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The Aenar
Date: Unknown
Original Airdate: February 12, 2005
Reviewed By: Ryan8bit

The Story

In the Romulan chamber, Senator Vrax critcizes Valdore's plan saying it was a mistake, but goes forward when Valdore informs him that the second marauder is ready for combat. Their plan: Destroy Enterprise and the Andorian-Tellarite relationship will falter.

The Tellarites have left Enterprise, but Shran stays to help track down the marauder. At a briefing, they figure that the Romulan ships are being controlled by telepresence, or remote control. Also revealed is that the remote signal is a brain wave, and the pilot of the ships is telepathic with brain waves very similar to that of Andorians.

Back in the Romulan chamber, the scientist Nijil raises concerns for the pilot, stating that he is suffering from mental fatigue. Valdore insists that he do whatever is necessary for the mission and keep the pilot living.

Shran enters Archer's ready room and informs him that the brain wave belongs to an Aenar, which is a sub-species of the Andorians living in the arctic regions of their planet. They were considered a myth until discovered nearly 50 years ago. They were said to be very secretive and rare to be seen. Shran says they probably couldn't build the marauder, and wouldn't anyways because of their pacifistic nature. They then set a course for Andoria.

In sickbay, T'Pol and Tucker are assembling their own telepresence unit. Tucker is in need of rest, and T'Pol tells him he should rest, but he needs to complete his job. Tucker asks T'Pol about near-death experiences since he just had one on the Romulan ship. She tells him of having one while trying to destroy Sphere 41 in the Expanse. He is curious about what she was thinking, but the only thing on T'Pol's mind was her duty.

They arrive at the ringed planet Andoria where Archer and Shran beam down to the region where the Aenar live. The area is covered by a dampening field that they won't be able to communicate with the ship while in. The planet is very cold despite it being the planet's summer. They navigate to the entrance of the caves that lead to the Aenar city underground.

The Romulans have the Aenar man prepared for their attack and they discuss the motivations for such aggression. Valdore reveals to Nijil that he was once a member of the senate and a colleague to Vrax. He was kicked from the senate when he questioned their ideals of expansion, and it forced him to reconsider his purpose.

Archer and Shran see the wonders of the cave and they notice some holes of ice boars, worms that use their heat to boar through the ice. Shran has troubles keeping himself stable since his balance is thrown off by the lack of his antenna, and he falls down a slope and a shard of ice impales his leg. Archer helps him bandage it, and watching them are several Aenar. They take them to their city to help Shran and discuss Archer's proposal.

Phlox says that they can connect T'Pol to the unit, but that it is dangerous. She insists on being the one to try it, but Tucker seems opposed to it because of concern for her safety. T'Pol says she appreciates his concern, but Tucker insists that his concerns are purely professional.

Shran's wounds are attended to and Archer meets an Aenar, Lissan, sent to communicate on behalf of her people. She knows Archer's name before he tells her, but she insists that her species does not read minds without consent. She was informed of the situation by the Andorians. She requests Archer's thoughts to speed things up and she reckons that one of her people, Gareb, is possibly the one responsible. They ask her for help from the Aenar to stop the marauder, but she says she needs to consult with her people.

Later that night, Jhamel, an Aenar girl, visits Shran while he is resting. She apologizes for the brief but unsolicited reading of his mind when they first found him. She discusses the pain of losing a loved one because her brother is Gareb, the missing Aenar.

T'Pol tests out their new device and it works, but the price is that it wears her down mentally. Tucker is worried about T'Pol and he discusses it with Phlox later. Phlox says that balancing romantic interest and vocation doesn't always work well, and Tucker's worry is the price that he pays.

The next day, Lissan refuses Archer's request of an Aenar to help stop the marauder. She doesn't want to stop violence with violence. Shran and Archer then leave. They are escorted out by Jhamel, who prevents them from being burnt by ice boars. She insists that she wants to help Archer and Shran find her brother. They end up walking in circles in the path when they realize that they've gone nowhere. A holographic version of Lissan appears telling Jhamel to come home. Jhamel gives permission to Lissan to read her mind and Lissan lets her go realizing what Jhamel truly wants. A holographic wall of the cave disappears and they exit the cave.

Back on the ship, Archer receives word that a cargo ship, the Ticonderoga, has gone missing. They head to its last known coordinates. In sickbay, Jhamel is put into the device and she shows extreme telepathic abilities. But all of a sudden her mind is strained and she starts to panic. She rests and Phlox says she will recover, but that she should not use the device again. The ship arrives at the coordinates and only finds its debris and dead bodies.

