Underrated Trek: Carpenter Street (ENT)
Welcome back to Underrated Trek, where I take a special look at Star Trek episodes that I loveâ€¦which may not be the most popular or even liked by most. Last time around I discussed an episode that wasnâ€™t really bad. I promised the next time we would get into something I like that is truly looked down on. For that there is no better place to turn than the dreck of Enterprise. Today I give you:
This came along in Season 3. I have been putting this off (partly because SFDebris reviewed it a few weeks ago and was a little hard on it I thought) but think now is the time. Star Trek Enterprise was god awful but it did manage to pull off one or two decent episodes. Could this really be one of them? Letâ€™s take a closer look.
Plot Synopsis :
In the middle of the season long Xindi arc, Archer is visited one night by Agent Daniels who tells him there is a Zindi plot back in the past. In the year 2004, a loser named Loomis who works at a blood bank has been hired by some Xindi reptilians to kidnap different people all with different kinds of blood types.
Daniels sends Archer and Tâ€™Pol to the past to figure out what is going on. They arrive in Detroit and manage to track down Loomis. They track down Loomis and pretend to be police officer to get him to cooperate. Archer and T’Pol get him into lead them to where the Xindi are hiding out. Archer pretends to be Loomisâ€™s next victim to get inside and finds the Xindi are working on a bio weapon intended to wipe out all life on Earth.
After getting inside Archer manages to kill to of the reptilians but two others escape with the toxin. Loomis is subdued by T’Pol after he attempts to alertÂ the Xindi. T’Pol then joins Archer to chase down the final Xindi. The reptilian tosses the canister toward a giant fan and the toxin is nearly released before Archer grabs. He and T’Pol then return to their own time with the toxin, the Xindi, and all their alien technology while Loomis wakes up to find the Detroit police arresting him.
Leland Orsor is the main guest start as he plays the lowlife named Loomis who the Xindi have hired. Orsor does a fantastic job making this character slimy & greedy and yet likable at the same time. I liked him but was so happy to see Tâ€™Pol belt him. I think he may make the episode. Orsor has played a million roles in TV and movies including a very creepy hologram on Voyager.
Episode Pro’s :
Most of the cast is absent. Yeah that sounds kind of mean, but I didnâ€™t mind Archer, Tâ€™Pol, and Trip (all the time) and they are the only ones who appear. Malcolm gets a voice over and the rest are just plain absent. An episode without the always annoying Phlox? Winner! Yeah one bridge scene would have been nice to I’m still cool with it.
Time travel. I know, but Iâ€™m a sucker for a time travel story. And the stuff with Tâ€™Pol and Archer driving around Detroit are good for a little social commentary and chuckles. Oh sure it isnâ€™t as much fun as Star Trek IV but the fact that the fish out of water stuff is more underplayed works here. In fact it is the total opposite of Star Trek IV, dark and moody and the first half of the episode is just well done with the atmosphere and suspense. We get the normal schtick like Archer trying to figure out how to drive and them needing cash. The scene with the drive thru is kind of funny in a dark kind of way.
Maybe itâ€™s just me but I love Tâ€™pol in this one. She seems mildly annoyed by the whole experience and the way she deals with Loomis is kick ass. Jolene Blalock is awesome to bad she got stuck in this show and not a better one. But she did make an interesting character.
That final scene. I donâ€™t know why, but I love that final minute when we see the Detroit PD swarm in and arrest Loomis. I know it is more Law & Order than Star Trek, but I like it. Maybe because Loomis was so slimy it’s just nice to see him get arrested.Â I donâ€™t even care that we can clearly California Mountains in the background.
I said I liked the tone of the episode but at the same it is kind of too slow. There are parts that drag a bit like the scene where Loomis gets the guy in the wheelchair to go with him to the blood bank. Love how the guy isn’t suspicious that someone is knocking on his door at 11:00 at night!
Daniels, mostly because he reminds of that awful temporal cold war crap. I love how the creators had no idea how that idea was supposed to work when they conceived it. Plus you gotta how Daniels comes from the future and yet knows nothing. Why canâ€™t he go on the mission? Why doesnâ€™t he send Archer right to where the Xindi are? How in the hell do those temporal tags work? Plot convenience much?
Good Cop/Bad Cop. Yeah what the hell is Archerâ€™s problem in this episode? Heck the whole Xindi arc for that matter. I hated the intense way he acted, and we get a prime example here when Archer basically assaults Loomis while questioning him. Nice of Archer to untie him first at least. Yeah I’d be lying is I said that scene was was great. I think the director forgot what shows this was supposed to be. And a lot of people take offense to Tâ€™Polâ€™s comment about â€œthe worst of humanityâ€ but I donâ€™t think she meant to say all humans are awful just that they all have the potential to be awful..and Loomis is perfect example.
Oh and you could argue that Archer and Tâ€™Pol have too easy a time tracking Loomis down. It was just dumb luck really. I mean I already asked why Daniels didn’t send them exactly where they need to be, but still they had very little trouble getting a car in the middle of the night. Or getting cash from an ATM that was not in a locked vestibule (yeah how many of those were around in 2004?) and not making ANYONE suspicious. And wasn’t it lucky that they arrived just in time to see Loomis appear with the next blood type, and not ten minutes after he left or something. Lucky!!
The last action scene at the end when the Xindi and Archer fight over the bio weapon is kind of lame. I donâ€™t know why after such a slow and somber episode they decided a cool action scene would work. They even use slow motion which sucks. Itâ€™s one of those times when we know that the Xindi will never win so I would have liked that final scene be trimmed. Also the whole episode feels rushed, wonder if it would have been better as a two parter?
By the way, why did the Xindi need to kidnap those people? Was it really necessary? We have gasses and toxins today that can wipe whole populations out without needing to know anyoneâ€™s blood type. That just seems like an unnecessary step.
“Fast Forward” Moment:
The opening teaser is kind of boring, it doesnâ€™t do anything that isnâ€™t established again later in the episode. In fact it almost feels like a throwaway tease they used when they realized they needed one.
Final Thoughts-Not perfect but not the worst either. The episode doesnâ€™t feel like an ordinary episode of Enterpriseâ€¦and maybe that’s one of the reasons I like it. There was another season three episode I really liked. Maybe Iâ€™ll talk about that one someday.