Star Trek 714: Daedalus

714. Daedalus

FORMULA: The Visitor + The Ultimate Computer + New Ground + Jetrel

WHY WE LIKE IT: The glimpse into the transporter's development.

WHY WE DON'T: Characters we don't care about.

REVIEW: I remember being stoked back in 2005 when I saw the title for this episode. After all, the Daedalus is an early class of ship (the one with the ball instead of saucer, later referenced by the Pasteur) that would have been super-advanced in Enterprise's time. But the title has nothing to do with that. Bummer. Not that the mythological reference is lost on me (Daedalus is Icarus' father), but it's still a disappointment. And it only goes downhill from there.

The episode is actually about Emory Erickson, the scientist who invented the transporter, and a family friend of Archer's. Like Daystrom in The Ultimate Computer, he's chasing past success and trying to come up with a long-range transporter. Some of the discussions about transporter technology are fun, relating to future transporter accidents or fan discussions on its improbability and metaphysical concerns. However, we soon find out Erickson has another agenda.

He's actually trying to rescue his discorporated son, "killed" in a transporter accident 15 years before. Quinn Erickson has apparently been transformed into a subspace anomaly that can blow fuses and kill people when it intersects with our space. It's a bit of a ghost story, with technobabble tacked on. Even the starless environment, the Barrens, which might have been interesting as the space between our galaxy's spiral arms, is described as a subspace anomaly. Despite its human elements, Daedalus is very much a Voyager plot.

And though it shares similarities with The Visitor, it is doomed to failure because unlike Jake and Sisko, we don't know these people. Their relationship to Archer is not enough to make us care about them. There is some pathos to Erickson, crippled by a transporter accident himself and distraught over the loss of his son, but he's essentially the "misguided villain" of the piece (not that I buy Trip's moral outrage at the man or the conflict this creates between him and Archer). His daughter Danica is wasted as Archer's childhood friend. She doesn't do much except provide Erickson an opportunity to reveal his plans to the audience. And Quinn, well, he lives for all of five seconds once rematerialized.

That climax is in fact very badly done. Unmotivated camera zooms aside, the death scene is awkwardly staged. It's not working and everyone tells Erickson to let his son go, but then it seems to work, but he's dead on arrival... It seems like the script didn't quite know where it was going, or maybe lines were left over from a version where Quinn survived? The slim story then gives way to 6 minutes of epilogue, showing Trip having come to terms with not being with T'Pol. She's simply replaced her marriage with intense study of the Kir'Shara and has no time for boys. I could have used more fallout from The Forge instead of being sidetracked by guest characters.

LESSON: Transporters will never replace starships. The crews just wouldn't be as interesting.

REWATCHABILITY - Low: Dull, dull, dull. A rare technobabble plot for Enterprise shows we've gotten past that kind of stuff.

4 comments:

De said...

I have to agree almost totally here. It's a shame too, because Bill Cobbs is an awesome actor who was pretty much wasted here.

Not sure if you knew this, but Bill Cobbs was one of John Billingsley's co-stars on the short-lived series The Others. It's worth checking out if you haven't already.

suedenim said...

Huh, I'd completely forgotten about this episode's existence until now, and even with the reminder, I can't remember a single memorable thing about it.

mwb said...

Arrrgh, did any series skip the all Transporter accident plot or is one of the universal re-hashed plots in the franchise? (Happened in the movies too.)

Siskoid said...

The answer is no.

 

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