One of the marauders masked as a Tellarite freighter approaches Enterprise. Archer sees right through the facade and attacks them. Jhamel can feel the presence of her brother's mind and decides to use the telepresence device. Another marauder approaches masked as an Andorian cruiser, and they target that ship as well. Jhamel is able to reach Gareb and tells him to stop the attacks because she is on the ship being attacked. He halts the attack and tells her that he thought she and all the Aenar were dead. She tells him to stop the attacks and he controls the two marauders so that they attack eachother. Valdore threatens to kill Gareb if he doesn't cease, but one of the marauders is destroyed and Valdore shoots him at point-blank range. The last marauder is destroyed by Enterprise and Jhamel is disconnected from the device. She embraces Shran after the loss of her brother.

Jhamel and Shran are escorted to the transporter where they will be beamed back down to their world. Jhamel is thankful because her brother did not die alone. Shran and Archer both regret the recent events of their fighting. Shran says he won't be getting a new ship soon and won't be seeing Archer for a while.

Archer invites Tucker to his quarters where he says that Trip is being a little hard on himself in the report. Trip admits that he is hard on himself because he truly did make a mistake while working on the device. He claims it was because his mind wasn't on the job, and then he requests a transfer to the Columbia. Tucker makes excuses about trying to help out Columbia, but Archer doesn't buy it. Tucker refuses to tell his real reasons and Archer allows his request.

Analysis

As far as the fourth season has gone so far, the conclusions to the arcs have not been conclusive enough and have hastily ended. With this arc, the end was a nice surprise as it was a good story with nice character interactions and a general sense of appeal. "The Aenar" was somewhat different than its two predecessors, which is a good thing because each part of an arc is then remembered. It may have had some flaws in logic, but the great effects and majestic sights plus the characters themselves brought this one to the top.

It was nice to see a bond form between Shran and Jhamel, and the chemistry of their friendship was much more apparent than Talas being his lover. There were some really gripping moments when they hugged after Gareb had died. It felt as though there was an actual loss for a change. Shran and Archer had some decent moments together as well especially at the end where they actually addressed that they had previously fought to the death. And it was pretty funny when Lissan reads Archers mind and says he is conflicted, and Shran says "That explains a lot." And as happens to be the usual, Tucker stole the show for a great character. His inner-conflict and worries about T'Pol were played so well by Trineer that it was easy to see past the fact that he shouldn't be so attached to her since she has constantly been giving him the cold shoulder. But I think him leaving the ship, while slightly surprising, is a good thing. He needs to get away from T'Pol's constant abuse to him. And I hope for once that he stays on that other ship, although something about the way Star Trek is done makes me think he will come back.

Another nice thing about the characters was seeing two female Aenar in positions seen as command. Sure, their culture doesn't usually have a permanent leader for all situations, but with the way we've seen all male Tellarites, a male Andorian, and Starfleet's male captain and admirals making all the calls, it's nice to see some diversity in charge. The only problem with the diversity in this episode is that Mayweather and Sato fall by the wayside again. It's not as if their roles are meant to be prominent, but I feel more for the character Jhamel than I ever did for Travis.

Onto the plot. When watching the episode I was in my usual suspension of disbelief. But once it is over, that's when I start trying to rationalize certain things. Like why it was necessary to send the Romulan marauders out anymore if they already knew it was the Romulans. At that point they could've sent out some of their fancy destroyers we've seen before. And the Aenar's blindness didn't seem all too convincing. For one, Lissan and Jhamel seemed to be making some eye contact. Two, why would a race of blind people need a well-lit city? Perhaps they aren't totally blind, but then they should say so. A lot of the other questions stem from our experience on Andoria. Like how could a race evolve on a planet that is too cold for them? Why wouldn't Andorians feel that temperatures on Enterprise was too warm? How can the Aenar be so technologically advanced for being mostly isolated, blind telepaths? What need would they have for developing holographic technology? What was the point of the worms aside from just a neat little effect? Why would Andorians leave the Aenar in peace when they seem such an aggressive race? I could probably go on, but it's best to not dwell on the technical stuff so much.

What I have to wonder now is how the Romulans deal with this destruction of their ships and that the region of space has become somewhat more unified. I wonder if Valdore and Vrax will indeed be executed for such a blunder, or if we will even see the start of a Romulan-Earth war. It's too bad that Enterprise has been cancelled and that we don't have more time to get into the repercussions of it all, as it is getting pretty interesting. And unfortunately we probably won't get the closure for so many things throughout the series.

Grade: 8.5/10 (B+)

Cast:
Scott Bakula as Jonathan Archer
John Billingsley as Dr. Phlox
Jolene Blalock as T'Pol
Dominic Keating as Malcolm Reed
Anthony Montgomery as Travis Mayweather
Linda Park as Hoshi Sato
Connor Trinneer as Charles "Trip" Tucker III

Guest Cast:
Jeffrey Combs as Shran
Alexandra Lydon as Jhamel
Brian Thompson as Valdore
Geno Silva as Vrax
Alicia Adams as Lissan
Scott Allen Rinker as Gareb

Creative Staff:
Director: Mike Vejar
Teleplay By: Andre Bormanis
Story By: Manny Coto

 

 

 

 

 

 

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