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    "Singularity" Succeeds With Another Character-Centered Twist on an Old STAR TREK Story, Says Deus!

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    Typhon Station is a very fastpaced PBeM RPG with skilled, experienced players and a warm sense of bonding and community. We play at the turn-of-the-century, 2400, and are located in the Typhon Expanses, bordering the Neutral Zone, proximate to the Romulan Empire, and near the Iconian Digs, and are on the first warning route of the original Borg Incursion.
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    Typhon Station is a very fastpaced PBeM RPG with skilled, experienced players and a warm sense of bonding and community. We play at the turn-of-the-century, 2400, and are located in the Typhon Expanses, bordering the Neutral Zone, proximate to the Romulan Empire, and near the Iconian Digs, and are on the first warning route of the original Borg Incursion.
    We have three stations to post from, SB 185, USS Odyssey, and USS Wraith. They all have general and particular storylines and all interact. This game is not for the faint of heart! The writing is superb and comes hot and heavy. We have some open spots and also we will consider character suggestions. So, longtime RPGers and novices, check us out. See if you want to make Typhon Station your home away from home.

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    Posted: 08:58:57 on November 21 2002
    By: Steve Krutzler
    Dept: ENTERPRISE Reviews |

    Reviews Ex Deus

    Written by O. Deus, edited by Steve Krutzler


    Summary: The crew's personal hobbies spiral into obsession as the Enterprise spirals towards a black hole. The origin of the Red Alert revealed.

    "Singularity" is a well told sci-fi oriented second season episode in the vein of "Dead Stop" with resemblances to the style of the Original Series. From its shocking opening, "Singularity" jettisons Enterprise's often drearily linear storytelling for a series of flashbacks told from the perspective of T'Pol on a ship where the crew is either unconscious or insane. Like the first half of "Dear Doctor," the flashbacks serve to give us a sense of how an ordinary day proceeds on Enterprise, which is important on board a starship that far too often seems deserted by all but the regulars. The radiation is a plausible enough plot device, considering how lightly Enterprise is shielded and the 'Serotonin' reference suggests that at least some effort is being made in proofing the science, after "Marauders"'s deuterium oil wells and "Communicator"'s magic invisibility dust.

    The 'diseased crew' episode is a conventional enough standby story to which innumerable Star Trek episodes from every series have been dedicated. from TOS's "This Side of Paradise" to Voyager's "Macrovirus" with notable low points along the way like TNG's "Genesis." But where such episodes usually focus on the search for a cure resulting in rather predictable stories, "Singularity" focuses on the crew's usual idiosyncrasies spiraling out of control into lunacy, producing a story about a disease whose effects are personalized and character-oriented. Dr. Phlox's usual scientific curiosity turns him into a mad scientist ready to lobotomize Mayweather to discover the reason for his headache. Reed's insecurities drive him to turn the ship into a police state and Trip's gadgetry spirals out of control. Archer and Hoshi are not given particularly interesting topics to stage mental breakdowns around, but then nothing Archer could do would top his breakdown in "A Night in Sickbay" and it's hard to imagine an interesting topic for a Hoshi breakdown anyway.

    T'Pol, who has been filling the Spock role of being trapped on a ship full of illogical humans, quickly finds herself in a Vulcan's worst nightmare: actually being trapped on a ship full of out of control and emotionally unstable humans. While the crew's breakdown is entertaining, T'Pol's solution comes a little too easily as with some cold water and a little shaking, she manages to get through to Archer, convince him of the problem and enlist his cooperation. The basic idea serves as an effective way of following up on the events of "The Seventh" with T'Pol now in the trusted position, but considering the fact that Archer is rarely that easy to convince even while sane and the crew up to now had been completely unwilling to listen to reason, T'Pol and Archer team up together too easily and from there it's just a matter of watching the pretty special effects on the viewscreen.

    In the meantime, the revelation of the genesis of the famous 'Red Alert' is a light and entertaining piece that unlike some of Enterprise's previous attempts to cut and paste continuity with the rest of the Star Trek universe, is actually realistically and organically, if still a bit self-consciously, developed. The irony is that most of Reed's suggestions, even when he's out of his mind, are still good ideas. If half of Reed's ideas had been implemented on Starfleet vessels from this point forwards, any alien wouldn't have been able to waltz through two Enterprises and one Voyager whenever they pleased on a weekly basis.

