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Mayweather's Shining Moment on the "Horizon" But Story Can't Surpass Mediocrity, Says Guest Reviewer Bill Williams


Posted: 00:59:05 on April 17 2003
By: Steve Krutzler
Dept: ENTERPRISE Reviews
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 jeopardy.

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About the Author
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.

Past Reviews
  • "Horizon" (Williams)
  • "Judgment"
  • "The Crossing"
  • "Canamar"
  • "Future Tense"
  • "Cease Fire"
  • "Stigma"
  • "Dawn"
  • "The Catwalk"
  • "Precious Cargo"
  • "Vanishing Point"
  • "Singularity"
  • "The Communicator"
  • "The Seventh"
  • "Marauders"
  • "A Night In Sickbay"
  • "Dead Stop"
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    Horizon succumbs to 40 minute syndrome
    By Admiral Brandon ( ) at 02:36:32 on April 22 2003
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    First of all, although this may be very much against the grain, I thought the first 80% of this episode was actually outstanding. I think Bakula did a satisfactory job comforting but staying a respectful distance from Mayweather during his mourning. I did agree with the other comments that Archer should probably have had more to say given his recent loss. The crew has not yet come to terms with what effects their prolonged departure from home has had. This is clearly the first hint that there will be more issues to tackle in this regard.

    I thought Montgomery's performance was also above par compared to his last role in "Fortunate Son". I don't see him taking the goody-two-shoes route that Wesely fell into but I also think he is going to bypass the whiney, self-deprecating Harry Kim role. For the first time, he seemed vulnerable and he seemed to protrude some real emotion. It was good to see the 2-D character develop some volume for a 3-D episode. Mayweather faced some challenging questions about his past decisions and his future challenges. I think a major issue for him to tackle is to define what it is he wants to be. Harry wanted to be a captain and Wesely wanted to ascend to a deeper realm of awareness. What does Travis want?

    But "Horizon"'s failure comes in the speedy resolution so prevlant in the last season of Voyager. I'm not suggesting that this episode had the makings of a two-parter, but clearly far too much time was wasted on the ridiculous B-plot instead of making the alien attacks seem more menacing and threatening as they were made in "Fortunate Son". The quick weapons upgrades and the speedy reconciliation of the brothers was really forced and soured the whole storyline of adversity the two were trying to conquer after their estrangement.

    I thought Mayweather's mother with her no-nonsense commentary but gentle distancing was complementary rather than antagonistic to the plot's tenor although it would seem that she might have more of a matriarchial role in commadning the ship than she did especially considering her experience. Her nuturing and support of Travis was touching and at the same time allowed us to see the changes in family relationships in deep space. There are different challenges that human families face and these changes have enormous cultural and sociological ramifications. Perhaps more of these issues will crop up as the show goes on.

    Although not great, I think Horizon is keeping the average of episode quality pretty constant. Hopefully Phlox's moral dilemma next week in the "The Crossing" will recapture the fire of "Dear Doctor" but it smells of Voyager's "Jetrel".

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    Mayweather was good, but the B-plot sucked.
    By aquirius ( ) at 12:55:11 on April 21 2003
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    Ok I enjoyed the Mayweather plot greatly. This episode truly helped develop his character. But the B-Plot disturbed me. The Frankenstein plot is good material for T-Pol. But what angered me is that the crew was in orbit of a planetary phenomenon, but their interest was watching movies. These are explorers? "Oh ya the computer will record everything scientific for us so lets go and watch a movie." I mean come on, Admirel Forrest ordered Enterprise to 180 back 30 light year just to record this phenomenon. And instead of taking an interest they'd rather watch movies. I would have been better to leave the whole volcano planet out of the story altogether and make up the excuse for Enterprise backtracking by having them stop at a trading outpost to receive more crewmen so the ship will look populated in the corridor and not so vaccant. Plus giving them some red shirts for later. Then Mayweather take his leave and Enterprise sets off. I can pull a better plot point out of my ass.

    This whole sit and watch a movie while the computer does the exploring for you sounds like B&B's writing, directing, and producing philosophy in a nutshell.

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    By Hepkat ( hepkat2@hotmail.com) at 05:01:16 on April 19 2003
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    The one thing that kept going through my mind the entire show; wood, wood and more wood. Archer was particularly wooden this week, especially while trying to comfort Travis after the loss of his father. Hasn't ANYONE seen fit to point out to him that those awkward, syncopated pauses he takes, perhaps in an attempt to sound thoughtful, only interrupt the flow of his dialog and piss off his audience?

    This was also Travis' big break, and many of his lines came out wooden as well. I'd like to be compassionate, but the writers are making it so hard.

    Also, has it not occured to the science production team who review the script that there is no WEIGHT in space? Releasing the cargo hold in order to make the ship lighter or nimbler is a load of crap. In space, the ship is completely weightless, whether it has 1kg of cargo or 30,000.

