Mark Watches ‘Enterprise’: S02E11 – Precious Cargo

In the eleventh episode of the second season of Enterprise, Tucker gets trapped with a kidnapped queen and this is like half the plot of the first Star Wars movie but not nearly as entertaining or incestuous. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Star Trek

Okay, so maybe this is just an odd stretch of the show. This week’s batch hasn’t been my favorite, and that’s partially because I still can’t get a sense for what Enterprise wants to be. It has elements of all four of the series that preceded it, but it has yet to completely branch off on its own. It’s close, though, especially with T’Pol’s character growth and with the Temporal Cold War.

But “Precious Cargo” retreads tropes we’ve seen over and over again in Star Trek and, in this case, another sci-fi epic. Look, I’m a broken record, and I have to admit that because I’ve run out of clever ways to talk about how bored I am with these one-off romances. I don’t think this is a bad episode; it’s just horribly incomplete because it relies on tropes without giving us any closure.

I admit I was excited because I love the trope where people of divergent social classes must interact and then deal with SEXUAL TENSION. I have read enough fanfic and romance utilizing this to last a lifetime. (Just kidding, there will never be enough, GIMME MORE.) And at least this time, Tucker’s interactions with Kaitaama are consensual! But in the end… nothing really happens, does it? There’s no really follow-up. Instead, the show teases us with the promise of something new and exciting, but until that scene in the jungle, there’s no attempt to move these two forward.

I get that sexual tension had to have a delayed gratification or else it doesn’t work. But I’m not even sure that we get any real gratification because of how quickly this episode ends. Even I have to admit that Tucker and Kaitaama have chemistry, the kind born of antagonistic personalities clashing with one another. Their bickering is a form of flirting, and both actors do a fine job with the material present.

So why didn’t this feel satisfying by the time the credits rolled around? Like one of the major issues I had with “Vanishing Point,” I feel like the writers cut short this story right as it got interesting. The moment that Tucker and Kaitaama kiss is electrifying! Inevitable, sure, but it injected an excitement into the narrative. They’d crossed a line they’d spent the whole episode avoiding! What were they going to do now that they knew their attraction was mutual??? THE POSSIBILITIES WERE ENDLESS. Unfortunately, approximately none of them were explored with the text. There’s Kaitaama’s invitation to Tucker to visit once she’s monarch! That’s exciting! But it’s a hint of a story and of further development that we’re not gonna get. At least, I don’t have faith that we will. So why wait so long to get us to that point, only to squander the possibilities you’ve created?

But look, y’all. This episode is worth it for MY FAVORITE SECONDARY PLOT THUS FAR: T’POL AS THE EVIL VULCAN WHO TORTURES EVERYONE TO GET WHAT SHE WANTS. I just???????? Remember when she said that improvisation wasn’t her thing? SHE IS TOTALLY GOOD AT IT, I WAS SO IMPRESSED. I felt like the main plot tried to be as comedic as this one, but it didn’t always work. But T’Pol and Archer? OH, THEY NAILED IT. I desperately hope they try this again so T’Pol can refine this character of hers. PLEASE.

The video for “Precious Cargo” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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