    Archer's chair project, on the other hand, smacks of the same unproffesionalism in which Archer orders Trip to fix the squeak in his floor in "Dead Stop." They may be good friends, but it's still ridiculous for the Captain to summon his engineer from his duties in engineering to make adjustments to his furniture that any other maintenance personnel could do for him. I don't recall Captain Kirk ordering Scotty to fix his chairs or Captain Picard summoning LaForge to his quarters to take care of that squeak in the floor. And really, Archer is humanity's first real Starship Captain. He is descended from one of the most brilliant scientist's in earth's history. Can't he figure out how to do what anyone cubicle monkey can, adjust the height of his chair?

    Like Phlox's reference to Mayweather's neural implants, the foreword to the biography of Archer's father is a good piece of continuity as well as a way of letting us know that there is a world outside of Enterprise. It would have been nice to let us know why Archer was so initially conflicted about writing it, however. Perhaps he does feel some ambiguity about his father's legacy after all. Since the focal points of the instability for each individual are so personal, it would have been nice if they tied in more neatly with existing issues for the characters. For instance, why did preparing that particular home dish produce that sort of emotional resonance in Hoshi? Certainly the 'disgracing my family' reference is outdated for 20th century Japan, let alone 21st century Japan. In Jeff Greenwald's book on Star Trek, 'Future Perfect', Japanese fans comment on how outdated Keiko's memory of traditional calligraphy in "Violations" was by modern Japanese cultural standards. A similar criticism might be made of Hoshi's characterization in this episode. Perhaps post-war Japan had become more traditional, but in failing to deal with how Earth has changed from the present day and pretending that it is just like the 20th century except that everyone gets along with each other, the episode squanders opportunities for creativity and interrupts the otherwise well-constructed universe of the story.

    All in all, "Singularity" is another good second season Enterprise episode based around a solid character oriented story.

    Next week: Vanishing Point. And no the title doesn't refer to Enterprise's vanishing ratings.

    About the Authors

    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 and columns for TrekWeb for over two years.

    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 and contributes reviews when his busy schedule permits.

    TrekWeb Reviews

  • "The Catwalk"
  • "Precious Cargo"
  • "Vanishing Point"
  • "Singularity"
  • "The Communicator"
  • "The Seventh"
  • "Marauders"
  • "A Night In Sickbay"
  • "Dead Stop"
  • "Minefield"
  • "Carbon Creek"
  • "Shockwave, Part II"
  • Season One Re-cap (Deus)
  • "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) Mission Logs

    Season Two (2002-2003)
    Prod #Title Airdate
    128 Shockwave, Part II 9/18/02
    127 Carbon Creek9/25/02
    129 Minefield10/02/02
    131 Dead Stop10/09/02
    130 A Night In Sickbay10/16/02
    132 Marauders10/30/02
    133 The Seventh11/06/02
    134 The Communicator11/13/02
    135 Singularity11/20/02
    136 Vanishing Point11/27/02
    137 Precious Cargo12/11/02
    138 The Catwalk12/18/02
    139 Dawn1/08/03
    140 Stigma2/05/03
    141 Cease Fire2/12/03
    142 Crash Landing2/19/03
    143 Canamar3/??/03
    144 The Crossing3/??/03
    Season One (2001-2002)

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    Just one thought...
    By BKPeak () at 18:17:58 on November 27 2002
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    It's a mistake to think that it was each crewmember's idiosyncracies that got out of hand in this episode, although their idiosyncracies certainly came into play. Trip doesn't have any idiosyncratic obsession with chairs any more than Hoshi does with Japanese cooking. What happened here was that they became obsessed with what they were doing as they entered the radiation. Perhaps that could help explain why Archer asked trip to handle the chair in the first place.

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    another low
    By douglas () at 00:47:30 on November 26 2002
    URL: | User Info
    I didn't like this episode at all. "Singularity" was cheesy from start to finish. How do the writers sleep at night knowing that they're coming up with such incomprehensible dribble for us to watch?