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    At least Travis...
    By Noxmagic ( ) at 19:55:33 on April 18 2003
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    ...finally gets to do more than sit at Con and push bottons, something I've been waiting for for awhile, but that's about the only really good thing about Horizon. Horizon's leading storyline featuring Travis and family was horribly predictable, while the B story line aboard Ent. was just plain boring. Speaking of which, correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't Ent. set 150 years from now? Why, then, would the crew be watching movies we consider old? Much of Ent.'s pop culture references have been rooted in today's pop culture, or pop culture from decades past. Shouldn't they be referencing pop culture that we are not familair with, considering they are 150 years in our future? Anyway, back to Travis and family. From the instant when Travis requested a leave from Enterprise in order to visit his family aboard the cargo ship where he grew up, I knew they would A) be attacked, and B) Travis would hold the key to saving them, thus magically smoothing over by episode's end whatever problems he was having with his family (to whom no real harm would come, of course). Perhaps I would have felt more involved in this episode if Travis hadn't been ignored for almost all of Ent.'s run to date. How can viewers be expected to care about a character when they are given real air time only once a t.v. season? As for the teaser commercials hinting at Travis possibly leaving Enterprise, well, come on...who fell for that? Despite all of the above, I do think Horizon comes close to the relm of average as far as Trek t.v. fair is concerned, but average isn't going to save Trek. This late in their season, Ent. should be reaping the benefits of a season long, if not longer, story arc that draws us to the edges of our seats (see Buffy or Angel on the WB). Instead, they give us yet another stand alone, filler episode. Sigh.

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    What would have improved this ep...
    By CaptainO ( ) at 16:37:04 on April 18 2003
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    Not the writing (although that needed help), not the story (with the exception of the B-plot that had no payoff), but the ACTING. The lines that were written had the potential of being so much more, and delivered with the intensity and emotion they deserved. Instead, family relationships were distant and had no chemistry. Travis' father died, and there was no emotion expressed among the family members.

    And what was up with the B-plot -- not the movie, but the whole volcanic activity spewing microbes? What's the explanation? Are we supposed to take that at face value without surprise or afterthought? Yay, microbes in volcanos, whooptee-effing-do.

    This is the first Star Trek show to suffer from acting problems. Come on, people, ACT!

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    a little more kin than kind
    By dropdeadnelix ( ) at 12:27:36 on April 18 2003
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    I've been thinking about how much more this episode could have been...they could have so easily advanced Travis' character by light years, rather than feeding us this after school special.

    Why not Hamlet in space? Why not ruin Mayweather's home life in this story? Do we as viewers hope someday to revisit all those perky boomers on the Horizon? Why not put Travis' mother in somebody else bed and his brother in league with the pirates? Why not send Travis packing back to Enterprise with a ruined homelife and nothing to show for it except his career and his crewmates on Enterprise. How much more invested in Travis would we be if we knew that he had nowhere else to go in the universe but back to his friends on Enterprise...even though he and archer now share some father issues, I don't feel invested in it one little bit.

    IMHO that would have been a lot more interesting to watch than Travis saves the day! Further, if he gets killed off down the line it would be even more tragic...

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    Tears-Attention to detail!
    By Kilroy ( ) at 12:05:31 on April 18 2003
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    Well, I thought the strengths of this episode were the sets. Unfortunately the Merryweather character gets more stiff each time I see him. On the nit-pick side of things, tears don't fall down your face when your in an anti-gravity area!

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    at least bill agrees with me that this show sucked
    By egervari ( ) at 07:10:37 on April 18 2003
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    At least bill agrees with me that this show sucked (refer to my post in the Suliban Helix forum about this episode).

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    Dump Mayweather
    By who1 ( ) at 17:35:41 on April 17 2003
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    I realize it's very much the fault of this writing team for not developing Mayweather well, and for again pulling an Ensign Kim and conceiving a bland and limited character in the pilot, but I believe this show should cut its loses and send Anthony Montgomery packing. The character was minimally advanced yesterday, Montgomery continues to give very self-conscious and unnatural performances, and the opportunity to dramatically oust a main character and replace him with someone the whole writing team has a say in crafting - it worked on Voyager, they just made the mistake of not replacing the worst character. Cut your losses Berman and Braga, Mayweather is a lost cause.

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    Pat or Not ...
    By Edzo ( lordedzo@hotmail.com) at 11:30:49 on April 17 2003
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    I enjoyed "Horizon." Yes, it was pretty much by-the-numbers B&B storytelling, but it didn't matter to me. I must've been in a really good mood. I expected the worst but was treated to something better. Anthony Montgomery deserves most of the credit. If he's been taking acting classes, it shows.


    Lord Edzo!

    "Have you been drinking?"

