In my ongoing mission to round out my Star Trek knowledge, I’m watching through Enterprise for the first time. Today, we watch “Terra Nova”.
Today’s edition of First Time Enterprise was directed by a Star Trek legend, LeVar Burton himself. The fifth episode of Star Trek: Enterprise, titled “Terra Nova”, was the first of nine episodes he directed in the series.
The episode begins as Enterprise approaches Terra Nova, the first established Earth colony. The colony had been established by the spaceship Conestoga, which departed Earth 75 years earlier. The colony was a success, and the Earth Space Agency sent another ship. The colonists on the planet disapproved, angry messages were exchanged with the new ship and all contact from Terra Nova ceased.
It was a darker episode than we’ve seen so far, with perhaps the exception of “Strange New World”. It was a much different story than we saw an episode ago in “Unexpected”, otherwise known as “The One Where Trip Gets Pregnant”.
They take a shuttle to the planet’s surface, and they discover a deserted colony. They stumble across a bicycle. They also see an actual welcome mat.
It’s not long before Malcolm Reed sees somebody lurking in the forest, who takes off with Reed chasing close behind. The away team gets lights and they follow the escaped lurker into a network of caves.
There are hieroglyphs on the walls, supplies, food, tools. And people, with paint on their faces. They stumbled across the Terra Novans, and Malcolm gets clipped by weapon fire in the cave. Travis Mayweather, Captain Archer and T’Pol escape back to Enterprise to regroup.
Archer and Dr. Phlox make their way back to the planet to appeal for Malcolm’s release, with some success. The lead Novan speaks, telling the duo to take Reed and “don’t track back”.
It becomes evident that humans have caused the Novans great pain, in particular the humans from the second colony ship, and according to Jamin, the lead Novan, they believe the humans from Enterprise intend to do the same. “Humans hurt Novans”, said Jamin.
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The Novans speak of poison rain, radiation from the second colony ship, and Jamin’s mother Nadet is sick. Phlox diagnoses her with lung cancer, and Archer offers to take the two Novans to Enterprise to treat the ill older woman.
While the Novans are Enterprise, Malcolm remains behind on the planet. There’s a nice moment when he and a Novan share a bite to eat, and other Novans in the cave begin to play music.
Aboard ship, T’Pol and Hoshi Sato find a message from the leader of the colony accusing Earth of making an attack. There was no attack, but an asteroid collision 70 years earlier created a radioactive cloud which enveloped the continent the colony was on. Apparently only the children survived, and they went underground, thinking humans were to blame for the tragedy.
Phlox treats Nadet, but discovers that the Novans have micro-cellular decay from the contaminated water on the planet. It’s a major problem that can’t be fixed, but moving the planet’s inhabitants takes some cajoling, and Archer explains to Nadet that she was actually one of the young colonists from Conestoga.
They find a location in the southern hemisphere unaffected by the radiation with a similar geographical layout. The Enterprise away team and the Novans return to the planet to retrieve Malcolm Reed, and Jamin remains unconvinced until Archer helps him rescue a trapped Novan pinned under a tree that fell on him during a cave-in.
Ultimately, the Terra Novans are willing to relocate in order to stop being poisoned by the contaminated water.
Malcolm had his biggest role so far, and spent most of it stuck in the caves, eating digger meat.
Archer pulled off a daring rescue and helped save a fledgling society.
Most valuable players:
Jamin and Nadet overcame fear and prejudice multiple times to not only save their own lives but the lives of every Novan.
Not my favorite episode so far, but this is probably the best five-episode run to start any Star Trek series yet. I’m still in on this show.