The Enterprise crew is delighted to encounter a planet with a fully fledged humanoid civilisation living on the surface. Archer leads a team down to investigate, only to discover that they aren’t the only aliens who have come to visit the planet. But is the other visitor really a benign observer, as he claims, or is there something more sinister going on?
Civilisation is a pretty standard story in the Star Trek canon – humanity goes down to observe a medieval civilisation, and ends up having to protect them from a more technologically advanced threat. Yes, there’s nothing at all original about the plot, and it does taper off a bit towards the end, but overall this is a solid and commendable effort. The only question is, can Enterprise do anything new in this space, or will all planet visits be as formulaic? I actually don’t remember – I barely remember any of these episodes as it is.
Civilisation also gives Archer his first on-screen romance, much earlier in the series than Picard, Janeway or Sisko ever managed.
Points of Note
- This episode is well-named – when Enterprise zooms in on the clipper ship, it almost felt like I was watching them play a game of Civilisation.
- After some research (i.e. reading the first few hits on Google), and trying to account for another 150 years of technological advancement (minus any setbacks due to World War III), I can’t decide whether or not it’s feasible for Enterprise to be able to see Akaali faces clearly from orbit.
- Although Starfleet has yet to adopt it, the Vulcans already have an early version of the Prime Directive in place.
Summary – Civilisation: Archer has his first interspecies kiss.