Star Trek 683: Extinction

683. Extinction

FORMULA: Favorite Son + Identity Crisis + The Great Tribble Hunt

WHY WE LIKE IT: The body language.

WHY WE DON'T: Getting off-track.

REVIEW: This is technically the first episode of Star Trek: Enterprise, as opposed to just Enterprise, a change that strangely comes a couple episodes after the series premiere, and that celebrates it by giving us some Same Old Trek instead of truly pursuing the Xindi arc. In fact, with a plot that magically transforms members of the cast, mind and body, into aliens, it feels like we're back in Voyager territory (including a rather violent teaser that stars none of the principals). The CSI interior anatomy shot to show it seems equally out of place.

Still, hats off to Bakula, Park and Keating for creating or at least portraying a distinctive body language when turned into the Loque'eque. We can believe these aliens, even if we can't quite believe how they came about. We know mutagenic viruses exist in the Star Trek universe, but it doesn't make lightning-fast "DNA" transformations or "ancestral knowledge" coded into DNA any more believable. The episode suffers from unusually lazy writing, with the "exterminators" not reacting to the shuttlepod coming back from the surface with an "infection", and Phlox curing the disease perhaps a bit too quickly (thanks to a rather lucky half-eaten peach). At least recovery is shown to be slow, both physically and psychologically. Same Old Trek would have simply washed away the wounds with a good laugh. As always, I could do with fewer images of writhing maggots.

To be fair, there is a connection to the Xindi arc, but the episode ends up being a blind alley. As the episode begins, Archer seems not to have moved away from his Xindi database since the previous story, and he follows an arboreal Xindi to the Loque'eque planet. The ending where Archer chooses to keep a sample of the mutagenic virus, apparently because it's the last vestige of an extinct civilization, seems to set up its use as a final weapon against the Xindi by season's end. At the time, I remember feeling both uneasy and anxious (a good thing, in this context), but it's never heard from again, wiping away any reason for this episode to be included in the season (aside from explaining a small moment in the next one).

LESSON: Just because it's fuzzy doesn't mean you should throw away that piece of fruit.

REWATCHABILITY - Low Medium: While well produced, Extinction stands out as far too irrelevant to the season's epic story arc.


De said...

I think the virus was indeed an option against the Xindi, kind of a last resort weapon, but became less so as the story arc played out.

Andy said...

I exaggerate very little when I say this is one of the most influential TV shows of all time. When Star Trek came out there were so few TV shows or movies about space.
Enjoi all eps Watch Star Trek Free here...


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