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Star Trek Enterprise episode review – Rogue Planet

Summary: Archer and Co. dress up in Borg gear, pester more aliens who don’t really want them there and Archer goes looking for his ideal shapeshifter/telepathic woman in the jungle.

Like many Enterprise episodes this season, Rogue Planet researches some astronomy to dig out an interesting planetary science concept of a star trek enterprise rogue planetrogue planet detached from its solar system and in permanent darkness where the native lifeforms survive by clustering around heat vents and uses it as the backdrop for a fairly unoriginal and pedestrian story involving hunters whom every experienced Star Trek viewer knows are up to no good five seconds after we meet them, and a mysterious woman whose secret is just as transparent. Despite a strong performance by the actor playing the lead hunter, both the woman and the hunters are reduced to two-dimensional caricatures with a handful of lines and are denied even any kind of meaningful confrontation with each other.

Like much of this season, the episode features nothing in the way of strong guest stars and at the same time little in the way of conflict or drama for the regular crew. Beyond Archer pursuing his dream woman in a rather silly plot that seems to have been lifted from TOS, when viewers might have actually experienced some suspense over the appearance of a strange woman on an alien planet who can seemingly disappear into thin air. Bakula’s fairly bland performance also does little to help matters. Shatner, Stewart or Brooks might at least have put passion and scenery-chewing into the episode but Bakula seems to stumble through it in an uncertain daze.

Indeed the strongest performance in this episode comes from Jolene Blalock during T’Pol’s confrontation with Archer and not coincidentally it is also the closest Rogue Planet actually comes to genuine conflict and questioning of a character’s values and actions. Something the ep could have used a lot more of.

In the end Rogue Planet has nothing to say about ecology, psychology, ethics or really anything at all. And worse yet it doesn’t have much in the way of suspense, character conflict, or even basic drama of the crudest kind. One of TOS’s first episodes, the rather weak Man Trap, which had the same premise of a telepathic shapeshifting woman-creature, understood at least that much; but like much of this season RP seems entirely satisfied to let the characters stumble through a recycled and listless plot devoid of challenge and conflict and grafted onto a few lines from an astronomy textbook in hopes of bringing that sense of exploration to the viewer. The result is a fairly bland and colorless episode that is as uninvolving to the viewer as it is to the Enterprise character and amounts to a Trekified version of Bambi once you get past and discard the basic premise of a rogue planet, the only real impact of which on the bulk of the episode is the Borg-like (yet noticeably cheap and uninventive) infrared headgear that the characters wear while in the forest.

Next Week: The promo pretty much said it all.

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