Mark Watches ‘Enterprise’: S02E16 – Future Tense

In the sixteenth episode of the second season of Enterprise, I WASN’T READY. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Star Trek


Remember how I just said that Enterprise, while entertaining, is still struggling to find it’s thing that separates it from the other shows? Well, look at this. LOOK AT THIS STORY. Now, I’m operating under the assumption that “Future Tense” is just part of a larger story, that the Temporal Cold War is going to be Enterprise‘s serialized plot spread over multiple episodes. With this episode, I feel like it’s been pretty much confirmed, and lord, am I excited. This is why I love science fiction, y’all. I grew up reading books that made my brain felt like it was turning to mush, and I loved it. I loved when creators found ways that made me think of the world differently, that challenged my notions of time and narrative and possibility.

“Future Tense” challenges me by taking a genre of speculative fiction – concerning time travel – and imbuing it with an excitement and urgency that I welcome with open arms. The Temporal Cold War is still pretty ambiguous at this point of the show, but this episode jettisons everything forward while being utterly impenetrable. It was a bold choice to keep so many answers far away from the audience, and I know I’ve complained about some of the ambiguity in season two. I’ll admit to that! So why is it that this wasn’t triggered in me this time around?

Part of it is the hope that I’m only seeing one tiny piece of a puzzle. (MORE TEMPORAL COLD WAR, PLEASE.) If we never see anything else, then I will retroactively be required by SCIENCE to dislike this episode. These are the rules! I don’t make them! However, I firmly believe that this story is going to eventually be given some context, at least enough for me to be able to guess what really happened. BUT LET’S TALK ABOUT ALL THE COOL THINGS HERE:

  • The 31st century. 900 years in the future!!! And how is that represented within the show? It’s all about the details, since we never get any concrete information about what the future is like. There’s the bio-matter that is in the circuitry of the ship; the complicated beacon system; the interior that DEFIES PHYSICAL SPACE, which is the most direct reference to Doctor Who I’ve seen on this show; the alloys on the hull; THE CORPSE THAT HAS ANCESTRAL TIES TO MULTIPLE SPECIES. Each of these things suggests a future, but doesn’t provide a portrait, and it’s brilliant. Why?
  • I love the slow reveal of information throughout “Future Tense” because each new bit doesn’t explain anything. IT JUST MAKES IT WEIRDER. I kept waiting for the one thing that would link it all together and explain why this ship was floating in that part of space, and instead, I was given more and more questions. That’s bold.
  • Did it have a swimming pool.
  • T’Pol’s staunch belief that time travel does not exist because it’s illogical is one of my favorite things, namely because I feel like that belief is being chipped away with each one of these Temporal Cold War episodes. The evidence – especially the evidence found on that ship – is pointing towards the undeniable proof that time travel is possible.
  • When the Suliban showed up, I understood it. If anyone was going to be interested in a ship that traveled from the 31st century, it would be them. But bravo to the Enterprise writers for brining back the Tholians, who I believe we haven’t seen since “The Tholian Web.” No webs this time around, but… why? Why were they so interested in this ship? How did they find out about it? Does it have anything to do with what they’re going to do? MAYBE OTHER DIMENSIONS??? I don’t know! I wanted to see the Tholians again, though. If I remember correctly, they were kinda like… geometric shapes with eyes??? Something like that? So basically, evil math.
  • I also appreciate the sheer chaos of “Future Tense,” too. The writers aren’t content to just throw the Suliban at the Enterprise crew. And adding the Tholians isn’t enough! THEN THERE ARE TIME LOOPS CAUSED BY TEMPORAL RADIATION!!!! That first one was such a huge shocker, y’all, and I love that it was thrown in so late to the episode because it made it unexpected.

So here’s my guess: that authority Daniels works for was responsible for “saving” the ship from the past. Or… well, it could be anyone that far into the future. Is this the farthest we’ve seen anything in Trek history? A lot can happen in 900 years. Regardless, this has to have been a part of the Cold War. But what part???

The video for “Future Tense” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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