First Time Enterprise: Watching Broken Bow


In my ongoing mission to round out my Star Trek knowledge, I’m watching through Enterprise for the first time. Today, we watch “Broken Bow”.

I feel like I know Star Trek. I was raised on it from the first days of The Next Generation and stayed in tune with that fandom throughout my childhood and adulthood, through Deep Space Nine and Voyager (although, full disclosure, there are holes in my knowledge there as well), but that’s about as far as it went.

Yes, I’m one of those who have missed out almost entirely on Enterprise. I have watched a couple episodes here and there over the years, but I couldn’t name the whole bridge crew and I’m not exactly sure what the Augment Virus is. At long last, it’s time to rectify this oversight, and this ongoing series is the result.

I’ll be watching Star Trek: Enterprise from start to finish, live tweeting it on the @RedShirtsDieFS Twitter account and documenting my observations on the pages of this site.

Without further ado, let’s get started on “Broken Bow”, the two-part series premiere of Enterprise.

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First impressions:

One of the most striking elements of the first few scenes of this episode is the melding of the familiar with the futuristic and alien. A Klingon being chased through an Oklahoma cornfield by the previously-unknown Suliban is a perfect example of this. It’s visually appealing but delightfully jarring at the same time.

Along the same vein, when Earth and Federation leadership meet with Vulcan leadership to discuss the injured Klingon, it’s fascinating to see multiple races of aliens gathered in a room while the humans wear military uniforms and quaint affectations like ties.

Another blast from the past is James Cromwell’s Zephram Cochrane. A long-time favorite actor and character with extensive ties to the franchise, his presence fits perfectly into the launch of the maiden voyage of Enterprise.

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The visuals were striking. Not quite movie quality, they were certainly superior to anything seen before on the small screen in franchise history. Specific examples include the now-traditional shuttlecraft approach to the NX-01 in spacedock, the departure from spacedock and the shuttlecraft landing on Rigel 10. You just didn’t see scenes like that on TNG, DS9 and VOY.

The crew:

Chemistry evolved quickly between T’Pol and Hoshi, and between T’Pol and both Captain Archer and Trip Tucker. Mind you, I’m aware of how T’Pol and Tucker’s relationship forms in the future, but watching it develop from the ground up should be interesting. T’Pol’s typical Vulcan coldness seemed to melt somewhat over the course of the episode as she came to trust Archer and Tucker, and as she came to respect Hoshi’s abilities. That said, T’Pol eating a bread stick with a fork and knife won’t be a scene I soon forget. I tend to gravitate towards the Vulcan (and android) characters, so I’m excited to see how she develops.

Hoshi herself seems to be a work in progress. Obviously a supremely talented linguist, she’s young and in an era where still very few humans are prepared for deep-space travel, she’s probably less prepared than most Starfleet personnel at this point. That said, I’m really going to enjoy watching her build up translations for the varied aliens they’ll encounter. On a show where they’re rebuilding the awe of space exploration, we’re basically viewing this new universe through Hoshi’s eyes.

Trip Tucker seems to be a loyal, well-meaning and a highly-qualified officer, but he also seems to be a bit of a dope. That said, he’s my favorite character so far through one episode, and it’s not even a little close. Give me more Trip.

As for Captain Jonathan Archer, the series opens up with him and his father talking about “Admiral Pointy”. As far as racism in Star Trek goes, it’s pretty mild, but we definitely see how his view of the Vulcan race is formed from an early age. It does seem that the Vulcans were holding back humanity’s progress, whether it be ostensibly for humanity’s own good or for the Vulcans’ benefit themselves, but his perspective as a child is understandable. As a captain, he seems to be fair and highly competent, a good soldier and decision-maker. Archer is the only captain in the franchise who I do not know inside and out, so I’ll be keeping a close eye on his progression. So far, I am a fan.

Most valuable player:

Captain Jonathan Archer. I can already tell why advocates of Enterprise consider him to be a highly-underrated captain.

Least valuable player:

So far, it’s gotta be Malcolm Reed. I had to go back and look up his name. Let’s see more Malcolm!

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Final observations:

The conclusion of this episode was utter garbage (all of this to not even know WHAT the secret encoded in the Klingon’s blood said??), but everything up until the end was much better than I expected. I enjoyed this episode and I’m looking forward to “Fight or Flight”, episode two. So far, I am a bigger Enterprise fan than I had planned.