In the sixth episode of the second season of Enterprise, the team decides that intervention is justified. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Star Trek.Â
Hey, I’m gonna be uncomfortable at the start of this. I sort of enjoyed this episode, and I don’t think it’ll be surprising that I dug an episode about standing up to bullies. IT IS VERY ME. At the same time, this episode brings up an issue I spoke of during season one with regards to the timeline. Since this exists in the period of fictional history prior to the political alliance of the Federation and Klingon Empire, we are treated to antagonists who can only ever be antagonists. I get that the writers needed a group that were ruthless and intimidating so that the power dynamic in “Marauders” could compel the Enterprise team to get involved. And the Klingons seem like a good fit!
But then there’s the entirely unintentional appearance that this gives off: a bunch of brown-skinned aliens (many in brownface anyway) attacking a nearly all-white colony and stealing from them over and over again. (I saw one black dude during the montage in which the people move the camp.) It’s so uncomfortable!!! And yes, I get that no one did this on purpose, but that doesn’t exactly account for the visual component of this conflict, you know? I know that there’s gotta be a long study of the Klingons within Trek canon and how they relate to the concept of race, and I’m not sure this is the time to fully discuss that. (I do want to read that at some point once I’m done with Enterprise, if it exists!!!) But in a story about power and privilege, it seemed like a huge oversight on the part of the writers and production team.
If you can put that aside and examine the story outside of that unintended consequence, this is a decent episode that reminded me of The Original Series more than anything else. “Marauders” is certainly not the first time a Starfleet crew has had to grapple with whether or not to get involved in correcting an injustice. Indeed, it’s one of the most common and pervasive themes across all five of the Star Trek shows! So, if the writers are going to examine this theme again, I become more interested in the execution than anything else. What makes this different? What are the ramifications of choosing to fight for fairness or choosing to oppose a violent, oppressive force? That’s something the people on this deuterium farm are intimately familiar with. After having tried and failed to stop the Klingons from stealing from them once before, the community gave up, terrified of the vindictive and petty methods of the Klingons. And I imagine that’s something they thought about every time they considered rebelling against those who stole from them. Was it worth it? Or had their friends and family died in vain?
Thus Tessic is the most complicated and sympathetic character out of the group. We come to understand why he’s devoted himself to subverting the Klingons in quiet, undetected ways, all so that his people can simply survive. It no longer felt possible that he could do anything else, so when Enterprise showed up, he panicked. He believed that even their last resort plan would fail and the whole community would collapse. Why else would he try so hard to reject Archer’s help? I appreciated that we saw this from Archer’s point of view, too. He had witness this terrible injustice, and it was unsurprising that he wanted to stop it. But “Marauders” asks some difficult questions. Is it Archer’s right to intervene? Even if he stops Korak from stealing, who’s to say another Klingon ship won’t follow behind? How can you stop something that’s part of a larger problem?
Unfortunately, the end result of all this felt so empty to me. This seemed to me to be a story about stakes, ramifications, and consequences, of which there were precisely none during the final battle. Aside from some of the Klingons getting bruises at best, no one is hurt. They’re simply intimidated away with that whole fire trap, and… that’s it? Like, is Korok really not going to return with twice as many men and just raze the whole place??? It seems such a lifeless end to a lively story, y’all, and I was disappointed. No one got hurt???
Anyway, not the worst episode, but it could have been better.
The video for “Marauders” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
Mark Links Stuff
-Â Please visit my new site for all announcements. If you’d rather not have to rely on checking a website regularly, sign up for my newsletter instead! This will cover all news for Mark Reads, Mark Watches, and my fiction releases.Â