Greetings Starfleet Officers. It has been a long time since I have written a SubspaceLink newsletter. The last time I addressed you in a Newsletter Format it was April 11th, 2001. Much has happened in that time, including the tremendous growth of the SubspaceLink. The time has now come to bring back this once popular and thriving feature of the SubspaceLink for all to once again see.
Since last we met
When I last addressed you in a Newsletter format, it was a few hours before the episode Q2 was due to appear. Yes, that is Q2 of Voyager's 7th season. We are now in the heart of Enterprise's Fifth Season, so a great deal has happened since then. I have decided to make this Volume 5, as the last Volume of the SubspaceLink newsletter was Volume 4. If I had not stopped sending out this newsletter, we would be up to Volume 8 by now, but what can I say, I made a mistake. I was under the impression that the Newsletter was not worth the effort to put together, I was wrong.
I will now return to this organized form of communication with SubspaceLink members, and I need your help. If you would like to write articles for the SubspaceLink newsletter, simply e-mail your article, from the e-mail address you have registered in the SubspaceLink to [email protected]. If your article is deemed appropriate by SubspaceLink staff we will include your article in the next issue.
Please note that I reserve the right as editor of the SubspaceLink newsletter to reject or edit any article that contains material that would not be suitable for children, or that are deemed to be too off-topic. Once again, that's [email protected]
Have you ever had the feeling that you were being watched? In last Friday's new episode of Star Trek: Enterprise entitled "Observer Effect" the Enterprise Crew was observed by a somewhat familiar alien species from the Original Series.
Many online reviewers feel that the use of the Organians was a cheap rehashing of previous Trek plots. I personally disagree. I have come to the conclusion that many Enterprise Reviewers are simply out to find any possible problem with the episode they can, no matter what the episode is. The Organians were completely in character from what I know of the species from the Original Series, and for once we have a very logical reason for Archer and co not to remember they were ever there.
Before I go any further picking at reviewers and giving my opinion on this episode, how about a brief synopsis of the plot.
We begin with a conversation in the galley between Reed and Mayweather over a game of chess. At first the conversation seems somewhat normal, but quickly becomes wierd as they start talking about death, and the fact that every time someone comes to this planet, at least someone dies, sometimes everybody dies. It becomes clear very quickly that Reed and Mayweather are not really Reed and Mayweather but instead imposters.
In typical Organian style, the Organians have been watching this planet for 8 centuries. They observe every species that comes across the deadly silicon based virus on this planet to see how they cope with the situation.
In most situations, it seems that those that encounter the virus tend to quarantine their diseased crewmen by not allowing them back onto the ship. In the few encounters where the species doesn't get rid of the infected crewmen, then everybody dies.
In 800 years of watching however, they have yet to find a species that is deemed worthy of establishing First Contact.
As expected Enterprise turns out to be a stumper. The infected crewmembers (Trip and Hoshi) are kept in decon while Dr. Phlox desperately tries to encounter a cure.
At one point Hoshi, who is being driven mad by the virus, uses her tremendous linguistic skills to override the locking code on the decon chamber and release the quarantine seal, thereby endangering the entire deck she is on. Trip is able to just barely wrestle her away from an airlock that she is trying to open. Dr. Phlox and Archer command Tripp to heavily sedate both Hoshi and himself to prevent them from harming themselves or others.
At nearly the same time the Organians attempt to have a conversation on the Bridge and can't because of the possibility of them being overheard. Looking for a place where they can privately talk, the Organians choose to indwell the sick crewmen and hold their conversation in the Decon chamber. What they were unaware of was how sedated Trip and Hoshi were and so when they did so, it drew Phlox's attention because there was no reason why Trip and Hoshi should have been walking and talking. He turned up the volume on the video link to the decon chamber and is able to hear enough of their conversation to realize that they are aliens moving around the ship in some sort of Science experiment.
The aliens indwell Archer and T'Pol and confront Phlox to find out about the aliens. Phlox chews out the Organians for being insensitive pricks, and the Organians erase Phlox's memory of finding out who they were.
Phlox is able to discover a way to counteract the virus, but it involves radiation that would be lethal to humans. He is able to adapt this technique to save Hoshi and Trip but they are runing out of time. He needs to get Trip and Hoshi to sickbay to do the procedure. He and Archer don environmental suits and get the injured to sickbay, but nearly too late as Hoshi is dieing fast.
Phlox says he can't operate the equipment in the wierd EV gloves and goes to take off the glove, but before he can Archer takes off his because "Right now this crew needs a Doctor more then it needs a Captain."
This surprises the Organians, particularly the one that seems to be in charge, as in 800 years, the captain of a ship has never willingly exposed himself to the virus in order to attempt to save a member of his crew. The lesser Organian says this is proof that Humans are different and they should help the Humans rather then continue to observe, the elder Organian disagrees claiming that they must maintain "protocol."
Hoshi dies, Trip is dieing before the radiation can be effective and Archer is rapidly dieing too. The Organians indwell Trip and Hoshi again and hold a conversation with Archer, where Archer, like Phlox, confronts them and tells them that if they want to understand Humans they need to show some compassion, because that is what being human is all about. In the end the lesser Organian wins the argument and heals all 3 of them.
With everyone's memories of the Organians erased, Phlox assumes his radiation therapy was effective, just a strangely delayed reaction. Enterprise leaves a beacon to warn anyone else of the dangers of the planet.
In a corridor Organian Malcolm and Organian Mayweather hold a conversation "You realize we won't ever be able to observe a species at this planet again" to which the younger responds "Good, I'm filling out my own report, I'm going to recommend Humans for a full first contact" "Well that may take 5000 years to be ready" "Best get Started then."
Ok, back to my review. A very common complaint among Enterprise reviewers is that Travis and Hoshi don't get enough screen time. Observer Effect was not that way at all, in fact, every single member of the main cast of Enterprise got to shine in this episode. This was probably the strongest Ensamble episode Enterprise has ever seen. Both Travis and Hoshi got tons of excellent screen time, Travis as the Organian, Hoshi with the great character-building conversations with Trip, not to mention her turns at being Organian.
One of the difficult things about an episode featuring Organians is that since the Organians move from one crewmember to another throughout the episode, it would normally be difficult to understand who is who at what time. This episode handled this difficult hurdle with ease. Whenever the Organians moved from one person to another it was easy to see, just by the way the characters acted which person was which Organian. There were things in the ways they talked and acted that remained incredibly consistent across the various people playing the same parts, it was phenomenal acting.
I also think that the storyline was strong and consistent throughout. In my opinion, this is absolutely Enterprise at its finest.