despite some inevitable dips, Ent Seasons 3 and 4 feature the most underrated Trek ever.


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