In brief: Un-good. Very, very un-good.
Plot description: An Orion captain gives Archer three Orion slave girls as a
gift, but their hypnotic powers over the men in the Enterprise's crew puts
the ship in danger.
Star Trek: Enterprise - "Bound"
Airdate: 4/15/2005 (USA)
Written by Manny Coto
Directed by Allan Kroeker
Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan
Rating out of 4: *
"Unless a new policy has been instated, I don't believe Starfleet condones
slavery." -- Low-key T'Pol sarcasm
Manny Coto, a self-confessed Trek geek, has written what I'm sure he thinks
is a "fun" homage to the Trek days of yesteryear. What he fails to
recognize, however, is that this is not an episode of television that
deserves to see the light of day in 2005. It's too dumb, too obvious, too
boring, and too rooted in gender stereotypes. If this is an homage, it's an
homage to all the things that I, for one, hoped Trek had grown out of in the
past four decades.
Maybe this is a sly commentary/satire on the sexism that frequently pervaded
TOS. On the other hand, maybe it's just bad, boring, juvenile TV that
exploits those qualities rather than lampooning them.
The plot. Blah, blah, blah -- do you even care? Because the episode
certainly does not. Perfunctory barely beings to describe it. Anyone
could've written this by-the-numbers storyline. The captain of an Orion
ship, Harrad-Sar (William Lucking) offers a proposal to Archer as an olive
branch in establishing good relations between Starfleet and the Orion
Syndicate. Whether Starfleet would even entertain the idea of negotiating
with openly self-described criminal slavers is an interesting question that
the episode doesn't bother asking, but never mind. Harrad-Sar pitches his
proposal during a Sexy Dance Number by three scantily clad Orion slave girls
(Cyia Batten, Crystal Allen, Menina Fortunato). The dancing leaves Archer
and his away team positively entranced. Hypnotized. Galvanized. Stupefied.
Moronized. Gee, y'think these girls have a special power over men that goes
beyond simply their visual sex appeal? If not, would we even have a plot
Harrad-Sar gives Archer the location of a planet allegedly perfect for a
lucrative, joint mining operation. Archer accepts the deal. T'Pol futilely
offers words of caution, but Archer has already decided, and we're on our
way. Is this a trap? Was Enterprise canceled exactly when the dailies of
this episode started coming in? Okay, I made that last part up.
Meanwhile, Lt. Cmdr. Kelby (Derek Magyar) has a beef with Tucker because
Tucker hasn't returned to the Columbia and Kelby thinks his promotion to
chief engineer is going to be voided. Judging by the way the episode plays
out, I'd say his fears are pretty justified. Oh, well -- maybe Kelby can be
the chief engineer on the Columbia. Sort of a consolation prize for both
Kelby and Captain Hernandez. Trip's transfer off the Enterprise in "The
Aenar" was interesting specifically because it dealt believably with
personnel issues on board a starship. The situation with Kelby here flies in
the face of believable staffing issues, but we naturally must have our guy
Trip back where he belongs.
Oh, wait, we were talking about "Bound." Sorry. So Harrad-Sar gives Archer
the three slave girls as a gift, leading to many scenes where they slink and
slither around the ship and cause distractions and disturbances because none
of the men can think straight. These women, they DRIVE MEN WILD. And they
drive the other women on the ship to have headaches, which is to say, one
woman. Hoshi complains to Phlox while T'Pol is unaffected, being the logical
Vulcan that she is. Are there even any other women on the ship?
Much of the episode is your typical Sci-Fi Sexuality Lite, which is to say
neutered faux sexuality played for nervous tee-hee laughs and aimed at a
TV-PG audience. It's an embarrassment. It's perhaps here that Star Trek has
become most anachronistic and useless. Because it has tried to stay in the
family-friendly zone while cramming false sexuality down our throats,
Enterprise's take on sex has been left behind in the land of irrelevance,
and nobody cares. (For Sci-Fi Sexuality Dealt With, you should watch Ron
Moore's "Battlestar Galactica.")
Really, on even the dumbest level of the male libido, are these girls even a
turn-on? I didn't think so, because all I could think of was the fact that
they'd painted these poor actresses green from head to toe, and all that
paint is going to turn into quease-inducing cakes of sweat and pastel grime
during ... well, whatever. A game of billiards, say. Yeah.
So Archer quickly is turned useless by the power of these women to DRIVE MEN
WILD. There's one scene on the bridge that I have to commend for technical
reasons, simply because it's directed so vividly oddly, as if Archer were on
drugs. The camera movement is somewhat refreshing and appropriate. It made
me want to smoke pot, something that would be preferable to watching this
episode, albeit illegal. Hell, "Bound" should be illegal. It should be
charged with impersonating a TV show. Of course, the burden of proof for
that charge is much higher on UPN.
Meanwhile, Kelby sabotages the engines after one of the Orion girls sexes
him into doing it. Trip is fortunately on hand to beat Kelby up in
engineering, but not in time. Poor Kelby; what a thankless character.
Promoted to chief engineer only to be written as a complete boob who is
manipulated by Mr. Johnson into sabotaging the ship so he can get beat down
in public by Trip, who then takes his job back.
Why is all of this happening? Phlox explains. The Orion women have strong
pheromones that DRIVE MEN WILD and make them susceptible to suggestion. Duh!
And now I'm bored, so allow me to retort. What does Marcellus Wallace look
like? Are you telling me you're as useless as an asshole right here? You're
not Mr. Purple. Some guy on some other job is Mr. Purple. You're Mr. Pink!
What ain't no country I've heard of. Do they speak English in What? I would
quote lines from "Bound," but that would require me to think about the show.
Oh, wait, here you go, courtesy the Wachowski brothers and Joe Pantoliano:
"F***ing dark in here." Wrong "Bound," yes, but one I'd much rather watch
There was one question I had and was going to rip on the script about: If
these women have so much control over their men with these pheromones, why
are they running things? But that's where the Twist comes in. It's revealed
that the Orion women actually ARE running things, counter to our previous
conceptions, or, preconceptions. The *men* are the slaves. Whoa! Clever. Of
course, this power structure is based solely on the women's ability to use
their sexual charms to DRIVE MEN WILD, and this twist is not going to be of
much consolation to those in the audience who correctly label the episode
But then again, that requires some sort of thought and deconstruction. There
isn't thought to be found here, nor philosophies worthy of deconstruction.
The episode is mainly a 60-minute IQ vortex.
The thwarting of this plot centers on T'Pol and Trip, who are immune to the
Orion pheromones because T'Pol is a Vulcan and Trip had sex with her. Yes.
They now share some sort of telepathic link. This leads us back to the whole
Trip/T'Pol question: Will They or Won't They? It looked like Will They for a
brief while, and then Won't They for a long time, and now we're back on Will
They. It's sort of like flipping a coin a lot of times. I'm just going to
throw in the towel and pose a question about the audience: Care They or
Don't They? I answer this question Don't They.
Coto meant this all in good fun, proof of which is shown at the end, where
T'Pol makes a joke, and then all the other guys poke fun at the Vulcan and
laugh, just like when they used to laugh at Mr. Spock, the all-purpose
straight man. But like the rest of this episode, it's a massive
miscalculation. The episode doesn't work because it's an anachronism that
doesn't stand on its own entertainment value. It comes off looking idiotic
when it's meant to look affectionate. Coto has clearly taken his love of
Star Trek to a place where the audience doesn't need it to go. This is the
worst episode of Enterprise in more than two years.
Next week: Back to the mirror universe, which will hopefully be far more fun
Copyright 2005, Jamahl Epsicokhan. All rights reserved.
Unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this article is prohibited.