Friday, July 19, 2013

“Canamar:” Another Enterprise Prison Episode . . . Blah!

The Good: The acting is all right
The Bad: No real character development, Boring plot, Mediocre effects
The Basics: “Canamar” does little to advance the characters or plot of Enterprise and is the first of a few prison episodes in the second season of the show.

One of the real issues with Enterprise is that the show seems obsessed with creating new alien races that never pop up in any of the other shows or movies in the Star Trek franchise. The worst of those episodes jumble up what ought to be the local population of what will become the Federation without advancing the plot or characters of the show. One of the best examples of that sort of blasé episode is “Canamar.”

“Canamar” features a prison situation that is not at all tense and includes a lousy alien race that seems to be based on the novelty of gluing gummy worms to the bottom of a latex mask! Beyond that, “Canamar” is a predictable, surprisingly boring episode that has the audience being tormented as much as Tucker is!

Opening with Shuttlepod One adrift in space, the crew of Enterprise begins a search for Captain Archer who had been aboard the craft. Checking the log, the crew comes to believe that the Captain and Trip have been captured by the Enolians. The two officers are trapped aboard an Enolian ship headed for Canamar, a penal colony, while the Enterprise runs into administrative roadblocks at K’et Enol. Just as T’Pol secures the release of Archer and Tucker, there is a prisoner riot aboard the Enolian transport.

While Archer pilots the Enolian transport, Trip is annoyed by the prisoner sitting in the seat next to him. When two Enolian warships come after the transport, Trip helps save the transport by venting and igniting the warp plasma. He is reincarcerated, at which time Archer learns that one of the jailbreakers is planning to crash the ship and kill the other prisoners!

“Canamar” is a bottle episode that does not advance the characters. The supposed moral dilemma of the episode is that the prisoners will all be killed by the ringleader of the jailbreak. It is absolutely no surprise that Archer would stand up to try to save lives. The thing is, none of the characters outside Archer and Tucker matter to the viewer, so it is virtually impossible to become invested in the outcome (especially given that the viewers know this is not how two of the main characters are going to be killed off from the series).

This is an episode devoid of character development, but the acting is all right. Sadly, Holmes Osborne who is a great character actor, has his only outing in the Star Trek franchise in the unchallenging role of an Enolian bureaucrat. Osborne does not sink the episode but neither he nor any of the other guest actors actually enhance it.

“Canamar” is one of those rare episodes that is so straightforward and uninspired that it leaves almost no room for analysis. There is nothing incredible about the episode, the acting or the characters in it.

The three biggest gaffes in “Canamar:”
3. The Enolians are another race that is in the heart of what will be Federation space, but is never seen or mentioned in the rest of the franchise,
2. Tucker knocks out a Nausicaan with a single hit. Given how brutish and physically powerful the Nausicaans have been in every other incarnation of Star Trek this is utter b.s.,
1. This is another time when Enterprise utilizes the Nausicaans. Given the region of space, the Orions should have been used instead of the Nausicaans as the Orions were alluded to in the original Star Trek and Nausicaans did not pop up until Star Trek: The Next Generation.

[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 works with Holmes Osborne, please check out my reviews of:
The Box
Meet Bill
Southland Tales
A Lot Like Love
Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy
Donnie Darko


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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