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February 28, 2003

Canamar: Review
By Hawkeye

*Screencaps coming soon*

Synopsis

The episode starts off with Hoshi hailing a damaged shuttlepod hanging in space. After finding no bio-signs, the opening credits start. As we come back from commercial, we see the command crew minus Trip and Archer listening to the Captain’s logs. They say Archer and Trip had a successful first contact with the Enolians and were leaving the planet Keto-Enal. As the crew are going over what could have happened to them, Phlox says he found traces of human blood in the pod and Reed comes to the conclusion that they were abducted, with a fight.

We are then introduced to prison transport ship with variety of aliens sitting in shackles with Archer and Trip sitting among them. Archer asks a guard to speak with a superior officer and the guard responds by pushing a button on a pad, shocking Archer. A prisoner tells them they are heading to Canamar - a prison colony.

Back on the Enterprise, we find they have gone to Keto-Enal. After sending a description of Trip and Archer to an Enolian ambassador, they are told they were arrested for smuggling.

On the transport, Archer and Trip are given some sort of sludge to eat and as Trip complains, a very large Naussican tries to start a fight. The guards quickly subdue him with an electric shock. As Trip responds with a friendly thanks, the guard proceeds to shock him too.

On Enterprise, the Enolian Ambassador says he has contacted the transport ship and Enterprise can rendezvous with them and pick up Archer and Trip.

Archer and trip are told by a guard that they will be released to their ship, but as that happens, the Naussican starts another incident, distracting the guard. As this happens, another prisoner, an Enolian, somehow picks his shackles and takes out the guard. He releases the shackles on the Naussican and together they take out the other guard. As they go for the pilot, he reaches for a weapon, forcing the Naussican to take him out as well. After a scolding from the Enolian, they decide to try and figure out how to fly the ship themselves. When Archer tells them the dangers of piloting a warp vessel without experience, they decide to make him fly it. After all, he is a good pilot- "I'm a smuggler remember?" As Archer figures out the controls of the alien ship, the Enolian orders him to pilot the vessel to a Binary system, four light-years away. When asked why he was about to be released, Archer tells the Enolian that his friends made a
few "discreet" payments. The Enolian also explains that he was able to pick the lock using a sub-dermal implant that depolarized the lock.

Back on the Enterprise, they receive a distress signal from the transport, which quickly cuts off. Hailing the ship, they receive no answer. They increase speed toward the rendezvous coordinates and order Enolian attack ships, which are closer to the transport to intercept it.

Still in shackles, Trip is annoyed by a talkative alien next to him. On the bridge of the transport, Archer and the Enolian's conversation about Sol is interrupted by two Enolian patrol ships coming up on their aft. Not wanting to try and engage a more heavily armored ship, Archer convinces the Enolian to release Trip and let him follow through on a plan. When Trip is in position, they offer the patrol ships their surrender. As the ships move in to dock, Trip opens the plasma vents and Archer fires on it, igniting the plasma and knocking the propulsion out on both ships. The Naussican then shackles Trip back up, which leads to a hilarious exchange between him and the talkative alien to Trip's right. (more on that later)

On the Enterprise, the Enolian Ambassador tells the crew that they have matched the voiceprint taken from the surrender call and the man leading the revolt is Kuroda Lorehn. He is responsible for many brutal crimes and the Enolian high command doesn’t want to take any more chances. He says that the Enolian patrol ships sent to find the transport have now been ordered to destroy it and if the crew wants to save Archer and Trip, they must get to them before the Enolians do.

Archer tells Kuroda his tale of being capture, with a twist obviously. Kuroda becomes impressed with Archer and offers him a chance to work with himself after they get free. He tells them they are going to a trading outpost called Tamaal and a new ship will meet them there. Back in the "passenger bay" Trip finally flips on the annoyingly talkative alien and orders him to just shut up. As they arrive in the Tamaal system, Kuroda tells Archer of his plan to dock with a shuttle and then destroy the transport in orbit of the planet with the remaining prisoners still aboard.

As Enterprise enters the system, they find a shuttle on the way to the transport and plot a course to intercept it.

Archer releases trip from his shackles so he can fix a malfunctioning docking manifold. As he works, Archer tells them they must retake the ship and Trip must take out the Naussican. When Archer leaves, Trip asks the Naussican for a hand with the docking port. With his back to Trip, the Naussican is unaware of Trip picking up an extra shackle which he knocks him over the head with. He goes down and Trip takes his weapon. As Trip tries to stun Kuroda, though, the annoying alien screams "Watch out!" and Kuroda ducks under the weapons fire. He rolls to the side and stuns Trip. The docking port still must be fixed, though, so Kuroda keeps Archer alive to fix it. As Archer works, Trip wakes up shackled again next to the annoying alien, who tells Trip he should be thankful. When Archer finishes fixing the port, the shuttle docks and Archer opens the door to see Reed, Travis and a security detail run in with their guns firing. They take out the Naussican in quick work, but the lead security officer is then stunned and Kuroda makes a run for it, hiding behind prisoners. After a short gun battle, Kuroda is hit and goes down. The Enterprise security detail loads all the prisoners onto the shuttle as the prison transport begins to break up in orbit.