    One of the things I found distasteful about the script was that the writers had the crew fixated on crazy tasks like improving the captain's chair or trying to prepare a decent lunch in the messhall. All these aspects of the story were too trivial to be of any interest to begin with. Another thing I found uncomfortable about this episode was the fact that both the dilemma and the resolution were too simple to present our heroes with any sort of challenge at all. And lastly why is it that Vulcans are for some reason immune to anything from damaging diseases to intense radiation making them more capable of handling the situation better anybody in the entire series.

    In conclusion I really felt that the script needed some better details in terms of plot and character development. In addition I also believe that this is another example of how the writers and producers of Enterprise are trying too hard to make the series different from all the other Star Trek series, and so therefore have yet to get it together.

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    Super episode!
    By Hbasm () at 18:37:50 on November 25 2002
    URL: | User Info
    I got to watch Singularity now and it was GREAT!!! The beginning didn't seem interesting, but as soon as the captain began to talk about his chair, things went to character driven stuff and my conclusion is, that I consider this episode among the best Star Trek episodes, I have ever seen (and I have seen them all, except TOS).

    The beginning of the episode had a typical "ST: Voyager" feeling, were a situation itself is trying to grap our attention. In recent years, this fails to grap mine. It's the dialogue between people that is able to make something interesting or intense, and it was more interesting here than I expected. Voyager didn't get this far. There was also a few clever subjects that gives this episode a purpose. It wasn't just empty entertainment.

    There's just one small thing, I'm not sure about: In real life, would T'Pol be able to wake up anyone, enough to fly the ship? And maybe the radiation would have destroyed all the brains permanently... But then the series would probably have ended.

    Chris Black wrote a great story here, and the director was new to the series but did a great job too!

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    "Night Terrors," Anyone
    By Chris () at 23:19:03 on November 24 2002
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    As last week's "Communicator" seemed to be based on what would have happened after the end of "A Piece of the Action" [TOS], this episode seemed to have shades of the TNG episode "Night Terrors."

    Remember that fourth season episode where the Enterprise is caught in a Tyken's Rift, slowly driving the crew insane with lack of REM sleep? This seemed to be the humourous version of what happened on the ship they found (the Brittain, whose dedication plaque read "A three hour tour, a three hour tour). Substitute in "seretonin levels" for "REM sleep," and you've just made a similar lead-in storyline great.

    Overall, I definetly thought this was a great episode.

    Did anyone else notice this parallel?

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    By khanman () at 09:36:00 on November 24 2002
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    I felt that this episode was one of the stronger episodes of the series. It held together well and we got to see the "inner mind" of some of the characters. I admit Hoshi's scenes were forced, but the theme of her having a hobby may be revisited in the future. The writers have gone out of their way to reference past episodes. Also I do have to disagree with Deus' characterizing Archer as misusing his engineer. In the episode, Archer did not ask Trip to fix the chair, Trip volunteered to look at it after Archer made an off hand comment about it not being comfortable. At this point they had dropped out of Warp and were already feeling the early effects of the radiation. Other than that I tought, Deus' review was accurate and the show was well done.

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    Enterprise is entertaining!
    By mtee () at 13:18:38 on November 22 2002
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    I recently read a review from Rosella (did I spell that right? Apologies if not) that had a line that, to me, sums up how MANY of Enterprise fans view this show. She stated that she found this one particular episode entertaining if you didn't look real close to the details!
    Well, that is how I and many of the folks who have positive comments watch Enterprise. We find it an entertaining show. We DO NOT watch with the Star Trek encyclopedia in one hand and a sharp pencil (Deus, that has got to be you!) in the other. I have watched all TOS and TNG for years, originals and reruns. I like Sci-Fi - I am entertained by it -- but I don't really lose sleep if there are details that are not right.
    Now - I do agree with some people that the writers seem to run out of time - and then try to "fix" the conflict too quickly, too easily. It's bothersome - but... As for Archer -- well,that's another thread - and it will be a positive one. We finally have a "flawed" captain. He has faults and prejudices. But I enjoy watching him evolve - Vulcans - can't stand them, but T'Pol is now trusted. Naive, heck yes, but that is starting to change. Alien species are not always friendly. Reed is showing him that although not a military ship - some precautions need to be made. This is what is fascinating. Put the Star Trek bible down and watch this development - Give Archer a chance - he's a work in progress. He's not the kind of Academy captain you are used to. He's the prototype - and there are going to be lots of revisions made.

