Religious extremists and a powerful starship never mix well.  Originally broadcast on January 14, 2004 this is Chosen Realm.

The Episode:

After finding another Sphere, Enterprise encounters another ship that needs assistance due to the anomalies.  After allowing the crew of the damaged ship aboard Enterprise, things take a turn for the worse when their leader, Pri’Nam D’Jamat, informs Archer that all of his followers are walking bombs and they will destroy the ship if they are not given control of Enterprise.  To prove his point, The Pri’Nam detonates one of his followers causing significant damage to the ship.  

It is soon revealed that these people worship the Spheres and find the crew of Enterprise to be heretical due to their scientific studies of said Spheres which prompts him to delete the data. The Pri’Nam plans to use Enterprise in his war against the non-believers in an attempt to bring peace to his wartorn planet.  Archer refuses to give in and is sentenced to death via the ships Disintegration Device aka The Transporter, and is secretly transported to a different part of the ship by T’Pol.  After a short struggle, Archer takes the ship back and reveals to The Pri’Nam that his attempts to ‘bring peace’ through the Spheres to his people was for naught as his home planet has been wiped clean via a war in which both sides lost. Everything The Pri’Nam did was for nothing.

Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:

This is the age old ‘religious zealotry is bad’ story that was essentially exhausted on Deep Space Nine with pretty much that entire series dealing with religious issues in every way possible on it’s own.   While that in and of itself is not a bad thing, heck, it could make for a great story but there was no reason at all for any of this episode to even happen in the first place.  The only reason the events of this episode are able to play out, is the sheer stupidity and lack of security on the Enterprise. 

Seriously, the thing that makes this episode so frustrating is how these aliens manage to take over the ship using their bio-bombs.  Somehow, even though Archer is suspicious that they might be a threat from the get go, AND these people refused deep scans due to ‘religious beliefs’, he still allows them all to just walk around the ship like it was no big deal.  They were even allowed to just waltz into the engine room like it wasn’t, I dont know, the most critical part of the ship!  I mean, seriously,  you would think that at least Reed would be like…uh Captain, maybe letting rando aliens we just met complete freedom is a bad idea.  Hell,  Archer was suspicious from  the start but still had no problems letting these people just go wherever they wanted and with ZERO GUARDS to boot.  I mean, even being a citizen of the US, I would never be allowed to take a giant group of friends onto an aircraft carrier, refuse to be searched on religious grounds and then be allowed to just wander the ship!  That’s unheard of!  

Not only this, but literally all of the data that Enterprise has collected on the Spheres and how to navigate the anomalies,  yeah, all gone.  So, Archer lets a bunch of nutballs aboard his ship without any security of any sort and they not only damage the ship, killing a crew member in the process, they essentially wipe out all of Enterprise’s work this entire season. Heck, when one of the Zealots go to kill themselves a crewmember literally just stands there and watches him do it.  Like, seriously, she just stands there like, ‘Oh, this is normal some dude is stabbing themselves in the hallway, I’ll just stand here and watch’.  So, yeah, ship is taken over and their research on the spheres is back to square one because of stupidity and carelessness.  With such lax security and regulations like this, it’s a wonder that the Xindi didnt just walk in claiming religious freedom in order to destroy the ship.  I mean, if I were them I would be like ‘really, it could have been THAT easy? sonova…’. 

Overall, this is one of the worst episodes this season so far, and that’s really saying a lot. Not only does it miss it’s point by a wide margin but it also is one of the most contrived plots we have seen so far.  Everything EVERYTHING in this episode was fully preventable in every way. All Archer had to do was inform these Zealots that, since they refuse to undergo full scans, they need to be monitored and kept under watch the entire time.  Also,  maybe make sensitive parts of the ship locked down from any unauthorized personnel … I mean, if I can’t just walk into the stockroom at my local Best Buy, why would anyone be able to just walk into the Engine room of the first Warp 5 Starship?  It makes no sense at all. So, my advice, just skip it.  It’s really dumb in every way.

Gleanings and Cool Bits:

  • The transporter is used to trick the aliens into thinking that they killed Archer.  At least that is pretty cool.
  • I have to ask, why have a full contingent of MACO’s only for them to just vanish when the ship is taken over?  Do they just sit around waiting for someone to say ‘hey, MACO team, we need you’?
  • Also….their home planet is completely decimated but somehow there are patrols of what are clearly short range heretic ships flying around? for reasons?  ok…sure…
  • Oh yeah and the reason they were fighting?  One sect believed the expanse was created in 8 days….the other 9….  holy crap, this episode is based on Doctor Seuss’ The Butter Battle Book….

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:  Proving Ground

more reviews I have a weekly series called Key Movies Of My Life that comes out every Thursday and for more retro TV goodness check out the rest of the Retro TV Reviews here.

As always, please feel free to comment below and share your experiences with these episodes as well. If you just happened by, tell me what you think! Don’t Forget To Follow me if you like the blog!

Late To The Game 9/17/2021

Crewman’s Log: I am standing here in the hall watching some rando guy poke himself with a sharp pendant. I mean, what could possibly go wrong…

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.

Star Trek and all related marks, logos and characters are solely owned by CBS Studios Inc. This fan production is not endorsed by, sponsored by, nor affiliated with CBS, Paramount Pictures, or any other Star Trek franchise, and is a non-commercial fan-made production intended for recreational use.  No commercial exhibition or distribution is permitted. No alleged independent rights will be asserted against CBS or Paramount Pictures.”

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