First Time Enterprise: Watching Fight or Flight


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

As I boldly go to fill my knowledge-base of all that is Star Trek, Enterprise is on my agenda. With the exception of a handful of episodes, I’ve never watched Enterprise. I aim to rectify that oversight, and am watching through the series for the first time. We began the First Time Enterprise series with “Broken Bow”, and today we watch “Fight or Flight”.

As I watch each episode, I’ll be live tweeting my observations as they come moment by moment on the @redshirtsdieFS Twitter account, and documenting my observations and findings on the pages of this website. Follow along, if you will.

Without further ado, let’s review Star Trek: Enterprise, season 1, episode 2, “Fight or Flight”.

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First impressions:

Through two episodes they’ve done a great job of  not just portraying the awe of being in deep space, but the inevitable boredom that comes when you’re the only sentient life forms for light years. They’ve been in space for two weeks, and the crew is bored out of their minds. Hoshi Sato is tending to her ailing alien worm, Sluggo, and Dr. Phlox wants to feed him to his bat.

In addition to wanting to feed alien creatures to other alien creatures, Dr. Phlox is spending his free time observing the crew. Deeply observing the crew. He notes that a young couple in the mess hall is preparing to mate and suggests they may allow him to watch. Go back to your bat, Phlox.

Malcolm Reed is messing with aiming sensors and struggling to fine tune them. He’s not having much luck.

They finally stumble on a ship full of dead aliens, suspended upside down and hooked up to hydraulics pumping their bodies. One thing this show has done really well is portray creepy visuals. Much like the camouflaged Suliban sneaking throughout the ship in Broken Bow, the dead aliens being hung and used as natural resources really makes the skin crawl.

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Archer wants to stay, Tucker and T’Pol want to hit the road. After all, given the contraption at work aboard the alien ship, whoever did this is coming back. Archer wants to investigate, they would rather not. The decision itself is more interesting than it might seem. After all, we’re accustomed to our Starfleet protagonists riding in to save the day, but Enterprise and her crew are a very small fish in an impossibly deep pond with unknown terrors around every corner.

Of course, they stay. And the perpetrators of the atrocity return, as well as a member of the race that was massacred by the attacking alien. Fortunately, Hoshi pulls it together in time to tell that alien what was happening, and Enterprise gets the help they need to avoid being butchered.

Earlier in the episode Hoshi expressed a desire to go back to her teaching job on Earth, but by the end only Sluggo disembarks.

Once again, visuals on this show are great. Slow-moving torpedoes from the Enterprise look like actual projectiles, the first of which is literally deflected by the alien’s shields and the second is detonated before hitting its target as the enemy destroys it with their phasers. Combat scenes and exterior shots are done very well.

The crew:

Hoshi has a real crisis of confidence after melting down on the alien ship at the admittedly shocking sight of the beings strung up. She opens up to Phlox about it and he suggests she return to teaching on Earth. She also struggles with translating the unknown tongue of the aliens she was communicating with, but in the end she saves the day.

T’Pol’s early coldness with the crew has reached a professional level. Her interactions with captain and crew are productive. She’s progressing nicely.

Malcolm Reed finally had some stuff to do in this episode. The only thing of consequence he did was launch a torpedo as a parting shot, but he got to blow something up at least.

Archer stood out once again as a strong leader. Much like the other great captains of the Star Trek franchise, he takes input from his senior staff and evaluates, but the buck stops with him. Archer continues to grow on me.

I don’t have much to say about Dr. Phlox at this point, but I do enjoy him greatly.

Most valuable player:

Hoshi saved the day. It was nearly too late, but without her efforts they never get away.

Least valuable player:

I honestly tried not to have to award back-to-back LVP’s to start this series, but it’s hard to look past Reed again. I suspect he’ll rally strong as this season goes on.

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Final observations:

While the premiere was fairly strong throughout and closed with an ungratifying whimper, this episode presented a satisfying crescendo. The creep factor upon discovering the dead aliens was remarkable and reached a rare level for Star Trek. After two episodes, I’m finding myself very much looking forward to episode three. We’re off to a great start.