Sunday, June 9, 2013

Following Up On Damage, “Dead Stop” Enhances Enterprise’s Continuity!

The Good: Decent continuity, Generally good effects
The Bad: No real character development, Unremarkable performances.
The Basics: Following up on the Romulan attack, “Dead Stop” has the Enterprise visiting an alien repair station that fixed Enterprise . . . at an eerie price!

When it comes to Enterprise, there is an interesting discontinuity between how much attention it pays to itself versus how attentive the series is to continuity with the franchise as a whole. So, given how Enterprise had been seriously damaged in “Minefield” (reviewed here!), it makes sense that there would need to be a follow-up. The episode that resolves the lingering issues from “Minefield” is “Dead Stop.” This is the type of episode that shows surprisingly good continuity within the series.

Unfortunately, it is an episode that resolves the dangling plot issues from “Minefield” without actually advancing the characters or providing any of the actors with enough to do to allow them to shine. “Dead Stop” is a mediocre episode that becomes Enterprise season two’s first horror episode and given how the first season provided horror episodes like “Vox Sola” (reviewed here!), “Dead Stop” feels far less surprising or audacious than the writers might have hoped.

After hearing dire news from Trip about the status of Enterprise following the encounter with a Romulan minefield, Archer orders Ensign Sato to create a distress call. When the Tellarites respond with coordinates to a repair facility, Enterprise immediately diverts to that system. There, they discover a small station that scans the ship and reconfigures itself to accommodate Enterprise. Archer, Trip and T’Pol go over to the facility where they discover that the station is able to repair all of the ship’s damage, as well as Reed’s injured body. Feeling like they have gotten an amazing deal, Trip and Reed try to investigate, but the station beams them out and back to the Enterprise.

When Mayweather is called down to a restricted area, he appears to be killed. While this upsets Archer, Phlox soon realizes that Mayweather’s body is not actually the Ensign’s corpse. Investigating further, Archer and T’Pol uncover the station’s mysterious secret, much to their horror.

“Dead Stop” comes to a somewhat gruesome conclusion and it is an intriguing, if somewhat obvious, concept for science fiction fans. The episode is heavily plot-based, so those who might be thrilled to see Anthony Montgomery’s Mayweather getting airtime will be disappointed; his part in the episode is actually quite small and the whole episode works around the crew trying to react to the initial problem and the process of discovery as they suspect the station is not all it appears to be. There is no incredible catharsis and nothing in the way of character growth. This is a straightforward mission that has a (comparatively) minor complication.

“Dead Stop” is sucked down some the fact that it is heavy in exposition, most of which is delivered efficiently by Dr. Phlox (John Billingsley) and the fact that the episode has no significant effect in the overall story of Enterprise. The writers wrote themselves into a serious problem in the prior episode and “Dead Stop” restores the status quo, nothing more.

The biggest discontinuity in “Dead Stop” is:
The repair station, which appears invincible, is not a staple of any of the subsequent series’. Given how it is in the core of Federation space, it seems odd that it would not have been part of the larger mythos. The attentive Star Trek viewer will note that the prop in the station looks like the Artificial Intelligence from “Think Tank” (reviewed here!). If that was intentional and this is a Delta Quadrant race in the Alpha Quadrant . . . well, that just opens up all sorts of things!

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