    -- T'Pol to Reed, "The Crossing"

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    Good review Mr. Williams
    By dropdeadnelix ( ) at 09:07:41 on April 17 2003
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    Anybody else find it odd that Archer, a man who recently lost his own father, didn't have anything more meaningful to say on the subject to Travis in the sweet spot. Perhaps it was an effort at understatement by the writers and actors, but I thought it was an obvious place for Acrher to draw some paralells between himself and Travis and the notion of what a career in starfleet means.


    I like the touch about having families and a ship's counselor aboard....kind of funny.

    "Red Wings SUCK. Go Avs"
    Common bumper sticker in Denver, CO.

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    Your Review tracks pretty well
    By Phaser1701 ( garavin@rochester.rr.com) at 08:44:51 on April 17 2003
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    with my own thoughs on this ep, though I viewed the B story somewhat more optimistically than you did. I thought Bormanis and the director (and most of the cast) did a fine job with the humor, and gave it the right amount of understatement. The only thing that I'd take issue with was the coercion practiced by Trip, which seemed just a bit heavy-handed. I mean, why should he care whether T'Pol sees the movie or not? Now, maybe he does, but it'd be nice if the writers told us why. Then his urging would make more sense. There were a couple of duds in the B-story as well; Archer treating it as a "date" (even though he was clearly going for humor), his note about T'Pol fraternizing more with the crew (frowned upon in today's military, though who knows about the future?), and the movie post-mortem/mess scene with T'Pol (the writer) discussing humanity's ignorance and fear. This would have been a good opportunity for Archer and Trip (the humans) to admit, even if grudgingly, their own weaknesses as a race. Instead, we got incredulity, and the same old human-centric arrogance that has plagued this series. Still, those are pretty minor things, and with a little more work this would have made a passable A-plot.

    The A Plot was a simple paint-by-numbers affair, with almost nothing to recommend it. Mayweather's best scenes were mostly played on Enterprise: The mess scene where he and Reed discuss families on spaceships (with a reference to TNG that had all the subtlety of being smacked in the head with a 2 by 4), the "sweet spot" scene with Archer and Travis, and Travis and Trip at the airlock.

    By contrast, his scenes aboard the Horizon were poorly scripted and directed. The one exception was the scene in Engineering with his mother. A scene that could have done a lot more for the story, and Mayweather's character development, was the one in which his friend Nora (a well-played cameo by B-movie actress Nicole Forester) confided to him the problems on board. Too bad we didn't see anyone else on the crew expressing the same sentiments. I also thought there existed the possibility to develop their relationship more. For instance, the story could have been much improved had it turned out the two of them were romantically linked at one time. Instead, she came and went, supplying a bit of exposition that could have been delivered by anyone. It's too bad the writers wasted the opportunity to use their characters better. As it turned out, Travis's mother was the only character who seemed to have any depth.

    Some missed opportunities all around. Bormanis can be a good writer as we've seen, but this one fell short. If TPTB had devoted the whole of the ep to either the A or B plot, there might have been enough time to do it justice. As it was, 20 some-odd minutes just isn't enough to work in the kind of dramatic tension and character development that an ep like Horizon demanded and deserved. Too bad.


    Honi Soit qui Mal y Pense...

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    Horizon OK
    By K'Mtar ( ) at 05:35:24 on April 17 2003
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    As many times as I have watched many repeats of Star Trek and its sequel series, I thought "Horizon" was an average/OK episode.

    I wasn't expecting too much action. Although, I thought there was just the right amount of action for this kind of an episode and plenty of character development for Travis, I agree with the reviewer when he wrote/implied that the 'B' story was resolved, but the 'A' story was left up in the air.

    Usually when writting a script, all sub stories, as well as the main story should always have a conclusion. In order to be a great script.

    I would give this episode an 5 out of 10 for good effort.

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    More of the Same
    By NAFF ( NATHANGSHARP@HOTMAIL.COM) at 00:50:39 on April 17 2003
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    Another "seen it all before" episode.

    An amazing 35 minutes before anything remotely entertaining happens.

    I have seen nothing this quite bad since Seaquest DSV...

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    By Xenoclone ( chris@xenoclone.com) at 00:31:47 on April 17 2003
    URL: http://www.xenoclone.com | User Info
    I would've liked ODeus's opinion on this one--I suspect he would have been more positive. I've learned to understand what he means when he reviews, and get a feel for his expecations out of an episode. This new reviewer seems a little harsh, but I don't have any other reviews of his to gauge against. I'd give this one an 8 out of 10.


    "Unless we learn to live together as brothers [and sisters] we will die together as fools." -Martin Luther King, Jr.

    [ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

    • RE: Darn by Lt_Sartre @ 23:57:48 ET on 17 Apr
    • RE: Darn by FastFashion @ 18:53:15 ET on 17 Apr
    • RE: Darn by BWilliams @ 06:54:15 ET on 17 Apr
      • ? by Xenoclone @ 03:43:46 ET on 19 Apr
        • RE: ? by BWilliams @ 09:20:30 ET on 19 Apr
    • RE: Darn by giventofly462 @ 00:40:20 ET on 17 Apr