Mark Watches ‘Enterprise’: S03E03 – Extinction

In the third episode of the third season of Enterprise, I just realized this is like a tragic version of “Threshold” from Voyager. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Star Trek. 

Trigger Warning: For body horror. 

That was messed up, wasn’t it? I didn’t find this episode particularly compelling until the end of it, but even then, there’s just so much left unanswered that I’m not even sure what to do with this story. Look, almost as soon as this was over, I couldn’t escape something that Phlox had said, that since they were now in the Expanse, they all had to except that anything was possible!

It’s a cool idea and all three of the episodes I’ve seen so far of this season featured bends in the rules of accepted Trek science.

But this is far from the first time someone in Trek canon has been mutated. It is, however, the QUICKEST example I’ve ever seen and IT IS TERRIFYING. Like, this had to be painful to experience, right? Mostly, “Extinction” just made me feel bad for the four people who experienced this. It’s not really a character heavy episode, you know? And because of that, I had QUESTIONS. It was harder for me to suspend my sense of disbelief because the only real emotion on display was desperation. It’s a race against the clock, with the main factors of the virus’s mutation timeline and the containment team’s stubbornness. Without anything but the suspense plot to hold my attention, I wasn’t able to immerse myself.

And y’all, what the hell is this virus. So the Loque’eque (I think I spelled that right???) lose the ability to procreate, so their solution to imminent extinction is to design a virus that mutates a humanoid’s DNA so that they become one of their species. THAT’S NOT AT ALL CREEPY OR INVASIVE. Totally normal response! Oh, and this virus encodes a person’s DNA so that they have an intense drive to locate the main city underground. To re-populate it, I assume?

Here’s where this falls apart for me beyond the ethical nightmare that is preserving your species through mutating other species with a virus. (WHAT A FUCKING HORROR SHOW, OH MY GOD.) When did the species who make up the Containment Team come into the picture? Shouldn’t there have been at least some of the Loque’eque left in that underground city to keep it alive? Let’s say there weren’t, then. Did the Containment Team just eliminate everyone on the planet wholesale when they arrived? If that’s the case, what if the “original” species wasn’t actually dead?

It’s so confusing to me, enough that it felt distracting from the story. I could not figure out this history, and that history ultimately mattered so much to the big tragic twist. Thus, this attempt to do something huge and unexpected felt remarkably hollow. Plus, Archer has this whole moment where he refuses to destroy the only surviving bit of the mutagen virus because he doesn’t want to kill off this species, but I THINK THEY KIND OF EARNED IT WITH THEIR ABSURD AND VIOLENT TRANSFORMATION VIRUS. Like??? Why do you feel any affinity for these people who would do something so monstrous to people who did not consent to this metamorphosis?

This episode is kind of a huge mess. Granted, it’s not “Threshold” (SHUDDERS FOREVER), but that’s a pretty low bar to beat.

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

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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