Mark Watches ‘Enterprise’: S04E14 – The Aenar

In the fourteenth episode of the fourth season of Enterprise, Archer visits the Andorian homeworld, and Tucker makes a life-changing decision. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Star Trek. 

There’s a lot of promise in season four of Enterprise, and I appreciate that the show has taken this lovely risk by jumping from one serialized arc to another. It’s so cool, and it’s a refreshing way to keep the show interesting!

I just… oh, I just wish that the writers would take these cool ideas and finish them??? For some reason, plots or stories are abandoned, left incomplete, or resolved in incomprehensible ways. This has happened multiple times this season, and it’s getting frustrating! I want to like this more than I am because I can tell the writers are trying.

“The Aenar” contains one of the coolest sets and bits of worldbuilding in the Aenar… to a point. I loved the idea that there was this subspecies on Andoria that had largely been a myth, but had actually built a gigantic underground society far away from the majority of Andorians. IT’S A GREAT PLACE. And there’s a whole lot of conflict here between Shran, Archer, and the Aenar that is all about complicity. WHICH IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE THEMES! The Aenar vote to refuse to get involved in the Romulan attack because they don’t want to be complicit in this form of violence. They’ve survived as long as they have by ignoring everyone else, by isolating themselves, by refusing to be anything other than a completely pacifist society. This is a terrible situation, but why should they get involved?

And this is right around the point where this falls apart for me. I wanted to know more about the Aenar, but Lissian, the temporary leader (THEY ASSIGN TEMPORARY LEADERS, INCREDIBLE), grants Jhamel permission to leave their home to help Enterprise because… she read her mind? And her intentions were pure? That’s all it took? So no one else ever tried to leave the Aenar compound ever?

But this isn’t the most aggravating thing here. After Jhamel finally makes contact with her missing brother, Gareb, I was preparing myself for an emotional reunion. And just as it was about to become that, I was treated to one of the most confusing writing decisions on this whole show: Gareb reveals that he was convinced by the Romulans that he was the last surviving Aenar, so he just became a war machine. I… I literally do not understand this. This is someone who grew up under a lifetime of pacifism, who gives that up in order to become one of the most effective mass murderers imaginable, all because… he’s alone? Maybe? WHY WOULD THE ROMULANS KIDNAP SOMEONE IF THEY WERE THE SOLE MEMBER OF THEIR SPECIES? Wouldn’t Gareb have doubted what they said because they were so aggressively cruel to him? It’s not like he was ushered into a life of luxury and privilege! He spent his entire time pumped full of drugs and compelled to murder people over and over again. He never questioned what he was told? He dropped a lifetime worth of morality just because what his kidnappers said???

I don’t buy it at all. That’s bad writing.

Thankfully, I did appreciate the ongoing plot between T’Pol and Tucker, even if the end of this episode gave us something so terribly sad. These two had gotten so close to having regular, honest conversations, but T’Pol’s cure and annulment have made her into a different person. She’s no longer in touch with her emotions, and her cold behavior is off-putting. At least I think that’s what is happening; the show is ambiguous about what might be causing this, so I can only guess.

The point, though, is that Tucker has had enough. He’s tried to get T’Pol to open up. He’s tried to talk to her. He’s tried to see if she’s ready to be friends again. And the collision of his feelings and his work life is just too much! Which I get ENTIRELY and COMPLETELY, given that I have also dated in the workplace.

So… is the show gonna follow-through with this? Will Tucker really leave Enterprise?

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

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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