Star Trek 635: The Andorian Incident

635. The Andorian Incident

FORMULA: Journey to Babel + Starship Mine

WHY WE LIKE IT: Andorians done right.

WHY WE DON'T: The lasciviousness.

REVIEW: Screw the Temporal Cold War, here's an arc I'm for more interested in - the first steps taken towards the Federation. The Andorians appear here for what might as well be the first time, actually well realized after their laughable make-up effects in TOS and the other series largely ignoring them. Michael Westmore has done a great job making them an acceptable blue and giving them expressive antennae that are cool rather than silly.

A lot of the credit has to go to Jeffrey Combs as Shran, creating a character that's totally distinguishable from Weyoun, Brunt, et al. The Andorians are volatile, mercurial, violent. They shoot first and ask questions maybe. In fact, it's rather easy for the stoic, reasoned, peaceful Vulcans to discredit them in the galactic community. Who would believe this band of thugs against the word of Vulcan monks?

Enter humanity. Humans are the new player, changing the balance of power in Near Space. Our less extreme approach (compared to alien cultures which often reflect only one aspect of ourselves) puts us in the middle. And that will be our part in the long run: as a bridge between this various peoples in conflict (Vulcan sure know how to make friends, don't they?). Without humanity, there is no Federation. The twist, of course, is that the Andorians were right and that the P'Jem Monastery WAS hiding a sensor array in defiance of their treaty. It's fun to see a pre-Prime Directive Starfleet crew get involved and make value judgments. In this case, they side with the antagonistic Andorians over their long-time allies, despite being called "pinkskins" at every turn.

This episode has the kind of action promised by the pilot, with Archer particularly effective as the hero. I'm also warming to Reed, who frets about security precautions, or lack thereof. He fusses a lot, over equipment and protocols, which gives him an endearing quality. T'Pol, sadly, seems to be a catalyst for lascivious talk and positions. They have her spoon with the captain, and an Andorian intimates that he would like to rape her. Please, no more of that. As for the directing, there are a couple of nice flourishes (how the Andorians are discovered, a transition between coins and a giant face). Why is it that any time I notice some directorial flair, it's often a former Trek actor at the helm? In this case, the very able Roxann Dawson.

LESSON: Never trust people who think themselves superior to you.

REWATCHABILITY - High: I loved the political side of Deep Space 9, and with the claustrophobic nature of Near Space, there's room for this kind of thing on Enterprise as well. Great reintroduction of the Andorians. Now for some Tellarites!

6 comments:

De said...

This one is still a favorite of mine. Heck, just about any episode with Shran was a good one (except for "Shadows of P'Jem"—that one's still pretty dumb).

Siskoid said...

Only remember the title. It's nice that these last few months of reviews, I'm going in almost fresh. It comes back to me as I watch, but I don't really know anything but the major beats, not having seen Enterprise episodes more than once when originally aired.

Bebert said...

Still this is one of my favorite episodes of all time. Vulcans as bad guys, awesome.

Jeffrey said...

Definitely in the top 5 episodes. My only gripe is that this is the beginning of Captain Punching Bag, as I liked to call Archer during Season 1.

Siskoid said...

I'll be on the lookout for that, Jeff.

Haven't got my Enterprise drinking game down yet.

Doctor Mi said...

BEST. ST:ENT. EVER.

I agree with everything. It is refreshing to see the vulcans so devious and secretive. It gives credit to Spock's Vulcan/Romulan unity theory.

 

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