Sunday, April 20, 2014

Prequel To “Mudd’s Women:” “Bound.”

The Good: Decent effects, Acting is okay
The Bad: Dull plot, Silly reversal, Poor character development
The Basics: Playing off similar concepts to other Star Trek franchise episodes, “Bound” is a disappointing episode that finally focuses on the Orions.

One of the common plotlines in the Star Trek franchise is the “love virus” plotline. The original Star Trek started the tradition with “The Naked Time” (reviewed here!) and the other series’s in the franchise continued that. For Star Trek: Enterprise, the “love virus” episode is “Bound.” “Bound” is notable in that, like “Borderland” (reviewed here!), it features the oft-alluded to, but seldom seen Orions. Unfortunately for fans of the Star Trek franchise, “Bound” features reversals that are less exciting than audacious. Indeed, the concept of Trip Tucker being immune to Orion pheromones is essentially what happened with O’Brien in “Fascination” (reviewed here!).

The Enterprise is sailing toward the Berengaria System when it encounters an Orion vessel. After standing down, both ships are wary of the other, though Archer finally accepts an invitation from the Orion privateer, Harrad-Sar. As part of a negotiation attempting to entice Archer into getting StarFleet to build a magnecite mine, Harrad-Sar gives Archer three Orion women. Their presence aboard the Enterprise is instantly disruptive, with the men distracted by the Orion women. When Sato gets a headache, Doctor Phlox collapses and becomes suspicious of the Orions.

The retcon of the Orions is one of the least disruptive retcons of Star Trek: Enterprise; the Orions and the Orion Syndicate were mostly absent from the Star Trek franchise until late in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Enterprise.

Archer tries to tell the Orion woman, Navaar, that the women are not his property. When they arrive at the planet Harrad-Sar wants mined, the ship is attacked by a ship that cannot possibly damage the Enterprise. As Archer becomes more angry and volatile, Phlox diagnoses the crew as suffering from the effects of Orion pheromones. When the Orion endgame becomes evident, T’Pol and Tucker must work together to stop the Orions.

It’s a sweet bit of character that Tucker and T’Pol remain immune to the Orion pheromones due to physiology and emotional connection. The Tucker/T’Pol connection does not advance much in “Bound,” as it is diluted by a subplot involving the new Chief Engineer, Kelby, competing with Tucker. Instead of maturely dealing with their emotions, most of “Bound” has T’Pol fighting her feelings for Tucker in a soap operatic way. The resolution to the character arc is satisfying when it comes in the episode’s final moments.

“Bound” is a pretty average, though somewhat unremarkable, episode. The Alien Of The Week arrives, disrupts life on the Enterprise and before something befalls the entire ship, someone in the crew must stop them. It’s a somewhat droll plot that has been done to death in Star Trek and in “Bound” there’s really nothing new, save the details.

On the performance front, guest stars Cyia Batten, Crystal Allen, and Menina Fortunato do a decent job with belly dancing and moving seductively. Beyond that, the episode’s heavy lifting on the performance front comes from Scott Bakula playing Archer angry (which he does just fine) and Connor Trinneer and Jolene Blalock working to salvage some on-screen chemistry while the writing demands the pair put it off. Blalock’s performance is incredibly erratic and for a Vulcan character immune to the Orion pheromones, her acting is pretty physical throughout the episode, which is unfortunate. She recovers near the episode’s climax, which makes her emotionless delivery of jokes and romantic actions all the more baffling to watch.

Ultimately, “Bound” is all right, but nothing at all extraordinary; it is exactly what one might expect from a “love spell” episode of television and it is notable only in that it is truly the final bottle episode of the series.

The three biggest gaffes in “Bound:”
3. If the men in Orion society are the slaves, Pike should not have made the mistake that the women were slaves decades later,
2. In “This Side Of Paradise” (reviewed here!), Kirk notes that no StarFleet crew had ever mutinied, but Kelby’s actions in “Bound” are mutinous and the sense of conflict in this episode should have led to better protections aboard StarFleet vessels,
1. Given the experience with Orion pheromones in this episode, StarFleet should have developed a vaccine by the time of “The Cage” (reviewed here!), so Pike should not have even been tempted with the vision of an Orion slave woman.

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

For other works with William Lucking, please check out my reviews of:
“Ties Of Blood And Water” - Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
“The Darkness And The Light” - Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
“Shakaar” - Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
“Jose Chung’s ‘From Outer Space’” - The X-Files


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

© 2014 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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