Stardate
101
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500
1735
1894
599
1285
2261
2123
183
2463
848
1919
539
1316
1064
102
1474
1987
750
2429
2723
1236
2557
1844
1440
1832
343
2030
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103
1370
1993
954
391
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512
1199
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997
1908
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104
655
1995
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2265
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2763
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105
222
1973
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1617
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137
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106
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1966
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655
107
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2001
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127
513
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1989
1972
1066
108
1096
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735
1867
65
572
1755
664
20
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03-111968
04-041969
05-1701D
06-071984
07-081940
08-47148
09-081966

Borderland

Episode Cast
Casting Type Actor Character
Guest Star
Guest Star
Episode Review

I know I tend to enjoy Enterprise more than a lot of reviewers, but from what I’ve seen so far, most reviewers agree with me that Borderland was Enterprise at its finest. Borderland had a little something for everyone. Elements from The Original Series, The Next Generation, and even Deep Space Nine filled this amazing beginning of a 3 parter.

For those of you who didn’t notice the element of DS9, watch the opening segment again. The captain of the Klingon vessel that the Augments stole was J.G. Hertzler, best known to us as General Martok. He has played a Klingon in Enterprise before, and his powerful presence as a Klingon is once again welcome, even if he was gone before the opening credits.

I hardly need to explain that the Nextgen element was the presence of Brent Spiner, who played Data’s creator’s ancestor very very well. As others have said, in every scene that had Soong in it, Spiner commanded. He played an excellent villain. The worst type of villain is the one that really believes that he is right and is working for the good of mankind. What’s more, we believed him. He played Soong with great ease and comfort in the role, and I’m deeply looking forward to Cold Station 12.

Story-wise there were throwbacks to Kahn and this was obviously an attempt to follow up on the entire Kahn plot thread from the original series (including Star Trek II), and even though I am not a huge fan of the original series (I hear your collective gasp, but please realize I wasn’t alive back then), I must say I quite enjoyed recalling the TOS episode featuring Kahn, as well as Star Trek II.

Now for some deeper thoughts. Soong is supposed to be the ancestor of Dr. Noonian Soong, this wasn’t said in the episode, of course, cause how could he possibly know who his great-great-grandson was going to be? One thing that I found interesting about Soong was there was no mention of him being married, no mention of him having any traditional children, and judging by the fact that he has spent his time in prison before this unless he escapes with the Augments at the end of the 3-parter, we must assume he is unlikely to get married and have traditional children in the future, so where does Noonian come from?

Well, Noonian Soong was a brilliant cyberneticist with a pretty decent lifespan, could he possibly actually be an ancestor of one or two of the Augments? Arik Soong considered the Augments to be his children, and they considered him to be their father, if somehow they are ever reintroduced into human society, could they possibly have decided to keep his name? Now this of course would require that one or more of them escape, and eventually reintegrate with human society. Now I can’t imagine Archer and Co killing all of them unless they had to, but they are guilty of stealing a Klingon ship, so if they are captured, they may be jailed.

If the Klingons are able to capture them, however, this may prove interesting. We know that Klingons don’t expect humans to survive in Klingon prison camps, but Augments are genetically enhanced humans and therefore may have a pretty decent chance to either survive or escape, one or more of them may even decide to get back to Earth and start a family.

The problem would be the name, how could they keep their name and not raise suspicions? A logical argument may be that it isn’t any of them that lead to Data’s creator at all, and even then you could argue that perhaps Arik is not a direct ancestor of Noonian at all, but rather a brother of Noonian’s ancestor or something to that effect. As I said previously, Enterprise did not specifically state that Arik was an ancestor of Noonian, we got that from press releases and news clips passing around the internet. Hopefully, when this 3-part saga ends we will have some hint of an answer as to how Noonian came about. After all, that was what was supposed to draw us to this saga, wasn’t it? We were supposed to find something out about Data’s lineage.

On another note, canon. I don’t often talk about canon violations in my reviews, because up until now I have held to the belief that Enterprise has not yet violated any established Trek canon. How dare I say that you say? Well, it hasn’t, Enterprise has always toed the line with canon violations. Things that people argue as violations of canon, I can see the logic to state that it was no violation at all really.

That is until Borderland. Borderland violated one piece of canon that has always been close to being violated on Enterprise but has always stayed on the good side of the line. And that is that T’Pol has been given a Starfleet commission, with the rank of Commander. Now the Enterprise, canon advocates could argue, legitimately so, that the Starfleet we see here on Enterprise is not the Starfleet of Kirk because there still is no United Federation of Planets. However, the flaw to this logic is that we have already seen on Enterprise that Archer will have some impact on the signing of the Federation Charter. Everybody’s favorite Time traveler, Ensign Daniels, has shown Archer himself signing the charter, so we are pretty sure that:

  1. It is probably going to happen before the end of the 7-year run of Enterprise assuming that Enterprise makes it the full 7 years.

