Space Ramblings

Star Trek Enterprise episode review – Demons

Synopsis: Trip and T’Pol have a love child and do 21 Jump Street. Peter Weller comes on board to play Dr. Evil and Anthony Montgomery acts more robotic than Robocop.

Review: “Demons” is many things. It’s first of all a waste of ENTERPRISE’s last few episodes. It is a waste of the Federation story. It is a waste of the time and energies of the actors involved and of just about everything else that went into the production of the show.

star trek enterprise demons

He wears a suit... he must be evil

If the writers and viewers didn’t think the bar fight in “Home” was tedious enough, ENT feels the need to repeat the exercise with a two-part episode dedicated to not particularly futuristic neo-nazis in suits and ties who really hate aliens.

Gene Roddenberry on the original STAR TREK stayed well away from Earth because he knew the complexities of any kind of future social and economic system and culture were beyond his ability to properly portray. ENT has not only chosen to set itself in a period of Earth moving from individuality to the Federation but also flubbed it time and time again.

We do not see a world that has recovered from a catastrophic world war and bears the accompanying scars and characteristics of such a legacy (consider how much we are shaped today by WWII and WWIII was supposed to be a good deal more catastrophic, would the aftermath really look like 20th century Earth with a little tinkering?), but what we see is the 20th century and “Demons” only reaffirms that.

What were the real ideologies behind WW3? What kind of a world would be left in the wake of superhuman beings running portions of the planet and killing masses of the human population? The Eugenics War would have been a credible motivation for Terra Prime, the fear of being ruled by superhuman beings again; yet “Demons” does not pick up on that instead giving us a brief message about Colonel Green promoting euthanasia of people with radiation poisoning. Where ENT this season at least dealt with the Eugenics Wars, “Demons” just gives us modern day bigots without even really bothering with a futuristic setting.

This might have been bearable but the episode is further weighed down by utterly awful writing. A major chunk of the episode is dedicated to Ensign Mayweather, an idea right up there with teaching ducks to do computer repairs. Anthony Montgomery has never been able to act. When faced with a camera, he recites lines in a monotone looking for all the world like a 13-year-old on stage for a production of his high school play. His performance lacks emotion or even any understanding that he’s playing a character. His ‘romance’ is as compelling TV viewing as a wax museum production of Othello.

Add on to that Peter Weller, reuniting with Manny Cotto and delivering an utterly ponderous performance. Early on there’s some potential that he might be more than a stock villain but have actual depth and shading but then he falls into Dr. Evil mode to such an absurd extent that he and the episode become outright laughable. Of course like every evil supervillain he has two of his own henchmen killed to show just how evil he is, even as he lets T’Pol and Tucker stand around on his bridge without doing anything to them; in true supervillain style. To top it off he has his own flying fortress and when his mining facility flies off into space, the shark for the episode has been well and truly jumped. When he airs a broadcast threatening to blow things up with his supergun unless his demands are met. You almost expect him to put his little finger in his mouth and demand ONE MILLION DOLLARS.

Harry Groener who on Buffy could be wonderfully menacing and creepy in the oddest ways is utterly wasted here as are Peter Weller in Robonazi mode and the rest of the cast in an episode that would make a passable Jump Street episode and little else. Contemplate the idiocy in having Trip and T’Pol go undercover into an enemy mining facility. Both are members of the Enterprise crew and heroes of Earth. The plan to go undercover on Earth seems like a really bad idea. Especially since T’Pol does not even bother to cover up her ears and female Vulcans are not likely to be laborers at a poor and grungy mining outpost. And to really maintain his cover Trip should not have been wandering around the outpost with a Vulcan to begin with.

Then again police detectives aren’t likely to just blend into a high school which puts “Demons” plausibility on the same level as 21 Jump Street. This is only reinforced by a scene in which Mayweather’s girlfriend demands counsel since apparently suddenly Starfleet grants the right to refuse to speak to Archer without a lawyer. A lot of the aliens whom Archer beat and tortured would have been happy to know that. Then again there’s grounds for refusing to watch this episode without a lawyer present.

And so now we end on a cliffhanger note in which Dr. Evil threatens to blow up things with his new cannon unless all the aliens leave. If the supergun doesn’t work, I’m sure he’ll always have some piranhas handy.

Next Week: Peter Weller’s Mini-Me may show up.

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