At long last, Dr Sam Beckett returns but finds himself in an unfamiliar future with some very familiar faces…oh…wait, no, that’s not right…. Originally broadcast on April 24. 2002 this is Detained.
Captain’s Log Date Undetermined
Mayweather and Archer find themselves in a prison camp that appears to be filled with Suliban. They soon discover that they stumbled upon a rivalry between the Tandarans and the Suliban and they are in a Tandaran holding facility awaiting processing. Assured they will be released soon due to their human DNA, Archer and Mayweather soon realize that this holding facility is little more than a concentration camp for innocent Suliban.
Archer soon learns that the Suliban have been searching for a home as their own home planet was detroyed some time back. Upon arriving in Tandaran space, this group has been held against their will by one Colonel Grat. Archer soon meets with Grat, who refuses to set Archer free unless Archer provides information about ‘the Cabal’.
Before long Archer is able to contact Enterprise via a communicator beamed to him, and begins to plot an escape for not just his people, but the innocent Suliban as well. Grat becomes curious as to what Archer is planning and puts the Captain in isolation after explaining that the Suliban are in this facility for their own good. He explains that, should they free them, these settlers may be tempted to join the Cabal and the Tandarans can not allow that.
Reed disguises himself as a Suliban and frees Mayweather but it seems Grat has taken Archer hostige and soon threatens to kill him if Enterprise does not provide him with the information he wishes. Soon Archer is rescued and the Suliban set free by Reed, leaving Grat in a prison cell alone. Although there is a risk that these refugees will join the Cabal, Archer believes that he has done the right thing.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
This is a prime example of Star Trek at it’s best and Enterprise finally tapping into that which makes this franchise great. Since it’s inception, Star Trek has been known for it’s commentary on Socio-political issues and until now this very series seems to have been skirting that very thing, until now.
Detained is a tremendous analogy to the internment camps used in the United States during World War II to hold Asian citizens ‘for their own safety’. You see, during that time Japan had become an enemy of the United States and, as our country is want to do, many of the Asian citizens became targets of hatred and bigotry simply because they looked different. So, under the guise of protection, the US Government rounded up innocent Japanese-American citizens and relocated them into internment camps. In reality, this was done by the government in order to ‘prevent espionage on American shores’ because it was assumed that just being Japanese would lead some of them to betray their government. This, of course, led to a deeper bigotry toward Asian citizens which, sadly, lasts even today.
Taking this premise, Detained explores the idea that, while we were introduced to the Suliban as enemies at the start of the series, not every Suliban is a member of the Cabal. The beauty of this episode is that it forces not only the characters but also the viewers to reconsider their viewpoint of a species that we have known as an enemy from the very start. It’s not often that a series gives viewers such an impactful and intense situation to consider but Detained does just that.
The other thing that makes this episode iconic among scifi fans is that it reunites two actors from another beloved scifi series, namely Quantum Leap. You see, Scott Bakula (Archer) and Dean Stockwell (Grat) once worked together as Bakula travelled through time ‘fixing’ things with Stockwell as his holographic partner. While they don’t reunite as friends in this particular instance, it was cool to see them together again.
Overall, this is certainly one of the best episodes so far this season showing that Enterprise is finally hitting it’s stride. It forces us to pause for a moment to reconsider our bias toward an ‘enemy’ on this series while also teaching us that we have done this very thing in our own world many times before.
Hatred of any kind is never a good thing. Just because someone looks different or acts different, is never a reason to distrust or dislike any individual. Before you judge anyone by their looks, take a moment to get to know them first. You might be surprised in what you find if you open your heart and your mind.
For more information on the Japanese Internment Camps, you can read about them here via History.com and I would also recommend reading They Called Us Enemy by veteran Trek Actor George Takei who was held in one of these camps as a child.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
- This is not the last we see of the Tandarans…
- The Suliban Cabal continues to be a threat even after the events of this episode and we never learn the fates of Danik, his daughter Narra or Sajen.
- Reed is given the appearance of a Suliban in order to infiltrate the facility…because of course he is.
Thanks for reading the Retro TV Review, I look forward to discussing the rest of the series with you, one episode at a time every Monday, Wednesday and Friday! Next Review: Vox Sola
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Late To The Game 6/9/2021
Special Thanks to Memory Alpha as they are one of the best sources for details on Star Trek information available. Although I have a pretty deep knowledge on the subject, they have proven invaluable as a regular resource.
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