Archer runs to the cockpit to try and slow down the decay of the orbit, but can’t do anything about it. When all but Archer and an unconscious Kuroda are off the transport, Archer begins dragging Kuroda to the docking port, but is surprised to find him awake. Kuroda locks the docking port door and him and Archer start fighting. With an impressive light show around them, Archer and Kuroda take turns giving and taking blows, until Kuroda picks up a shackle to hit Archer with. Archer grabs the control pad and shocks Kuroda. He is distracted enough for Archer to get in a kick, knocking him backwards. Archer makes a run for the docking port as Kuroda runs to the cockpit. Unable to get Kuroda to come with him, Archer abandons the transport as it burns up with Kuroda inside. The shuttle and prisoners pull away and get out of the atmosphere safely.

Phlox, T'Pol and the Enolian Ambassador wait at an airlock on the Enterprise as Archer and Trip come through. Archer tells Phlox to see to the prisoners and the injured guards as he and Trip head down the corridor. The Enolian ambassador offers his apologies for the "misunderstanding" and asks the Captain if he wouldn’t mind giving a report. And, a very angry Archer, in one of the best Jonathon Archer scenes of the series so far, grows a backbone and tells off the Enolian. With Trip and T’Pol behind him, Archer turns and leaves the Enolian ambassador in the middle of the corridor alone.

Review:

This is one of those episodes that isn’t horrible, but isn’t exactly great either. Enterprise seems to have a lot of these, but this one at least was one of the better average episodes. The episode seemed very slow, though. It had some quicker scenes, but overall it wasn’t that exciting. Trip’s experience on the transport was definitely one of the high points of the episode. The hilarious exchanges between him and the annoyingly talkative alien to his right were great. The scene after Trip vents the plasma was a riot. Trip prods the large, not too pleasant Naussican for a “thank you,” and after he actually responds with a thank you, the annoying alien next to Trip says, “That was nice. It reminds me of the time I was...” and Trip cuts him off with a “Shut UP!” That exchange was great. The ending action of this episode was another perk, but why do we have to wait until the last ten or eight minutes of an episode to get a really good action sequence? It should definitely be mixed into the episode more. As I said in the synopsis, Archer’s “report” to the Enolian ambassador at the end was the perfect way to end this episode. They definitely finished this one very well. Archer finally had fire in him, a passion we haven’t really seen so far in this show – his speeches always come off as contrived and forced. This one seemed real and fervent, unlike any before now. But, the plot of this episode seemed familiar – not only was Archer in shackles in a prison (AGAIN!) but anyone seen Con Air? That’s two episodes this season with a plot almost identical to other movies. And John Shiban has written both. I knew he was supposed to bring some fresh creative blood to this series and he has, I just wish it was fresh and creative not only in Trek, but fresh and creative outside the trek franchise as well.

Now, to the really basic things. The nitpicks and the technical stuff that every review must have. First off, the CGI in this episode was awesome as always. But, I have to mention it because of a truly gorgeous shot of the Enterprise in orbit over Keto-Enal, with the ocean and a part of a continent underneath it. Secondly, the nitpicks. Its good to know that these strange, never before seen aliens can all speak English. I’m sure Archer and Trip weren’t allowed to keep their communicators with them (which have been shown in the past to be their UT’s also). I guess the Enolian transport could have had their own UT though, but it would have been nice to get a mention of this, or a reason why everyone spoke English. Also, toward the beginning of the episode, Archer disables the transceiver on the transport so they can’t be tracked. Then Kuroda destroys it. So how then, could the Enterprise track the ship so easily and quickly? And what was even the point of mentioning the Enolian patrol ships that were ordered to destroy the transport, if we weren’t going to have to deal with them. One of the most important things to be careful of in writing is to make sure you don’t plant something, then not pay it off. Don’t give your audience an expectation and then not do anything with it. Those ships were mentioned to be on their way and then we didn’t hear about them again. There should have been a confrontation of some sort. Another thing that I've seen brought up, is that, we never actually get to see the transport burn up in the atmosphere, which does kind of leave the audience hanging, but if this was done in lue of the recent Columbia tragedy, then I can fully accept this fact.

Overall, an average episode, but not too bad. We got to see Archer kick some butt again and see a firein him we haven’t yet seen. He was actually passionate tonight and I hope to see some of that again.

C+ / B-

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