    Maybe TrekWeb needs to have a pro/con set of reviewers! I would like to read more from the viewers who take the polls and consistently vote that Enterprise is either Great or Excellent!! We need a voice around here!

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    Well done...
    By Noxmagic () at 21:36:22 on November 21 2002
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    Bravo! Singularity was the type of above average, strongly sci-fi feeling episode fans of Ent. have begged for more of. As Deus points out, Sing. has a classic sci-fi slash TOS feel, not unlike Dead Stop. Yes, it did have its problems...T'Pol bringing the Captain around so easily, then trusting the Captian to fly the ship (couldn't T'Pol have found a way to fly Ent. herself?), Travis being short-changed on screen-time yet again, and Yoshi's somewhat sterotypical behavior. But Sing.'s many positive attributes far outweigh its drawbacks. Its overall storyline flowed smoothly, and it had several real gems scene wise. For example, the scene between Archer and Tripp in Engineering, where Tripp scans Archer with a device not intended to be used on humans (evidently, luckily, there were no ill effects to its use), and later telling Archer that his preface was too long, was laugh out loud funny. This type of understated humor works well with Ent., a brand of humor that is expertly done on, say, the WB show Angel. I'd love to see Ent. adapt a style like this, a small taste of which we recieved on Sing. Additionally, just about every scene Reed was in really worked. Much is made out of the actor who plays Phlox, and rightfully so, but the actor playing Reed is under-rated. I think he showed how effective he can be in Sing. It was also very cool to see the orgins of the Red and Yellow alerts. I do wonder if Tripp's obsession will eventually lead to the more versitile Captian's chair seen beginning with Kirk onward. Overall, while this type of storyline, where the crew is sick and acting crazy, has seemingly been done a billion times on Trek, Ent.'s take was very well done.

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    It was okay. . .
    By Michaelj () at 17:19:04 on November 21 2002
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    . . . but hardly anything to write home about. There were no real character insights to speak of, let alone character conflict, because there was nothing at stake. As such, "Singularity" pales in comparison to TOS' similar "The Naked Time" or even "The Tholian Web." If it was an average-quality Enterprise episode I'd give it a pass, but as one of the best of the season it left much to be desired.

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    100% better than "Strange New World"
    By Bucky () at 15:35:30 on November 21 2002
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    this was written by Chris Black and has an X-Files style all over it. Character-centric episode w/ a sci-fi twist. While there were allusions to "Strange New World" the problem is in that episode it was only 4 characters and it went into the cliche of Mexican standoff and had a somewhat nasty overtone of racial hatred to it. Also it just "upped thier hostility levels" or some bunk like that. Also, 3 episodes in we hardly knew the characters at all to get involved in them pointing phasers at each other.
    "Singularity", on the other hand, took a neat twist about crew, focusing on obessions, and totally centered it around thier characters. it was completely plausable what each crewmember was obessed about and fit with thier characterization. It was a very organic way to tell the standard "crew goes crazy" story and not make it a cliche ala SNW.
    I think this is really what ENT does best, sort of doing a character-centered piece but with overtones of science fiction. Nothing too plot or expositional heavy. Also, it was genuninely tense too. I'll be damned that this show can REALLY do some good "bottle" episodes. Heck, this was probably one of the cheaper episodes they made, but with good writting, direction & music it really pushed it to another level.

    Oh, and I was able to download it off Kazaa overnight (my stupid VCR didn't tape the right show for the 3rd week in a row). Good bless the internet.


    speed kills but beauty lives forever

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    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    • VCR by Brian Langlois @ 15:49:37 EDT on 21 Nov
      • RE: VCR by Bucky @ 06:53:02 EDT on 22 Nov
        • RE: VCR by Brian Langlois @ 10:28:11 EDT on 22 Nov
    By Spockjaw () at 13:06:30 on November 21 2002
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    Overall I enjoyed this episode. But there were a few things that bothered me. The red alert origin was a bit humorous, but are they trying to get me to believe there was no readiness condition aboard the ship prior? I admit I don't remember them having one, but now that I think on it, it is a little ridiculous. Not even "general quarters." Still, it was more than made up for with the super-annoying klaxon going off.