  2. Archer will most likely still be a member of Starfleet following this signing of the Federation charter, though he may by this point be an Admiral.

  3. If Archer and co are still in Starfleet, it is to be assumed that T’Pol will remain in Starfleet.

Now, there are still ways this can work out right. Perhaps at the time the Charter is signed, it is possible that Archer may be promoted to Admiral and the Enterprise decommissioned to make room for new ships (after all, at that time we will have a more favorable agreement from the Vulcans and other species to share technology, so the Enterprise would be obsolete). T’Pol, having served with Starfleet on Enterprise would be uniquely positioned to take over Soval’s job as the Vulcan Federation ambassador.

And then there is another way it can all work out, at some point, T’Pol could die before the signing of that charter, I hope this doesn’t happen because I’m really enjoying the way her character is developing.

Speaking of T’Pol’s character development, and getting us back on track with this lengthy review. Borderland was again full of development for T’Pol. Though she still has somewhat apparent emotions, her 2 weeks of meditation on Vulcan seem to have done a lot to help her clear her head. Though she was obviously scared in the Orion slave market, she also was calm enough to help the new Enterprise ensign when he was really scared. Jolene Blalock is an excellent actress and she is really handling her character well. I again enjoyed the exchanges of her character with Trip. With T’Pol now married to a Vulcan, Trip isn’t quite sure how to talk to her and it shows very well. They obviously both still care for each other very much, and the restraint between them as this new development in their relationship has come out is remarkable.

Back to canon and my biggest shock of the episode. While I never expected T’Pol to actually get her commission but instead keep talking about the possibility of one throughout the series, Borderland did not violate a thread of Trek canon that I always expected it to.

Throughout the episode is constant mention of the Eugenics war, while I did expect this, I was expecting them to either ignore the supposed time of this war or state a new time period this war was supposed to take place. They didn’t. This unfortunately I think may do more harm than good. Star Trek was always supposed to be a part of our universe, albeit a part set in the future. By keeping to the statements that there was a Eugenics War in the 1990s killing 35 million people, and resulting in the launch of a cryo-sleep ship that Kirk eventually found releasing Kahn and company, they have finally separated Enterprise, and indeed all of Star Trek from our reality. Obviously, there was no Eugenics War in the late 20th century.

I am pretty sure I was not sleeping throughout the entire 1990s and I definitely don’t remember a war taking place between humans and genetically engineered mutants resulting in the death of 35 million people. I was expecting Borderland to perhaps state a new time period for this war. Last week’s episode mentioned movies being made about World War III, perhaps the Eugenics War and WWIII were one and the same, and the Eugenics War took place in the early to mid-21st century. We also heard about WWIII in First Contact as being right before FC. I was expecting them to change the date of the Eugenics war to fit more into real history, as opposed to further driving the rift between our reality and Trek’s.

I remember having the same feelings about an episode of Voyager when we heard about the efforts of Janeway’s ancestors to help build a giant skyscraper with a fully contained ecosystem which was to start construction on January 1st, 2001. I remember being shocked to see an episode pitted so close to the current time frame stating the construction of something that could not possibly transpire (remember that episode premiered in late 1999, and there was no way this would take place in just a year).

Speaking about Voyager I should also point out that Voyager traveled through time and space to arrive on Earth in 1996, and there was no mention of a Eugenics war taking place then. How does all this fit then? When did the Eugenics war take place and is Star Trek really in a completely different universe from our own? Furthermore, Voyager (and presumably DS9 and TNG which ran simultaneously) take place in a different universe from TOS and Enterprise? But Voyager launched from Deep Space Nine, and DS9 did mention the Eugenics war with the plot thread about Bashir and his genetically “enhanced” friends.

There are so many difficult questions about Borderland that it keeps me from enjoying it fully, even though it was an excellently paced episode with great guest stars and a great storyline, it raised some difficult questions about Star Trek as a whole. I always presumed that Borderland would perhaps keep the Eugenics war, but simply move it further into the future to jive with actual events, simply making it seem that Kirk’s colleagues were wrong about the date when they first “rescued” Kahn.

My final Synopsis… Borderland was an awesome episode, it flowed wonderfully, had great character moments, brought back some plot threads from previous treks, and tied all the treks together wonderfully. My only real beef about the episode is this difficulty with the timing of the Eugenics war, as it really disheartens our view that the utopian society of Star Trek is our future because it obviously is not. This said, I can’t wait for Cold Station 12, where I will get to see more of Data’s ancestors and we will finally get to meet Dr. Phlox’s old friend Dr. Lucas.

I grade Borderland a B+. It would have gotten an A+ in my book if it were not for the Eugenics War problems.