Star Trek 721: Bound

721. Bound

FORMULA: Mudd's Women + Borderland + Raijin

WHY WE LIKE IT: Hubba! Hubba!

WHY WE DON'T: My Orion girlfriend says there is no possible reason.

REVIEW: Finally, a little more is done with the Orions when an Orion captain invites Archer aboard his ship to smooth relations between Starfleet and the Syndicate. We get a sense of their Arabian Nights-inspired culture and a nicely choreographed and shot (if extended) dance/seduction sequence with three Orion slave girls. The girls will be given to Archer as a gift, though we're not naive enough to think this gesture of good will is anything but a ploy to get Archer and/or his ship. When Archer accepts the invitation in the first place, it clarifies what his new motivation is: He's turning himself into a diplomat to make Near Space safer for humanity. Makes perfect sense given the last couple years.

But of course, it's also obvious that the Orion slave girls have some kind of hold on him (and men in general). I'm sure some see Bound as a sort of homage to the sexual mores of the TOS era, and as such, just as juvenile as those attitudes were when tongue was not squarely pressed in cheek. But the idea that the Orions have a pheromone that makes men pliant to their wishes makes this more of a mind control episode, and not symptomatic of the characters' naturally sexist attitudes. This ability, no doubt developped as part of natural selection, gives the women the ability to create competition between the men (they get aggressive) and take out their own competition (gives women headaches). For Phlox, a hormonal mystery, it disrupts his normal sleeping cycle (always fun to see him sleep-drunk). Ultimately, the joke is that Orion women are in charge, not slaves, but enslavers, probably putting themselves on the open market to take control of targeted buyers.

To lure Enterprise to its doom, the women target Archer, of course, but also the new chief engineer Kelby. He's already got a problem with Trip returning to help with repairs, afraid he'll lose his promotion, and is a perfect candidate for sabotaging the engine. The only characters effectively immune to Orion wiles are T'Pol and Trip. Her, because Vulcans are naturally immune. Him, because of the Vulcan mating bond they share. It's more of that "magical daydream" stuff, and a little silly, but it does create a few humorous moments. When the Maco are left guarding the slave girls, it's only a matter of time before they have them seduced (great performance from the girls there), and they head for the bridge. Trip walks in to save the day, but can he resist a full frontal pheromonal attack? Hell yeah!

In the epilogue, Trip officially returns to Enterprise, having it cleared by Archer, but teasing T'Pol to see if SHE wants him back. Good to see him have the upper hand in that relationship. However, he was gone for so short a time, I have to ask what the point was of having him leave in the first place. Missed opportunities. Still, nice to see the Orions explored a little before they draw the curtains on the Star Trek franchise. There's plenty of other TOS references too: Enterprise heads to the planet where Spock once saw "dragons", the Gorn merit a mention, and Deltans once came aboard Travis' home ship (the origin of why he's so buff... sexual frustration!).

LESSON: If Enterprise story logic held in the real world, I'd be more ripped than Schwarzenegger.

REWATCHABILITY - Medium-High: Though not a major episode, it's still a lot of fun and uncovers details about one of TOS' most famous, yet underutilized species.

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