The Great Star Trek Enterprise Rewatch: Strange New World

The Enterprise crew are excited to stumble upon a new planet – so much that the away mission decides to camp out overnight. But when they take shelter from the storm in a set of caves, the humans become paranoid that they are being pursued by rock people – even though T’Pol claims there is no one there. What exactly is going on?

My viewing companion insists that he is enjoying these early episodes, but I’m still finding it hard to get engaged. I’m pretty sure I would have enjoyed this story as a TOS episode, but at this point in my viewing journey, it just feels a bit bland. Is it because I don’t yet care for the characters, and probably never will? Is it because the aesthetics of Enterprise are so grey? Am I, like the weary Star Trek viewers who had had new episodes on air since 1987, simply in need of a break?

Whatever the reason, I didn’t care much for this story. It never really felt like there was any uncertainty that the rock people were a hallucination – we all know by now to trust a Vulcan’s perceptions over those of an unreliable human. Somehow, the needed tension just wasn’t there – even TNG’s oft unsuccessful attempts at horror seem much more atmospheric than this.

One thing I did enjoy was the introduction and characterisation of minor recurring character Elizabeth Cutler. We will see her twice more this season.

Bits and pieces

  • The human crew really aren’t good at being inclusive. They basically take every opportunity to mock and berate T’Pol for being different – the only way for her to be happy and fit in is to act more human.
  • The Vulcan designation for habitable Earthlike planets is “Minshara-class”, which is presumably the origin of “Class-M”.
  • What if Porthos had become infected with a pathogen? What if his pissing on a tree has irrevocably altered the development of that planet’s ecosystem?

Summary – Strange New World: In which a camping trip goes badly wrong.

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