Star Trek 708: Borderland

708. Borderland

FORMULA: Space Seed + Blaze of Glory + The Pirates of Orion

WHY WE LIKE IT: Brent Spiner. The martial arts. The Orions.

WHY WE DON'T: Not enough slave girl!

REVIEW: The first of Enterprise's 3-part stories for this season - a good idea that essentially creates 2-hour movies for bigger stories - the Augment arc is representative of what Enterprise will be doing in its fourth and final season (and perhaps what it should have been doing all along). The arc uses established continuity as fuel for stories, adding pieces to the puzzle that will take us from First Contact to TOS and beyond.

Sure, bringing back Brent Spiner to play a Soong, this one a brilliant criminal interested in genetically improving humanity (are all Soongs mad scientists? it obviously runs in the family), is something of a stunt. However, you have to admit that it makes us more interested than if he were just a guest-star of the week. And all is forgiven thanks to his darkly witty performance. Soong reminded me of Lex Luthor in the best Superman stories, much smarter than the heroes and fully aware of it. His leading Enterprise to the wrong part of space just so it can be waylayed by Orion pirates and giving him a chance to escape is well played, and a bit of turnabout for a crew that uses such tricks a lot.

His "children", raised from embryos stored since the Eugenics Wars (what to do with them is a rather believable controversy), are called Augments, a new term, but tons better than DS9's "mutants". The Augments are of Khan's bent, not only engineered for superior brains and brawn, but for superior ambition as well. And judging from the pretty incredible martial arts on display, were tweaked even further by Soong. The excellent Dune mini-series' Alec Newman plays Malik, the most ambitious of them all, and fans of The Unit will retroactively recognize Tiffy (I mean, Abby Brammell) as Persis. She betrays the current leader (a bit of a peacemonger) to Malik for love and power. Great Augment scenes include their total ownage of a Klingon vessel (made even more shocking by the inclusion of J.G. Hertzler as the captain - you wouldn't think "Martok" would be killed off that quickly) and Malik's warning to Archer before he grabs him by the throat, a chilling show of speed and ability. The Macos didn't have a change.

Of course, most of the episode takes place in the Borderland, a buffer zone between Klingon and Orion space. It's our first live-action look at the Orion males and they are impressive. Professional wrestler Big Show plays the lead slaver and he is HUGE. Seeing shake T'Pol in the air as she's being auctioned off is pretty incredible. When we see Orions again, they may suffer like the Hirogen did when they couldn't all be played by Tiny Ron. A slave girl makes only a cameo, and it's too bad, because she is hot enough to make me forget Vina. Whoa, Nelly. One thing's for sure, the make-up department has really mastered the previously difficult colors of blue and green. Nice tones! The Orion ships are raptor-like, with a toothiness that might recall the primitive effects of TOS and the orange beasts of the cartoon, but in green like that, they look too much like a Romulan, or at first I though Klingon, design. And I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the word "Syndicate" which seemed anachronistic to me. They should only get "syndicated" later when other species join the network. Still, it's great to see the Orions at all, like the Tellarites and Andorians, one of the great ignored species of TOS.

A few notes on cosmetic changes made to the show, now that Enterprise is back in Near Space and all fixed up. T'Pol has been granted a Starfleet commission, but isn't wearing the uniform, only the rank insignia (now a "commander"). Somewhat odd, but maybe you have to earn a jumpsuit at the Academy. She looks to be avoiding Trip after the awkward way Home ended. You might also notice a new captain's chair and transporter room set, but these changes are altogether minor.

LESSON: Kidnappers keepers.

REWATCHABILITY - High: Spiner is a delight, the Augments charismatic and scary, and the Orions make a grand entrance.

0 comments:

 

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 Orville 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 Zero Hour Strikes Zine