Review Sans Deus
Editor's Note: Due to extenuating circumstances, O. Deus is unable to review this week's episode of ENTERPRISE. In his stead, TrekWeb's contributing editor and book reviewer Bill Williams has offered to fill in as guest reviewer this week. Williams previously reviewed ENTERPRISE's "Acquisition" last season.
Written by Bill Williams, edited by Steve Krutzler
Synopsis: Travis goes back to visit his family on the cargo ship Horizon
and finds that home is not what it used to be.
Review: This was the much-hyped episode spotlighting Travis Mayweather
and his family, which Anthony Montgomery had discussed in numerous
interviews for the show. Unfortunately, the execution of the concept is
not as exciting as the promise it once suggested.
We see right at the very beginning and in Act One the return of
Travis' favorite solitary place on the ship, which makes a welcome
return since we first saw it in "Broken Bow" -- the "sweet spot." This locale later plays an
important setting to an extremely sensitive and well-handled discussion
between Archer and Travis over the loss of Travis' father. Travis
requests a leave of absence to return to his family's cargo ship, the
Horizon, where he spent his youth as a "space boomer", only to find that
things are not what they used to be. His older brother Paul (played by
Corey Mendell Parker) is uncomfortable with the burden of command, and
the Horizon's crewmembers express their concerns to Travis. When the
Horizon comes under attack from the standard alien adversary of the
week, Paul Mayweather thinks that giving in and surrendering their cargo
is the only way out. This sets up the standard brother-versus-brother
conflict between Paul and Travis, and it leaves Travis debating whether
or not he should leave Starfleet to remain on the Horizon.
I will give this episode its due credit; it does delve into Travis'
family background and helps flesh out his character fairly well.
However, this cannot drive the episode entirely. It came off like an
empty version of TNG's "Family," which handled Picard's fraternal
problems with much stronger results. The resolution to the alien
pirate crisis seemed too quick and too pat. Had Travis' family been
placed in serious jeopardy, then it would have added some much needed
risk to the story. Everything about this "A" story just felt too rapid. Furthermore, the promised dramatic tension hinted at in the
previews for this episode never comes to light, and the so-called
"decision" of whether or not Travis should leave Starfleet is handled in
just a few seconds at the end of the third act. While it was nice to
see Mrs. Mayweather (Joan Pringle) throughout the episode, her role is
reduced to mediator between Travis and Paul.
The "B" story, featuring the Enterprise crew, could actually be divided
into two parts: the crew monitoring a planetary collapse, and the return
of movie night on the Enterprise with Archer and Trip convincing T'Pol
to indulge in a FRANKENSTEIN triple feature. This "B" plot was
intended to be the lighter subplot to counterbalance the more serious
"A" plot of Travis and the Horizon.
At times it does seem like T'Pol is
really getting some good one-liners on Trip and Doctor Phlox. And the
usage of clips from James Whale's 1931 classic film is a nice
addition to the episode, even down to T'Pol quoting Dr. Frankenstein's
classic line "It's alive" when observing lifeforms trapped on the
erupting planet. However, the "B" plot seemed equally rushed in the wake
of the "A" plot, and there was no resolution at all to the crew's survey
of the planet.
There are far too more misses than hits in "Horizon," unfortunately.
Writer Andre Bormanis, veteran of stronger efforts like "Silent Enemy," seems to be going through the
numbers in this episode, as does director James Contner. There's very
little dramatic tension, if at all, in the episode. "Horizon" winds up
failing for the most part, except for a few good moments. At the end of the episode, Travis promises Paul that he will write a
subspace postcard to him soon. Too bad "Horizon" isn't worth writing home about.
Rating: 3 (on a scale of 1-10)
Next week: Doctor Phlox makes a decision that puts his medical career in
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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.