    By far the most irritating thing to me is the fact that things are taken from TNG, rather than TOS, for this show (ie, sound effects, technologies). --Although I DO hear TOS bridge sounds from time to time on the bridge, especially the random button-pushing. But why, oh god, do they have to use TNG phaser sounds?!!! If you're not going to use some combination of old sounds, then use something ORIGINAL! I KNOW these guys can be creative, so I am a little disappointed--yes even with a little thing like that. Sometimes it's the little things that make all the difference.

    Anyway, these things were (mostly) made up for with an entertaining episode.

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    Great Episode
    By Weyune () at 10:25:54 on November 21 2002
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    As a Canadian I ahve been wanting to post somethign since tuesday night!

    Once again, I thought this was a great episode. I was actually surprised to hear all the good responses - especially from O.D.

    I never really nitpick an episode, but here were a few things about this one that I felt could have been done a little better.

    First - snapping Archer out of it by throwing him in the shower and shaking him was a little weak. I am sure the writers could have thought of something better.

    Secondly, this is somethign that even my wife noticed - how come in Enterprise they can fire phasers from teh bridge yet in TOS they ahev to have about 5 guys relay a voice command from the bridge down into a phaser room to fire?

    These two things didn't take from my enjoyment of the episode, as I did fully enjoy it - especially Trips obsession with the captains chair.

    I hope the writers keep churning out quality episodes like this.


    "This man thinks like me"

    -- Rico the Columbian Drug Lord, in "Crocodile Dundee II"

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    real improvement
    By psp1 () at 09:51:20 on November 21 2002
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    This episode made me glad I did not abandon watching Enterprise. One of the best written yet.



    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    Red Alert Thoughts
    By BWilliams ( at 09:34:48 on November 21 2002
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    After watching "Singularity" last night, I have to agree with O.Deus in that this is actually one of the better episodes this season. Seeing the crew getting worked up over the small stuff to the point of breaking down is an interesting twist to some of the earlier series' stories of the crew losing control.

    It was interesting to hear the comment that the alert "Battlestations!" would not work on a starship, yet we hear Saavik clearly say it in the opening sequence of "Star Trek II" when she says, "Battlestations! Activate shields." Janeway has also referenced the alert term in a couple of episodes of "Voyager", as well as Kira in the "Emissary" pilot for "Deep Space Nine". Apparently that term does come into usage in time.

    It was also quite humorous to hear the origin of "Red alert" (the "Reed alert" has a lot more humorous feel to it) and the development of the ship's alert klaxons that have become a Star Trek staple. However, they could have referenced our military's current alert status guide as well - in the U.S. we have a Level 3 status that is commonly referred to as "Yellow alert", and Level 1 is "Red alert". No doubt the military had been scrutinizing the DefCon system in the development of the color alert system, and I'm sure there are a few Star Trek fans among them as well. :) But it's nice to see how it dovetails into the alert status system used over the years in the series and movies.

    Definitely one of the better episodes this season. There's hope for "Enterprise" yet :)

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    Liked This One
    By Brian Langlois () at 09:26:13 on November 21 2002
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    Of course, I like most of them. But this was particularly good. You know, I never even realized that Enterprise had never gone to "Red Alert." It just seemed like standard practice. Captain Archer also drove home a point I wish more people would understand, that this is NOT a millitary ship. Reed's points also explain why this crew has met with so many hostile alien problems over the course of the first and second seasons. I think it's cool that they are letting the crew and ship develop as we watch and not making them perfect all the time.

    A question for O. Deus: Why is it "Unprofessional" for the captain to ask his engineer to fix his chair or his floor? They are things in need of fixing, and that is the engineer's job, right? Kirk's chair probably wasn't uncomfortable to him. I'm sure floor plating in the Enterprise D was quiet. I think it adds a little character to the ship, not to mention explaining why Archer never sits in the chair.

    I was glad to be pleasantly surprised by this episode, because I usually don't like those "plague on a starship" type stories. Good episode all around.

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]


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