In the sixth episode of the third season of Enterprise, Hoshi is contacted by a lonely alien, and IT IS THE WORST. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Star Trek.
Trigger Warning: For discussion of consent, stalking.
WHEW, WHEN I TELL YOU MY SPIRIT LEFT MY BODY DURING THIS EPISODE, I AM ONLY BARELY EXAGGERATING. I imagine that if you’ve never been stalked, the logic that stalkers/abusers use might be utterly confusing to you. Because this script is so explicit in its condemnation of Tarquin, that logic is on display constantly. Even from the start, this man developed an interpretation of Hoshi that reminded me a lot of how parasocial relationships work. Of course, Hoshi never consented to Tarquin’s consumption of her, and even worse, he stole her thoughts and memories. So it’s not quite like parasocial relationships, but it was entirely one-sided.
That’s perhaps the only flaw in the construction of this episode. While the second half of “Exile” completely destroys Tarquin and doesn’t offer him a shred of sympathy, the opening of this script puzzled me. All of Tarquin’s initial appearances are horrifying, and yet, Hoshi seems barely bothered by it all once Tarquin explains that he just wants her to be around. Like… certainly she’d be a lot more suspicious than she actually is at the start of this? Especially given how disturbed she is by all of this before she finds out who Tarquin is and what he can do!
Yet once she arrives on his lonely planet, this is another horror story. (Seriously, after “Impulse,” this was A LOT.) It’s a slow-burn, but all the signs are there that Tarquin is The Worst. Well, they were there before Hoshi ever showed up, but they’re much more obvious in person. In hindsight, I’m realizing how creepy it was that he didn’t reveal what he actually looked like! Did he honestly believe that Hoshi wouldn’t interact with a non-human species??? No, I’d argue that from the beginning, he was deliberate in his attempt to manipulate her. He appeared as a human because Hoshi was more likely to fall into this trap of his! Anything he could do to take advantage of her was on the table, and that included his incredibly inappropriate use of her memories against her. LIKE!!! THIS IS SOME NEXT-LEVEL PICK-UP ARTIST BULLSHIT. He brings up memories out of the blue to unsettle her and make her realize how vulnerable she is. Then, when she’s most disturbed, he tries to appeal to her sense of loneliness to build her up for him. It is UNACCEPTABLE. That’s when I knew for certain that he didn’t care about her in any genuine way. His focus was completely on what Hoshi could provide for himself and nothing else. He didn’t actually care about her happiness or well-being or he wouldn’t have tried to manipulate her into feeling like she couldn’t leave without sacrificing the Enterprise. And that’s key, y’all: you cannot claim to love or care about a person and then repeatedly lie to them. And repeatedly manipulate them. And repeatedly READ THEIR MIND WITHOUT THEIR CONSENT.
Of course, this episode reaches its fever pitch when Tarquin uses his telepathic powers to APPEAR AS ARCHER TO HOSHI AND TRICK HER INTO STAYING LONGER. Ugh, there’s so much grossness in this episode, but that moment felt so awful to me. Even after his lie was exposed, he still doubled down on his demands! That’s how delusional he was, y’all. He knew he had lied, he knew he’d been caught, and he just kept going. He is truly The Worst, and giving Archer information on the Xindi and the weapon doesn’t absolve him of what he did. I’m glad that the writing doesn’t paint him in an understandable light and that Hoshi isn’t written to make him seem that way either. SHAME ALL ABUSERS AND MANIPULATORS FOREVER.
The video for “Exile” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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