Reviews Ex Deus
Overall episode score: 7.0
FX and Production Values: 8.0
ENTERPRISE does EVENT HORIZON with Vulcan zombies. Fortunately
there's a method to the madness.
Thus far s three has not exactly been T'Pol's year. Her primary role on
the show seems to have been to serve as Trip's unclad masseuse and
in the last two episodes she's hit a particularly low point. In "Extinction"
she was reduced to helplessly scrambling away from the mutated crewmembers
like an extra in a slasher movie with no trace of the specially trained
operative with Vulcan strength her character is supposed to be. In "Rajiin"
she was reduced even lower to a psychic rape victim. This week she's back in
sickbay again but at least there's some character development in it for her.
EVENT HORIZON substituted a spaceship for a haunted house and a mysterious
faster than light space drive for an Indian burial ground, but essentially
the material was the same. Ever since the Vulcan ambassador tried to
frighten Archer with grainy green videotape of psychotic Vulcans running
amok in the expanse, the resemblance to the movie's data log was
unmistakable. And since ENTERPRISE's early season episodes tend to be
better on continuity, Vulcan zombies was a concept that a Brannon Braga-produced series could never pass up; it was almost inevitable that
Enterprise would run into them sooner or later. Once it does the resulting
plot is a predictably formulaic series of zombie chase scenes not
significantly different from most horror movies or for that matter STAR TREK: FIRST CONTACT, except that the Vulcan zombies are never scary. The
results are more reminiscent of season two's "Sleeping Dogs," in which characters
scramble around a rundown broken Klingon ship with a Klingon stalking them. The one thing STAR TREK has never really done well is
horror and "Impulse" is no exception. Still, veteran Trek director David Livingston
goes all out to do some great work right down to the flashy, final
horror movie-style nightmare sequence and if "Impulse" never manages to be
disturbing, it's not his fault. Even the FX are well directed with
dramatic pans across an asteroid field roiling with tumbling rocks.
Vulcan zombies are just hard to take seriously and horror is premised on
the idea that the characters are in a situation beyond their control and in
which some of them will not survive. On STAR TREK, on the other hand, the
situation is almost always under control, even if it's via Deus Ex
Technobabble, and we know the cast members will survive. The franchise simply
doesn't do horror well because TREK episodes are too afraid to let go
of their control. The only out-of-control element involves
T'Pol's growing instability but at this point seeing crew members go wonky
is nothing special. Archer, Reed, and Hoshi did it two episodes ago and the last time T'Pol lost her sanity was during last season's
"Bounty," not to mention "The Seventh" or "Strange New World." Fortunately, unlike
"Bounty"'s abysmal T'Pol B-Plot, T'Pol's instability here serves to allow some
"Impulse" also features a long overdue look at how the crew has been coping
with their mission and the Expanse. A look that should have been part of the
arc and developed episode by episode instead of giving us Archer as an alien
werewolf, T'Pol's massage parlor, the obnoxious alien of the week or any of
the other nonsense that has sidelined season three's promising storylines. It's
nice to see a return of movie night and a discussion about morale as
ENTERPRISE picks up on season two material right down to T'Pol silencing Phlox
at the screening. That's the kind of thing that lets us see Enterprise as a
single entity, a ship and a crew, rather than the cast wandering around
through empty hallways while battling the alien of the week or a virus of
the week whom we're certain to never see again. Like TNG's Ten Forward or
DS9's Promenade or Voyager's Holodeck, it's important to emphasize rituals
that bind the crew together outside emergency and duty situations. It's what
makes the setting of the ship, and by extension the show, three-dimensionally
How do you rate the episode on a scale of 1 to 10?
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.
Season 2 Poll Results
"First Flight" and "Bounty"
"The Breach" (Williams)
React to this story below and see what others are saying at the STAR TREK BBS
Join our monthly e-mail newsletter