Consequences come knocking on the episode that originally aired on May 14, 2003. This is Bounty.
Captain’s Starlog Date March 21, 2153
Archer is kidnapped by Tellerites who plan to turn him over to the Klingons for a bounty that has been posted. To add insult to injury, T’Pol and Dr Phlox have returned to the ship with a strange microbe preventing them from leaving decontamination, thus placing Trip in Command of Enterprise.
Archer soon learns that he is wanted for escaping Rura Penthe and is unable to talk his captor, Skalaar, into releasing him. They make it clear that this is purely business and have nothing against the Captain himself. Before long another bounty hunter arrives and Skalaar is able to fend him off but in turn causing damage to Skalaars ship. They are forced to land on a barren planet for repairs where Archer once again fails to escape. Soon the two become friends and make a deal to help both Archer and Skalaar once Skalaar makes his rendezvous with the Klingon holding the bounty.
Back on Enterprise, as Tucker tries to track down Archer, the microbe causes T’Pol to begin losing control of her emotions leading to her to begin Pon Farr much to Phlox’s dismay. Soon it becomes a matter of life or death as T’Pol must mate, or die. Resisting any medical treatment T’Pol tries to either mate with Phlox or escape to find someone else. Soon she becomes delirious and manages to escape decontamination causing Phlox to seal off the entire deck for the safety of the crew. Reed and his security team goes after T’Pol and, after a skirmish manage to subdue her.
In the end Archer manages to escap the Klingon, Goroth, with some assistance from Skalaar and steals an escape pod. Enterprise arrives just in the nick of time to disable the Klingon ship and secure the pod.
In the end Archer is back on Enterprise and T’Pol has been healed of her malady with Phlox swearing to keep her secret. Skalaar wishes Archer the best of luck seeing that he is now wanted by the Klingon Empire for escaping prison.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
Where do I begin? So…you mean to tell me that Archer never even considered the fact that escaping from a Klingon Prison could and would result in him being wanted by the Klingon Empire? Seriously? This came as a complete surprise to him? Not only that, you would imagine that, seeing how they have established a pretty wide network of friends, not even including the Vulcans, someone would have advised Archer that there was a bounty out for him? I mean, you’d think right? Assuming that the bounty was just listed and Skalaar was the first to go after Archer why the heck did they not have more than just Archer and Trip at the airlock? I thought it was standard procedure to have security around when any unknown alien visited the ship. Heck, Reed should have insisted that he or some of his security be there with Archer just to be safe. So, really, the fact that Archer was so easily taken from Enterprise is ludicrous in and of itself. I wont even get into the ridiculous ‘Archer befriends his captor’ storyline that also makes no sense at all seeing that the Tellerite really had no reason to trust Archer. Sure, this is the ‘bounty hunter with a heart’ storyline, and Archer has to survive because it’s his show but it seemed pretty forced. If he was really that easily swayed he probably wouldn’t have been the first Bounty Hunter to find Archer. Honestly, they should have had Archer recaptured and ended the season on a dark note where he appears dead. THAT would have been some good drama.
Then there is the ‘Horny Vulcan’ story. Holy hell is it just a standard for every Star Trek series with a Vulcan on board to have the ‘oh my God Pon Farr’ story? I kinda understand it happening on Enterprise as it’s a rather ‘new’ thing, but still, this entire sequence felt like a way to get Jolene Blalock in her underwear acting like a horney teenager. Don’t get me wrong, I find her very attractive, but this just felt demeaning and completely unnecessary. I can just see Rick Berman and Brannon Braga writing this story going…we need a B plot….what have we not done yet? OH, we have a HOT VULCAN on the show, it’s PON FARR TIME!! To her credit, Blalock does a tremendous job depicting the struggle in controlling her ‘sexual urges’ but I really wish they hadn’t put her through this in the first place.
One other thing in regard to Pon Farr. For nearly the entire franchise it has been understood that it was Vulcan MALES who underwent Pon Farr. Every seven years Vulcan Males were driven to mate. So, somehow that has changed which raises some questions. First off, it has been made clear that Vulcans choose mates and have families so, do how do they find someone else who has the same Pon Farr cycle as themselves? Do they have casual relations when not in Pon Farr? Are they only fertile during Ponn Farr and, if so, again how do they have actual families when they only have a single mate? Does Pon Farr sync up over time between couples? This idea that every Vulcan, not just the males, are driven to mate every seven years really creates some significant complications. I don’t think they gave that any real consideration, do you?
Needless to say, this episode, while it has some pretty decent moments, just doesn’t work. It really feels like they ran out of ideas toward the end of the season and just threw some darts at a wall of ideas. Sadly, the events of this episode lead directly into the season finale, The Expanse…which we will talk about next time.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
- We meet a Tellerite for the first time since the Original series film Voyage Home.
- I have to admit, even though the Pon Farr storyline was pretty contrived, I have a newfound respect for Doctor Phlox. This guy, who comes from a very sexually open species, refuses to mate with T’Pol because it simply isn’t the right thing to do. Damn man, that is really an honorable thing to do.
- He’s a little difficult to recognize but you might notice that the other bounty hunter is played by Trek Alum Robert O’Reilly. It’s great seeing him play a different species for once!
- We also learn that Klingon ships DO in fact have escape pods.
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: The Expanse
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Late To The Game 8/18/2021
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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