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STAR TREK is Back and So Are TrekWeb's Reviews! This Week O. Deus Says "Fight or Flight" Puts ENTERPRISE on the Right Track!

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Posted: 07:55:07 on October 05 2001
By: Steve Krutzler
Dept: ENTERPRISE Reviews |

Reviews Ex Deus
Written for TrekWeb by O. Deus, edited by Steve Krutzler

Editor's Note: We apologize for the tardiness of these reviews. Classic TrekWeb reviewer Steve Perry will be returning this year, but his busy law school schedule has held up the review of "Broken Bow". Reviews will alternate between Perry and Deus based on time considerations and so forth. Thanks for your patience.

"Fight or Flight"

Summary: Hoshi adjusts to life on a Starship and Captain Archer struggles with the nature of the mission of the first Starship to explore deep space.

In a way, Fight or Flight may be one of the best demonstrations of the paradigm shift that is Enterprise. It is not the kind of episode that any prior Star Trek series could have done, because ultimately every Star Trek series has viewed its characters as semi-mythological creatures beginning with TOS's perfect trio. Fight or Flight instead spins the viewer around and looks at its crew as being simply biological organisms in an artificial environment.

From the moment the episodes begins with a worm taken from its native home and dying in its glass cage, even as Hoshi Sato struggles with her adjustment to life on a starship; it is a study of the crew as biological organisms in a foreign environment. The first human starship serving as a test tube and the first real thrust of the human race into the foreign environment of space. Fight or Flight uses Dr. Phlox and T'Pol as the resident aliens to drive the point home over and over again to the humans.

Phlox views Enterprise itself as a laboratory with the crew as his subjects, as his mealtime chatter demonstrates. From his messy and strange sickbay to his views on the crew, Phlox's perspective is experimental and advocates exploration for the sake of the new things that will result and what the encounters will reveal about the real nature of the subjects and their capabilities. T'Pol on the other hand has nothing but distaste for the biological and prefers a Vulcans sense of order. From that perspective humans simply don't belong in space. They're a foreign substance coloring outside the lines. We know who will win this argument, but that doesn't make watching it any less compelling.

Fight or Flight's title, a reference to a biological impulse, ultimately refers also to this test of the human presence in space. Unlike every previous series, what is at stake, really is the future. Captain Archer's role is to pave a way for the human presence in deep space, but it is also to define it, by doing so. Every single decision, every single act and the entire nature of Starfleet itself does not yet truly exist, but must be defined by the decisions the first explorers have made. Much as the standards and practices of the United States of America were born often out of necessity and by men working more for the present, than the future, Archer's actions are creating precedents that will resonate through the future yet unborn.

In Fight or Flight, Archer's key decision will define that human presence in space as a positive one, as a means of bringing a human-centered moral order to the stars. And though Fight or Flight is a biological term, Archer's decision is ultimately a moral one. It is a third choice, not flight but not to fight merely for the sake of fighting, but to define space through the moral imperatives of human character, rather than letting space define them as biological organisms would. And Starfleet and the Federation, those characters of future shows who seem more mythical than real, are defined by that third choice and their world is created out of it.

Hoshi's trouble adapting to life on a starship is cast as a biological struggle, by identifying her with a worm, perishing out of its natural habitat. But that aspect of biology which is shown as a weakness, by the end of the episode is revealed as a strength; the ability to transcend the native environment. And what holds true for Hoshi, also holds true for the Enterprise and the human race. With Broken Bow, the human race has broken out of the test tube and with Fight or Flight, it has begun to reshape the external environment according to its own innate nature.

Star Trek has often been criticized for appearing as an unreal utopia with no connection to real life and Enterprise has made its mission to provide that connection. Where Star Trek has shown us strange new worlds, Enterprise has shown us the microscopic mechanisms that go into the act and practice of exploration itself. It is the equivalent of a medical show set in a busy and bloody emergency room, to one that shows us the first years of medical school, the first incision on that first cadaver. In Fight or Flight, this connection is viewed at the biological level and the way our moral nature provides the mechanism to transcend that biology and our world into the distant world of the Federation.

About the Authors

Steve Perry is not the former lead singer of Journey. He is, however, a long time fan of all Trek, yes, even Voyager. He is currently in law school.

O. Deus has been a TrekWeb visitor since the site's 1996 inception. Along with being an ardent poster, he is a freelance journalist based in New York City. Deus has written reviews for TrekWeb for over a year and shares the duties with Steve Perry.

TrekWeb Reviews

  • "Shockwave" (Deus)
  • "Two Days and Two Nights"
  • "Fallen Hero" & "Desert Crossing" (Deus)
  • "Vox Sola" (Deus)
  • "Detained" (Deus)
  • "Oasis" (Krutzler)
  • "Acquisition" (Williams)
  • "Rogue Planet" (Deus)
  • "Fusion" (Deus)
  • "Shuttlepod One" (Deus)
  • "Shadows of P'Jem" (Deus)
  • "Sleeping Dogs" (Deus)
  • "Dear Doctor" (Deus)
  • "Silent Enemy" (Deus)
  • Mid-season 1 (Deus)
  • "Cold Front" (Krutzler)
  • "Fortunate Son" (Perry)
  • "Civilization" (Perry)
  • "Breaking The Ice" (Perry)
  • "The Andorian Incident" (Perry)
  • "The Andorian Incident" (Deus)
  • "Terra Nova" (Deus)
  • "Unexpected" (Perry)
  • "Unexpected" (Deus)
  • "Strange New World" (Perry)
  • "Fight or Flight" (Perry) Mission Logs

    Season Two (2002-2003)
    Prod #Title
    128 Shockwave, Part II
    127 Carbon Creek
    129 Minefield
    Season One (2001-2002)

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