Thursday, May 16, 2013

Everybody Mates The Same Way In Star Trek With “Two Days And Two Nights.”

The Good: The acting is all right, The Phlox subplot is funny and well-executed
The Bad: Riddled with nitpick errors, No real character development, Seems largely inconsequential all the way around.
The Basics: “Two Days And Two Nights” has the Enterprise visiting Risa for a somewhat pointless series of complications that do not truly advance any of the characters involved.

Following the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “The Chase” (reviewed here!), Trekkers lost much of their ability to complain about how most of the aliens in the Star Trek universe looked so similar. “The Chase” let it be known that the fundamental aliens in the Star Trek universe – at least in the Alpha and Beta Quadrants – were seeded there by an ancient race that used their own DNA as a template for the younger races. I get that, so my complaints about Enterprise seldom deal with the look of aliens (though in “Two Days And Two Nights” the alien make-up for the main female is a lazy re-imagining of the Trill), but this early in the journey of humans out into the universe, I find myself having a different complaint.

Everyone in the Star Trek universe both mates the same way and assumes that everyone else mates in a similar fashion. It’s actually a legitimate gripe. In “Two Days And Two Nights,” women that approach Trip and Reed admit they have never met humans before, yet they continue to pursue them in a way that indicates that they are confident that they men will continue to find them attractive and they lure them using a very human sense of sex appeal. Reed and Trip go in with the ridiculous notion that the women they meet on Risa might have all the same parts underneath their swimsuits and the aliens they meet there seem to have the same ridiculous prejudice. It’s unimaginative and given how this episode vastly predates “The Chase” the alien races have no reasonable way to make that assumption.

That said, “Two Days And Two Nights” is an episode riddled with problems on almost all fronts, except internal continuity. The main character problem I had was the above one, though the fact that Archer is not suspicious of the woman he ends up with and Hoshi’s character is severely weakened by her intimate rendezvous (I am not at all a prude, but Hoshi has been characterized as a bit of one and her love of learning languages would put her in very close contact with multiple teachers over the course of her career, which should demystify the pseudo-attraction someone like her has with a teacher. In other words, Hoshi’s character is much more interesting and consistent if she has a low libido that is satisfied through educational exploration, as opposed to basic physical sexual chemistry.). As it stands, “Two Days And Two Nights” does nothing to fundamentally alter or grow any of the characters.

After two attempts to get to Risa, the Enterprise finally arrives there. Archer, Sato, Trip, Mayweather, and Reed all draw lots that put them in the first rotation of visitors to go down to the pleasure planet. Aboard Enterprise, Phlox goes into a hibernation trance and leaves Ensign Cutler to look after the crew’s medical needs. With T’Pol in command, Sato goes to Risa to learn new languages, Mayweather goes to do some spelunking, Archer goes to relax (with a book of Surak’s philosophies sent as a gift by T’Pol) and Trip and Mayweather go to cruise for women. In his villa, Archer finds time to relax, though Porthos is bothered by a dog at a neighboring villa and its owner, Keyla, quickly strikes up a conversation with Archer.

Soon, though, complications abound. Sato’s quest to learn new languages puts her in touch (very literally) with a man with a fascinatingly complex language that challenges and stimulates her and Mayweather has a climbing accident that causes him to break his leg. In getting treated for the broken leg, Mayweather is given an injection that he has a reaction to. When Mayweather is returned to Enterprise, Cutler and T’Pol must decide whether or not to awaken Phlox, while on the surface Reed and Tucker get into trouble when pursuing two alien women who are not all they appear to be. And Archer, begins to suspect that Keyla is not all she appears as she tells the story of how her family was killed by the Suliban and begins interrogating Archer about what he knows about the enemy!

“Two Days And Two Nights” is riddled with continuity problems and some of the stupidest writing errors to come out of the series yet. While the idea of Phlox going into hibernation during a shore leave is not an inherently bad one, the writers seem to neglect the idea that space travel at this point in time is much slower than viewers are used to. As a result, it seems like there would be other times between planetary systems when the ship is going through a routine phase when it would be more ideal for Phlox to take his annual hibernation. In other words, this subplot with Phlox is just tempting fate in the worst possible way.

The show has a very Victorian sense of nudity as well. When Trip and Reed are robbed at gunpoint, the aliens take their clothes . . . but leave them in their underwear. Television standards and practices aside, this makes little sense. What makes even less sense is that they get a catcall as they walk through the resort in their underwear afterwards. Of any planet in the Star Trek universe for people not to notice or care about people walking around in their underwear or naked, Risa is at the top of the list. At least as important, the guys keep complaining about the alcohol smell on them after their escape . . . when they’re at a beachfront resort. Instead of ambling through the resort, why they didn’t just go for a quick swim makes both Reed and Trip seem like utter imbiciles.

That said, “Two Days And Two Nights” has decent internal continuity. Reed and Tucker reference “Shuttlepod One” (reviewed here!) and Archer finds himself dealing with unexpected consequences from “Detained” (reviewed here!) in the episode. The scenes with Phlox are entertaining at the very least and the acting is all right. Jolene Blalock gets through her minimal part as T’Pol with fewer smirks and emotive inflections than usual, making for what is to be considered a fair performance for her.

Guest Star Dey Young returns to the franchise, which is a nice addition. Here she plays Keyla, an age appropriate partner for Bakula’s Archer. Previously, Young played Arissa in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’s “A Simple Investigation” (reviewed here!) and the two roles are remarkably similar, giving Young little to show off in the way of range. She and Bakula, though, have decent on-screen chemistry.

It’s not enough to make “Two Days And Two Nights” enduringly worthwhile, though. This is a “watch once” episode that hardly thrills and does little to advance the plot or characters of Enterprise.

The three biggest gaffes in “Two Days And Two Nights:”
3. Hoshi references Klingon as a difficult language to learn for the conjugations. Klingon actually has fewer conjugations than most romance languages and Japanese.
2. Okay, it’s not a Star Trek gaffe, but I can’t let this go. When Mayweather returns to the Enterprise, he is carried awkwardly out of the shuttlepod by Cutler and another ensign. Seriously?! In the future of the Star Trek universe, we have phase pistols, photon torpedoes, artificial gravity and (eventually) food replicators . . . but we’ve lost the basic technology of crutches. What kind of medical training has Cutler gotten where she has a guy walking on his broken leg as opposed to giving him crutches or a wheelchair?!
1. Once again, I renew my gripe about the use of Risa. In “Captain’s Holiday” (reviewed here!), where Risa is first mentioned, Picard has never heard of the planet and the Enterprise (1701-D) was out exploring new territory. In “Two Days And Two Nights,” Risa is 90 light years from Earth and thus relatively close. Picard, great explorer that he is, apparently doesn’t know the core worlds of the Federation, which is an utterly ridiculous idea. The writers should have used Wrigley’s Pleasure Planet for this episode.

[Knowing that single episodes are an inefficient way to get episodes, it's worth looking into Star Trek: Enterprise - The Complete First Season on DVD or Blu-Ray, which is also a better economical choice than buying individual episodes. Read my review of the premiere season here!


For other Star Trek episode and movie reviews, please visit my Star Trek Review Index Page!

© 2013 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
| | |

No comments:

Post a Comment